New Delhi: BJP and Shiv Sena on Thursday lashed out at the government for granting visa to former Pakistan cricket captain Javed Miandad, asking how allowing a person related to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim to visit India will help improve bilateral ties.
"This country loves the game of cricket but does not love terrorists. Dawood Ibrahim 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 vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told reporters.
Miandad's son Junaid is married to Dawood's daughter Mahrukh Ibrahim.
The BJP maintained that Pakistan should hand over Dawood before Miandad is allowed to visit India. Dawood had allegedly masterminded the 1993 Mumbai blasts. He fled to Pakistan after the attacks and is said to be based there.
"Pakistan today is a factory of terror and manufactures terrorists who work against India," Naqvi said.
BJP MP Kirti Azad 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," the former Indian cricketer said.
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 Ibrahim 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. Interestingly, ruling Congress MP Jagadambika Pal has also opposed granting of visa to Miandad.
"Dawood Ibrahim is considered as the mastermind of terrorist activists.... He is most wanted not just in India but the whole world and giving visa to his relative, I believe, is not right. It is bound to hurt sentiments of people," Pal said.
Miandad has been granted an Indian visa that will allow him to watch the final one-dayer of the ongoing limited-over cricket series between the two countries in New Delhi.
Miandad on Wednesday said he would come to New Delhi on January 5 to watch the cricket match the following day. He also said he had a visa for Ajmer Sharif.