Badshah Khan had asked to be treated in Mumbai | india | Hindustan Times
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Badshah Khan had asked to be treated in Mumbai

india Updated: Sep 19, 2006 19:26 IST
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When India sent an aircraft to Kabul to secretly bring ailing Badshah Khan, then living in exile in that country, to New Delhi for treatment, the flight schedule had to be changed at the insistence of the Pakhtoon leader who wanted to be treated in Mumbai.

This was disclosed by Arunachal Pradesh Governor SK Singh, who was then posted as the country's ambassador to Kabul and later served as the foreign secretary.

Singh said he had accompanied the Gandhian leader and the flight was kept a secret as the then Afghan president Mohammad Dawood Khan feared that Zia-ul-Haq, the Pak president at the time would "make a fuss."

When Badshah Khan came to know of his destination he insisted in mid-air that he would not go to New Delhi without the permission of Pakistan and would prefer treatment in Mumbai.

Accordingly the flight schedule of the aircraft was changed and it landed in Mumbai after refuelling at Ambala.

Singh said he had come close to the legendary leader, also known as Frontier Gandhi, several times at Kabul and during his treatment and as the High Commissioner in Pakistan and learnt a great deal about uprightness from him.

"Badsah Khan told me not to be ashamed to tell the truth however embarrassing it may be."

Once he had received a piece of light blue cloth from the leader as a gift and still wears the dress made out of it whenever he attended any programme to launch a project.

"Today I have worn that dress again and I must speak the truth. BSNL is not providing good connectivity to Arunachal Pradesh," he said launching the mobile phone service by a private company in Itanagar today and hoped that it would do its best to provide world-class connectivity to the state.