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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2760

The need of the hour is to strengthen the hands of President Rajapakse to fight terrorism – A. L. M. Athaullah

Colombo, 23 September, (Asiantribune.com): A. L. M. Athaullah, leader of the National Congress and Minister of Water Supply and Drainage, told the Asian Tribune that his party realized the need to strengthen the hands of President Mahinda Rajapakse at this critical hour in the fight against terrorism and was glad to nominate Basil Rajapakse, the President’s brother, from their national list to Parliament. "Basil Rajapakse is today nominated as a parliamentarian of the National Congress,” said A.L.M.  Athaullah when Asian Tribune contacted him.  “We are very happy to be associated with the nomination of Basil Rajapakse as a Member of Parliament. "Basil Rajapakse is today nominated as a parliamentarian of the National Congress,” said A.L.M. Athaullah when Asian Tribune contacted him. “We are very happy to be associated with the nomination of Basil Rajapakse as a Member of Parliament.

The vacancy in the national list was caused by the death of Anwar Ismail , former state minister for Irrigation and one of the leaders of the National Congress. Basil Rajapakse is today nominated as a parliamentarian of the National Congress,” said Athaullah when Asian Tribune contacted him.

When asked whether his party “willingly gave the national list MP position to Basil Rajapakse’, he pointed out that the question of giving the national list MP-ship belongs to the National Congress does not arise. He added: “We willingly contributed to the appointment of Basil Rajapakse as a national list Member of Parliament. We are happy to have him today as the national list Member of Parliament of National Congress, at this crucial hour to strengthen the hands of President Mahinsa Rajapakse.”

Minister Athaullah said, “During the last Parliamentary general elections held in April 2004, we made specific arrangements with the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga and National Congress became entitled to the National List member of Parliament. Accordingly, we nominated our colleague and party member Anwar Ismail. When President Rajapakse took over the office of the Presidency, Anwar Ismail was given the portfolio of State Minister for Irrigation.

“Anwar Ismail passed away on 16 September, in fact after 12.30 mid night of 15the September, in the small hours of 16 September, the first day of the Holy Month of Ramdan, (Let peace be with him).

“After his demise, as usual under my leadership we had discussions with our members and well-wishers about filling the vacancy caused by the demise of Anwar Ismail. While we were discussing the issue of selecting a person on behalf of the National Congress to be nominated as national list MP, the name of Basil Rajapakse cropped up and brought to our notice.

“It was pointed out to us the importance, urgency and the need for strengthening the hands of President Rajapakse in his fight against terrorism, to make the people of this country lead a peaceful live, and to liberate the people from the horror of fast growing terrorist menace in this country.

“We agreed that it was very important to strengthen the hands of the President inside and outside the parliament to stamp out the growing terrorists menace.

“We also had a discussion with President Mahinda Rajapakse and we found that President was of the view that some one close to him is needed to fight terrorism in the country on the one hand and on the other to be involved in the national building activities. We agreed with the views of President that Basil Rajapakse’s nomination as a Member of Parliament was the urgent need of the hour.

“We agreed that it was very important to strengthen the hands of the President inside and outside the parliament to stamp out the growing terrorists menace.

Therefore we decided to contribute towards the nomination of Basil Rajapakse as a national list MP of the National Congress.”

Minister Athaullah told Asian Tribune that his National Congress does not belong to Muslims alone. He said it is a political party in which anyone irrespective of religion or ethnicity can become members.

"Basil Rajapakse is today nominated as a parliamentarian of the National Congress,” said Athaullah when Asian Tribune contacted him. “We are very happy to be associated with the nomination of Basil Rajapakse as a Member of Parliament.

Minister Athaullah said that Basil Rajapakse’s nomination as a national list Member of Parliament would contribute in a big way to the development of the Eastern province. He said at present Basil Rajapakse as the Senior Advisor to the President is involved with the East development works in the President’s office.

He added that this nomination would to a large extent contribute in the development of the North as well and also in the efforts of the government to stamp out terrorism in the North.

Minister Athaula also pointed out that many people continue to talk on the subject of merging or demerging the north and the east. It must be remembered that this is a subject which has to be decided by the Tamils and Muslims of the East, because the existing relationship between the Tamils and Muslims in the east is similar to that of a mother and child, so well knit, understanding and cordial. There are many evidences available for their close and cordial relationship.

Unfortunately, in 1987 the North-East merger took place without any consultation with the people of the east. For nearly 18 years Tamils and Muslims in the East remained patiently thinking that that merger would bring good to the people in the East.

But after the Norway mediated Ceasefire Agreement came into force, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam was involved in the ruthless harassments and letting loose the genocidal culture in the East. Their arrogant stance, autocratic approach, adamantly rejecting to come forward to talk with the Muslims is factors which thwarted the very hope of being remained merged with the North.

In the 18 years of the existence North-East Provincial Council the administration of the Provincial Council was giving out step-motherly treatment to those in the East in general and in the case of Muslims in particular.

Due to the regional partiality shown by the Northeast Provincial Council administration in the subjects of appointments, developments, funds allocations, administrations, posting of administrative level officials, Muslims were not left with any other options other than to urge for the demerger of the East.

It was alleged that all most all the funds allotted for the development works for the two provinces ended up in the coffers of the LTTE.

Even the very sober minded peace loving Tamils in the East too were of the same opinion that east has to be separated from the north. They were unable to openly express their desire, as they were afraid of retaliation by the Tamil Tigers.

Today the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court of this country, East has been demerged from the North.

The East remaining demerged is the right atmosphere for the devolution of powers, for peace talks, to have a cordial relationship amongst the ethnic groups in the East.

It should be pointed out that North and East cannot be merged against the aspirations of the Muslims, Sinhalese and Tamils of the East.

To remain demerged doesn’t mean that East should remain severed permanently from the North. This is only the foundation to bring about peace, tranquility and devolution.

In this present scenario, those who are interested in the merger of North and East would hereafter consider talking and negotiate to bring about a political consensus to bring about a merger.

- Asian Tribune -

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