Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)
GEELANI GETS PASSPORT
The authorities have decided to issue a short-term passport to Hurriyat chairman Syed Geelani. >>
SRINAGAR: In a move to reflect soft approach towards separatists in Kashmir, the authorities on Tuesday decided to issue a shortterm passport to Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani.
Kashmir’s regional passport officer Firdous Iqbal confirmed that a short validity passport has been sent to Geelani.
It will be for the first time in the past two decades that Geelani will be allowed to travel abroad. In the past, Geelani was refused passport thrice in 2007, 2008 and 2011. The issuance of the passport comes after Geelani competed the form and mentioned Indian as nationality. Though he later said, “I am not by birth an Indian. It is a compulsion.” Geelani has already fulfilled the formalities for it. Geelani (86) had applied afresh for travel documents to visit Saudi Arabia in May to see younger daughter Farhat Jabeen Geelani, who is not keeping well these days. “She is suffering for serious nerve problems and is looking forward to see her father. Geelani sahib is very much attached to her too and is desperate to see her,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said.
It remains to be seen how political parties take the BJP-PDP government’s move to allow Geelani to travel abroad. Though a senior PDP leader said, “Nothing more should be read in it than allowing him to travel on humanitarian grounds.”