Hamid Ansari refutes BJP’s charges of inviting Pak journalist
New Delhi, July 13 (IANS): Former Vice President Hamid Ansari has refuted the charges levelled by the BJP that he invited a Pakistan journalist to visit India when he was the Vice President, stating that only the government can shed light on the matter and tell the truth.
The remarks came after the BJP on Wednesday slammed Ansari and the Congress and sought their clarification over claims made by Nusrat Mirza, a Pakistani journalist, that he had visited India five times during the UPA rule, and shared sensitive information collected during his visits with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) back home.
In a signed statement, Ansari said that a litany of falsehood has been unleashed on him in some sections of the media and by the official spokesman of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Addressing the media earlier on Wednesday, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia had said, “If Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, and the then Vice President, remain silent on the questions raised by the ruling party, it will amount to their admission to these sins.
“People of India are giving you (Ansari) so much respect and you are betraying the country. Isn’t this treason? Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Hamid Ansari should come out and reply to this.”
Responding to the allegations, Ansari said, “It is a known fact that invitations to foreign dignitaries by the Vice President are sent on the advice of the government, generally through the Ministry of External Affairs.
“I had inaugurated the ‘International Conference of Jurists on International Terrorism and Human Rights’ on December 11, 2010. As is the normal practice, the list of invitees would have been drawn by the organisers. I never invited him or met him.”
In his defence, Ansari said that his work as Ambassador to Iran was at all times within the knowledge of the government of the day.
“I am bound by the commitment to national security in such matters and refrain from commenting on them. The government of India has all the information and is the only authority to tell the truth. It is a matter of record that after my stint in Tehran, I was appointed India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York. My work there has been acknowledged both at home and abroad,” Ansari said.
He added that it has been alleged that as the Vice President, he had invited the Pakistani journalist whom he had met during a conference on terrorism in New Delhi, and that as the Ambassador to Iran, he had betrayed the national interest for which allegations were levelled by a former official of a government agency, both of which are false as their is no truth in them.
Earlier, Bhatia had said that in an interview, Pakistani journalist Mirza has claimed that Ansari had invited him five times to India during 2005-11 and shared extremely sensitive and classified information, which he shared with the ISI.