The Indian government has defended its decision to issue a visa to former Pakistan cricketer Javed Miandad, saying he is not on India's "negative list".
"He 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 visa," Minister of State for Home R P N Singh told reporters in Delhi on Thursday.
Asked if Miandad is not on India's "negative list", Singh said, "No, nothing like that. He was given visa when his visa papers were found valid."
The government's decision has been criticized by the BJP and Shiv Sena, which cited Miandad's family ties with fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.
Miandad's son Junaid is married to Mahrukh, the daughter of Dawood, who is wanted in India in connection with the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts case.
Due to Miandad's family ties with Dawood, India's most wanted terrorist, there were reports before a series in 2005 that any requests for a visa by the batting great could be turned down by the Indian government.
Asked for his reaction, External Affairs minister Salman Khurshid said, "It's a decision that has been taken by the Home Ministry, 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."
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 on January 6.