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  India   Politics  14 Feb 2018  Mani Shankar Aiyar says ‘I love Pakistan’, Congress MP wants him sacked

Mani Shankar Aiyar says ‘I love Pakistan’, Congress MP wants him sacked

Published : Feb 14, 2018, 1:12 am IST
Updated : Feb 14, 2018, 1:12 am IST

Remark amid India, Pak standoff over attack on Army, CRPF camp.

Mani Shankar Aiyar
 Mani Shankar Aiyar

New Delhi: Suspended Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, whose “neech” remark for Prime Minister Narendra Modi spelt trouble for the Congress during the Gujarat Assembly elections, has stirred a new controversy by saying “I love Pakistan”. A worried party MP now wants him sacked before he can damage the party’s prospects in Karnataka Assembly polls.

“I love Pakistan because I love India,” Mr Aiyar said urging India to “love thy neighbour as thyself” at the Karachi Lit Fest on Sunday.

His controversial remarks came amid a standoff between India and Pakistan over attacks on an Army camp in Sunjwan and a CRPF camp in Srinagar. While defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that Pakistan will pay a price for its misadventure, Islamabad on Tuesday responded by saying that any Indian aggression will not go unpunished.

He also criticised the Indian government for not talking peace with Pakistan. “All Pakistani political parties except the Jamaat-e-Islami say they want peace with India. Now this change in mindset that is taking place in Pakistan is not reflected in India,” he said.

While most political parties in Pakistan want cordial relations with India, those in India are “still caught in a partially 1947 situation”, said the former Indian Foreign Service officer who served in Karachi from 1978 to 1982.

Pushing for an early dialogue between the two neighbours, the suspended Congress leader said, “There is only one way to resolve the India-Pakistan issue and that is by way of uninterrupted and un-interruptible dialogue.”

Despite the criticism back home and heightened diplomatic tension between Islamabad and New Delhi, Mr Aiyar on Tuesday continued to praise Pakistanis.

He said he receives “much more hatred in India” than the love showered on him by people in Pakistan.

“Thousands of people, whom I don’t know, hug me, wish me. I receive much more hatred in India than the love I rec-eive in Pakistan. So I am happy to be here. They are clapping for me because I speak of peace,” he said.

Sensing electoral reverses in Karnataka over Mr Aiyer’s remarks, Congress MP V. Hanumantha Rao has urged the party chief to “expel him”.

Tags: narendra modi, karnataka assembly polls, mani shankar aiyar