Who were the Untouchables in India?

Who were the Untouchables in India: Why They Became Untouchables? by Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar

Posted on March 11, 2008 by Moin Ansari

The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables?

RUPEE NEWS | Moin Ansari | March 11, 2008  | معین آنصآرّی | اخبار روپیہ | Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (April 14, 1891 – December 6, 1956) was a Buddhist revivalist, Indian jurist, scholar and Bahujan political leader who is the chief architect of the Indian Constitution. Born into a poor Untouchable community; he spent his life fighting against the system of Hindu untouchability and the Indian caste system. He is also credited for having sparked the Dalit Buddhist movement. Ambedkar has been honoured with the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, given for the highest degree of national service.This article is the preface in the book The Untouchables Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables? that was written by Dr. B. R. Ambedkar.

Why did Buddhism disappear from South Asia? Reviving Hindusism in Budhdist lands: The Hindu extremists use the Safron Swastika flag instead of the tri-colored flag of India. (see Hindu unity dot org)

By Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, January l, 1948, 1, Hardinge Avenue, New Delhi

This book is a sequel to my treatise called The Shudras-Who they were and How they came to be the Fourth Varna of the Indo-Aryan Society which was published in 1946. Besides the Shudras, the Hindu Civilisation has produced three social classes whose existence has not received the attention it deserves. The three classes are:

(i) The Criminal Tribes who number about 20 millions or so;
(ii) The Aboriginal Tribes who number about 15 millions; and
(iii) The Untouchables who number about 50 millions.

The existence of these classes is an abomination. The Hindu Civilization, gauged in the light of these social products, could hardly be called civilization. It is a diabolical contrivance to suppress and enslave humanity. Its proper name would be infamy.

What else can be said of a civilization which has produced a mass of people who are taught to accept crime as an approved means of earning their livelihood, another mass of people who are left to live in full bloom of their primitive barbarism in the midst of civilization and a third mass of people who are treated as an entity beyond human intercourse and whose mere touch is enough to cause pollution?

In any other country the existence of these classes would have led to searching of the heart and to investigation of their origin. But neither of these has occurred to the mind of the Hindu. The reason is simple. The Hindu does not regard the existence of these classes as a matter of apology or shame and feels no responsibility either to atone for it or to inquire into its origin and growth.

Poverty in IndiaPoverty in India

On the other hand, every Hindu is taught to believe that his civilization is not only the most ancient but that it is also in many respects altogether unique. No Hindu ever feels tired of repeating these claims.

That the Hindu Civilization is the most ancient, one can understand and even allow. But it is not quite so easy to understand on what grounds they rely for claiming that the Hindu Civilization is a unique one. The Hindus may not like it, but so far as it strikes non-Hindus, such a claim can rest only on one ground. It is the existence of these classes for which the Hindu Civilization is responsible. That the existence of such classes is a unique phenomenon, no Hindu need repeat, for nobody can deny the fact.

One only wishes that the Hindu realized that it was a matter for which there was more cause for shame than pride.

The inculcation of these false beliefs in the sanity, superiority and sanctity of Hindu Civilization is due entirely to the peculiar social psychology of Hindu scholars.

To-day all scholarship is confined to the Brahmins. But un-fortunately no Brahmin scholar has so far come forward to play the part of a Voltaire who had the intellectual honesty to rise against the doctrines of the Catholic Church in which he was brought up; nor is one likely to appear on the scene in the future. It is a grave reflection on the scholarship of the Brahmins that they should not have produced a Voltaire.

This will not cause surprise if it is remembered that the Brahmin scholar is only a learned man. He is not an intellectual. There is a world of difference between one who learned and one who is an intellectual. The former is class-conscious and is alive to the interests of his class. The latter is an emancipated being who Is free to act without being swayed by class considerations. It is because the Brahmins have been only learned men that they have not produced a Voltaire.

Why have the Brahmins not produced a Voltaire?

The question can be answered only by another question. Why did the Sultan of Turkey not abolish the religion of the Mohammedan World?

Why has no Pope denounced Catholicism?

Why has the British Parliament not made a law ordering the killing of all blue-eyed babies?

The reason why the Sultan or the Pope or the British Parliament has not done these things is the same as why the Brahmins have not been able to produce a Voltaire.

It must be recognized that the selfish interest of a person or of the class to which he belongs always acts as an internal limitation which regulates the direction of his intellect.

Caste discrimination. Poverty stricken and destituteDalits: Caste discrimination. Poverty stricken and destitute

The power and position which the Brahmins possess is entirely due to the Hindu Civilization which treats them as supermen and subjects the lower classes to all sorts of disabilities so that they may never rise and challenge or threaten the superiority of the Brahmins over them.

As is natural, every Brahmin is interested in the maintenance of Brahmanic supremacy be he orthodox or unorthodox, be he a priest or a grahastha, be he a scholar or not. How can the Brahmins afford to be Voltaires, A Voltaire among the Brahmins would be a positive danger to the maintenance of a civilization which is contrived to maintain Brahmanic supremacy.

The point is that the intellect of a Brahmin scholar is severely limited by anxiety to preserve his interest. He suffers from this Internal limitation as a result of which he does not allow his intellect full play which honesty and integrity demands. For, he fears that it may affect the interests of his class and therefore his own.

India as World Power 1 Extremist Hindus show power using the Swastika in triple entendre–as an ancient Hindu symbol, reverence for Hitler and sign of Anti-Western Indian power

But what annoys one is the intolerance of the Brahmin scholar towards any attempt to expose the Brahmanic literature. He himself would not play the part of an iconoclast even where it is necessary. And he would not allow such non-Brahmins as have the capacity to do so to play it. If any non-Brahmin were to make such an attempt the Brahmin scholars would engage in a conspiracy of silence, take no notice of him, condemn him outright on some flimsy grounds or dub his work useless.

As a writer engaged in the exposition of the Brahmanic literature I have been a victim of such mean tricks.

Notwithstanding the attitude of the Brahmin scholars, I must pursue the task I have undertaken. For the origin of these classes is a subject which still awaits investigation.

This book deals with one of these unfortunate classes namely, the Untouchables. The Untouchables are the most numerous of the three. Their existence iS also the most unnatural. And yet there has so far been no investigation into their origin.

That the Hindus should not have undertaken such an investigation is perfectly understandable. The old orthodox Hindu does not think that there is anything wrong in the observance of Untouchability. To him it is a normal and natural thing. As such it neither calls for expiation nor explanation. The new modern Hindu realizes the wrong. But he is ashamed to discuss it in public for fear of letting the foreigner know that Hindu Civilization can be guilty of such a vicious and infamous system or social code as evidenced by Untouchability.

But what is strange is that Untouchability should have failed to attract the attention of the European student of social institutions. It is difficult to understand why. The fact, however, is there.

This book may therefore, be taken as a pioneer attempt in the exploration of a field so completely neglected by everybody. The book, if I may say so, deals not only with every aspect of the main question set out for inquiry, namely, the origin of Untouchability, but it also deals with almost all questions connected with it. Some of the questions are such that very few people are even aware of them; and those who are aware of them are puzzled by them and do not know how to answer them.

To mention only a few, the book deals with such questions as: Why do the Untouchables live outside the village?

Why did beef-eating give rise to Untouchability? Did the Hindus never eat beef?

Why did non-Brahmins give up beef-eating? What made the Brahmins become vegetarians, etc.?

To each one of these the book suggests an answer. It may be that the answers given in tb book to these questions are not all-embracing. Nonetheless it will be found that the book points to a new way of looking at old things.

Superpower India Pt 2 Extremist Hindus revere Hitler and use the Swastika as the Indian flag

The thesis on the origin of Untouchability advanced in the book is an altogether novel thesis. It comprises the following propositions:

(1) There is no racial difference between the Hindus and the Untouchables;

(2) The distinction between the Hindus and Untouchables in its original form, before the advent of Untouchability, was the distinction between Tribesmen and Broken Men from alien Tribes. It is the Broken Men who subsequently came to be treated as Untouchables;

(3) Just as Untouchability has no racial basis so also has it no occupational basis;

(4) There are two roots from which Untouchability has sprung:
(a) Contempt and hatred of the Broken Men as of Buddhists by the Brahmins.
(b) Continuation of beef-eating by the Broken Men after it had been given up by others.

(5) In searching for the origin of Untouchability care, must be taken to distinguish the Untouchables from the Impure. All orthodox Hindu writers have identified the Impure with the Untouchables. This is an error. Untouchables are distinct from the Impure.

(6) While the Impure as a class came into existence at the time of the Dharma Sutras the Untouchables came into being much later than 400 A.D. These conclusions are the result of such historical research as I have been able to make. The ideal which a historian should place before himself has been well defined by Goethe who said:

“The historian’s duty is to separate the true from the false, the certain from the uncertain, and the doubtful from that which cannot be accepted Every investigator must before all things look upon himself as one who is summoned to serve on a jury.

How long to extripate penury from india? 300 years! India’s budget– fit for a superpower

He has only to consider how far the statement of the case is complete and clearly set forth by the evidence. Then he Draws his conclusion and gives his vote, whether it be that his opinion coincides with that of the foreman or not.”

There can be no difficulty in giving effect to Goethe’s direction vhen the relevant and necessary facts are forthcoming. All this advice is of course very valuable and very necessary. But Goethe does not tell what the historian is to do when he comes across a missing link, when no direct evidence of connected relations between important events is available.

I mention this because in the course of my investigations into the origin of Untouchability and other inter connected problems I have been confronted with many missing links. It is true that I am not the only one who has been confronted with them. All students of ancient Indian history have had to face them. For as Mount Stuart Elphinstone has observed in Indian history “no date of a public event can be fixed before the invasion of Alexander: and no connected relation of the natural transactions can be attempted until after the Mohamedan conquest.” This is a sad confession but that again does not help.

The question is: “What is a student of history to do?

Is he to cry halt and stop his work until the link is discovered?” I think not. I believe that in such cases it is permissible for him to use his imagination and intuition to bridge the gaps left in the chain of facts by links not yet discovered and to propound a working hypothesis suggesting how facts which cannot be connected by known facts might have been inter-connected. I must admit that rather than hold up the work, I have preferred to resort to this means to get over the difficulty created by the missing links which have come in my way.

Critics may use this weakness to condemn the thesis as violating the canons of historical research. If such be the attitude of the critics I must remind them that if there is a law which governs the evaluation of the results of historical results then refusal to accept a thesis on the ground that it is based on direct evidence is bad law.

Instead of concentrating themselves on the issue of direct evidence versus inferential evidence and inferential evidence versus Speculation, what the critics should concern themselves with is to examine:
(i) whether the thesis is based on pure conjecture, and
(ii) whether the thesis is possible and if so does it fit in with facts better than mine does?

On the first issue I could say that the thesis would not be unsound merely because in some parts it is based on guess. My critics should remember that we are dealing with an institution the origin of which is lost in antiquity. The present attempt to explain the origin of Untouchability is not the same as writing history from texts which speak with certainty. It is a case of reconstructing history where the are no texts, and if there are, they have no direct bearing on the question.

In such circumstances what one has to do is to strive to divine what the texts conceal or suggest without being even quit: certain of having found the truth. The task is one of gathering survivals of the past, placing them together and making them tell the story of their birth. The task is analogous to that of the archaeologist who constructs a city from broken stones or of the palaeontologist who conceives an extinct animal from scattered bones and teeth or of a painter who reads the lines of the horizon and the smallest vestiges on the slopes of the hill to make up a scene. In this sense the book Is a work of art even more than of history.

The origin of Untouchability lies buried in a dead past which nobody knows. To make it alive is like an attempt to reclaim to history a city which has been dead since ages past and present it as it was in its original condition. It cannot but be that imagination and hypothesis should pay a large part in such a work. But that in itself cannot be a ground for the condemnation of the thesis. For without trained imagination no scientific inquiry can be fruitful and hypothesis is the very soul of science. As Maxim Gorky has said 2:

“Science and literature have much in common; in both, observation, comparison and study are of fundamental importance; the artist like the scientist, needs both imagination and intuition. Imagination and intuition bridge the gaps in the chain of facts by ts as yet undiscovered links and permit the scientist to create hypothesis and theories which more or less correctly and successfully direct the searching of the mind in its study of the forms and phenomenon of nature. They are of literary creation; the art of creating characters and types demands imagination, intuition, the ability to make things up in one’s own mind”.

Murder of 10 million Indian girl babies:Before or right after birth. The media is silent.

It is therefore unnecessary for me to apologize for having resorted to constructing links where they were missing. Nor can my thesis be said to be vitiated on that account for nowhere is the construction of links based on pute conjecture. The thesis in great part is based on facts and inferences from facts. And where it is not based on facts or inferences from facts, it is based on circumstantial evidence of presumptive character resting on considerable degree of probability.

There is nothing that I have urged in support of my thesis which I have asked my readers to accept on trust. I have at least shown that there exists a preponderance of probability in favour of what I have asserted. It would be nothing but pedantry to say that a pre ponderance of probability is not a sufficient basis for a valid decision.

On the second point with the examination of which, I said, my critics should concern themselves what I would like to say Is that I am not so vain as to claim any finality for my thesis. I do not ask them to accept it as the last word. I do not wish to influence their judgement. They are of course free to come to their own conclusion. All I say to them is to consider whether this thesis is not a workable and therefore, for the time being, a valid hypothesis if the test of a valid hypothesis is that it should fit in with all surrounding facts, explain them and give them a meaning which in its absence they do not appear to have.

I do not want anything more from my critics than a fair and unbiased appraisal.

India Balkanizing? Naxalite insurrection widening cracks in deep cavaties
The 2nd world revolution (after Buddhism) from Nepal: Another threat to India

India’s Controversial New War Doctrine

India’s Controversial New War Doctrine

A City of Los Angeles sewer cover, made in India

Made in India sewer cover
(cc) Fire Monkey/flickr

Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor has attracted much attention with his suggestion at a training command seminar that India is preparing for a ‘two-front’ war with Pakistan and China, Harsh V Pant comments for ISN Security Watch.

By Harsh V Pant for ISN Security Watch

General Kapoor underlined that this was being done as part of the larger process whereby the Indian army was revising its old war-fighting doctrine and bringing it in sync with the emerging strategic scenario so as to be able to successfully firm up its ‘Cold Start’ strategy.

After strengthening its offensive capabilities vis-à-vis Pakistan by creating a new southwestern army command in 2005, India is now concentrating on countering China effectively in the eastern sector. The Indian army chief said that there was now “a proportionate focus towards the western and northeastern fronts.”

Pakistan reacted predictably by describing India’s move as reflecting a “hegemonistic and jingoistic mindset” as well as accusing India of “betraying hostile intent,” and urged the international community to take due notice of developments in India. Pakistani officials emphasized that their nation’s “capability and determination to foil any nefarious designs against the security of Pakistan” should not be underestimated. Pakistan’s reaction was expected, as the security establishment views this as an opportunity to once again press upon the Americans the need to keep Pakistani forces intact on the India-Pakistan border rather than fighting the Taliban forces on the border with Afghanistan.

China’s response, on the other hand, was more measured, and it chose not to address the issue directly. The controversy arose at a time when the two states were beginning a new phase in their defense ties by initiating a dialogue at the level of defense secretaries. But Chinese analysts have expressed concerns in recent years about India’s growing military ambitions and a purported shift in Indian defense strategy from a passive to an “active and aggressive” nature.

It was the Kargil conflict of 1999 that exposed Indian vulnerabilities as Pakistan realized that India did not have the capability to impose quick and effective retribution. The then-Indian army chief had famously commented that the forces would fight with whatever they had, underlining the frustration in the armed forces regarding their inability to procure the arms they needed. Only because the conflict remained largely confined to the 150-kilometer front of the Kargil sector did India manage to gain an upper hand by throwing the Pakistanis out of its side of the Line of Control (LoC). Then came the standoff between the Indian and Pakistani armies across the LoC after the Indian Parliament was attacked in 2001, and again India lacked the ability to impose any significant cost on Pakistan quickly and decisively because of the unavailability of suitable weaponry and night vision equipment needed to carry out swift surgical strikes.

The nuclear aspect is important because it is part of the reason that elements within the Pakistani security establishment have become more adventurous. Realizing that India would be reluctant to escalate the conflict because of the threat of it reaching the nuclear level, sections of the Pakistani military and intelligence have pushed the envelope on the sub-conventional front.

For India, this presents a structural conundrum: Nuclear weapons have made a major conventional conflict with Pakistan unrealistic, yet it needs to find a way to launch limited military action against Pakistan without crossing the nuclear threshold. Nuclear weapons have allowed Pakistan to shield itself from full-scale Indian retaliation as well as to attract international attention on the disputes in the sub-continent.

After Operation Parakram of 2001-02, the Indian army did try to evolve a new doctrine. This ‘Cold Start’ doctrine is basically an attempt to acquire the ability to fight limited wars under the nuclear umbrella. To resolve the dilemma confronting India post-1998, Indian strategists have focused on a military doctrine that might give them the ability to launch quick, decisive limited strikes against Pakistan to seize some territory before the international community could intervene, which can then be used as a post-conflict bargaining chip.

This doctrine is still evolving and its is not clear how effective it would be in making sure that the conflict remains limited as Pakistan might be forced to bring down its nuclear threshold to respond to this challenge. Moreover, the Indian army has found little support for this doctrine from the other two services, and the civilian government has shown no interest in this venture.

As a consequence, the ‘Cold Start’ doctrine has continued to be in the limelight as India’s national security establishment has searched for policy options vis-à-vis Pakistan. Yet this doctrine remains a work in progress. Execution of this doctrine would need the right kind of equipment, something India will have to acquire on a priority basis.

The army will need to upgrade its capabilities significantly if it is to implement this approach. And to do this it will have to surmount a number of entrenched problems in the defense procurement system.

The 1999 and 2001 crises forced the government to react by boosting defense expenditures, but political compulsions re-asserted themselves soon after. When the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government came to power in 2004, it ordered investigations into several of the arms acquisition deals of the previous government. A series of defense procurement scandals since the late 1980s have made the bureaucracy risk-averse, thereby delaying the acquisition process. The labyrinthine bureaucratic processes involved in military procurement have left the defense forces unable to spend a large proportion of their budgets.

While Pakistan has rapidly acquired US technology over the last several years through involvement in the war on terror and China’s military modernization has gathered momentum, the modernization of the Indian army has slipped behind by as much as a decade.

The Indian army chief stated the obvious recently when he talked of India preparing for a “two-front” war. It is the job of the Indian armed forces to prepare for such wars given the security threats that India faces from its neighbors, just as the Pakistani and Chinese military take into account the possibility of a future conflict with India. But it must be kept in perspective that unlike in Pakistan and China, strategic policymaking in India is the sole preserve of the political leadership and Indian policymakers are yet to sign on to this much talked about new doctrine.

Harsh Pant is a lecturer at King’s College London. His research interests include WMD proliferation, US foreign policy and Asia-Pacific security issues. He is also presently a Visiting Fellow at CASI, University of Pennsylvania.

Hard-Assed Brit General Insists That Acquiring the Upper Hand Must Precede Negotiations

Allies need upper hand for Taliban talks: British army chief

LONDON: International forces should only negotiate with the Taliban from a position of strength, and the terms of any deal should include a requirement that the group cut ties with Al Qaeda, Britain’s army chief said on Monday. “I think while this (negotiations) is always something we must entertain, it has to be done from a position of relative strength and the knowledge on their part that they could just lose. So it’s a matter of timing, not the principle,” General Sir David Richards said. He said the Inter-Services Intelligence ought to be involved in the contacts as part of a “team effort” but should not have sole control over the process.

CIA Hosts Drink and Dance Party For Pakistani Journalists at US Embassy Islamabad

CIA Public Relations at work? Do you expect this “Pakistani media” would tell you the truth and serves the interests of Islam and Pakistan? If you still believe that then may Allah help you and show you the righteous path before its too late for all of us.

Shaukat Paracha, Asma Shirazi, Meher Bukhari, Saima Mohsin are some of the names that were in attendance, in a Drink & Dance party hosted by the US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson.

More photos from the event below:

Terrorism: How CIA Incapacitates Pakistan

An Open Letter To The Pakistani Media – How Far Will You Go?

Dr. Mahru Khalid

As I sit in my room writing this, I can hear Indian music playing on the television outside. I know that it is a Pakistani channel,and I can hear snatches of people singing praises of how wonderful Indian music and artists are. It has been going on for the last2 hours and may as well go on for another 2. This is what I have come to expect from my country’s media.

I refuse to go outside and watch that. Because, you see, I’m more intrigued by a news channel telling us how truckloads of Indian ammunition are being discovered by the Pak army in South Waziristan, by someone revealing how the Takfiri TTP are being financed by Indo-American (and other foreign) forces, and how names like Blackwater, Xe, DynaCorp., are raising their ugly heads andinfiltrating into the Pakistani society. Rather than watching Indian movies, I’m more entertained when I go on the internet and readstories of how Mumbai investigator Mr. Hemant Karkare was silenced forever because he could have spilled the beans that Mumbai was an inside job, how the militants who carried out that attack had stayed at a guest house called Nariman House for several days before the attack, and where they were provided food, ammunition, and arms in full knowledge of the Mumbai police, how the 40,000 strong Mumbai police was deliberately kept away from the scene of the shooting, as the terrorists went about their merry way killing people. All this from the pen of a respected Indian writer, Mr. Amaresh Mishra, for me, beats the most smoothly done Indian movieanyday!


I haven’t forgotten 26/11, and its aftermath, when your Indian counterparts didn’t bother to think rationally for a second, and pointed the finger squarely at us, how they threatened people like Adnan Sami Khan to leave or suffer the consequences, how Pakistani contestants were ejected from TV shows. I haven’t forgotten how united the Indian media and people were in their hate, or how vocal the media was with its hate-filled remarks, which were sometimes shocking in their intensity, and all on the basis of mere suspicion.  And then, with much regret, I haven’t forgotten the insensitive way you responded to this outburst. Some of you even went as faras to claim that Ajmal Qasab is indeed a Pakistani citizen from Faridkot, a claim that has now been refuted by Qasab himself.

Fake Evidence: Faridkot Residents Protest!

Video: Geo Tv Report on Ajmal Kassab – The Reality

PSYCHOLOGICAL OPERATIONS: Close Down GEO TV and Everything Will be Fine

And now, a year later, I see my own country bleeding like it has never bled before. I remember the horror of Marriott, the shock of Lahore’s attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, the valour of the Shaheeds of Swat and Waziristan. This nation will never forget the innocent Shaheeds of GHQ, Peshawar, Parade Lane, Moon Market, and so many other places. Our innocent brothers, sisters, sons, daughters were this nation’s wealth, they were a part of its future, and a legacy of its past. We have lost some of our gems, but we will never lose the will to avenge each and every drop of innocent blood.

Now I ask you, Pakistani media, do you not see who is behind all this? Don’t the daily deaths mean anything to you? Do you not seethe huge gaping wound? I want to ask you, how far will you go in this Indian admiration of yours? I see morning shows competing with each other in getting the biggest Indian star on the show. I change the channel and I see a senseless but box-office rich Indian movie being shown. I go further and I see barely clad women dancing in a spot advertising the latest Indian awards. Can you not see anything beyond the mindlessness of Indian entertainment?

Can you see that they are out to destroy us from within, to eat our society up like termites eat wood? I can almost imagine them wringing their hands with contentment at our political and moral degradation, at how they maneuvered things until we were deprived of hosting any cricketing event on our soil. Why don’t you admire the smooth precision with which they accomplished these ugly goals?

Your silence is deafening, your silence on this geo-political war being waged on Pakistan, your silence when Ajmal Qasab said he’s just an Indian being directed in the greatest Indian drama ever played, your silence on the menacing involvement of Indian intelligence agencies in supporting terrorism in Pakistan. Your silence is truly deafening. Instead, you seem smitten by the very forces who want to see Pakistan on its knees.

Will you still go on dancing to their tunes? Will you still go on leading the people of this nation further into fools’ paradise? I just wonder, how far will you go?

‘Ready for talks with reconcilable Taliban’

‘Ready for talks with reconcilable Taliban’

* Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey vow to tackle terrorism in all its
forms, enhance indigenous capacities to that effect

ISTANBUL: The government is willing to talk to those Taliban who are ready to give up their way of life and are reconcilable, President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday

Addressing a joint press conference with presidents Abdullah Gul of Turkey and Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the conclusion of the fourth Trilateral Summit, President Zardari said, “Dialogue, development and deterrence were the three pillars of Pakistan’s 3-D policy.”

Answering the question as to whether the Pakistan government would enter into dialogue with any group, the president said, “We cannot distance ourselves from dialogue and talk about only war.”

He said, “If there are people who want to give up their way of life and are reconcilable, the government will talk to them.”

To another question, President Zardari said the Swat operation was an entirely indigenous operation carried out by the Pakistan Army, with no foreign soldiers or firepower involved.

Declaration: In a joint declaration after the parleys, the three countries reiterated their determination to tackle terrorism in all its forms and the importance of enhancing indigenous capacities to that effect.

Zardari was confident that the Trilateral Summit would yield desired results in enhancing cooperation among the three countries and to facilitate the restoration of peace and stability in Afghanistan. “The efforts of Turkish leaders to use their good offices to bring together Pakistan and Afghanistan to find a solution of their problems was commendable,” he said.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his government would be willing to enter into talks with those Taliban who are ready to lay down their weapons.

He said his government might also request the UN Security Council to remove such groups from the list of those identified for sanctions.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday’s Regional Summit involving Afghanistan and its six immediate neighbours was not a prelude to the forthcoming London conference on Afghanistan. “The two events are not related to each other but the organisers of the London moot could benefit from the discussions here”, he said.He said the Trilateral Summit would continue making tangible progress towards strengthening ties among the three countries and to broker a durable Pak-Afghan peace and harmony.

Pakistan intelligence offers key to Taliban

Pakistan intelligence offers key to Taliban

By Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad

Published: January 26 2010 02:00 | Last updated: January 26 2010 02:00

Pakistan’s security establishment, which wields influence over the Afghan Taliban, says it is ready to facilitate talks to end the Afghanistan conflict in return for greater US backing in its competition with India for regional influence.

A former Pakistani intelligence officer familiar with the Taliban said: “If the world wants our very active involvement in not just bringing the Taliban to the table but keeping them at the table, our security challenges have to be acknowledged.”

General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, has said political contacts between the Kabul government and the Taliban might be the best way to end the conflict.

While most analysts say the prospect of high-level talks between Kabul and the Taliban is remote, his comments reflect a view gaining currency among US policymakers that some form of power-sharing might be the most viable exit strategy for the US. Robert Gates, US defence secretary, has said the Taliban is part of Afghanistan’s “political fabric.”

A federal minister in Islamabad echoed Pakistan’s fears that a fresh influx of 30,000 US troops might drive more Taliban fighters into Pakistan.

“We know they are not a popular force,” he said. “The Afghans will probably never give them a majority in parliament. But with Pakistan’s help and only with Pakistan’s help, the return of the Taliban to the political high table will be a far more stabilising development for Afghanistan than . . . [a US] surge.”

Renewed discussion of the possibility of a negotiated settlement presents an opportunity for Pakistan’s intelligence services, which were instrumental in the creation of the Afghan Taliban in the mid-1990s, to reassert their potential for US foreign policy objectives in the region.

Elements in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency are regarded as the gatekeepers to the Taliban leadership, believed to be based in Pakistan.

Pakistan has had an amb-iguous relationship with the US since 2001, allowing Nato supplies across its territory and extending tacit endorsement to strikes by US drones on its territory. But the military has resis-ted US pressure to broaden an offensive against its own militant groups to include Afghan insurgent groups based in Pakistan havens.

Pakistani security officials see the US tendency towards favouring negotiations as a way to leverage their country’s ties to the Taliban to wring greater concessions from Washington. Those would concern a range of policy issues, most notably its rivalry with India over Kashmir and for influence in Afghanistan.

Malik to be tried for contempt of court

Malik to be tried for contempt of court

SC says minister interfered in judicial issue; no written apology filed; summons AG on Feb 18; Malik says he had no intention of committing contempt

By Sohail Khan

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday ruled for initiating contempt of court proceedings against Interior Minister Rehman Malik for intervention in the court proceedings regarding a probe into Rs22 billion alleged corruption in state-owned Steel Mills.

A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, was hearing a suo moto case against Rs22 billion alleged corruption in the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM).

The apex court had issued a show- cause notice to the interior minister for transferring FIA Director General Tariq Khosa, terming it an act of interference in the court affairs, as he was investigating the loss of Rs22 billion in the state-owned Steel mills.

On Monday, in compliance with the court order, Interior Minister Rehman Malik submitted a written reply before the court. The court, however, expressed its dissatisfaction at his (interior minister’s) written reply to the contempt of court notice issued in the Pakistan Steel corruption case and declined to accept it.

The court, however, directed the attorney general to appear before it on February 18.The court ruled that no apology has been made in the written reply, submitted by Rehman Malik, thus giving adequate grounds to the court to initiate contempt of court proceedings against him.

“This is not the way for submission, you have not shown any regret,” the chief justice observed. He said by submitting an explanatory note you (minister Malik) wanted to contest the case as you have not shown any ‘repentance’ in your written reply.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik submitted that he might have made a mistake but had not done so deliberately. He explained that he had no intention of committing any contempt of court.

The chief justice, however, said that contempt of court proceedings would be initiated against him (Malik) after the attorney general appears before the court on February 18.

During the course of proceedings, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that the judiciary never interfered in administrative or legislative matters; however, the minister interfered in judicial issues, which will not be allowed.The chief justice while addressing Rehman Malik said you have no idea how much the Steel Mills corruption case suffered because of you. Malik informed the apex court that the FIA is not eligible to audit Steel Mills’ accounts; therefore, we are hiring a foreign firm.

On this, the chief justice said conducting audit of Steel Mills is not within the authority of the interior minister. The court adjourned the hearing till February 18 after Rehman Malik pleaded for engaging a lawyer.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) presented a fresh report of investigation about corruption in the Pakistan Steel Mills, stating that the main suspect of the case, former chairman PSM Moeen Aftab, was in the custody whereas four more suspects are on bail; however, nine suspects are still at large.

The Supreme Court had taken suo moto notice on an article, published in the media regarding the corruption of Rs22 billion in the Pakistan Steel Mills.

It was said in the article that the government still does not know the exact losses, as there are varied figures. It’s the PSM management, which estimated the losses at Rs22 billion. However, the estimate given in the special report of the auditor-general gives a lower figure of Rs09 billion.

Pakistan Steel’s provisional financial documents for the period ended June 30, 2009, show that the Corporation faced a historical loss of Rs22.143 billion during the July-June of fiscal year 2008-2009 as compared to a Rs2.375 billion profit in fiscal year 2007-08. The current liabilities of the corporation mounted to Rs28.129 billion in 2009, which stood at Rs8.24 billion in fiscal year 2008.