Friday, June 11, 2010
Khurshid Khan, deputy attorney general of Pakistan, is to begin visiting Hindus at Ratan Nath Temple in Karimpura from today in connection with his effort to rebuild the image of Islam, Pakistan and Pakhtuns. He is planning to visit India in the coming days to convey to the Hindu and Sikh community members that Muslims are not terrorists.
Later in the year, he plans to be in the US on 9/11 to communicate his message of peace on the day that the US was attacked and life became difficult for Muslims all over the world. My slogan is that I am a fundamentalist Muslim, a patriotic Pakistani and a true Pakhtun but not a terrorist, Khurshid Khan told The News.
The senior lawyer said he felt Muslims and Pakhtuns needed to portray their true image to the world. He worked at Sikh temple, Gurdwara Jogan Singh, in Dabgari, Peshawar, for almost two months to rebuild the image of Muslims. He started visiting the temple after killing of a Sikh, Jaspal Singh, at the hands of kidnappers. Two other companions of Jaspal Singh were recovered during a military operation.
For days they suspected me. Later, one of their elders allowed me to work at the shoe kiosk where I used to place shoes of the Sikhs visiting the temple for worship in a rack and also polished it, said the senior advocate, who unsuccessfully contested election to the National Assembly twice in 1985 and 2002.
While serving at the temple in Dabgari Bazaar, Khurshid used to follow the Sikh principles like wearing yellow headscarf and observing silence when the Sikhs offered prayers. Khurshid has been in active politics since his student days at the University of Peshawar. He headed the Peoples Students Federation at the university twice and later became its provincial chairman.
Khurshid grabbed attention when he shot himself in the hand during a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club before the 2002 general elections to protest the PPP decision not to give him a ticket to contest election for the NA-1 (Peshawar) seat. During the movement of lawyers, he sprayed the face of Ahmad Raza Kasuri, the counsel for former President Gen Pervez Musharraf, with paint to protest the insulting remarks of the latter against senior members of the legal fraternity. Today I visited Gurdwara Punja Sahib in Hassanabdal. I have studied books about Sikh religion which also preach peace and love like Islam, he said.
Khurshid said he was a true Muslim and his visits to the worship places of Sikhs, Hindus and Christians were meant to remove the misgivings about the Muslims. He said he was a fundamentalist Muslim, offering his prayers regularly and reciting Holy Quran and Darood Sharif most of the time.