Why should a former Pakistani cricketer not get a visa to visit India? The obvious reason is that his son is married to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's daughter.
I am not a proponent of Aman ki Asha, and his trip is not a part of it. To suggest that the Indian government is doing so as some kind of détente is ridiculous. We have celebrities visit us, and work here too, including cricketers.
Isn't his connection with Dawood Ibrahim sufficient?
Doesn't anyone realise how strange this sounds? If, as is the practice meted out to most criminals, he is on top of the 'wanted' list, should the GoI not have asked the Pakistani government to question Miandad years ago when the marriage and wedding plans were flaunted openly and our media and senior officers went to Dubai and returned with nothing, except wedding pictures?
We won't even get into the subject of the Sharjah matches where celebrities were spotted on the stands with him. Some later claimed they were under pressure to do so. This is just too convenient. The underworld financed Bollywood for a long time, and they were happy to be his guests.
There is a lot of hair-splitting over nomenclature. From don to terrorist. The March 1993 bomb blasts ring out clearly in people's minds.
Has the Indian government managed to arrest him? Why can we not take responsibility? Dawood Ibrahim is an Indian. His family lives in India. In Mumbai. His brother was to contest an election. Everybody seems to know where he is, but there's no hurry to arrest him.
It is fairly common knowledge that everyone,from the cops to politicians, maintain a rapport with the underworld. It's been this way from the days of Haji Mastan, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Chhota Rajan (his Ganesh pandal in Chembur was a great draw and his brother produced films, including 'Vaastav' loosely based on his life), Dawood and the later entrants.
All of the big ones escaped the legal rap. The great encounter specialists depend on informants from rival gangs. It is a relationship beyond convenience, though.
Since there is so much discussion about 'shame', why are we as Indians not ashamed that such blasts took place? Where are our Intelligence agencies? We should be ashamed that even Portugal wants its extradition of Abu Salem reverted because they don't think he is getting justice! We should be ashamed that our cops don't have proper ammunition and facilities. On a tangential note, on New Year's Eve, due to special bandobast, policemen got two packets of biscuit each for a 12-hour shift.
I will not under any circumstances let the popular idea of terrorism overtake other crimes. By trying to make Dawood into a Pakistani stooge - something we already know was exposed by their magazine and not our security agencies - we completely ignore the killings of others, during the riots that preceded the bomb blasts (no luxury of 'action-reaction' terminology permitted here), during police shootouts, and by the gangs that operate under a different guise these days.
If we have problems with Javed Miandad visiting India because of familial links with Dawood, then we'd like to consider stopping all diplomatic ties and peace efforts. These tantalising attempts in cricket, music and trade reek of political hypocrisy.
Also, it is time we cleared our own dirt. The 1993 blasts culprits were arrested, compensation given in quick time. The victims of the riots preceding are still waiting for justice.
Does the Indian government want Dawood Ibrahim for that, too? In fact, it just might be an idea, considering his influence.
The reason the Opposition has dragged in this visa issue up is simply because we need a 'war-like' situation with Pakistan at all times. They seem to be doing rather well on the field in the current ODI series, so we can't display painted faces patriotism. The next best alternative is throw a loose cannon. It won't hit the target as it is not meant to, but will bring out the nationalist in every 'sporting' Indian.
PS: Imagine if Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik turns around and says, "Send us a dossier. We don't even know whether Javed Miandad lives here"!© Farzana Versey --- Picture: Javed Miandad with Mr. Clean Sachin Tendulkar.