A country I would love to visit

Markandey Katju

I have never visited Pakistan but I always wanted to visit it as I have heard so much about the beautiful places over there. I would like to visit Lahore, where my revered grandfather Dr K N Katju, former Union Home and Law Minister in Nehru’s cabinet, went to as a student in 1900, and I would like to go to Rang Mahal High School and Forman Christian College where he had studied till around 1906. I would like to go to Anarkali Bazaar, of which I have heard so much. I would like to see the famous Badshahi Mosque built by the Mughal Emperors and bestowed with gifts by Maharaja Ranjit Singh. 

And of course, I would like to visit the Lahore High Court and meet my fraternity (lawyers and honourable judges) over there. I was Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court (Before becoming judge of the Supreme Court of India), and since the Delhi High Court was an emanation from the Lahore High Court (Before partition appeals from Delhi District Court would go to the Lahore High Court), I can claim in a sense to be a former Chief Justice of that Court.

I would like to see Murree, which I am told is a beautiful hill station. I would like to see Karachi, where many people from my state UP (Mohajirs) live. I would particularly like to meet Dr Khalil Chishty, for whose release from Indian custody I fought for a long time and ultimately won the battle. I would like to see Peshawar, the capital of the Kushan Empire and home to the Kanishka Stupa. I would like to see Quetta - the fruit garden of Pakistan, Harappa and Mohenjodaro, and many other monumental places as well.

Since apart from being a judge I was also associated with the media (Having been Chairman of the Press Council of India), I would also like to meet the brave journalists like Hasan Nisar, Najam Sethi, Imtiaz Alam (Whom I met in Delhi), Muhammad Ziauddin (Whom I met in Paris), Hamid Mir (Who bravely faced many attacks and came across death threats), Raza Rumi and his associate Ailia Zehra (Who are the only Pakistani journalists having the courage to publish my articles) and Sajjad Azhar Pirzada etc., but I know it is just a dream, since I am ‘persona non grata’ with Pakistani authorities, and will never get a visa.

Last year in Ramazan I was invited to an Iftaar dinner in Delhi by my good friend Kamal Morarka (A Mumbai-based businessman who gives an Iftaar dinner every year in Delhi). There, among other dignitaries, I was introduced to Mr Sohail Mahmood, the then Pakistani High Commissioner to India (And now the Pakistan's Foreign Secretary). I told him of my keen desire to visit Pakistan as I had never been there, and he said Pakistan would be honored to host a former Indian Supreme Court’s judge, and he would make all arrangements. He gave me his visiting card, which had his email id and mobile number. However, later, whenever I tried to call him, he would not take my calls, and he would not respond to my emails.

The writer is a former judge of the Supreme Court of India. He also remained as Chairman of the Press Council of India. 

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