Kulkarni to Speak at Pakistan Forum on Pak India Relations

KL News Network

SRINAGAR

Sudheendra Kulkarni, the right wing journalist who became Prime Minister Vajpayee’s speech writer, is scheduled to speak on Indo-Pak relations in Lahore on Monday, media reports indicate. Kulkarni is heading the Observer Research Foundation, one of India’s leading think tanks.

The event is being hosted by Pakistan Forum. He will be speaking on “Pak India Relations— the way forward”. Mian Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, former Foreign Minister of Pakistan and Chairman of the Pakistan Forum, will preside over the function.

Kulkarni was a close confidante and advisor of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and is considered very close to the former Deputy Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition L K Advani. He remained closely involved with the Pakistan-India dialogue during Vajpayee’s tenure. Kulkarni is a strong defender of the rights of Muslims and other minorities in India and has often faced the wrath of extremist elements as a result. A large number of diplomats, retired military officers, journalists, intellectuals, educationists and civil society activists are expected to participate in the discussion, the reports suggest.

It is pertinent to mention here that when Kasuri was in Delhi in 2015 in connection with the launch of his book, Neither a Hawk Nor a Dove,  Shiv Sena warned Kasuri not to land in Mumbai to launch his book there on the invitation of Kulkarni or he would have to ‘face the consequences’. Kulkarni had refused to succumb to the Sena’s warnings.

When Kasuri landed at Mumbai airport, it was surrounded on all sides by thousands of Shiv Sena’s workers. He, however, managed to leave the airport due to heavy police protection. Shiv Sena then attacked Kulkarni’s residence, and plastered black paint on his face. Despite this, Kulkarni decided to go ahead with the book launch in the evening with his face painted black. The picture became iconic at that time and created a sensation not just in India but worldwide leading to wide spread concerns.

This is Kulkarni’s first visit to Lahore after that incident in Mumbai.

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