J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Geelaini’s visit to quake-hit delayed
M.L. Kak

Jammu, November 22
Separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s desire to visit earthquake sufferers in Muzaffarabad along with over 20 colleagues and supporters seems to have placed both Delhi and Islamabad in a predicament thereby causing delay in granting permission to him to cross the border.

Mr Geelani has accused Delhi of adopting delaying tactics in permitting him to travel to Muzaffarabad. He said that despite the fact that he and his colleagues in the Tehrik Hurriyat Conference had applied for visa and other travel documents the permission had not given so far. He said in case he was not allowed to travel to Muzaffarabad by the first week of December he would announce his next action.

Official sources said here today that Islamabad did not want Mr Geelani travel to Muzaffarabad as it had fears that the Jamait-e-Islami leadership in Pakistan might utilise the presence of Mr Geelani for kicking up anti-Pervez Musharraf sentiments.

In the past over six months Syed Ali Shah Geelani, otherwise known for his pro-Pakistan leanings, has fulminated against Gen Musharraf’s Kashmir policy holding him guilty of having given preference to trade and travel instead of resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The establishment in Islamabad would not like Mr Geelani to use Pakistan’s soil for criticising Gen Musharraf’s Kashmir policy.




New Delhi too is not much favourably disposed towards Syed Ali Shah Geelani as it is towards the APHC leadership which is evident from the way the APHC leaders were allowed to travel to Muzaffarabad via Uri. Not only this the Government of India did not take cognisance of what is called breach of trust by the APHC leaders when they visited Pakistan without valid travel documents.

As such Delhi would try to discourage Mr Geelani from visiting Muzaffarabad as it apprehends that during his visit to Pakistan occupied Kashmir he might cause embarrassing position for the Government of India by repeating his statements on alleged human rights violations by the security forces in the Kashmir valley.

On the other hand the APHC leaders too are keen on visiting Muzaffarabad so that they too were able to distribute relief material among quake-hit people. The Hurriyat leaders, according to the party sources, were waiting for an invitation from Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh for second round of talks so that after the session they would apply for permission to visit Islamabad for further discussion on the Kashmir issue.

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