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Miandad cancels trip amid visa controversy

Former Pakistan captain calls off visit to avoid inflaming situation

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Former Pakistani skipper Javed Miandad was planning towatch the third and final ODI match in Delhi.
Gulf News

Lahore: Javed Miandad, whose son is married to underworld don Dawood Ebrahim’s daughter, on Friday cancelled his visit to Delhi in the wake of a raging controversy in India over giving him a visa for the trip.

Former Pakistan captain Miandad, who was planning to watch the third and final ODI in Delhi, cancelled his visit to avoid inflaming the situation, a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said the PCB did not want the focus to move away from cricket to other matters.

Ever since news came out that Miandad, whose son Junaid married the fugitive Mumbai don’s daughter Mahrukh in Dubai in 2005, was coming to the country, there has been widespread anger at the Indian government’s decision to give him a visa for the visit.

The Indian government, however, justified the decision by saying that Miandad was not on the ‘negative list’ of those not to be given visas.

BJP and Shiv Sena had on Thursday lashed out at the government for granting the visa, asking how allowing a person related to Ibrahim would help improve bilateral ties.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Friday said there were three categories of people who could be given visas: people who have a return ticket and want to watch the match, players and members of the PCB.

“It’s a decision that has been taken by the Home Ministry,” Khursid said. “And I am sure they would have taken inputs from all concerned agencies and from our mission in Pakistan. I am sure they would have followed all procedures.”

Minister of State for Home RPN Singh added: “He [Miandad] 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 a visa.”

There had been reports before a series in 2005 that a request for a visa by the batting great was turned down by the Indian government.

Earlier, Uddhav Thackeray, leader of Shiv Sena, who oppose playing cricket against Pakistan, said in an editorial in the party’s mouthpiece Saamna that given Miandad’s relationship with Ebrahim, India could have sent out a strong message by not issuing a visa.

“Our lame government is seeking to forget the past and play cricket with Pakistan,” said Thackeray. “By issuing a visa to Miandad, our shameless government is now extending a hand of friendship to Dawood’s relative. When we have a lame and shameless government, Pakistan is bound to take advantage of us. What is a common man going to do?”