New Delhi, Oct 8: In what could come as a surprise to the people of ‘friendly’ nations — India and Pakistan, thespian Dilip Kumar had urged the then Prime Minister of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif to put an end to Kargil War in 1999. Dilip Kumar, a recipient of Pakistan’s highest civilian award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, is also a favourite actor of Nawaz Sharif and the appeal came when the Pakistan leader was visiting India for a dialogue.
The anecdote was revealed by the former Pakistan Finance Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri ahead of the release of his book — ‘Neither a hawk nor a dove’ — in New Delhi and was quoted by the Pakistani newspaper The Dawn. The incident took place in 1999, when Sharif and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were in between a conversation and suddenly, a call from Dilip Kumar came as a surprise. “Kasuri quoted an aide of Sharif as confiding in him that in the middle of a conversation in July 1999 between the Pakistan prime minister and India’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the latter handed the phone to Dilip Kumar who was listening in,” reported Pakistani daily The Dawn. (Also Read: Plea against declaring Dilip Kumar’s Pakistan house as heritage dismissed)
As Sharif did not believe at first, if was really Dilip Kumar himself, so Kumar assured him it indeed was him. In the telephonic conversation, Kumar appealed to Sharif to stop the Kargil war as it was in the good interest of both the nations. “Dilip Kumar assured him it was indeed he speaking, and he was concerned about the flare-up on the Kargil heights. He urged Sharif to help defuse the crisis quickly as that would be the right thing to do in the interest of the people on both sides,” the report added.
According to Kasuri, who was the foreign minister of Pakistan from 2002 and 2207, claims that those were the the most promising years between the two nations. Incidentally, Pakistan who had bestowed Dilip Kumar, also known as Mohammad Yousaf Khan, the highest civilian award Nishan-e-Imtiaz in 1998, have also tried to declare the ancestral house of the actor in Qissa Khawani Bazaar in Peshawar as national heritage, but still needs some more time as the matter is with Supreme Court of Pakistan.