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Jaswant says wrong to demonise Jinnah

January 14, 2010 15:35 IST

Former Bharatiya Janata Party leader Jaswant Singh, who was last year expelled from his party for praising Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his book, said it was wrong to demonise Pakistan's founder.

"We were wrong to treat Jinnah as demon and Pakistan is wrong to treat Gandhi as demon. We can not invent history," Singh said on Wednesday night releasing the international edition of his controversial book Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence in the House of Commons.

Describing Jinnah as a man of great determination, Singh said his transition from ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity to Quaid-e-Azam was fascinating.

"But before he could give shape to Pakistan of his conception he was out," Singh said. Describing the book as his "child", Singh said he had nurtured it for five years but within three-and-a-half months of its publication, the book had gone through its 23rd edition. The former external affairs minister, who was expelled from the BJP for praising Jinnah, also said that the situation in South Asia was "possibly the most perilous we have faced in the last 62 years".

He said there had been a shift in global centre of discord from Europe to East and South Asia in the last six decades and termed the US drone attacks in Pakistan "unacceptable".

"India is surrounded by countries which are in a state of great turmoil, and internally India is also troubled," Jaswant said.

He said foreign troops were fighting in South Asia which was "unacceptable" and said "it was a great failure on the part of all of us".

Singh also termed the US drone attacks in Pakistan as "unacceptable", adding he would work for peace in South Asia and particularly between Pakistan and India.

"Every drone attack is an attack on the sovereignty of the country," he said.

Answering a question on the decision to release three terrorists in exchange of 166 passengers held hostage in a hijacked Indian Airlines plane in Kandahar, Singh said, "Any day if I had a choice, I will work for saving the lives of innocent people and fight terror on another day. I will still do it."

Singh was the minister of external affairs in the then National Democratic Alliance government when the Indian Airlines plane was hijacked.

Lord Navnit Dholakia, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, leading non-resident Indian Labour Member of Parliament Virendra Sharma, Baroness Shriela Flather and Ashok Kumar, Labour MP, were among the distinguished people present at the launch organised by the Indian Journalists Association.
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