Some might say it’s a case of Pakistan pointing a gun at India while others see it as an instance of accidental fire.
Believe it or not, Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik, who visited India in December last year, gifted a non-firing vintage gun to his counterpart Sushilkumar Shinde – a curious gift, especially since LeT chief Hafiz Saeed and terrorism were high on the bilateral agenda.
According to an officer who was part of the talks between the two ministers, Malik proudly gifted the gun to Shinde, which led to some consternation among Indian officials, one of who wondered if a weapon could be accepted by the home minister.
Shinde, sources reveal, was quite kicked with the gift and Malik even joked about getting him a licence.
But the weapon did not make it to Shinde’s residence and instead went to the Toshakhana, as per rules governing gifts received from visiting dignitaries.
“We informed the ministry of external affairs that the minister desires to deposit the gun in the government treasury,’’ an officer in Shinde’s office confirmed when asked about the gun, adding, “Antiques are not evaluated.”
If Shinde wanted to keep the gun, he would have had to acquire a licence under the Arms Act.
Asked about the curious choice of a Pakistani home minister carting a weapon as a gift, especially when terrorism is top priority on the bilateral agenda, the officer in Shinde’s office said, “We can’t control their intentions. Let the matter rest with the fact that it was an antique piece and a non-firing weapon.”