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Rediff.com  » News » Advani to open temple in Lahore

Advani to open temple in Lahore

By Sushant Sareen and Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi
April 01, 2005 14:26 IST
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Former Pakistan prime minister and Muslim League president Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain has invited Bharatiya Janata Party president Lal Kishenchand Advani to visit Lahore to inaugurate a temple dedicated to Luv, the son of Lord Rama.

According to legend, Luv founded the city of Lahore, now in Pakistan, and his temple is located in the Lahore Fort.

The temple has remained shut since the time Alauddin Khilji ruled most of North India, including areas currently in Pakistan.

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In an exclusive interview to rediff.com, Hussain said the government of Pakistan is ready to take the step till recently thought unimaginable.

"It is being repeatedly said in Pakistan that Advani was responsible for the demolition of the Babri Masjid. We have asked Advani to come and inaugurate a temple dedicated to Luv that is going to be restored and developed into a model temple," Hussain said.

Asked if it was an attempt to bury the ghost of the Babri Masjid, Hussain said: "This is the only solution to the Babri dispute. Instead of demolishing temples to avenge the destruction of the Babri Masjid, it is better to construct a temple and ask Advani to inaugurate it."

On Wednesday Advani told a delegation led by Hussain that he would visit Pakistan in June and would like to travel to Karachi (where he was born and spent his youth), Lahore and Islamabad.

This will be Advani's first visit to Pakistan since 1978, when he visited the country in his capacity as minister of information and broadcasting in the Janata Party government.

Advani had then visited his school, St Patrick's, which is also the alma mater of General Pervez Musharraf, in Karachi. He also visited his ancestral home.

Advani told the delegation that Karachi played an important role in his life. He spent 20 years in the city.

When the Pakistani delegation sought to know his views on the India-Pakistan dialogue, Advani said: 'There is no option to peace, cooperation and normal relations. Zamaana badal gaya hai (times have changed). Who would have imagined that Europe would be re-united one day?'

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Sushant Sareen and Sheela Bhatt in New Delhi