Nitish Kumar visits temple, addresses panchayat in Pak

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday undertook a whirlwind tour of interior Sindh, visiting a temple and addressing a Hindu panchayat.

Karachi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Sunday undertook a whirlwind tour of interior Sindh, visiting a temple and addressing a Hindu panchayat, where he said that India and Pakistan need to co-exist peacefully and work for good governance in the region.

"I have brought a message of peace, love and brotherhood from India," Kumar said while addressing a Hindu panchayat in interior Sindh, adding that the frequency and number of exchange of delegations should be enhanced for furthering relationship between the two countries.

Kumar, on his maiden tour of Pakistan, visited the ancient Mohenjodaro site and stressed on more cooperation and coordination between Pakistan and India.

Kumar and his delegation visited the historical Sadho Belo temple near Sukkur, the Indus valley civilization ruins of Mohenjodaro near Larkana and Garhi Khuda Baksh which is the ancestral home of the Bhutto family in Larkana.

Kumar was overwhelmed while visiting the Mohanjodaro site that dates back to 5000 years and said it had reinforced his belief that Pakistan and India share so many common values and culture that they need to work closely together in the region.

"The cultural links between the two countries are abiding and central to our history. We need to co-exist peacefully and work for good governance in the region," Kumar said.

Addressing a gathering of Hindu Panchayat during his visit to Sadhu Bela temple he said that India and Pakistan shared many common values and if exchange of dialogue is constant, it might improve relationship between the two countries.

He stressed the need to promote atmosphere of mutual understanding, brotherhood and peace among India and Pakistan which is the need of the hour aimed at progress, prosperity and development in the area.

Kumar also prayed at the historical Sadho Bela temple.

The visiting CM noted that the Sadho Bela temple was a sacred place for Hindus of Pakistan and India and represented hope for everyone.

"It is held in high esteem by Hindus in both countries that is why I cherish this visit today," Kumar said.

The general secretary of the Hindu Panchayat in Sukkur informed the visiting delegation that after the recent floods, the evacuee trust property had done a big job to clean up the temple complex and rid it of large number of snakes.

Kumar took deep interest in the art and architecture of the temple and was informed about its history dating back to 1823 by the religious leaders.

According to the religious leaders at the temple it is spread over nine acres and comprises a main place of worship (Asthan of Baba Bankhandi Maharaj), abodes for his "shish" (students), a library which houses books on religion and Hindu mythology, separate "Bhandars" (dining rooms) for women and men, separate places of worship for men and women, washrooms and a huge garden.

Later Kumar also went to Garhi Khuda Baksh where he offered prayers at the graves of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his daughter, Benazir Bhutto, both former Prime Ministers of Pakistan.

Accompanied by Speaker Sindh Assembly Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Kumar laid floral wreaths at the mazars and stood silent for a while to pay homage to the PPP leaders.

Kumar noted that the Bhutto family always stood for democracy and parliamentary form of governance and said good governance would guarantee development and progress for people of both countries.

Kumar, who arrived in Karachi on November 9, will also travel to Lahore and Islamabad during his week-long goodwill visit to Pakistan.

Earlier, on their arrival at Moen-Jo-Daro airport in Larkana from Karachi by a special aircraft, Kumar and his 12-member delegation were welcomed by school students and officials of the district administration, state-run APP news agency reported.

Kumar pointed out that despite geographical differences, Pakistan and India, should also share a common future keeping in mind their common history.

Kumar expressed hope that his visit would help further normalising ties between the two countries as well as to bring their people closer to each other.

During his tour of interior Sindh, Kumar was accompanied by Sindh minister, Agha Siraj Durrani, PPP Member of the National Assembly Syeda Nafeesa Shah and Member of the Provincial Assembly Sassi Palejo.

Speaking on the occasion, Shah said that misunderstandings will vanish with the exchange of delegations and through people to people contact.

She said the culture and civilization of both countries was same. Shah said that PPP is committed to resolving minorities problems at their doorstep.

PPP Senator Islamuddin Shahikh said both governments wanted to further relationship and solve all problems through dialogue. He said the process of composite dialogue between the two countries was underway at the federal level.

Kumar also visited the mausoleum of Mohammad Ali Jinnah yesterday to pay homage to the founder of Pakistan and in the evening was entertained to a grand reception at the historical Mohatta palace by the Sindh government yesterday.

Kumar appreciated the fact that Karachi`s famous Mohatta Palace is also built in the tradition of stone palaces of Rajasthan.

Kumar also invited Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to visit Bihar. Shah accepted the invitation and said that he will visit the state at a later date.