February 2001 News

Govt may allow Hurriyat team to visit to Pakistan

22 February 2001
The Statesman

New Delhi: The decks appear to have been cleared for some Hurriyat leaders to visit Pakistan and hold talks with the military regime and militant organisations there following the extension of ceasefire for another three months. A consensus seems to have emerged to allow three or four Hurriyat leaders to visit Pakistan. It may not come through soon, because if they are sent immediately, it would appear as if New Delhi is pushing it in a hurried manner, sources said. Of the five leaders, selected by the All Party Hurriyat Conference chief for the visit, Syed Ali Shah Geelani (Jamaat-e-Islami) may be dropped from the team. Mr Geelani, a pro-Pakistan leader, has lately been making controversial statements on the movement being carried out by the rest of the Hurriyat members. A sharp contrast of views appeared within the APHC recently when Mr Geelani gave a religious colour to the whole issue while others regarded it only as a political one. Mr Geelani is also for independence of Kashmir which is not appreciated by many. There also seems to be a secret understanding of give-and-take between the Hurriyat and the government. If the Hurriyat drops Mr Geelani from their team, they get a chance to visit Pakistan and win the support of people in Kashmir. The process for issuing passports to the Hurriyat leaders is expected to start as soon as there is a green signal. Of the five team members, except Mirwaiz Umar Farooq of the Awami Action Committee, none of the others has a passport. Mr Abdul Gani Lone of the Peopleís Conference was issued one for a short period for his sonís marriage, but it lapsed recently. Moulvi Abbas Ansari of the Ithad-ul-Mulimeel, Shiekh Abdul Aziz of the Peopleís League and Mr Geelani also donít have passports.


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