The erstwhile sister cities of Mumbai and Karachi will come even closer, thanks to a proposed Marathi Festival to be hosted by the port city of Pakistan next year.
Hameed Haroon, CEO of the Dawn group of publications, launched the Mumbai-Karachi Friendship Forum in Mumbai on Wednesday
Karachi has a significant population of people of Marathi origin. The Marathis in Karachi have an organisation called Marathi Panchayat, which celebrates all Maharashtrian festivals there.
The idea of celebrating a Marathi festival is the brainchild of the chief of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Sudheendra Kulkarni, who, in association with Karachi media magnate Hameed Haroon, CEO of the Dawn group of publications, launched the Mumbai-Karachi Friendship Forum here on Wednesday.
If things fall into place, people from Maharashtra will travel to Karachi next year.
“Yes, it is going to happen,” Kulkarni told mid-day on Thursday. “It will be one of the best possible ways to connect Karachi and Mumbai,” he said.
Haroon said that at least 500 people from all communities and ethnic groups from Mumbai who have some connection with Karachi should travel in a boat to Pakistan.
“Similarly, people from Karachi should take a boat to Mumbai. This will be called the boat of friendship,” he said, after delivering a lecture at the Mumbai Press Club, adding that these events should be called Mumbai Festival in Karachi and Karachi Festival in Mumbai.
Earlier, Haroon said that the two countries must go beyond talks between their respective governments. “People at the grass roots level need to take the initiative to take our friendship forward,” he said.
“We need to explore things that lie beyond the Indus Civilisation. There needs to be a massive collaboration between the two countries to research the two-river civilisation that hasn’t been explored yet by archeologists of both countries.”
Dawood ‘visits’ Pak
When asked, Haroon said that fugitive terrorist Dawood Ibrahim wasn’t a Pakistani resident, but keeps visiting the country. “I’m told that Dawood stays in Dubai and South Africa.”
The journalist-turned-CEO said that Dawood had made an attempt for a strong foothold in Karachi’s realty by trying to demolish a Parsi Colony for redevelopment. “But we, the activists in Karachi, did not let it happen.”