LONDON: British Home Secretary Jack Straw has refused to temporarily revoke a deportation order against Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Amanullah Khan to enable him to attend the forthcoming proposed three-day conference of Kashmiri leaders in London.
The conference is being jointly organised by Lord Avebury, head of the "Friends of Kashmir" and vice chairman of Parliamentary Human Rights Group and Roger Godsiff, head of the Parliamentary Kashmir Group in the House of Commons. Leaders from both sides of the Line of Control have been invited to attend the conference beginning from May 29.
Lord Avebury had requested the home secretary to temporarily revoke the deportation order issued in November 1986 against the Kashmiri leader for just three days to enable him to attend the conference.
Britain had issued the deportation order against Mr Khan on Indian government's pressure. He was finally deported in December the same year.
In his reply to Lord Avebury's request, Jack Straw has recalled that Mr Khan was deported from Britain on the grounds that his presence in the country was not conducive to the public good for reasons of "national security". He told him that he had reviewed Amanullah Khan's case even in November 1997 when a similar request was made by MP Marsha Singh, elected from the Asian-dominated Southall area, west of London.
Mr Straw said that after carefully studying the case, after being approached by Mr Singh, he decided "it would not be appropriate to revoke the deportation order." But he gave no reasons for his decision saying: "As you are well aware, on national security reasons, I am not at liberty to disclose the reasons for my decisions."
"I have reviewed the case once again following your representation but I am not prepared to temporarily revoke the deportation order for three days to enable Mr Khan to attend the conference," Mr Straw said in his letter.
The organizers of the conference are though working hard to bring the leaders of the two sides of Kashmir to discuss the future of the Kashmir state, many important leaders may not be able to attend the conference for one reason or the other.
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