Mumbai: Fugitive Indian mafia don, Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar is not a permanent resident of Pakistan but does visit the country’s financial capital Karachi, claimed Hameed Haroon, Pak media mogul and CEO of Dawn Group of Newspapers, here on Thursday.
“I am told he visits Pakistan… But is not a resident. I am not aware under what name he comes and goes, or what passport he uses. I am told he lives in Dubai and South Africa, comes to Pakistan and goes, but is not a permanent resident of Karachi,” Haroon told mediapersons at a joint meet-the-press organised by Mumbai Press Club and Observer Research Foundation.
He added it made no sense whether he lives there (Pakistan) or not — “I have never met him… Nor do I desire to meet him. Its an old matter against him to be settled in the Indian justice system,” Haroon said.
“I have heard ‘false’ rumours about some surgery and face change by him… The Pakistani media gives no space to him,” Haroon added.
Stressing on the importance of people-to-people contact between Mumbai and Karachi, he said these need to be enhanced irrespective of the positions adopted by New Delhi and Islamabad for relations between India and Pakistan to improve.
“The south of Pakistan and west part of Indian Deccan have enjoyed strong historical links and contributed to the growth and culture of the region,” he pointed out.
He recalled the days when people in Pakistan could savour Sukha Bombil, or dry Bombay Duck, a fish delicacy of Mumbai and surroundings.
“I feel Mumbai and Karachi can activate themselves…Don’t wait for New Delhi and Islamabad. The civil society, media, NGOs, academics and others need to join together. We must think about the larger matric of international relations,” Haroon urged.
In this context, he said a lot more needs to be explored in the south of River Indus till the western coast of India for which archaeologists, especially marine archaeologists can come together and explore the heritage and discover layers of information.
ORF Chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni, a former media personality at the forefront of improved India-Pakistan relations, spoke of several measures to achieve this.
“We can start Mumbai-Karachi ferry services, reopen the consulates in both the cities, start Air India flights in addition to the two weekly services by Pakistan International Airlines,” Kulkarni suggested.
Kulkarni and the ORF on Wednesday launched the Mumbai-Karachi Friendship Forum here followed by Thursday’s event which passed off peacefully amidst tight security at the venue, Mumbai Press Club premises in south Mumbai.
It may be recalled that last October Kulkarni’s face was blackened by some Shiv Sena activists opposing an invitation to former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri for launching his new book in Mumbai.