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TORONTO: India has denied visa to Canada-based Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Tahirul Qadri.
A Muslim scholar who heads Minhajul Quran International (MQI), Qadri was scheduled to address meetings in 40 cities in India during his over a month-long visit.
He was to be hosted by the Mumbai-based Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the Minhajul Quran International (India) during his visit.
Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), has been quoted as saying that “officials in the Home Ministry told us that Dr Qadri’s visa has been denied because of Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) note. We were not informed on what grounds the IB has issued the note in question.’’
In its statement, the Minhajul Quran International (MQI) said the denial of visa is “shocking as Dr Qadri has millions of followers in India, and it is not the first time he is visiting the country.’’
Qadri last visited India in February 2012.
The 62-year-old Islamic scholar, who was born in Jhang in Pakistani Punjab, made headlines in December 2012 when returned to the Pakistani capital Islamabad to lead the so-called `million men’ march against government corruption and electoral malpractices.
A controversial figure, Qadri has been accused of helping shape blasphemy laws during the time of military dictator Gen Zia ul-Haq.