Advani empathises with Jinnah

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L K Advani
New Delhi, Jan 12 : Five years after courting controversy for praising M A Jinnah, senior BJP leader L K Advani still seems to be haunted by it as he remarked that he had "personally" experienced what the Pakistan founder would have gone through by advocating for a secular State.

"I personally have experienced what referring to Jinnah as a person who basically wanted a secular state with a Muslim majority....," Advani said, leaving his statement incomplete but giving enough hint as to what he meant to say.

Advani, who had to resign as BJP President after making the controversial remarks about Jinnah during his visit to Pakistan in 2005, referred to the episode at the launch of book ''Tinderbox - The Past and Future of Pakistan'' authored by eminent journalist M J Akbar here last evening.

He was forced to quit after RSS and several leaders within the BJP openly slammed him and demanded his resignation.

However, RSS and BJP finally softened their stand against Advani who was reinstated when in December 2007 the party declared him as its Prime Ministerial candidate.

At the book launch yesterday, Advani again described Jinnah again as a secular person and sought to put the blame for the political instability in Pakistan on others like Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, who propounded the two-nation theory, and dictator Zia-ul-Haq.

Endorsing Akbar''s views in his book, Advani said, "He (author) rightly says that Pakistan can become a stable, modern nation only if the children of the Father of Pakistan, Jinnah, can defeat the ideological heirs of the Godfather Maududi."

Advani further concurs with the author, saying, "Jinnah maybe the father of Pakistan but Godfather was Maududi and the impact was so wide, so big".

Further arguing his case for Jinnah, the senior BJP leader said, "His very first observation in the Constituent Assembly was something that many in India particularly those who subscribe to my viewpoint say- what''s this? You think of Jinnah as a person who wanted Pakistan to be a secular state."

The former Deputy Prime Minister maintained that the instability in Pakistan is "certainly a matter of concern" for India but disagreed that it could disintegrate.

"Those who think the state is about to disintegrate...it is not true. It is not going to explode," he said.

PTI

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