How P V effectively shut Pak envoy in Singapore

How P V effectively shut Pak envoy in Singapore
How P V effectively shut Pak envoy in Singapore

Sree Iyer

I heard about this from an attendee who was present in this conference arranged by Lee Kwan Yew, the Senior minister of Singapore. First off, this was a lecture, not a Press Conference. It was very inappropriate of the High Commissioner of Pakistan to walk up to the microphone and try and disrupt the Q and A session with his observations. What was even more impressive was the Indian Prime Minister’s response:

My eye witness account said something along the following lines as to how P V Narasimha Rao replied:

“You know there is an Indian Consulate here? If you want to say anything, you can write it and give it to them. They will know what to do with it…”

Looking at the current drama that is playing out, I thought it apt to recollect an email on what happened below:

Date: Sun, 11 Sep 1994 11:18:44 +0800 (WST)
From: [log in to unmask] (SE1 – Nilesh Kantilal Sahita)
Subject: Pakistani Convoy causes stir during PM Rao’s visit to Singapore


9 Sep 94, Straits Times, Singapore

Pakistani High Commissioner to the Singapore created a stir when he used the
question-and-answer session after The Singapore Lecture to criticize India’s
policy on Kashmir.

Prime Minister P.V. Narsimha Rao who was fielding questions from the audience
after delivering the lecture, had just responded to a query on Kashmir by
another person in which he noted that domestic politics often forced Pakistani
politicians to take a hard line on Kashmir.

Pakistani envoy Salim Nawaz Khan Gandapur then walked to the microphone. He
launched into a lengthy statement, saying that India was flouting international
conventions on Kashmir. He said India had over half a million troops there and
was attempting to crush the rights of the people.

Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who was in the Chair, interrupted the discourse
by asking the diplomat: “What is your question?”

Ignoring the applause Mr Lee’s remark drew from the audience Mr Gandapur
continued with his observations. Mr Lee then told him: “May I ask you to sit
down? You have put your question.”

Mr Rao himself expressed surprise at the High Commissioner’s action.

“I am sorry, I had not expected such a question from the High Commissioner
himself,” he said. “We have a High Commissioner here too. If you wish, you
could have detailed discussions with him.”

“What I would briefly say is whatever you have said, Mr High Commissioner, is
totally wrong.”

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  1. I clearly remember that Singapore was feed up with fuss created by Pak envoy.

    This compelled the Singapore premier to make a blunt statement (diplomatically worst being termed as a rude):-

    “This Conference is meant for Singapore and India, not for Pakistan.”

    We watched this recording relayed in Doordarshan called The World This Week (related every Friday by NDTV- anchor/presentator Pranob Roy).

  2. I was living in Muscat then and saw this programme relayed live from Singapore in Star TV (I think). One important aspect has been omitted in the narrative above. After the Hon’ble PM shut down the Pak envoy, there was a perceptible embarrassment for the legendary Lee Kwan Yew as an incident like this had happened when the whole world was seeing. A young girl stood up to ask the next question to the PM and before she even opened her mouth, Lee Kwan Yew said “Hope you are not a Pakistani”. It took a few minutes for the applause to die down!


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