‘Manmohan must realise people rising up against graft’


Islamabad : Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has to realise that many in his country are beginning to peacefully rise against corruption, said a leading Pakistani daily, adding that the “time may have come for the same sort of dissent in Pakistan”.

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An editorial appeared in the Dawn Thursday, a day when the government had to bow to Gandhian activist Anna Hazare’s demand that he be allowed to sit on hunger strike in the Indian capital to press for a strong anti-corruption law.

Anna Hazare was arrested Tuesday and taken to Tihar Jail. Authorities decided to release him, but the Gandhian refused and insisted that he would leave the prison only after his demand was acceded to.

The editorial said: “Anna Hazare has added a dynamic new twist to the corruption allegations plaguing the government in New Delhi.”

It said Anna Hazare’s fast was aimed at highlighting “the perceived impropriety in the government’s handling of matters where millions can be made and pocketed if ethical values are not followed by the book”.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Aug 15 indicated that corruption was indeed a problem in India and that it needed to be tackled.

“The question now is: will concrete action be taken in a country that touts itself as a modern, secular democracy? Will the recent episodes, which started with the award of telecommunication contracts, be `red-washed` in bureaucratic tape? Do key figures in the Indian administration have too much to lose if the truth comes out in its entirety?

“We will have to wait and see.”

Manmohan Singh told the Indian parliament Wednesday that Hazare`s actions were a threat to parliamentary democracy and decried the path of opposition chosen by the veteran Gandhian.

But, the Indian prime minister “has to realise that many people in his country are beginning to rise up, in peaceful protest, against graft”.

It went on to say that parallels can be drawn here between India and Pakistan.

“Pakistan is perceived as corrupt not just by the public mindset but also in the findings of international watchdogs that keep track of such matters.”

The editorial said that “the time may have come for the same sort of dissent in Pakistan”.

“…other voices too must be raised if we are serious about salvaging society.”