Altaf says he didn’t call for LoC to be made frontier
KARACHI: MQM leader Altaf Hussain met the president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, LK Advani, in New Delhi on Tuesday and assured him that the BJP, which had initiated the peace process with Pakistan, would continue to support it and extend all possible cooperation for its success.
The two met at the home of Mr Advani, India’s deputy prime minister in former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s BJP government, an MQM spokesman said.
Mr Altaf Hussain denied he wants the Line of Control in Kashmir to be turned into a permanent frontier between Pakistan and India. The MQM leader exchanged views on a number of issues, including ways to promote people-to-people contact, the opening of the Khokhrapar-Munabao border route and the resumption of facilities for Indian visas in Karachi.
Mr Advani said the BJP would use its influence, as India’s main opposition party, for the achievements of these objectives.
According to the MQM spokesman, Mr Hussain spent a busy day on the sixth day of his visit to India, giving interviews to the print and electronic media and meeting political, social and literary personalities. He was interviewed by Jyoti Malhotra of Star News, Rishi Sehgal of the Times of India, Phillips Huet of Dutch News, and Kiran Thapar of CNBC. He later attended a dinner in his honour.
In an interview relayed by the Urdu TV channel ETV of the Indian city of Hyderabad, Mr Hussain explained in detail his remarks about Pakistan’s creation, and the Line of Control in Kashmir.
He said in retrospect, Pakistan’s creation appeared to be a mistake to him because the new state shut its doors on the Muslims of India soon after its creation.
But 57 years since the Partition, and whatever happened half a century ago could not be undone. “It is a reality,” he said. Mr Hussain said in people often were wiser than before. He cited the example of the US apologising to Japan for its nuclear attack on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and said that one often realized mistakes after years of experiences.
He then said that instead of living in perpetual hostility, India and Pakistan must not only respect each other’s sovereignty but should also pick up clues from the European Union to build good-neighbourly relations through promotion of trade, travel, business, and commerce facilities between them.
The European states too, after a long history of confrontation, had rejected wars and turned to peaceful co-existence for solving their problems. “Our two countries too should look for cooperation in economic, health, education and many other important sectors,” he said.
“Khokhrapar route should be opened to facilitate reunion among the divided families, a vast majority of which resides in Sindh.
The commissioning of the journey through Sindh-Rajasthan sector would save people’s time, energy and money,” he said. Altaf Hussain said the prediction made by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad about Pakistan falling apart within 25 years of its coming into being had proved accurate.
“If Pakistan was to be product of a two-nation theory then the 140 million Muslims of the Subcontinent at that time should have been allowed to have their own country. That was not done. The two-nation theory fell flat on the face in its infancy,” he said.
The MQM leader dismissed the impression that he had called for the LoC being made a permanent border.
His idea, propounded at the two-day international conference organised by the Hindustan Times, was to call for resumption of a dialogue on an issue hanging fire for 57 years.
“There has to be a basis for discussions to start, and since various other options have been forthcoming, I too had given my views on the subject only to break the ice.”
“I never stated that LoC be made a permanent border. If the LoC has been in existence for decades together, then what was the harm in treating it as border for a few weeks or months? Once the parleys get going, grounds will automatically be covered and many solutions will emerge. That will pave the way for the solution of Kashmir,” he said. He said his Mohajir Quami Movement, which was renamed Muttahida Qaumi Movement in 1997, had been formed to protect the rights of the migrants from India from the discrimination and ill treatment they were allegedly being subjected to.
“Even Urdu was branded a foreign language. Later on, however, when the MQM extended its operation on a countrywide basis, it realised that the feudal system was the basis for the creation of hatred and division among the people of different ethnic groups and regions.”
He said once the feudal system was abolished, there would be no Sindhi, no Mohajir, no Punjabi, no Balochi, and no Pushtoon. “They will be just Pakistanis. Genuine national integration will emerge to solidify the concept of a united nationhood,” he said.
Accompanying Mr Hussain were members of the MQM’s Coordination Committee, Mohammad Anwar and Wasay Jalil, the deputy coordinator of the party’s International Relations Division, Mohammad Younus, MNA Nisar Panhwar and Sindh Assembly member Heer Ismail Soho.