Mahathir had told local media that PM Modi did not ask him about Zakir Naik during their meeting on the sidelines of the 5th East Economic Forum at Vladivostok.
India has strongly countered the claims by Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad suggesting that the issue of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik never came up during the discussion between the two premiers in Russia earlier this month. Mahathir had told local media that PM Modi did not ask him about Zakir Naik during their meeting on the sidelines of the 5th East Economic Forum at Vladivostok.
Countering the Malaysian PM, External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that India did raise the issue of the controversial Islamic preacher with Malaysia and the expectation (of extradition) was communicated. He further said India been persistently, relentlessly pursuing this matter at all levels.
“We filed our extradition request (for Zakir Naik) in January 2018. And from January 2018, we have been persistently, relentlessly pursuing this matter at all levels. My understanding — I was not at Vladivostok — of that meeting was that Zakir Naik issue did come up. The expectation was communicated from our side that the officials concerned should meet quickly and sort out this matter obviously to our satisfaction. Let me make it very clear for the record that there is an extradition request for Zakir Naik. We want Zakir Naik back and that is what we are working towards,” the Foreign minister said.
Earlier this month, PM Modi had met Mahathir Mohamad on the sidelines of the 5th East Economic Forum at Vladivostok in Russia. Following their meeting, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said: “Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik’s extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us.”
However, a local media quoted Mahathir as saying that Indian prime minister did not ask him about Zakir Naik. “Not many countries want him (Zakir Naik). I met Prime Minister Modi, he didn’t ask me for him. This man could also be troublesome for India,” he told Malaysian Media.
Naik has been booked under various charges by the National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate. He was first booked by the NIA for “deliberately and maliciously” insulting the religious beliefs of Hindus, Christians, and non-Wahabi Muslims particularly Sufis and the Barelwis with the intention of outraging their religious feelings.