Friday, March 8, 2013


There is a heated debate raging in India, a country that believes in the motto `Atithi Devo Bhav' (Guest is like God). The debate sparked off in Rajasthan, a state that enjoys a rich tradition of hospitality and swears by its tourism motto `Padharo Mhare Desh' (Welcome to my country).

Today, in this country, there are voices that say, Pakistan's Prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is unwelcome, even though he is on a personal visit and that too on a pilgrimage.

The chief Diwan of the Dargarh Ajmer Sharif issued a statement Friday afternoon saying he will not receive the Pak PM as a mark of protest against the beheading of an Indian soldier at the Line of Control. He struck a chord in the hearts and minds of several citizens across the nation.

India is still recovering from the recent twin blasts in Hyderabad. Even though the government isnt officially admitting it, sources say they suspect Pakistan based Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar e Taiba are responsible for the terror attack that killed 17 people.

The prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh thankfully did not roll out the red carpet and invite Raja Pervez Ashraf to New Delhi, but external affairs minister Salman Khurshid decided to host a lunch for the Pak PM and his retinue at the RamBagh Palace in Jaipur. No senior government officer or minister is to accompany the Pak PM to Ajmer. This is a subtle signal to Pakistan that it is not business as usual till India's core concerns of terror are addressed.

But the sledgehammer blow was delivered by the chief diwan of Dargah Ajmer Sharif. Though his role in the Ziyarat, apparently is limited to welcoming the guests and escorting them to the gates of the shrine from where Khadims take over, he said he will not welcome the Pak PM. His views were echoed by the parents and relatives of soldiers killed in combat with Pakistan and those beheaded by Pak army regulars.

``Pakistan PM's hands are soaked in blood of innocent Indians,'' the chief Diwan told me on Headlines Today. As the news spread like wildfire, lawyers in Ajmer decided to show blackflags to the Pak PM. By late evening, the Dargah market decided to down its shutters as a mark of protest.

The external affairs minister Salman Khurshid tried to downplay the incident, saying he will not react to personal views of any individual and that Pak PM comes with a message of peace. Is the minister out of sync with the thinking of the nation? Why roll out the red carpet for Pakistan? Their hands are soaked in blood of innocent Indians.

the writing clearly is on the wall. The nation does not want to be friends with Pakistan, as long as the jihad factories continue to flourish and enjoy state patronage across the line of control.

Pakistan needs to mend its ways. Today the prime minister is unwelcome, tomorrow it could be worse..

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