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Most Pakistani parties want better relations with India: Mani Shankar Aiyar

NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s political parties, except Jamaat-e-Islami, were resolved for better relations with India, former Union Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar has said, noting that mindset in the neighbouring country had changed postZulfikar Ali Bhutto‘s rule.

Aiyar, who took part in a discussion on book “Born to be Hanged”, Syeda Hameed‘s biography of the deposed and executed Pakistani leader, on Monday evening, described Bhutto as “vengeful, a deeply flawed personality and committed only to his personal advancement”.

He also called for steps towards better relations with Pakistan.

“Each party other than Jamaat-e-Islami, pledges itself to better relations with India … post-Bhutto Pakistan’s mentality has changed and they want to be friends with us … We are battling Bhutto’s Pakistan instead of making friends with (current) Pakistan,” he said.

Hameed said that as a student of literature, she always thought of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as the protagonist of a Greek tragedy. “Parallels abound in the stories of Zulfikar of Larkana and Oedipus of Thebes. Both men larger than life are victims despite epitomising qualities which are antithesis of victimhood — self-confidence, masterfulness and intensity. As the Greeks would say they were cursed by the Gods,” said the social activist and educationist.

She said she had crucial access to important materials for the book from her uncle across the border, Mubashir Hassan, who was Finance Minister in Bhutto’s government and one of the founders of Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP).

Noted peace activist and documentary-filmmaker Tapan Bose said Syeda Hameed had authored an interesting analysis of a very complicated personality of the subcontinent who started with certain commitments but later “power corrupted him absolutely”.

“Bhutto was an enigma who had threatened to wage a 1,000-year war against India. He was a patriot, influenced by Karl Marx, a progressive thinker working for a modern, democratic Pakistan with great schools and universities and also a deeply Islamic person,” said Bose.

Aiyar, who disagreed with Bhutto’s assesment in the book, said a joint Pakistan (including erstwhile East Pakistan) would have always given, in a true democratic election, a majority to the Bengalis because their population was bigger and completely different in their political views to what was happening in the distant West Pakistan.

“It was clear that he (Bhutto) could become Prime Minister only of a truncated Pakistan, he could never be the Prime Minister of a joint Pakistan and he allowed this truncating to take place,” said Aiyar, who served as India’s first Consul-General in Karachi from 1978 to 1982.

“So, at the end of the day, somebody who hated India and Hindus as much as he did, what has been the outcome? … They (Pakistanis) are no longer anti-Hindu or anti-India. They don’t even allow an anti-Indian platform to appear on any political party’s agenda during the elections,” he said.

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