Asma Khan’s wedding turns into political gathering
19 November 2000
RAWALPINDI: The ‘rukhsati’ ceremony of Asma Khan, daughter of JKLF Chief Amanullah with Sajjad Lone, the son of senior Hurriyat leader Abdul Ghani Lone on Sunday was more political than a social gathering. Senior Kashmiri leaders from both sides of the Line of Control and important Pakistani personalities were among the hundreds of invitees, attended the ceremony at Green Palace hotel in Rawalpindi. The venue for the ‘rukhsati’ was changed at last moment in view of the expected rush of the people. The marriage of Lone’s Dubai-based Kashmiri businessman with the daughter of Pakistan-based Kashmiri leader had evinced foreign and local press interest in the ceremony. Pakistani as well as Indian press gave wide coverage to Khan’s daughter marriage in the past week, especially after Indian government issued passport to Mr. Lone to travel to Pakistan to enjoy the moment with other family members. Lone’s arrival got front-page coverage in all Pakistani newspaper with his photograph, waving hands to hundreds of enthusiastic youth. Prominent among those who attended the ceremony included Barrister Sultan Mahmood, the ''Prime Minister'' of Azad Jammu Kashmir, Abdur Rashid Turabi, chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Azad Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Nowshervi, deputy chief Jamaat-e-Islami occupied Kashmir, Yousuf Nasim, the Pakistan-based chief of APHC, Sardar Qayyum Khan, the former AJK Prime Minister. President Rafiq Tarar was among those who sent messages to Abdul Ghani Lone and Amanullah Khan on the occasion. According to Amanullah Khan’s announcement Benazir Bhutto, I.K.Gujral and Shabir Shah also sent greeting messages. Special arrangements for separate sittings of women and men invitees were made in two halls of the hotel. The guests were offered tea as food can be served to guest in any marriage ceremony under the rules adopted by the second Nawaz Sharif government as party of austerity drive. The bride groom, attired in black colour Jothpuri suit, was sitting along with his father Abdul Ghani Lone, father in law, Amanullah Khan, the AJK Prime Minister Barrister Sultan Mehmood, former AJK premier Sardar Qayyum and Jamaat-e-Islami deputy chief occupied Kashmir Ghulam Nabi Nowsherhri. Amanullah Khan told the gathering that he had sent invitation to 200 guests in India however passports to 60 were not issued by the Indian government who wanted to attend the wedding ceremony. Khan said he met Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar and requested him to help issue visas to the guests from India. ''Sattar told me to discuss the issue with the Interior Minister. The Interior Minister sought list of the invitees. I told him that the list contains names of a large number of people and asked him to issue visas to only nine people. But unfortunately visas were not issued to them''. Abdur Rashid Turabi, Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Azad Kashmir offered ‘dua’ (prayers) on the occasion and prayed that the marriage should lead to the ‘liberation’ of Kashmir.