I introduced my Private Member’s Bill- “The Declaration of Countries as Sponsor of Terrorism Bill, 2016” during the winter session on 18 November 2016 which came up for discussion on 3rd March 2017
For me, the #UriAttack on 18 September 2016, in which 19 of our Braveheart soldiers laid down their lives marked a turning point – and I publicly promised that I would take on the responsibility of calling Pakistan for what it is and has been for several years – A sponsor of terrorism. There is no justification in the world that allows a nation or group to perpetrate violent crime against innocent people
This Bill is important to me. While many have told me that this is like any other Private Member’s Bill that will not see the light of the day, I believe Bills like this have a purpose, they start a discussion and a conversation within and outside Parliament that will perhaps not end. It will start a conversation on what should be our relation with Pakistan, given that there is incontrovertible evidence that they support terrorism.
For years we have suffered from terrorism associated, promoted, patronized and sponsored by Pakistan. We have looked at other countries to recognize and declare Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism but done little much ourselves. This Bill is to finally put into motion the process of calling Pakistan to account.
The surgical strike conducted by India post the Uri attack was the first decisive step in years by the Government to convey to Pakistan that it's not business as usual. Now there must be no more half measures in protecting India and its people.
The Bill is to declare any country, this is the format that will help India, and the Parliament and the Government to declare any Government, any state that sponsors terrorism against India. Whilst we recognise Pakistan as our principle aider and abettor of terrorism, this Bill can apply in future to other countries also that directly or indirectly aid terror attacks against India.
This Bill, in Section 2(b), defines what a state sponsor of terrorism is. It is any country which, through its instrumentalities or retired officials or through deliberate negligence, provides support to terrorist acts directly or indirectly. This Bill defines terrorist act. It defines in 2(b) the state sponsor of terrorism and in 2(c) it defines terrorist act.
As one of the principal victims of terrorism for many, many decades, we can set the basis of defining what a terror act is even while the United Nations still struggles to define terrorism. It is one of the ironies of the contemporary age that the United Nations even today struggles for declaring Hafiz Saeed a terrorist because they are quibbling about the definition of terrorist act. So, this Act defines under 2(c) what a terrorist act is. Through the following clauses, it lays out in very clear form what the economic and other consequences are that would be applicable to a state sponsor of terrorism that aids, abets, directly or indirectly, the terrorist act.
The winds of change are blowing in the world against terrorism and terror sponsors. This was obvious in the universal condemnation of Pakistan during the Uri terror attacks. I believe, it is time we redefine what national interest means – because we are seeing, the rest of the world is doing so to protect their own Nations and their own people.