Shivraj Patil must step down or be sacked
The Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil speaking in his home town Latur, Maharashtra, told reporters that if political parties are demanding the hanging of Afzal Guru for his conviction in the December 13, 2001 Parliament attack case, then India would lose the right to ask Pakistan to pardon Sarabjit Singh. \"People are saying that don\'t hang an Indian in Pakistan, Sarabjit and then are demanding hanging of a Pakistani, Afzal Guru;this is not fair\" said Patil. Here is why Patil is dead wrong. Afzal Guru is not a Pakistani. That the Union Home Minister is not even aware of the basic facts of the case is inexcusable. Afzal Guru is a known terrorist and the factual evidence against him for aiding and abetting terrorism is incontrovertible Afzal Guru\'s convinction and death sentence have been upheld by the highest court in India and not some dubious Court in Pakistan where Judges are held in House Arrest at the whims and fancies of the Government of the Day. The Supreme Court while upholding the Afzal Death Sentence made it abundantly clear in its reasoning why the December 13th attack on Parliament was an act of war on the Indian State and why it merited the rarest of rare punishments provided for by the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court also made it abundantly clear that the clemency powers vested in the President on the advise of the Cabinet are not beyond judicial review. The case agains Sarabjit Singh is immaterial to the Afzal execution for it does not reduce the magnitude of the crime committed by Afzal nor does it change any of the material facts in his case to be considered as grounds for Clemency. By tying the Judicial Process in India to events in Pakistan, Shri Shivraj Patil is treading dangerous territory here which should be grounds for contempt of court and even treason. Bottomline: Union Minister Shivraj Patil has reminded us (once again) that he lacks the intellectual clarity and the moral certitude expected of the high office he holds. Sarabjit Singh\'s hanging is immaterial to the Afzal Guru Death sentence. By attempting to draw a moral equivalence between the two, Mr Patil has equated the Judicial Process in India with the subverted one in Pakistan. This should be grounds enough to hold Shivraj Patil in contempt of court and sack him from the Union Cabinet.