The Government of India has strongly objected to Pakistan’s reaction over the recent incidents of opposition to Pakistani personalities in India. Expressing concerns over the incidents of opposition against its former foreign minister Khurshid Kasuri and singer Ghulam Ali, the Pakistan establishment called for the need to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur. However, India responded back saying that Pakistan need not “lecture” it on pluralism.
“(As if) Pakistan is the embodiment of tolerance, pluralism. India does not need to take a lecture from Pakistan. If India has a shortcoming, it is capable of looking after it,” a top government official told the press.
Late on Monday night, the Pakistan Foreign Office had issued a statement reacting to the incidents of attack on Sudheendra Kulkarni by Shiv Sena activists over the row on Kasuri’s book release and earlier the cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai.
“We have noted with concern the attempts to disrupt functions organised in respect of prominent Pakistani personalities on visit to India,” the Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement last night.
“There is a need to ensure that such incidents do not reoccur,” the statement had added further.
Earlier on Monday, Shiv Sena activists smeared black paint on Sudheendra Kulkarni, former close aide of senior BJP leader LK Advani, for organising the book launch by Pakistan’s ex-foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri. While, the shocking incident drew sharp criticism by several parties, Shiv Sena remained adamant in their protest to Mr. Kasuri.
The formal book launch, though, happened under a heavy police bandobast at the Nehru Center on Monday evening. Both Mr. Kulkarni and Mr. Kasuri had even thanked Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for his support and security arrangement.
“We have to defend and safeguard the value which Mumbai has stood for…. Mumbai stands for India-Pak dialogue for peace. Today’s function is a demonstration that it indeed stands for it,” Sudheendra Kulkarni said amid applause at the book launch event.
“Want to thank Chief Minister Fadnavis for providing protection,” Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri said in his opening remarks launching his book ‘Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider’s Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy’.
Earlier last week, Ghulam Ali’s music concert too was cancelled in Mumbai after threats issued by Shiv Sena, the alliance partner of the ruling BJP in Maharashtra. However, post the incident, Mr. Ali received invites from the governments of Delhi and West Bengal to perform in those states.
(With inputs from the PTI)