Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jethmalani at dinner

Jethmalani's tongue in cheek

Former Union Minister and BJP MP Ram Jethmalani almost rocked a dinner hosted by Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik here Wednesday night in honour of his foreign minister Hina Rabani Khar here for talks with counterpart S M Krishna.

The "feel good" factor that Khar and Krishna laboured in their two-and-a-half hour talks to sustain optimism for continuing the talks was almost overturned by the acerbic Jethmalani.

Just when everybody had finished the meals, he took the mike and praised former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Not stopping at that, he then went on to attack China in the presence of Chinese ambassador Zhang Yan. He said China was an enemy of both countries and asked them to join and defeat the Beijing hegemony.

An embarrased High Commissioner Malik took mike from Jethmanali to clarify that these views were not shared by Pakistan. The Indian government too scrambled. Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were seen rushing to Chinese Ambassador’s table to clam his nerves and apologise for the remarks. Zhang was seated with the US charge d’ affairs Peter Burleigh.

Jethmalani even blushed the 34-year-old foreign minister of Pakistan, calling her charming lady. He said he had secured invitation for the dinner after looking at pictures of Khar in the morning newspapers.

Meanwhile, Khar's visit to the dargah of Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chisty in Ajmer on Thursday before flying back to her country ran into difficulty. Her helicopter ride to Ajmer got  delayed due to monsoon clouds around Jaipur.

Her special Pakistan Air Force plane had earlier landed at Jaipur and waiting at the airport was an Indian Air Force helicopter to take her to Ajmer. She, however, could make it in the afternoon. She offered a "Chadar' at the dargah and paid obeisance at Aastana Sharif. In the morning, she also visited the dargah of famous Sufi saint Nizamuddin

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