Geelani, Sharif disappointed by Musharraf's 'Kashmir deviation'
23 January 2006
The Daily Times
New Delhi: Deposed Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif hosted a reception for hardline Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani in Mecca a few days ago. The Indian government had allowed Geelani to perform Haj this year after 10 years. Sources revealed that a meeting between Geelani and Sharif lasted for “quite a while”. They discussed President Pervez Musharraf’s recent pronouncements on Kashmir. Both leaders expressed disappointment at Musharraf’s ‘deviation’ from the traditional Pakistani stance on Kashmir. Geelani said while Pakistan had shown too much flexibility, India hadn’t budged on the issue. He said the people of Kashmir continued to sacrifice their lives to liberate their land from Indian occupation but ironically “people in Kashmir are dubbed as terrorists”. Senior Pakistani officials have also arrived in Mecca to meet the hardline Kashmiri leader. Prominent Azad Kashmir leaders Nazir Ahmed Shawl, Abdullah Malik and Syed Salahuddin and Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami leaders Qazi Hussein Ahmed and Professor Khursheed Ahmed are already in Mecca to meet Geelani. Pakistani officials are trying to persuade him to join hands with Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s Hurriyat Conference to put up a united front to persuade the Indian government to reciprocate Musharraf’s proposals. Meanwhile India will use the scheduled Indian visit of Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to seek his help in containing the impact of such meetings. Indian government sources said India would “quietly” raise the issue of extremism with King Abdullah, who would be in New Delhi on a four-day visit from January 24.