Pakistan snubbed over SRK “security concerns”
Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan has again landed himself in a controversy by airing his views on being a Muslim in India.
His controversial statement was promptly picked up by Pakistan with a senior minister asking India to provide “sufficient protection to Khan whose religion has never come in the way of his popularity. That he chose to come with an opinion in a signed article in a news magazine has pained the film fraternity and his fans.
New Delhi was not amused by Pakistan bid to meddle in the matter. The Indian government as well as the political class on Tuesday slammed Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik's unsolicited statement asking India to provide security to Shahrukh Khan, stating that India was fully capable of looking after the security of its citizens.
"We are quite capable of taking care of the security of our citizens....Pakistan need not worry about it," Union Home Secretary R K Singh told reporters in New Delhi.
Malik had, while interacting with reporters at a reception hosted by the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal in Islamabad, said: "He (Shah Rukh Khan) is born Indian and he would like to remain Indian, but I will request the government of India (to) please provide him security". Malik was reacting to a first-person account by the actor in an Indian magazine focusing on his experiences as a Muslim in the post 9/11 world.
In an interview, the actor had reportedly mentioned that he has sometimes become the inadvertent object of political leaders who choose to make him a symbol of all that they think is wrong and unpatriotic about Muslims in India.
Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said Malik would rather worry about the security of its own citizens, considering the fragile state of Pakistan's internal security. "We all know what is going on in Pakistan. Pakistan has no right to say anything about any Indian. Even when Pakistan artistes come here, we provide them security. Muslims are safest in India," said Alvi.
Rebuffing Malik for his remark, the BJP said Pakistan must stay away from meddling in India's internal affairs. Party spokesperson Shahnawaz Khan said India should send a stern message to Islamabad on the issue. BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said Pakistan should worry about the security of its own minorities. "We are a secular country," he said, in a snub to the Pakistani motor-mouth minister.
Incidentally, on Sunday, Jamaat-ud Dawa chief and 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed had also asked Khan to move to Pakistan if he did not feel safe in India.
Cross-LoC trade resumes between India, Pakistan
Trade across the Line of Control (LoC) that divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan resumed on Tuesday after being suspended due to tension over the January 8 killing of two Indian soldiers. Six Pakistani trucks entered the Indian side.
An official handling the cross-LoC trade at Chakan-da-Bagh in Poonch district said that Indian trucks could not go to the Pakistani side due to late security clearance.
"The trucks can cross LoC between 10am and noon, but trucks from India got delayed during security clearance. They are lined up at trade and facilitation centre at Chakan-da-Bagh and will go to the Pakistani side tomorrow," he said.
Pawan Anand, president of cross-LoC traders association in Poonch, said: "Onions and dry dates have come from Pakistan today while six Indian trucks, carrying tomatoes and bananas, could not cross the LoC due to delay in security check." These Indian trucks, along with some more carrying embroidery items, will go to Pakistan Wednesday, he said.
"It is a great feeling to see the cross-LoC trade resume on Chakan-da-Bagh-Rawalakot route as this is not simply trade but it carries sentiments of people of this area," he said.
Trade takes place from Tuesday to Friday every week. Goods worth Rs.2 crore are traded every day with about 25 trucks crossing over. The trade was halted Jan 10 when Indian officials said Pakistan did not open gates for the trucks at Chakan-da-Bagh.
India-Pakistan relations took a hit after New Delhi accused Pakistani troops of brutally killing two Indian soldiers along the LoC Jan 8 and beheading one of them. Pakistan accused Indian troops of killing two Pakistani soldiers on two separate days. In retaliation to the beheading and the mutilation of the other soldier, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh declared that there could be no business as usual with Pakistan.
- Asian Tribune -