Published : Jun 12, 2013 12:30 IST



New Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif looks on after inspecting a guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad on June 5, 2013. Pakistan's new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called on June 5 for an end to US drone strikes in the country's northwest, as he took office for an unprecedented third term. Some 13 years after he was deposed in a coup and sent into exile, the 63-year-old was formally chosen by a vote in the National Assembly and later took the oath of office from President Asif Ali Zardari. AFP PHOTO / AAMIR QURESHI

NAWAZ SHARIF is the Prime Minister of Pakistan for a third time and deserves praise because his political journey was rough (Cover Story, June 14). He should respect the people’s verdict through good and democratic governance. With a democratically elected government in Pakistan, the chances of resolving bilateral issues with India and achieving economic growth in the region are good.

P. Senthil Saravana Durai

Vazhavallan, Tamil Nadu

THE seasoned politician Nawaz Sharif has been returned to power with a massive mandate. It is hoped that he will chalk out a strong foreign policy with a major thrust on cementing India-Pakistan relations. This will hopefully include Pakistan refraining from fomenting trouble in Kashmir and using a strong hand to curb terrorists’ designs against India.

Jayant Mukherjee


FORMER President Asif Ali Zardari was subservient to the Army, which was the chief reason for his Pakistan People’s Party government completing its full term. The electorate turning out to vote in significant numbers despite threats from fundamentalists was a clear pointer to their faith in democracy and their preference for an experienced administrator to lead Pakistan. Given the volatile nature of the country and the vice-like grip of the Army over the civilian government, it will be a testing time for Sharif. Hopefully, he will use his skills to assert the primacy of the civilian establishment and forge a healthy relationship with India.

K.R. Srinivasan

Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

ALTHOUGH the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won the election with a comfortable majority and with the participation of all strata of society, its leader, Sharif, faces myriad problems—domestic extremism, an economic crisis, deterioration in the relations with India in the aftermath of the 2008 terror strike in Mumbai, a strained relationship with the U.S. against the backdrop of drone attacks in Pakistan, the Kashmir issue, and so on. Although Sharif is optimistic about resuming talks with India, the Government of India should tread cautiously.

N.C. Sreedharan

Kannur, Kerala

IT is too early to predict the future course of India’s relationship with Pakistan (“Cautious optimism”, June 14). Sharif has said all the right things and chances are he might match his words with action but India needs to be cautious. The task he has on hand is anything but easy, and it remains to be seen how he will counter the Taliban and work with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and the Army. He can worry about India after restoring peace in his country and improving governance. And, yes, the Indian government need to be pragmatic in its approach.

Bal Govind

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

INDIA should not be elated at Sharif’s victory. He will not rush to embrace India as a long-lost friend. In fact, he was the co-architect of the Kargil War and connived with Pervez Musharraf in that misadventure against India. Sharif was all for Musharraf before his ouster. In Pakistan, the Army chief still retains a powerful hold on the government. Anti-India feelings and rhetoric are in the blood of Pakistan’s politicians, so India should adopt a cautious and tough attitude towards the country.

S. Raghunatha Prabhu

Alappuzha, Kerala

Nilgiri marten

THANK YOU for the excellent visual coverage of the Nilgiri marten (“Marten up close”, June 14). It is believed that one can still sight the animal in the Longwood Forest at Kotagiri in Nilgiris district. Before the invasion of the landscape by the British, a neighbourhood in Kotagiri town was called, in Badaga, “hemola/kemmola haada”, which in English means “the dale of the marten”. The Badaga name for the animal is “mega-rabbit”.

Philip K. Mulley

Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu

THE Pampadum Shola situated in Kerala is one of the unexplored scenic “vans” (jungle) in southern India. The article portrayed the marten’s bizarre behaviour towards humans. It is a rare creature, and therefore, it is important that efforts be made to protect it.

S. Sujha



MOHSIN HAMID was spot on with the way he dealt with the sensitive issue of the “Islamic image” in the present-day world torn apart by incessant terrorism (“Why Islamophobia?”, June 14). The projection of Islam as a monolith with an aggressive ideology and as a religion incompatible with other “world systems”, especially the Western world, has come in the way of a proper understanding of issues such as terrorism. Until and unless one dares to look beyond this linear projection and tries to understand the finer nuances of the issue, it cannot be tackled.

Bishaljeet Baruah


Asghar Ali Engineer


TIRUCHI: 26/02/2011: FOR DAILY: Asghar Ali Engineer, Chairman, Center for Study of Society and Secularism, Mumbai, in Tiruchi on Saturday...Photo:R. Ashok

ASGHAR ALI ENGINEER was a rare combination of a refined intellectual, a scholar and an activist (“Living a faith”, June 14). He visited the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of coastal Karnataka several times over the past few two decades as part of his ever-untiring humanising missions. We were witness to his profound gentleness, social concern and humanism.

His last visit to Mangalore was less than a year ago when, along with his son Irfan, a lawyer and human rights activist, he conducted a two-day workshop on sensitising youngsters to communal harmony (Mangalore has the dubious distinction of being the communalism capital of Karnataka). He endeared himself to sections of Indian society across its several divisions and hierarchies. We have lost a rare human being. I feel intensely and personally bereaved.

H. Pattabhirama Somayaji

Mangalore, Karnataka

THE obituary paid a fitting tribute to Asghar Ali Engineer in whose demise the nation has lost an ardent patriot, scholar, philanthropist and a dynamic social reformer. An uncompromising crusader against communalism and religious fundamentalism, he fought tooth and nail against the religious obscurantism and social backwardness prevalent in his own community.

A truly liberal and secular intellectual, Engineer was a man of action who worked relentlessly to promote religious tolerance and communal harmony. He was undeterred by six physical assaults on him for his advocacy of religious reforms, a testimony to his unflinching commitment to a noble cause. His demise is certainly a setback for secularism and progressive forces at a time when the scourge of communalism and religious bigotry threaten the very foundations of the nation.

B. Suresh Kumar

Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu

Credit rating


FILE - This Oct. 9, 2011 file photo shows 55 Water Street, home of Standard & Poor's, in New York. S&P said Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, the U.S. government is expected to file civil charges against Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, alleging that it improperly gave high ratings to mortgage debt that later plunged in value and helped fuel the 2008 financial crisis. The charges would mark the first enforcement action the government has taken against a major rating agency involving the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams, File)

THE lowering of India’s credit rating by the global rating agency Standard & Poor’s and its threat to lower it further to junk status is intriguing (“The neoliberal trap”, June 14). Its predictions and policy advice are unsolicited and can only be construed as an interference with India’s economic policy. At a time when the government is claiming that the economy is indeed stable and well insulated from the vagaries of the global economic meltdown, how did S&P come to the conclusion that India’s economy is showing signs of weakness?

This rating is only aimed at giving a push to the government’s neoliberal economic policies. The agency has warned the government that unless it shows progress on fiscal reforms, the economy may deteriorate. All these point to an inexorable march to a slew of reforms that will hurt the common man. The government should understand that if it decides to heap more burden on the poorer sections of the country, the repercussions will be severe.

J. Anantha Padmanabhan

Trichy, Tamil Nadu

IPL scandal

WHETHER it is match-fixing or spot-fixing, it brings disgrace to the game of cricket (“A run for your money”, June 14). As cricket has a huge fan following in the subcontinent, the cricket administration needs to worry a lot about the recent developments.

The popularity of the game may not diminish because it has essentially become celebrity-centred, but the credibility of the game has been eroded and this is serious. With every passing day, more murky details are emerging, indicating how deep the rot runs in the IPL. Overenthusiasm and overemphasis on cricket have apparently killed the sanctity of the game. The announcement of a cash prize of Rs.1 crore for a cricketer for hitting six sixes in a match is an instance of hyper commercialisation.

It is natural for spectators to bet on matches, but it is criminal for players to play to suit the bettors’ needs. By involving themselves in betting, players, umpires and sports managers have cheated millions of cricket lovers.

Siddhartha Shankar Mishra

Budharaja, Odisha


IT is said that silence is golden, but in politics this is seldom so (“Drowning in scams”, May 31). Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his party are facing the heat from the opposition, mainly the equally tainted BJP, for their silence.

Labelling Manmohan Singh corrupt is uncalled for. He has been the Prime Minister for two terms and still owns only a 1996 model Maruti. If he had earned money from corruption, he could afford a luxury car. The recent debacle in the Karnataka Assembly elections only goes to show that Manmohan Singh will be Prime Minister for a third term. Congress president Sonia Gandhi should seriously consider appointing a Deputy Prime Minister who would be aggressive enough to take on the BJP stalwarts.

Ramesh Kotian

Uchila, Karnataka

WHILE referring to the Supreme Court’s description of the Central Bureau of Investigation as a caged parrot, the article “Shackles on CBI” (May 31) cites the court’s observation that it would be a golden day if the government actually followed through on its intent to promulgate an ordinance to protect the CBI from extraneous influences.

I read a well-known story titled “The Parrot’s Training” by Rabindranath Tagore. In it, Tagore narrates a few people’s greedy and selfish forays, ranging from building a golden cage for a parrot to engaging scribes to tutor it, only to find in the end that the parrot had died unsung and unceremoniously. I nurse a saddening premonition that the proposed ordinance may cause the CBI to face the same fate as the parrot in the Tagore’s story.

K. John Mammen


Manual scavengers


A person engaged in manual scavenging in the old bus stand of the NEKRTC in Bellary city, despite the fact that it had been banned.;A person engaged in manual scavenging in the old bus stand of the NEKRTC in Bellary city, despite the fact that it had been banned. - manual scavenging

MANUAL scavengers are not provided with even basic accessories such as face masks and gloves when they go down sewers to clean them (“Death in the gutter”, May 31). These essential items do not cost much, but sadly, municipal corporations, which collect from citizens hundreds of crores of rupees as taxes, never bother to equip scavengers with these accessories. The cleaning of sewers should be mechanised and use of manual scavengers done away with.

Deendayal M. Lulla



FIVE years ago, the BJP, after grabbing the reins of power in Karnataka, had visions of making the State its political springboard to conquer the south and promised the people the moon (“Southern shock”, May 31). But what did it really give them? Three Chief Ministers, some of the worst possible scandals, Hindutva labs in Mangalore and Udupi, and a mining mafia, which was a republic within the State—the republic of Bellary! If Narendra Modi could not sell the Gujarat development model to the people of Karnataka, it is doubtful he will be able to sell his agenda at the national level in 2014.

K.P. Rajan


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