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‘Atal Made Pak PM speak with Dilip Kumar over Kargil Conflict’: Book

Dilip Kumar

Lahore, Pakistan: Upset over Pakistan’s intrusion in Kargil in 1999, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee made his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, speak to Bollywood legend, Dilip Kumar, who pleaded with Pakistan’s Prime Minister to control the situation, says a new book by former Pakistani foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri.

In his book titled, Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove, Mr Kasuri has narrated an anecdote recounted to him by the ex-Principal Secretary to Mr Sharif at the time of the Kargil War in May 1999, Saeed Mehdi.

Mr Kasuri says, “According to Saeed, one day he was sitting with PM Sharif when the telephone bell rang and the ADC informed the PM that the Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee wished to speak with him urgently.”

During the phone call, Mr Vajpayee expressed his grievances that he had been shabbily treated by Mr Sharif after having been invited to Lahore. Mr Sharif looked surprised as the Indian Prime Minister complained that while he had been received in Lahore with such warmth, Pakistan had wasted no time in occupying Kargil.

Mr Sharif said that he was not aware of what Mr Vajpayee was saying to him and promised to get back to him after talking to Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf.

Before the conversation could end, Mr Vajpayee told Mr Sharif that he would like him to speak to somebody who was sitting next to him during their conversation, Mr Kasuri writes.

The Pakistani Prime Minister was surprised when he heard the voice of Bollywood great, Dilip Kumar, whose real name is Yousuf Khan, and originally hails from Peshawar, Pakistan.

Mr Kumar said, “Mian Sahib, we did not expect this from you since you have always claimed to be a great supporter of peace between Pakistan and India… Let me tell you as an Indian Muslim that in case of tension between Pakistan and India, Indian Muslims become very insecure and they find it difficult to even leave their homes. Please do something to control this situation.”

Mr Kumar is a recipient of Pakistan’s highest civilian honour, Nishan-e- Imtiaz.