Kashmiri separatist leader and All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been issued a short-term passport by authorities, India media reported on Tuesday.
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 he completed the form and mentioned Indian in the nationality section of the passport form. Although the Kashmiri leader 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.
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."
Published in The Express Tribune, July 22nd, 2015.
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