India vs Pakistan 2012-13: Salman Khurshid defends granting of visa to Javed Miandad

Javed Miandad’s visit to India to watch the final India-Pakistan ODI has sparked a controversy with leaders of the Congress and the Shiv Sena demanding his visa be cancelled © Getty Images

Bangalore: Jan 3, 2013  
Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday said the government followed proper procedures in giving a visa to former Pakistan cricket captain Javed Miandad, whose visit has sparked off a political controversy.
Miandad, now a senior official of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), would arrive in India Jan 5 to watch a one-day cricket match between India and Pakistan in New Delhi the following day.
“It’s a decision that has been taken by the government. I can’t blame the home ministry, I cannot blame ourselves; it’s a decision taken by the government. What are the circumstances, what is considered, when is the approval given, what goes into it is something that is an internal government matter,” Khurshid told reporters.
The visit of Miandad, whose son Junaid is married to Mahrukh, daughter of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim, wanted in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, has sparked a controversy with leaders of the Congress and the Shiv Sena demanding his visa be cancelled.
“Giving visa to his (Dawood Ibrahim’s) relative is wrong. We still consider Dawood Ibrahim the most wanted and have been asking Pakistan to send him back. Giving a visa to his relative will hurt the sentiments of people in India,” Congress MP Jagdambika Pal said Wednesday.
Shic Sena leader Sanjay Raut also slammed the government for granting visa to Miandad.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the government and security agencies should be alert about visitors so that the spirit of the game is not crushed.
“It should be ensured that the spirit of the game should not be crushed. The government and the security agencies should be alert as to who is coming or not so that the game should be played in a sportsmanship and a good environment,” BJP spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters in Delhi.
Khurshid said the media was not supposed to question the government’s decision.
“It’s not your (media) job to ask these questions. It is a job that the home ministry has to ask and answer itself and they have taken a decision. No Pakistani visa gets cleared without home ministry clearance and the ministry would take inputs from all agencies, including from our missions abroad. And, I think that’s an internal procedure,” said the minister.