Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani issued passport to travel to Saudi Arabia
A Short duration validity passport has been issued to Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia.
Srinagar: A short duration validity passport has been issued to Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani by the government to visit his ailing daughter in Saudi Arabia.
The passport, which is valid for nine months, has been issued two months after his application was rejected on the grounds of incomplete information.
"Geelani has been issued a short-duration passport with nine months validity," official sources told PTI.
An official in the Regional Passport Office(RPO) in Srinagar also said that the Hurriyat leader was today issued a passport.
In May, Geelani had applied for the passport online apparently for his travel to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia to visit his ailing daughter.
The separatist leader had then appeared before passport authorities in Srinagar on June 05 and had declared himself as an Indian while completing formalities for travel documents.
However, he had insisted that he did it out of "compulsion".
Talking to reporters outside the passport office, Geelani had said, "I am not by birth Indian. It is a compulsion".
"Geelani submitted his biometric data - finger prints and iris scan - at the designated counter," an official of the Regional Passport Office in Srinagar had said then, as per PTI.
He mentioned 'Indian' in the nationality column, the official had said.
The External Affairs Ministry, which issues passports, then had said that "the application could not be processed in its present form".
As per the new rules, an applicant must visit the passport office in person to give biometric details and click the photograph.
"An incomplete passport application was received from him. Fees were not paid and the biometric details and photographs not submitted," Spokesperson in MEA Vikas Swarup had said.
The issue of granting Geelani passport had sparked a political debate with ruling BJP in Jammu and Kashmir opposing it saying that he should declare his nationality as Indian and apologise for his anti-national activities.
However, its ally PDP had favoured it while former chief minister Omar Abdullah had said it was not an issue as Geelani had been given passport in the past too.
(With Agency inputs)