Geelani's Aide Meets Pak High Commissioner
Archives photograph of Hurriyat leader Ali Shah Geelani arriving at a reception at Pakistan House
SRINAGAR: A close aide of veteran Hurriyat leader, Syed Ali Geelani, has met Pakistan High Commissioner, Abdul Basit earlier this week in New Delhi.
The meeting comes after a group of separatists led by Geelani's Tehreek-e-Hurriyat boycotted the Pak High Commissioner's invitation to Eid-e-Milan last month which was attended by moderate Hurriyat leaders, including its chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
A Hurriyat leader confirmed that Geelani's son-in-law, Altaf Shah, a businessman, met Mr Basit at his office in New Delhi on Thursday but he claimed that Shah was there for "personal work". Shah also confirmed that he met Basit but refused to elaborate on what transpired between the two.
The meeting assumes significance against the backdrop of PDP youth president and Political Analyst in Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's Office, Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra's meeting with Shah in Jammu earlier this year when the new government was sworn in. Mufti and Geelani are "close friends".
The meeting is also an important development in the warming up of relations between India and Pakistan. The two countries have announced a slew of measures to improve bilateral ties and the NSA level meeting between them is scheduled later this month in Islamabad where Kashmir issue is likely to figure prominently.
Geelani's had earlier rebuffed the Pakistani invite for the July 21 Eid Milan, which was seen as a "setback" to Islamabad's efforts to get all the separatists together. The octogenarian Hurriyat leader had decided to "boycott" the Eid Milan function as a mark of protest against skipping mention of Kashmir in the joint statement read out after talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa, Russia on July 10.
"It is sad that there was no mention of Kashmir in the recent meeting of Indo-Pak prime ministers," Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar had quoted Geelani as saying. "As a symbolic protest, Hurriyat has decided to boycott the Eid-i-Milan function".
The Pakistan High Commission had earlier cancelled a July 4 Iftar with the Kashmiri separatist leaders in view of the Modi-Sharif meeting in Ufa, Russia.