As Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik’s public hobnobbing with Hafiz Saeed, suspected mastermind of 26/11 attacks, in Pakistan triggered an uproar in India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that it had issued “limited validity” passport to the separatist leader after receiving clearances from security agencies.
Noting that New Delhi has since long perceived Saeed as the mastermind of the Mumbai attacks, the MEA on Tuesday stated that if the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) requested for revocation of the passport, it would be considered “carefully and promptly.”
“This matter pertains to the MHA. The Union home minister said he would look into the issue. Our job is to faithfully implement the views taken by them,” External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid said.
MHA sources said Malik would be questioned after his return from Pakistan. If he was found guilty of anything, his passport would be revoked.
Minister of State for Home Affairs R P N Singh said the ministry would inquire into the matter.
Malik, one of the most prominent separatist leaders of J&K, travelled to meet his wife, Mishaal, a Pakistani citizen. Saeed, who allegedly founded the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), was photographed with Malik, who was on a hunger strike in Islamabad on Monday to protest against Afzal Guru’s execution.
India has since long been mounting pressure on Pakistan to bring Saeed to justice for his role in plotting the 26/11 carnage. Though the US announced a $ 10-million bounty, Islamabad is yet to arrest the “jihadi” ideologue, who now heads the Jamat-ud-Dawa.
BJP president Rajnath Singh on Tuesday demanded that the government take serious cognisance of Malik sharing the dais with Saeed. Senior leader M Venkaiah Naidu urged the Centre to impound his passport. Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said allowing Malik to travel across the border was a mistake.
Syed Akbaruddin, MEA spokesperson, said the Regional Passport Officer in Srinagar had issued the travel document to Malik after receiving a “No-Objection Certificate” from “a variety of agencies.”