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I said what Jinnah envisaged, says Advani

Special Correspondent

Wanted to remind Pakistan people of secularism suggested by Jinnah

NEW DELHI: Bharatiya Janata Party president L.K. Advani said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that his remarks "Jinnah is secular" was intended to communicate to the people of Pakistan what their founder had envisaged.

Reference to the remarks that stirred an ideological debate in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh/Sangh Parivar and threw Mr. Advani into a vortex of controversy, cropped up during a debate on the adjournment motion moved by the Leader of the Opposition.

Mr. Advani said he had referred to Jinnah's speech in the context of an invitation from Pakistan asking him to inaugurate a renovated Katas Raj temple near Lahore that had mythological links.

He wanted to remind people there that the secularism suggested by Jinnah was no different from the one India has.

Mr. Advani said the policy of then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to bring India and Pakistan closer also guided him in making such a reference.

Recalling with nostalgia the trip to his birthplace, Mr. Advani said: "Yes I am happy (to visit Pakistan). They are still happier because of the controversy," amid peals of laughter along the ruling coalition benches.

Mr. Advani admitted that he was "provoked" by Union Minister Kapil Sibal who commented on the remarks during his intervention in the debate.

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