J&K Diary: Passport Row
The issue of passport for Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has kicked off a controversy in Kashmir.
The issuance of passport to the Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani is a personal issue and not a humanitarian one said PDP. “This issue has to be dealt with from humanitarian point of view and we will pursue the matter with the Union Home Ministry,” PDP president Mehbooba Mufti told PTI while commenting on application made by Geelani for a passport to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia.
The External Affairs Ministry on the other hand has said that Geelani’s passport application cannot be processed in its present forms as it is incomplete, and the passport fees, biometric details and photographs have yet not been submitted. The ministry added that the consideration for issuance of the passport comes only after a complete application is received by the authorities.
Issuance of passport is a technically administrative procedure. Even if we forgive Geelani of his boycotts of democratic process of election, we cannot ignore that he is a Pakistani flatterer who openly misguides people of the Valley.
Talking to a Kashmir centric newspaper, Mehbooba Mufti said that it is purely a humanitarian issue. “MHA will take a final call on it. We will ensure that he gets passport” said Mufti.
Mufti urges for humanitarian consideration for Geelani, but if so she should be mindful that in future there will be many who would urge her for humanitarian justice. Humanitarian is the issue of the West Pak refugees who, after 68 long years, are living in the state without the citizenship rights and thereby without many basic human rights. Humanitarian is the issue of Refugees from Pakistan Occupied Jammu-Kashmir (PoJK) who have left their ancestral lands, empty handed, after Pakistan, looted their land, wealth and respect in a lot of cases. Humanitarian is the issue of Kashmiri Hindus who, from last 25 years, are living in exile. Humanitarian is the issue of the Indian people of Gilgit-Baltistan who are living under the Pakistani forced occupation. Humanitarian causes are of millions of families who are waiting to be addressed. Will ‘humanitarianly sensitive’ Mehbooba Mufti in future raise the issue of humanitarian concern for them too?
Instead of saying that ‘we will ensure that he gets passport’, it would have been better if she would have said that she will ensure Geelani fulfills the necessary formalities like every other citizen of India for the issuance of passport. It would save many lives if she could also ensure that Geelani, no more, misguides the youth of the Valley and no Pakistani flags are waved during public rallies organised by the separatist leader.
The other question is from the Indian media which is an important part of the democracy and is therefore allowed to raise questions related to the interests of people to any minister of the democratically elected government. Post the passport row, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Home Minister Rajnath Singh have given statements on why Geelani’s passport has not been issued after media asked them to clarify. That the Media has questioned the government is fine, but the question is why it is so selective in its approach. It raised concern for Geelani, but how many people in India get clarification by Home Minister and Defence minister after their application of passport is rejected on technical grounds? Where does the media hide then; and so, if they fail to raise queries for a common man then why is there so much of hue and cry about Geelani’s passport?
Issuance of passport is a technically administrative procedure. Even if we forgive Geelani of his boycotts of democratic process of election, we cannot forget/ignore that he is a Pakistani flatterer who openly misguides
people of the Valley just to keep his masters happy. His successor Masarat Alam Bhat openly hails the
international terrorist Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Pakistani flags are waved during his rallies. There is an urgent need thus to look at national interest too.
(The writer is a researcher at J&K Study Center,