Punjab

PAK MILITARY NEEDS TO BE TAMED FOR IMPROVEMENT IN RELATIONS WITH INDIA, SAYS CAPT AMARINDER

November 16, 2018 09:36 PM

RULES OUT REVIVAL OF TERRORISM IN PUNJAB DESPITE ATTEMPTS BY ISI TO FOMENT TROUBLE

Chandigarh (Face2News)

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has said that relations between India and Pakistan cannot improve till the military there is tamed.

“Imran Khan or any other Khan cannot do much till they control their military, which has vested interests in continuing border tensions with India,” said the chief minister.

 Captain Amarinder, who was speaking at a literary festival organized by a leading Media House here on Friday, said that, by and large people in Pakistan too want peace with India but their military feels otherwise. He said that during his last stint as the Chief Minister, relations between the two countries had “warmed up” to quite an extent and he had then even organized the hugely successful Punjab (India) to Punjab (Pak) games. He regretted that relations between the two countries soured again and he blamed Pakistan’s army for it.

Responding to a question, the chief minister said that though Pakistan’s ISI continues to foment trouble in Punjab, he does not foresee revival of terrorism in the state. “People here want peace and have seen what terrorism did to the state,” he said, adding that though, due to unemployment, frustrations do exist among the state’s youth, his government’s ambitious programme of ‘Ghar Ghar Naukri’ was showing results. He said about 4.5 lakhs youth had been given employment in the state in the past 18 months under this programme.

The chief minister said that his government had “by and large” controlled the drug menace, but admitted that the problem cannot just disappear. “Nowhere in the world drugs have disappeared but we are taking all steps to cut their supply chain and for the rehabilitations of the addicts,” he said.

Asserting that heroin was being smuggled into Punjab from all across the country, the chief minister said that recently the police had seized a consignment that had come from Mandavi in Gujarat, which clearly suggested that there was in place a systematic gameplan of destabilising the state. He, however, said that he would not allow this to happen and his government will continue its crackdown on drug dealers and traders.

Responding to a question, the chief minister said that it was absolutely incorrect to equate the blasphemy laws in Pakistan with his government’s decision to make sacrilege of religious books punishable with life imprisonment. “If anyone thinks that they can get away by indulging in sacrilege, by burning a Guru Granth Sahib, a Bible, a Quran or any other religious scripture, they should know that we would not allow it and they will have to pay the price for such misadventures,” he warned.

On the prospects of the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Chief Minister said that the party was on the path of recovery and will form the government at the centre. He said AICC president Rahul Gandhi will be the party’s choice for Prime Ministership and he was personally confident that the party chief would prove to be a successful prime minister. The Chief Minister also said that the Congress was poised to win four of the five states that are going to polls now.

Referring to his recent trip to Turkey, where he paid his respects to the martyred Commonwealth soldiers, including Indians, at the Gallipoli’s Helles and Turkish memorials, Captain Amarinder regretted that the exemplary valour and indomitable courage of the Indian soldiers in the great war remains largely unrecognised here. “Nearly 74,000 Indian soldiers attained martyrdom and 67,000 were wounded in the Great War but their supreme contribution has been largely forgotten,” said the Chief Minister.

In response to another question, the Chief Minister reiterated that Punjab was not responsible for Delhi’s pollution. “We have westerly winds most of the year and if stubble burning was responsible for Delhi’s pollution then Chandigarh’s air should have been as polluted,” he said.

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