November 2000 News

Indian envoy attends Lone-Khan wedding reception

21 November 2000
Lalit Koul

New Delhi: The luncheon reception given by All Party Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Ghani Lone in Islamabad on Monday to celebrate the marriage of his son with the daughter of Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Amanullah Khan turned out to be a grand affair with Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Vijay Nambiar also responding to the invitation and spending four hours at the function held at a five-star hotel. While leaders of Pakistan''s ruling establishment and almost all political parties and militant organisations were present, it was Nambiar, along with his wife, who virtually stole the show. Kashmiri leaders from either side of the Line of Control got themselves photographed with Nambiar. It was the first wedding reception of a Kashmiri leader''s family attended by Nambiar. Nambiar stayed on till the end of the function, one reason for this being that his wife was not allowed to leave early by the women members of Lone''s family who wanted her to have lunch along with the other women guests, and as it happened, their turn came only at the end. In the meantime, a large number of the Kashmiri leaders noticed the presence of the Indian High Commissioner and walked up to him. Nambiar and his wife were seen off by Bilal Lone, elder son of Lone, and his wife Farhat. When Nambiar walked up to the dais to offer congratulations to Sajjad Lone, the second son of Lone, who has married Asma Khan, the only daughter of Amanullah Khan, the bridegroom thanked him and his wife profusely. Pakistani leaders turned up in a big way. Attiya Inayatullah, a minister in the Pervez Musharraf government and a member of the high-powered security council of Pakistan, Nawabzada Mir Nasarullah, head of the Grand Democratic Alliance of opposition parties, Aijaz-Ul-Haq, son of former Pakistan president Zia-ul-Haq and Barrister Sultan Mahmood, the prime minister of ''Azad'' Kashmir, were also present. Inayatullah is the granddaughter of noted Kashmir historian Mohammad-din-Fauq. Former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto sent a bouquet and gift for the newly-wed couple, which was presented to the bridegroom by Mahmood. Moulvi Hafiz Mohammad Sayed, chief of the Lashkar-e-Tayiba, Wadhwa Singh, head of the Babbar Khalsa, Farooq Kashmiri, head of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Masood Sarfraz, head of the Pir Panjal regiment of the Hizbul Mujahideen, and one-time top Kashmiri militant Ashar Dar, also turned up for the reception along with a host of others who attended all the ceremonies held in Islamabad in connection with the wedding. Other notable guests included Sardar Qayum Khan and Sikander Hayat Khan, former heads of ''Azad'' Kashmir and Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan''s intelligence agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Reacting to a query by mediapersons on Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee''s ceasefire announcement, Lone remarked, ''It was a good gesture'' although he maintained that ''this in itself was not enough to solve the problem''.


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