Mehbooba Mufti Supports Geelani in Passport Row
SRINAGAR: Peoples Democratic Party president, Mehbooba Mufti, Wednesday came out in support of pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, saying he must be allowed to meet his ailing daughter.
“Our government will not create any hurdle in the process. As a daughter, I feel that no one should stop a father from meeting his children,” Mehbooba said.
Hitting out at the BJP, the PDP's coalition partner in Jammu and Kashmir whose leadership has been demanding an apology from the separatist leader over his 'anti-India' activities, Mehbooba Mufti said no one should raise objections over a father's meeting with his ailing daughter.
“There is no say of politics on this issue. A daughter who is sick should be given a chance to meet her father. I don’t see any issue if such a measure is taken,” Mehbooba, who represents Anantnag parliamentary constituency in Lok Sabha, said.
The BJP, however, called Mehbooba's statement as "personal views" and said that Geelani must first apologise. After the Srinagar-based spokesperson, Khalid Jehangir, objected to issuing passport to Geelani, the state BJP spokesperson, Arun Gupta, reiterated that the octogenarian leader must first apologise.
"It is Mehbooba Mufti's view that Geelani should be given a passport, but there is no change in BJP's stand. He has remained anti-national, so he must not be given a passport at all," Gupta said on Wednesday.
Along with his wife and son, Geelani submitted an application form for the issuance of the passport on May 15 for meeting his ailing daughter in Jeddah.
The issue of has sparked a political row in the state with the PDP as well as the opposition National Conference favouring the separatist leader. However, the Congress as well as the BJP have objected.
The issue has also underlined the glaring differences between the coalition partners over issues which lie at the heart of the Kashmir problem.
Mehbooba, however, said the final decision has to be taken by the ministry of home affairs (MHA), "The state government will not act as a hurdle in the process.
She however said that besides Geelani, other separatist leaders like moderate Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF's Mohammad Yasin Malik were issued passport by UPA-led government at the Centre.
"When Mirwaiz and Yasin Malik could be given passports, why are hindrances being created for meeting between an aged father and his ailing daughter," she said.
The spokesman of moderate Hurriyat however termed her statement as "a blatant lie". “Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has been denied the vital travel document from the past three years. Mehbooba should ascertain the facts before making them public,” he said.