New Delhi: The government on Thursday said that former Pakistan cricket captain Javed Miandad was granted visa to India according to the regular procedure and that he was not on any prohibited list. Miandad is related to India's most wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.
Defending its decision, the government insisted that all visa requirements were fulfilled and that Miandad was a top ranking PCB official. The former Pakistan cricketer will be visiting India to watch the last India-Pakistan ODI in New Delhi. "I am going to New Delhi on January 5 to watch the cricket match between India and Pakistan the following day. I also have a visa for Ajmer Sharif and will go there as well," Miandad said.
The Shiv Sena and even Congress leader Jagdambika Pal have raised objection to the government's decision. "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 visa to his relative will hurt the sentiments of people in India," Pal said on Wednesday.
Due to Miandad's family ties with Dawood Ibrahim - who is wanted in India in connection with the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case - there had been reports before a cricket series in 2005 that any requests for a visa by the former Pakistan cricketer could be turned down by the Indian government. Miandad's son Junaid is married to Mahrukh - the daughter of Dawood.
Miandad, however, brushed aside the impression that India was "out of bounds" for him. "Why should anybody be bothered about me in India with regard to Dawood Ibrahim? His (Ibrahim's) family members are there and they should be quizzed first," he said.
(With additional information from PTI)