Pakistani ex-envoys remember Khushwant Singh as friend

New Delhi: Four former Pakistani high commissioners to India fondly remembered Khushwant Singh, saying among the many things the celebrated writer will be remembered for was his love for Pakistan, the land of his birth.

In a joint tribute, released by the Pakistan high commission here Thursday, the four former envoys - Humayun Khan, Riaz Khokhar, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi and Aziz Ahmad Khan - said Singh, who died March 20, always had his doors open for visitors from Pakistan.

They said they had the privilege of serving as Pakistan`s envoys in New Delhi and wanted to add to the tributes flowing in for Singh.

"We have a special reason to do so because, among the many things he will be remembered for, was his love for Pakistan, the land of his birth.

"Khushwant was a larger than life character. Historian, scholar, journalist, wit and bon vivant, he enriched our lives with his writings and, above all, with his friendship.

"He relished his privacy, but his doors were always open to visitors from Pakistan. In his later years, he avoided public occasions, but always found time to spend an evening at our embassy, provided we followed his strict adherence to time, which enabled him to go home early. He was not only rational about Indo-Pak relations, but genuinely emotional," the statement said.

"He took pride in having Pakistanis as his best friends. Because of this, we were able to enjoy, in addition to his wit and his wisdom, his fraternal affection. In remembering this great man, we must all continue to strive for the ideals he promoted and the courage, the humour and the total lack of hypocrisy that he always displayed."