HC Deb 26 February 1908 vol 184 cc1777-8
MR. ELLIS (Nottinghamshire, Rushcliffe)

asked the Speaker whether, as a matter of urgent public importance, he might ask the Secretary for India a Question standing on the Order Paper which had not yet been reached—namely, Whether the punitive expedition against the Zakka Khels was to be followed by any further steps leading to permanent occupation of the country of that tribe.


having intimated that the Question might be put,


said: The Answer is in the negative; the Government of India have been instructed to take no steps leading in any way towards permanent occupation of the country, and orders have been issued in this sense to the general in command of the expedition. His Majesty's Government intend no departure from the principles of frontier policy laid down by the Secretary of State ten years ago, the purport of those principles being that there is to be no extension of our responsibilities in tribal territory; and no interference with the tribes whenever it can possibly be avoided. These prin- ciples were again affirmed by another Secretary of State in 1904, and they have been uniformly pursued by successive Governments ever since 1898. For reasons which it would be against the public interest to set out to-day, the general arguments against any reversal of this policy are particularly strong in the present case. The object of the expedition against the Zakkas is limited to punishment for a long series of lawless outrages against the life and property of peaceful dwellers in British territory whom we are bound to protect.