The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was attacked by Congress on Monday in the Rajya Sabha over a meeting between a freelance journalist Ved Pratap Vaidik, and founder of the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) Hafiz Saeed. The meeting took place in Pakistan on July 2 and the ruling party disowned all contact between Vaidik, who has BJP leanings, and the JuD chief.
Parliament was stalled for over an hour in a storm over the meeting as Congress MPs demanded to know if the meeting had the authorisation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi or any other agencies in government. “Hafiz Saeed has been accused of attacking India,” replied Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, adding, “The government has nothing to do with the journalist’s meeting.”
Vaidik met Saeed in Pakistan and upon his return to India, gave several interviews about the meeting. He said Saeed had inquired after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wife and said he was not averse to Modi visiting Pakistan.
Vaidik said Saeed lives in a densely populated locality in Lahore with a security even greater than the prime minister’s. Vaidik has defended his meeting with the JuD leader, saying he is free to meet anyone in a journalistic capacity and adding, “I wasn’t an envoy of any prime minister.” The BJP was quick to distance itself from Vaidik.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 15th, 2014.
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