Mani Shankar Aiyar fears for India-Pakistan ties

New Delhi: Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Thursday said India was damaging itself by enabling Pakistan to continue being considered as an enemy territory, just because it was “inhabited and created” by the Muslims.

Addressing a gathering with Pakistan’s former foreign affairs minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri at a session titled ‘The Current State of India-Pakistan Relations’, Aiyar said the prominent issue of nation building was integrating the Muslim community into rest of the country.

“Can we integrate them (Muslim)? Can we do it if there is a hostile relationship with Pakistan? We are damaging our own nationhood by enabling Pakistan to continue being considered as an enemy territory for no reason other than that it is inhabited and created by Muslims,” Aiyar said.

He added a large section of people in India said the Muslim community was responsible for vivisection of India and therefore, drew a parallel between Muslims who made Pakistan and the Muslims who remained in India.

The senior Congress leader also emphasised on consolidating the nation and said that to attain harmony, it was important to somehow create a relationship with Pakistan which would enable the Muslims of our country to not be held responsible for what the Mumbai attack mastermind, Hafiz Saeed, does or did or will do.

“People like Hafiz Saeed have been taking advantage of the Kashmir issue. There is a confusion in the valley, which requires to be sorted out by a dialogue with them and not for having recourse to saying that the Pakistani was responsible,” he said.

Further stressing on the issue, Aiyar said the problem of Kashmir was not going to disappear until the Muslims were integrated with India.

“The problem will be there, until we integrate Muslims with ourselves and until we integrate Muslims with India to make it an unbreakable part of India as it is unbreakable part of our heart. We can’t claim the territory and reject the people. There is so much anti-India feeling in the Valley that I am afraid that there is a problem,” the senior Congress leader said.

Stressing on the need to initiate dialogues with Pakistan, to maintain a peace in the region, he said it was important to co-operate with the neighbouring country, rather than looking suspiciously in regard to the terror movement.

“If we co-operate with Pakistan, rather than looking suspiciously in regard to the terror movement on us, we may be able to make some forward movement. If we don’t, the Pakistani element doing this will make more damage,” he said. (ANI)