KARACHI: Citing Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s account on Hafiz Saeed’ arrest, Indian opposition on Monday demanded to call off the upcoming cricket series between the two countries, BBC Urdu Service reported.
Leaders of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) have said that India should refrain itself from having dialogues with Pakistan. Former chief of the party Venkaiah Naidu said terrorism and cricket can not go along. “On one hand they (Pakistan) support terrorism and on the other a cricket series is being host for them…this can’t go side by side,” he said.
The interior minister is back from New Delhi where he went on a three-day visit to formalise a new visa accord last week.
Meanwhile, Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde also criticised his Pakistani counterpart’s claim that Islamabad had thrice arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
“Malik appears misinformed on the matter,” Shinde informed the Rajya Sabha (Parliament.)
Shinde said that through the documents, provided by Islamabad regarding detentions of Saeed on three instances, it is clear that he was arrested for other reasons and not for his role as a conspirator in 2008 attacks.
He pointed out that the Pakistani interior minister “has been telling us repeatedly that he had arrested Saeed thrice and that, on each occasion, he was let off by the courts for lack of evidence.”
Moreover, Ravi Shankar Prasad of the BJP assailed the Indian home minister for remaining “conspicuously silent” when Rehman Malik “interfered in the internal affairs of India” by raising the Babri Masjid issue during his visit.
Prasad said that action is not likely to be taken against Saeed as the LeT founder enjoys “protection of the Pakistan government.”
The Indian government however has rejected the demands of canceling the Pakistani tour. Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said that politics should not be mixed with sport. “Preparations for the tour are underway….it will be on time,” he added.
The Pakistani cricket team’s tour is scheduled to commence with the opening Twenty20 game at Bangalore on Dec 25. This will be the first bilateral series between the two neighbors since Pakistan’s tour of India in November 2007.