March 2004 News

Geelani Meets Pak High Commissioner

19 March 2004
The Indian Express

New Delhi: A week before the crucial second round of talks between the Centre and the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), Syed Ali Shah Geelani, hard-line leader of the break-away faction, today spent over two hours at the Pakistani High Commission. Here in the capital to attend Pakistan Day celebrations on March 23, Geelani had an exclusive meeting today with High Commissioner Aziz Ahmad Khan. Although sources chose not to speculate about the meeting, they said that its timing was significant. Kamran Khan, spokesperson for the Pakistani High Commission, expressed complete ignorance about the meeting and said that he had no idea Geelani had come. When told that Geelani was seen leaving the High Commission at 6.50 pm in a white Ambassador, Khan said that 'he must have come to meet the High Commissioner'. However, he said that he could not comment on the reason behind Geelani's visit. Incidentally, the Pakistani High Commission's invitation to Geelani again addresses him as 'Chairman' of the APHC. While Maulvi Abbas Ansari has also received the invitation, it is without this designation. A similar thing had happened when the Pakistani High Commission sent out invites for their Iftar Party last November. Ansari made his displeasure apparent and refused to attend the party. Spokesperson Khan said that the invitations had indeed been sent to Kashmiri leaders, but could not recall if Geelani had been addressed as APHC chairman. 'I have been very busy with arranging visas for the media and cricket fans,' he said. Geelani could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. A relative in Srinagar said that Geelani had gone a few days early to the capital for treatment related to a heart problem.


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