Causing major embarrassment to the UPA government at an international conference of jurists on terrorism organised in the capital, former Union law minister Ram Jethmalani termed the sacrosanct Non-Aligned Movement and Panchsheel Agreements as “evil” in the presence of president Pratibha Patil and Union law minister Veerappa Moily.
Jethmalani, addressing the conference in the capacity of president of All India Senior Advocates Association, minced no words in slamming the NAM and Panchsheel doctrines. As if his outbursts on issues of foreign policy weren’t enough, the senior lawyer went ahead to imply that Islam’s jihadi doctrine rendered “god a brothel keeper.”
The lawyer wondered if the jihadi doctrine, propagating the belief allegedly held by the Wahabi sect that Muslims attaining martyrdom while fighting non-Muslims “get a place in heaven and the company of the opposite sex there,” does not amount to saying that “God is a brothel keeper.”
Jethmalani’s remarks prompted Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to India Faisal-al-Trad to walk out of the conference. The ambassador returned only after a clarification from Moily stating that the government did not share Jethmalani’s views.
“Non-alignment is evil, Panchsheel is evil. You have to align with forces of good to combat the forces of evil...India and its foreign ministers must learn to re-assess the doctrines of the past,” Jethmalani said.
Following his speech, Moily stepped in to clarify the government’s stand, distancing himself from the controversial remarks. “We entirely disagree with the views expressed by him,” Moily said. Jethmalani’s remarks met with severe criticism from visiting dignitaries, with Justice Awn S Al-Khasawneh of the International Court of Justice asking him to desist from such “sweeping statements.”
The former law minister said, “I find that the Prophet is a man of peace. But the decline of Islam started in the 17th century when a person named Wahab propagated hate and violence against all non-Muslims by misinterpreting one shora of the Koran.”