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Pak to forward Rashid’s name for visit today

Islamabad, June 20
Despite clear indications from India that it would not allow Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to visit Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad said today that it would forward his name for permission to travel by the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus on June 30.

“The list of intending passengers to travel by the next Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus would be exchanged on June 21. My understanding is that Rashid had applied for permission and his name would be there on the list that will be exchanged tomorrow,” Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Jalil Abbas Jilani told reporters here.

There are indications that India might not give permission to Rashid, who claims himself to be a Kashmiri, to visit Jammu and Kashmir by the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus in the wake of reports that he had organised Kashmiri militant training camps at his farmhouse.

Jilani declined to react to the Ministry of External Affairs statement expressing concern over reports about Rashid conducting the military training camps or to the reactions from the Congress and the BJP opposing his visit.

As per his earlier plan Rashid wants to travel to Srinagar with a large media contingent.

New Delhi: Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, suspected of running a terrorist training camp, has not yet sent in his application for travelling on June 30 by the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, it was officially stated today.

“As far as I know, till now, no such application has been received,” External Affairs Ministry spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

On whether Rashid would require the entry permit since parliamentarians among SAARC countries have been exempted from visa requirements for travelling to each others’ country, he said there was an explicit understanding on the bus service and hoped Pakistan would abide by that.

Rashid has reiterated in Islamabad that he proposes to travel to Srinagar by the bus on June 30 to offer prayers at his ancestral graveyard. — PTI

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