New Delhi : Separatist leaders from Jammu and Kashmir, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have been invited by the Pakistan High Commission for the annual Iftar party in New Delhi on June 25. Most of the top and middle-rung separatist leaders from both factions of Hurriyat Conference as well as the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front have been invited to the event.
"Yes, we have received an invitation from Pakistan High Commission for an Iftar party on June 25," Ayaz Akbar, spokesperson for the hardline Hurriyat faction led by Mr Geelani told in an interview. Akbar said around 30 members belonging to various constituents of the Geelani's faction have been invited by the Pakistan High Commission.
They include Geelani, Ashraf Sehrai, Shabir Shah and Nayeem Khan, Akbar said. Though it was not yet decided whether Geelani would attend, the Hurriyat will be represented at the Iftar party, he said. The moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and its other executive members have also been invited, Mirwaiz's media advisor Shahid-ul-Islam said. Apart from Mirwaiz, former Hurriyat chairmen Moulana Abbas Ansari and Abdul Gani Bhat have also been invited, he said.
Islam said no decision has been taken yet by the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat faction on attending the party. "We have some days till Saturday to decide on it," he said. JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik has also been invited, a party spokesperson said. However, as Malik is under police custody, a decision on attending the Iftar party has been not taken, the spokesperson said. Meanwhile, Union Minister of State in PMO, Jitendra Singh reacted with caution to the issue, saying the Ministry of External Affairs will take a call on it. "I think the Ministry of External Affairs will take a call on it," Singh told reporters. He was replying to a question on whether the invitation extended to the separatists for Iftar by the Pakistan High Commissioner was a provocation by the neighbouring country with regard to normalisation of Indo-Pak relations.