Ansari Snubs Pak High Commission's Iftar Invite
10 November 2003
The Indian Express
New Delhi: Peeved at Islamabad throwing its weight behind rival faction of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Hurriyat Conference led by Maulana Abbas Ansari has decided not to attend this year's Iftar party hosted by Pakistani High Commission in Delhi on November 13. What irked them still more is the fact that invitations were sent for the party in their individual names from Pakistani High Commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan with no reference to the religious or political parties they represented, let alone their being leaders of the Hurriyat. On the other hand, Geelani in his invitation has been addressed as Hurriyat chairman thus giving the much-needed recognition to the hard line faction of the Hurriyat led by him. The Iftar party is scheduled to be held on November 13, which Pakistani Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, in Delhi in connection with the SAARC meeting, will also attend. When contacted, Ansari said that he was not attending the Iftar function. 'I am not going there and I have contacted other leaders of Hurriyat who have also declined to attend the function,' Ansari said. However, the spokesman of the Geelani led breakaway Hurriyat, Ayaz Akbar said that 'Geelani along with three other members will be attending the Iftar party and will also meet the visiting Pakistani information minister'. He said that Geelani would be accompanied by Aga Syed Hussain, Ghulam Mohammed Hubbi and Ghulam Nabi Sumji. The invitation from Pakistan High Commission was considered as further offensive as it had invited Aga Syed as chief of Anjuman-e-Sharin-Shia (actually headed by ansari), Hubbi as chief of Peoples' Conference (actually headed by Bilal and Sajjad lone) and Sumji as president of Muslim Conference (actually headed by former Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat). This was being seen by Ansari group as an attempt to dictate terms to the Hurriyat. The Ansari group was already peeved at the successful attempt of Pakistani diplomats in getting recognition to the Geelani group at the organisation of Islamic conference, held recently in Malaysia.