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Headley’s half-brother at Vajpayee’s funeral: he is not blacklisted, say officials

Proper procedure was followed for allowing the half-brother of 26/11-attack accused David Headley, to visit India as part of the Pakistani delegation to the funeral of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, official sources said on Sunday.

Political storm

The official response came after a political controversy broke out over Danyal Gilani’s presence in Delhi where he was part of the delegation of Law and Information Minister of Pakistan Syed Ali Zafar.

“How did the government allow Headley’s brother to come into India? They have to answer,” Congress spokesperson Meem Afzal said, questioning the decision of the Ministry of External Affairs to allow Mr. Gilani to land in Delhi.

But sources said that Mr. Gilani’s name was not in the blacklist of Pakistani citizens who are generally not allowed to visit India.

“He does not figure in our blacklist. There are no reports of his links to terrorism,” said an official, explaining India’s permission.

Mr. Gilani’s father Syed Salim Gilani, a famous Pakistani broadcaster fathered David Headley during his stint in the United States.

He subsequently returned to Pakistan where he had a new family including son Danyal Gilani.

Officials indicated that India was aware of the family ties between the two half-brothers but said that connecting both was a bit of a “stretch” as Mr. Gilani had publicly disowned Headley. He is a director in the office of the Law Minister.

It is learnt that Mr Gilani did not participate in the talks that were held between the visiting minister and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, though he was present at the venue and interacted with limited number of media personnel. Mr Gilani was also not seen in the funeral where the Pakistani minister paid his tributes to the departed Indian leader.

Mr Gilani who is currently serving as the director in the office of the minister of law and information had put his photographs in the social media before the delegation left for India. Subsequently however, he did not feature in the photograph and video of the meeting between Mr Zafar and Ms Swaraj.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 2:41:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/headleys-half-brother-at-vajpayees-funeral-he-is-not-blacklisted-say-officials/article24731930.ece

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