Amid differences between BJP and PDP over Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani’s request for a passport, the Ministry of External Affairs Thursday said the application cannot be processed in its present form since it was “incomplete”. The Ministry of Home Affairs, meanwhile, said the separatist leader’s application will be processed “on merit”.
Breaking the MEA’s silence on the issue, its spokesperson Vikas Swarup Thursday said: “We have seen media reports of Syed Ali Geelani’s passport application. An incomplete passport application was received from him. Fees were not paid and the biometric details and photographs not submitted. The application cannot be processed in its present form.”
A Home Ministry spokesperson in Delhi, however, said: “Passport is the right of every Indian citizen and is issued by the MEA after following due process. In case any applicant applies for the passport, he should fulfill all the formalities before his case is processed. As and when the matter is referred to the Ministry of Home Affairs, we will process the case on merit.”
The ruling coalition partners in Jammu and Kashmir — BJP and PDP — have been sharply divided over Geelani’s request for a passport, even as former chief minister Omar Abdullah has termed it as a “fixed match” between the two partners.
Last week, the hardline Hurriyat leader applied for a passport at the Regional Passport Office. He wants to travel to Saudi Arabia to meet his ailing daughter Farhat Jabeen.
Though PDP and BJP said a final call on the matter would be taken by the two ministries, the leaders from the saffron party demanded the Hurriyat leader apologise before being allowed to travel abroad on an Indian passport.
Minister of State in the PMO Jitendra Singh said Geelani should first apologise for his “anti-national” activities and acknowledge that he is an Indian. Mehbooba, however, said the state government would not create any hurdle if passport is issued to the separatist leader, and that no country in the world should prevent a father from meeting his ailing daughter.