Srinagar: Pakistan-occupied Kashmir President has convened a conference in Islamabad to discuss 'Kashmir' and 'emergence of Hindu Extremism in India' which will be attended by controversial Independent MLA of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdul Rashid even as separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani declined the invitation.
The two-day conference convened by PoK President Sardar Mohammad Yaqoob Khan from January 20 has the theme 'The Kashmir Conflict - its Ramifications for Pak-India Relations and Peace and security of south Asia'. The other topics to be discussed include 'the Kashmir Dispute, Hindutva and emergence of Hindu Extremism in India and Proposed Abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35-A of Indian constitution Impact on Kashmir Dispute'.
"Rashid will be crossing over to Pakistan via Wagah border point for attending the conference," his spokesman Inam-un Nabi said. However, Geelani, who heads hardline Hurriyat Conference, has refused to attend the conference because the organisers have invited mainstream politicians like Rashid and CPI(M) MLA Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami for the event.
"The general opinion of the members of the Advisory Council was that Hurriyat should not participate in any conference (in Pakistan) in which members of the (Jammu and Kashmir) assembly or pro-India politicians have been invited," a spokesman of the Geelani-led Hurriyat said.
The spokesman said participation in any such event can have "negative effects on the Kashmir movement". The Hurriyat has also decided to issue show cause notices to such constituents of the amalgam who have helped in conduct of the conference without its concurrence. Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq welcomed an invitation to him but said he would not be able to attend the conference in the absence of travel documents.
"I wish to attend the roundtable conference but unfortunately due to non-availability of travel documents, I cannot attend it," Mirwaiz said. Tarigami has also decided not to attend the conference due to "personal reasons". "I have written to the President expressing regret at not being able to attend the conference due to some personal reasons," he said.