Pakistan PM invites Hurriyat leader Geelani to Islamabad

Published: 10th October 2015 10:02 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th October 2015 10:02 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has invited Hurriyat conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani to visit Islamabad to talk about Kashmir.

The invitation was handed over by the Pakistan high commissioner Abdul Basit during a two-hour long dinner on Friday night with the Hurriyat leader SAS Geelani.

Earlier India had put Geelani in house arrest to stop him from coming to Delhi to meet Pakistan NSA Sartaj Aziz, following which the entire visit was cancelled in August. India had stated that the agenda of the NSA-level meeting limited to terrorism, while Pakistan asserted that it encompassed all outstanding issues.

Speaking to Express, Hurriyat spokesperson and close Geelani aide Ayaz Akbar confirmed that the invitation had been received and accepted from the Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif in his letter had not given a specific date for his invitation, but hoped that Geelani came to Islamabad “as soon as possible”, Akbar said. Sharif and Geelani had last met in 2005 when both were on Haj in Saudi Arabia.

As per diplomatic sources, the invitation was mentioned as part of Pakistan PM’s reply to Geelani’s letter.

Earlier, Geelani had been miffed that the statement issued after the Ufa meeting of Indian and Pakistani Prime Ministers did not mention Kashmir explicitly. Upset, he had boycotted the eid Milan of the Pakistani envoy, where all hurriyat leaders were invited.

That had been temporary, with Sharif apparently writing to Geelani that Kashmir was not just a border dispute, but was also about “right to self-determination” which  was the “unfinished agenda of Pakistan formation”.

“We want good relations with all our neighbours, including India but New Delhi’s unrealistic approach has been a big impediment,” the spokesman quoted Mr. Sharif having said in the letter.

Last month, Geelani’s passport had been suspended for four weeks in September to stop him from travelling to New York and attend an event of Organisation of Islamic Conference – just as Prime Minister Modi was in US to attend the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit.


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