Monday, July 2, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Political leaders estranged from kin
Tribune News Service

Jammu, July 1
It is not as smooth as meets the eye as far as the domestic affairs of some political leaders in the Kashmir valley are concerned.

Ms Shabnam Lone, daughter of the senior Hurriyat Conference leader, Mr Abdul Gani Lone, has fallen apart from her brother, Mr Sajjad Lone, who is married to the daughter of JKLF supremo Amanullah Khan.

Latest reports say Ms Shabnam, a prominent practising lawyer in the Supreme Court and the high court, has left her father’s house and is staying in a palatial house, taken on rent, at Brain near Nishat in Srinagar.

Inside reports say Ms Shabnam, though being a darling daughter of Mr Lone, developed differences with her brother on the floating of a company in which he had shown Ms Shabnam as a partner. Since the company earned disrepute, Ms Shabnam severed relations with her brother.

Ms Shabnam neither visited Pakistan in November last where Mr Sajjad got married to Mr Khan’s daughter nor she attended a reception hosted in Srinagar in May last by Mr Lone in connection with the marriage of his daughter and the arrival of his daughter-in-law in the summer capital.

Reports said National Conference leaders were trying to woo Ms Shabnam to the ruling party so that she could be fielded from Handwara or any other Assembly constituency in Kupwara district, which is considered a stronghold of Mr Lone.

Within the ruling Sheikh family, everything does not seem to be smooth. Apart from the strained relations among the three sons of late Sheikh Abdullah, Dr Farooq Abdullah’s family, too, seems to have been gripped by a minor conflict.

According to these reports, the eldest daughter of Dr Farooq had locked two rooms in her father’s bungalow on the Gupkar road. Possibly she wanted to use the two rooms during her occasional visit and for storing her valuables.

Dr Farooq’s daughter-in-law, Ms Payal Abdullah, wife of Mr Omar Abdullah, Union Minister of State for Commerce, recently barged into the bungalow and broke open the locks of one of the rooms, sealed by Dr Farooq’s daughter, and removed her valuables.

Before this incident could trigger a major conflict, family members reached a compromise. Under it, Mr Omar Abdullah and his wife have been allotted a house a few yards away from Chief Minister’s residence which, at present, is being occupied by Mrs Surya Mattoo, sister of Dr Abdullah.

Mrs Surya has been made to agree to shift to the bungalow behind Nedous Hotel on Maulana Azad Road, where Sheikh Abdullah had lived for decades till his end.

Reports said Dr Farooq, who has been in London for the past one month, had hit upon the compromise formula.

But Mr Lone is yet to reunite his son and daughter.

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