NEW DELHI (tip): The government and main Opposition BJP — backed by ally Shiv Sena — sparred over the Union home ministry’s decision to grant visa to former Pakistani cricket captain Javed Miandad, who has family ties with the UN-designated global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. Miandad’s son Junaid is married to Mahrukh, daughter of Dawood, who is wanted in India in connection with the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case. Foreign minister Salman Khurshid defended the decision, saying the visa was granted by the MHA while following the right procedures. “It is a decision taken by the ministry of home affairs and the government.
What are the circumstances, what is considered when an approval is given… what goes into it, is an internal government matter,” Khurshid told reporters in Bangalore. He was responding to a question about the opposition to the grant of visa to Miandad, an official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), for the India- Pakistan ODI to be played here on January 6. Due to Miandad’s family ties with Dawood, India’s most wanted terrorist, there had been reports before a series in 2005 that any requests for a visa by Miandad could be turned down by the Indian government. “It is the job of MHA.
They have taken a decision. No Pakistani visa gets cleared without MHA clearance. Inputs from all agencies are taken into consideration. It is an internal procedure,” Khurshid said. On Shiv Sena’s objections over grant of visa, he said, “Opposition only questions. Proper procedures have been gone through in this. Any law of prudence which had to be followed, it was followed, I am sure law will take care”. Criticizing the government’s decision, BJP vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “This country loves the game of cricket but does not love terrorists. Dawood has been the mastermind of several terror acts. Pakistan has refused to hand him over to India despite several efforts. India should not allow any relative of Dawood to come to India”.
BJP maintained that Islamabad should hand over Dawood before Miandad is allowed to visit India. “Pakistan today is a factory of terror and manufactures terrorists who work against India,” Naqvi said. BJP MP Kirti Azad, who had played for India, asked why the government had allowed Miandad to visit the country after seven years when Indian government had refused to give him visa since 2005. “Will Dawood Ibrahim’s relative come and the Indian government question him?…..giving him visa and playing cricket, how do they think it will improve relations?” Azad asked.
Shiv Sena, which had opposed renewing of cricketing ties with Pakistan, said the whole country should condemn the move. “He’s a relative of Dawood and you lay out a red carpet for him…. The whole country should oppose it. Pakistan has spread terrorism whether it is in Delhi, Mumbai or Kashmir,” Sena MP Sanjay Raut said. “He is a well known cricketer. His visa application papers were in order and valid and that is why the government has decided to give him visa,” the minister of state for home R P N Singh told reporters on January 3. When asked if Miandad was not on India’s “negative list”, Singh said “no, nothing like that”. “He was given visa when his visa papers were found valid,” he said.