Hurriyat's Syed Geelani gets passport for the first time in 20 yrs

Hindustan Times | ByPeerzada Ashiq, Srinagar Srinagar
Jul 22, 2015 07:17 AM IST

In a move to reflect soft approach towards separatists in Kashmir, the authorities on Tuesday decided to issue a short-term passport to Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani.

Separatist Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been issued a short-term passport by authorities.

Kashmir's regional passport officer Firdous Iqbal confirmed that a short validity passport has been sent to the Hurriyat leader on his address through a post.

It will be for the first time in the past two decades that Geelani will be allowed to travel abroad. In the past, Geelani was refused a passport thrice in 2007, 2008 and 2011.

The issuance of the passport comes after Geelani completed the form and mentioned Indian in the nationality section of the passport form.

Although he later said, "I am not by birth an Indian. It is a compulsion.”

Geelani, 86, had applied for travel documents to visit Saudi Arabia in May to meet his younger daughter Farhat Jabeen Geelani, who is not keeping well these days.

"She is suffering from serious nerve problems and is looking forward to seeing her father. Geelani sahib is very much attached to her and is desperate to see her,” Hurriyat spokesperson Ayaz Akbar said.

Farhat, in her 30s, has been living with her husband in Saudi Arabia's capital Jeddah for several years now.

Though the political parties in the state are yet to react to Geelani getting a passport, a senior PDP leader said, "Nothing more should be read in it than allowing him to travel on humanitarian grounds".

Coincidentally, the passport was issued on the day when national security advisor Ajit Doval is in the town and held a series of meetings with chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, army and police officials.


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