JEHANGIR ALI | 18 MAY, 2015
Geelani’s Passport Divides PDP-BJP Coalition
The Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani copy
SRINAGAR: Pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani’s passport has driven a wedge between the coalition partners, BJP and Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) , in Jammu and Kashmir.
While a senior cabinet minister had said on Saturday that the government was considering to facilitate the process of issuing passport to the separatist leader who wants to meet his ailing daughter in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the BJP Sunday openly objected.
A senior BJP leader said that Geelani's passport should not be issued until he apologises for his activities over the last two decades.
"Only when Geelani accepts that he is an Indian and won't indulge in anti-India activities should the government of India consider his request," he said.
The party's spokesperson for J&K, Khalid Jehangir, echoed his views.
"Geelani is responsible for creating trouble across the Kashmir Valley. His views on Kashmir are known to everyone. I don't think it is in our interest to issue him the passport," he said.
Ayaz Akbar, the spokesperson for Geelani, said the separatist leader filed an application for the travel documents with the passport office in Srinagar.
“It is a humanitarian issue of a father meeting his daughter. Geelani sahib is not going on a ‘political trip’,” he said.
The separatist leader's daughter, Farhat Jabeen Geelani, is terminally ill and admitted at a hospital in Jeddah.
The PDP led government has promised to hold dialogue with separatists in Kashmir in their alliance agenda with the BJP and if Geelani's passport is cleared, the party will peddle the issue as its victory.
Although the remarks by BJP have irked the PDP leadership, a senior PDP leader said, "When other separatist leaders can have passports and travel around the world, there is nothing wrong in Geelani getting one to meet his ailing daughter."