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Sultan Shahin and his Pakistani ‘friend’

New Delhi: The Times of India (31 May-1 June, Delhi edition) carried an interesting story in context of the Pakistani poet Aftab Hussain, who is seeking in vain political asylum in India. The story exposes Sultan Shahin a self-proclaimed intellectual and journalist famous for Muslim-bashing. The report, inter alia, suggests that Mr Shahin has some relationship with Research & analysis Wing (RAW), the Indian equivalent of the CIA. The report says that a flat where the Pakistani ‘defector’ was accommodated was rented by RAW in the name of Sultan Shahin. Shahin claims that he rented that flat for us as his office.

The report, filed by Akshaya Mukul, quotes Hussain as alleging that he was asked by the RAW to write articles against Pakistan, but he refused to oblige and left the flat to live with friends at the JNU.

The report also exposes the unstable personality of Shahin. In two successive email messages from abroad, Shahin evaded the basic question posed by the TOI correspondent: ‘Was Pakistani poet Aftab Hussain, who sought political asylum in India, really housed by R&AW in a flat rented out in the name of journalist Sultan Shahin?’... Replying to the first email Shahin sang praises for the Pakistani poet and, in the typical Indian style, answered by posing questions himself: ‘Why do I need to do any explaining if I offer refuge to a Pakistani friend who was in my country on a valid visa....?’ and concluded it, again with the usual surmonising, ‘Strange times we live in.’

The TOI man persisted and this time Shahin made a U-turn and in his second email called the Pakistani poet a ‘fraud’ who is ‘not able to compose a worthwhile sentence either in prose or poetry’. He says about a man he had termed as ‘friend’ in the previous email, ‘I made enquiries. It seems that there has been some disquiet in our government about his credentials right from the beginning...’ More gems followed” ‘He has done nothing in service of India or secularism or anything else.’ Without answering the question posed to him, he again resorted to posturing: If R&AW wanted a drunken lout like him who hasn’t even read a newspaper in his life, then I think we should ask our government to get the heads of R&WA officers examined.’ Shahin goes on to say that Hussain is ‘in love with a Hindu girl from Orissa and wants to marry her and live in India.’ Shahin, reportedly, divorced his Muslim wife before marrying a Hindu girl. Shahin is at present litigating against a Muslim fortnightly claiming that he was sacked because he had a Hindu wife! Before joining that fortnightly Shahin was an small time employee of the Libyan embassy in London.

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