NEW DELHI: In a pioneering move aimed against Pakistan, Independent MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Friday moved a Private Member’s Bill in the Rajya Sabha to declare any such country as state sponsor of terrorism and withdraw economic and trade relations with such country.
The Declaration of Countries as Sponsor of Countries as Sponsor of Terrorism Bill, 2016 also seeks to create a legal, economic and travel sanctions for citizens of that country.
Terming India as the “principal victim” of terrorism due to decades-long sponsorship of the menace by Pakistan, Chandrasekhar in his introductory speech in the House said India should take the lead in bringing such countries to account.
"This Bill is to finally put into motion the process of calling terror sponsors like Pakistan to account," Chandrasekhar said.
He said, "For decades, India and other countries in the region have been victims of terror attacks from organisations and individuals based in and with the support of elements in Pakistan. Yet for decades we have remained engaged with Pakistan in an attempt to draw it into the mainstream.”
Pakistan's history and track record of fostering terrorism and terrorists is long and indeed “distinguishable and incontrovertible", he said, adding, "It is time that we stop running to other countries to declare Pakistan a terror state and stood up and did this job ourselves."
He also asserted that specific clauses in the Bill are there that define “state terrorism” and “terrorist acts” even as the United Nations is struggling to define these terms and declare known terrorist like Masood Azhar as a terrorist.
Underscoring that the world is getting “tired and has lost patience with rogue nations”, he said as the global opinion consolidates around the conduct of some countries like Pakistan, the focus will naturally come on what India and the Indian Parliament's approach to such threats.
He also quoted data of parameters of terrorist violence from 1998 to January 29, 2017 and said as many as 14,741 civilians have been killed in terror attacks in India during the period, 6,274 security force personnel lost their lives and security forces have liquidated 23,146 terrorists.
He also referred to a series of terror attacks sponsored by Pakistan including the Pathankot airbase attak, Uri and Machhil among others besides the terror attack on Parliament on December 13, 2001 to highlight the urgency of passing his Bill.
Chandrashekhar said the Bill can apply in the future to other countries that directly or indirectly aid terror attacks against India.
Initiating a discussion on the Bill, Congress MP Anana Bhaskar Rapolu said he appreciated the Bill but took a dig at the NDA Government on its decision in allowing Pak investigators to classified locations like the Pathankot airbase and move around with a VVIP treatment.
In an indirect dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rapolu quipped, "Where did that 56 inch chest go?"
The discussions remained inconclusive and will be taken up later after finalisation of the business of the House.