S Asia Pak Politician Apologises For Calling Maharaja Ranjit Singh Corrupt


1947-2014 (Archived)
A top Pakistani politician who berated the great Sikh ruler Maharaja Ranjit Singh as the epitome of mismanagement and corruption has apologised saying he has had a change of mind.

Leader of opposition in Pakistan's parliament, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, who in the past frequently referred to Ranjit Singh while highlighting issues of mismanagement and corruption said his views changed after he read a book on the 19th century Sikh ruler.

Khan surprised fellow lawmakers in the National Assembly when he tendered an apology for "frequently quoting his (Ranjit Singh's) name in meetings for wrong reasons".

The Pakistani leader said his views on Ranjit Singh changed after he read a book on the life of the Sikh ruler written by noted Indian journalist Khushwant Singh.

Khan made the remarks yesterday while chairing a meeting of Parliament's public accounts committee, an anti-corruption watchdog.

"I was wrong. Ranjit (Singh) was a great administrator of Punjab," he said.
Khan told the parliamentary panel that he was sorry for developing a wrong perception about Ranjit Singh and his rule.

The book was sent to Khan by PAC member Khwaja Mohammad Asif. Both Khan and Asif belong to the main opposition PML-N.

Ranjit Singh, who was born in Gujranwala, was the first Maharaja of the Sikh empire. Known as Sher-e-Punjab (Lion of Punjab), Ranjit Singh ruled till 1839 with Lahore as his capital.

However, many Pakistanis consider Ranjit Singh a ruthless ruler who killed many Muslims in wars.


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