Srinagar: Senior pro-freedom leaders of Kashmir will not be able to attend Pakistan Day celebrations organised by the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on March 23. The leaders will have to skip the invitation this year as most of them have been put under house arrest or in jail.
According to the party spokesperson, Hurriyat (G) leader and chairman of the Jammu Kashmir National Front Nayeem Khan was arrested while he was on his way to Srinagar airport to attend the function in India’s national capital tomorrow.
Hurriyat (G) spokesperson Ayaz Akbar told Kashmir Reader that all the senior leaders in the pro-freedom conglomerate will be skipping the invitation for the ‘first time’ as they have been confined to their homes. “We had received invitations for more than 35 persons, including senior leaders like Syed Ali Geelani, Pir Saifullah, Ashraf Sehrai and Mehraj-ud-din Kalwal,” Akbar said.
Besides the Hurriyat leaders, individuals like journalists, lawyers and members of civil society are invited every year on Pakistan Day to commemorate the Lahore resolution of March 23, 1940, when Pakistan resolution was adopted at Minar-e-Pakistan to establish an independent federation.
Hurriyat (M) spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam said their leaders are unable to travel to New Delhi to attend the function as they have been put under house arrest, including party chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and senior leader Mukhtar Ahmad Waza.
Abdul Gani Bhat, senior pro-freedom leader and chairman of Muslim Conference, a constituent of Hurriyat (M), however, told Reader that he is planning to attend the function if he is allowed. He added that the invitation to Kashmiri leaders should not raise eyebrows in the state or central government.
“This is a historic event and people from both the countries including from Kashmir attend the event every year and have food together. They (government) are trying to create a storm in a tea cup,” Bhat said.
JKLFs Altaf Khan told Reader that as chairman Yasin Malik is in prison, no one from the party is going to attend the function. “We cannot say we have been barred from attending the function. We are not going because our chairman has been arrested,” he said.
The arrest of Nayeem Khan was condemned in unison by pro-freedom leaders on Wednesday. “This is the state’s frustration. They do not want Khan to attend the function,” Ayaz Akbar said.