Bhat, Lone bros stay away from Pak day function
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
New Delhi, Mar 24: Hurriyat (M) leaders, Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Gani Lone and Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone stayed away from the Pakistan National Day where PDP leader Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari was a surprise guest.
Both Hurriyats were represented by their chairmen, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq respectively at the Pakistan Day celebrations held at the Pakistan High Commission here yesterday.
The surprise presence of Ansari, a senior PDP leader and a former minister, was being watched closely by the separatist leadership especially Moulvi Abbas Ansari and Aga Syed Hassan Budgami, who were also present.
However, PDP chief spokesman, Nayeem Akthar sought to play down any significance saying “he (Ansari) is a senior and respected leader of the party. He was invited for the first time, so he went.”
Bhat, who recently stirred a hornet’s nest by announcing at an open forum that “our own men” killed Mirwaiz Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone”, stayed away from the reception.
Efforts to reach Bhat did not fructify but sources close to him said there was strain in relations between the Hurriyat leader and Pakistan after the public statement made in January this year.
Sajjad Lone also stayed away while his brother Bilal also preferred to absent himself.
While the Lone brothers were not available for comments, sources in the amalgam said that Bilal was protesting over the inclusion of Abdul Rashid ‘Engineer’, an MLA from Langate, in the guest list.
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Mar 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 24 Mar 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 Mar 2011 00:00:00 IST
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