Mumbai, Dec 23: ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni today said Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, whose party had opposed former Pakistan minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri’s visit to Mumbai, should visit the neighbouring country.”If Madhur Bhandarkar (filmmaker) can go to Pakistan then why should there be a ban on Pakistani artists here.”I appeal to Uddhav Thackeray to visit Pakistan. Your understanding of Pakistan will change,” Kulkarni said while addressing an event here to launch ‘Karachi Mumbai Friendship Forum’ organised by his Observer Research Foundation.(Also Read: Uddhav Thackeray attacks BJP on Pakistan, Ayodhya, beef; rules out break-up)
CEO of Dawn media group of Pakistan, Hameed Haroon was present on the occasion.”It is heartening that our two governments have decided to move ahead with a comprehensive bilateral dialogue,” Kulkarni said.He said the 26/11 terror attack mercenaries who came to Mumbai did not represent Pakistan.”In October we organised Kasuri’s book launch despite threats of Shiv Sena. Today’s event is yet another demonstration that Mumbai wants to separate from such ideologies,” he said.On October 12, Sena activists had blackened the face of Kulkarni for organising Kasuri’s book launch and termed him as a “Pakistani agent”.
Kulkarni said that a demand should be made to allow Pakistan to reopen its consulate and that India should also reopen its consulate in Karachi.”Next year, we would like to have a Marathi Utsav in Karachi and also a Gujarati Utsav there,” he said.Kulkarni also spoke of a “crowd-sourcing initiative” for people to share experiences of partition.”We want to have a peace boat to Karachi,” the ORF chairman said.Noted filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt spoke of security threats to Pakistani artists in India.