Let Jinnah House be Pakistan consulate: Kasuri

Mumbai, Oct 13 (IANS) Former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri on Tuesday said he will pursue a proposal to hand over Jinnah House here to Islamabad to set up a Pakistani consulate.

Simultaneously, he urged the reopening of the Indian consulate in Karachi.

“When I was the external affairs minister (2002-07), I had worked towards opening a Pakistani consulate at Jinnah House. I will continue my efforts to realize that goal,” he told the media after visiting the seafront mansion at the posh Malabar Hill.

The 2.5 acre property worth millions of rupees, currently under litigation among Jinnah’s descendents, is located opposite the Maharashtra chief minister’s official residence.

For over 35 years, Pakistan has been asking that the property be handed over to it or allotted for opening its Mumbai consulate but the Indian government has not agreed.

Reiterating that he had come to India as a messenger of peace, Kasuri said there were three prominent people who worked for peace between India and Pakistan: Mahatma Gandhi, Mohammed Ali Jinnah and Bollywood actor Dilip Kumar.

Built in 1936, the Jinnah House was the venue for talks attended by top Congress leaders including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru in the pre-independence era.

After independence, Jinnah left India, and his favourite home became the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai from 1948 to 1983.

Around 2003, a part of it was given to the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. It later vacated the premises and it has remained vacant since then.

Later on Tuesday, Kasuri visited Mani Bhavan, the erstwhile headquarters of and now a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. He also called on Yusuf Khan alias Dilip Kumar at his Bandra residence.

Kasuri arrived here on a short visit to Mumbai when he attended an event on Monday evening to release his new book, “Neither a Hawk nor a Dove: An Insider Account of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy.”

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