LAHORE: Rajiv Gandhi’s visit to Pakistan in connection with the summit meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) has generated considerable interest and controversy, Leaders of Pakistan’s major political parties have warned Benazir Bhutto that she should not ignore the national interests of Pakistan while holding talks with her Indian counter-part, Rajiv Gandhi, In a statement Muslim League leader, Mr. Sadat Hassan asked Bhutto to keep the security of the nation in view and refrain from sacrificing Pakistan’s interests.

Sixty commandos belonging to the Special Protection Force are accompanying Rajiv Gandhi to ensure his safety in Pakistan. To prevent any untoward incident, Pakistan has asked members of Afghan Mujahedeen’s to stay indoors during his visit. Mr. Gulbadin Hikmat Yaar Khan, leader of the Mujahedeen’s, while protesting against this ban, asked Rajiv Gandhi to confine his activities to his country only and stop meddling in the affairs of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile Kashmiri Leader, Mr. Sultan Mahdood declared that Kashmiri’s will protest against India’s policy of suppressing Sikhs and opposing Afghans. Other leaders like Malik Hashim, Mohammad Nasin Ahmed and Mohammad Qasim, in separate statements, criticized Soviet and Indian interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan. They said if Benazir Bhutto believes that she can settle the outstanding issues with India through SAARC meetings and stop India and Soviet Union from carrying out anti-Pakistan activities, then, she is living in a fool’s paradise.

Another leading political figure, Mr. Mohammad Ismail, Advocate criticized Mrs. Bhutto’s statement about the Sikh freedom fighters and re-iterated that the people of Pakistan are with the Sikh freedom fighters in their struggle for freedom. Mr. Iman-ula Khan of the Kashmir Liberation Front asked Rajiv Gandhi to set his own house in order before interfering in the internal affairs of other countries. He should remove his misconceptions that he can project himself at the international level through such devious methods.

Article extracted from this publication >> December 30, 1988