The home ministry on Tuesday decided to suspend Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s passport for four weeks to prevent him from attending a meet organised by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in New York.
“Yes, we have suspended his passport for four weeks,” confirmed Regional Passport Officer, Srinagar, Firdous Iqbal. When asked why the passport was suspended, Iqbal said, “they will convey this to Geelani”.
Geelani was preparing to leave for New York to attend the meet after an invitation was extended to him last week. Home ministry sources said Geelani was planning to raise the Kashmir issue and “alleged persecution of Muslims in the Valley” at the conference. “This was not agreeable to the government and not in national interest,” said a home ministry official.
“Geelani will try his level best to represent the voices and concerns of the subjugated Kashmiris,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar had said on Sunday. “He will make the world leaders aware about the serious and grave situation in J&K and will impress upon them the need to work for the resolution of the long pending Kashmir dispute,” he said.
Sources said that Hurriyat moderate Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, who has also been invited to the OIC meet, may face suspension of his passport if he insists on attending the conference.
The annual coordination meeting of the OIC foreign ministers as well as the meeting of OIC Contact Group of Jammu and Kashmir will be held during the 70th session of the UN General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York from September 27 to October 1.
The invitation to Geelani and Farooq had been extended through letters by Director General of Cabinet, OIC, Dr Abdulaziz Alsebail. Mirwaiz too had said that he would attend the meet if the government allowed him to go and would write to the OIC about the current political, social and religious scenario in the state if he wasn’t.
This is not the first time that the two leaders have been invited to the meet. On all earlier occasions, they could not attend the meet as they were not given travel documents by the government.