Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray said on Saturday Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan deserved to be awarded Pakistan’s highest civilian honour, Nishaan-e-Pakistan, for supporting the inclusion of Pakistani cricketers in the Indian Premier League (IPL), Hindustan Times reported.

The Bollywood superstar, also the Kolkata Knight Riders co-owner, had said that he would have picked a Pakistani player for his IPL team if his team had a slot. In an editorial in Saturday’s party mouthpiece Saamna, Thackeray said the “Khan” inside Shah Rukh Khan must be crushed by the “Har Har Mahadev” war cry of the “Shivaji” inside the Hindus. The remark was reference to Chhatrapati Shivaji’s killing of Bijapur general Afzal Khan, sent by Sultan Adil Shah II of Bijapur in 1659, at Pratapgad in Satara district of western Maharashtra.

IPL franchise owners did not bid for Pakistani players during the auction for the IPL III, which has snowballed into a major spat between the two countries.

Thackeray said if “Shah Rukh wants to give a red carpet treatment to Pakistani cricketers on the blood of innocent Indians slain by Pakistani terrorists from Kashmir to Mumbai”, then, Thackeray warned, the Shiv Sena will never permit it.

He said by supporting the cause of Pakistani players, Shah Rukh had insulted the victims of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Thackeray said, “Since SRK has so much love for the Pakistanis, he could appoint 26/11 terror accused Ajmal Kasab as the captain of his Kolkata Knight Riders team and Mohammed Afzal Guru (facing death penalty for the 2001 attack on parliament) as the vice captain in the forthcoming IPL matches”.

In a related development, Congress state spokesman Hussain Dalwai wrote to state Home Minister RR Patil demanding security for Shah Rukh’s forthcoming release “My Name Is Khan”.

The News