Dawood visits Pakistan but not a resident, says Karachi media group chief

Fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim does not live in Pakistan though he reportedly visits the country often, CEO of a leading media group based in Karachi said in Mumbai on Thursday.

"As far as I know, Dawood Ibrahim is not a resident of Pakistan. I am told he visits Pakistan regularly. I am told he spends time in Dubai and South Africa," Hameed Haroon, CEO of Dawn Media Group, said.

Haroon was responding to a query after a discussion on 'India and Pakistan: How to make the recent breakthrough in bilateral talks irreversible', organised by the Mumbai Press Club and the Observer Research Foundation Thursday evening. "Dawood is a murderer. The government should move against all murderers," he said, adding that "I think of Dawood as a singularly unpleasant chap. I have never seen him."

Further suggesting that if the governments of the two countries were not doing much to further the bilateral ties, then people and organisations including NGOs should take up the initiative. There has to be a people's movement, as it was during the freedom struggle, to take forward India-Pakistan relations, Haroon added.

"Fishermen have now become symbols of the munificence of India and Pakistan. India releases so many fishermen and Pakistan releases so many fishermen. "To make fishermen slaves of the security state and our anger isn't right," he said. Both countries should release fishermen, who belong to the poorest sections of society, unilaterally, he said.

Stating that citizens need to be a little more questioning of the postures adopted by their governments, Haroon said there may be a trust deficit between India and Pakistan but not between the people of the two countries. When asked how would the US view people's movements for normalisation of ties in both the countries, he said, without elaborating, that Indians should learn from Pakistan's difficulties in dealing with the Americans.

The CEO of the leading media group also opined that the future of democracy in any country is linked to the future of media and education. There is a need for joint archaeological exploration of the coastal region by India and Pakistan to unearth our rich cultural heritage, he said. There is some sense of irresponsibility in television and news broadcasting in both the countries, he commented.

Speaking on the occasion, ORF chairman Sudheendra Kulkarni said rulers of both the countries should know that India is the future of Pakistan and Pakistan the future of India. "Our common enemy is poverty and backwardness," he said. "We should collaborate to eradicate them and also fight terrorism. If terrorism is killing people in Pakistan we should show solidarity," he said. South of Pakistan and West of India must get reactivated in a people's movement for improving relations between the two countries, he said.

Kulkarni, who recently faced an ink attack by Shiv Sena workers for organising a book-launch function for former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri, also spoke of launching a 'peace boat' between Karachi and Mumbai as a step towards improving bilateral ties.

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