The son of hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Friday said an “unnecessary” political controversy was being created over a humanitarian issue and his father should be issued a passport to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia.
Geelani, his wife and his son, Dr Naseem, had applied for passports online. While the Ministry of External Affairs processed the requests of his wife and son, it had said on Thursday the separatist leader’s application was “incomplete’’. The MEA’s refusal to process the application comes amid differences between BJP and PDP over Geelani’s request for a passport.
While BJP leaders have demanded that the separatist leader must first apologise and acknowledge himself as an Indian, PDP wants a passport to be issued on humanitarian grounds.
In the first ever reaction from Geelani’s family over the issue, his son Dr Naseem told The Indian Express: “I am really upset to see such a hue and cry regarding the issuance of passport to my father. Our family is, at this time, worried due to the illness of my sister and is getting more worried by this hue and cry.”
In an apparent reference to BJP’s demand, he asked: “By making this hue and cry, what they want to say is that we in Jammu and Kashmir have no right to apply for a passport?”
“Time is the best healer and Allah Almighty will recover my sister. God forbid if something untoward happens to my sister then what else can we do? We will pray to Almighty Allah to give us Saber-e-Jameet,’’ he said.
Geelani, who had been elected thrice to the Assembly from Sopore in 1972, 1977 and 1987, was earlier issued passports in 2007, 2008 and 2011. However, the validity of his passport, according to Geelani’s application, expired three years ago.
Contradicting the official stance over the issue, Dr Naseem said the application form was generated online at the official website of the MEA.
One has to fill up all its columns and complete it in all respects as otherwise the system itself does not accept it at the time of submission, he pointed out, adding that even the requisite fee was paid online.
About the submission of biometric details, he said his father needs to visit a passport office, where officials would take his photograph and finger prints. Geelani, however, is unable to do so as the state government has put him under house arrest since the last month, his son alleged.
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