NEW DELHI Senior separatist leader and chairman of the breakaway faction of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani today stayed away from the Pakistan Day for the first time since outbreak of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Geelani had adopted a tough posture on the eve of the Pakistan day criticising Islamabad for allowing running of the bus between Srinagar and Muzafarabad which according to him was a virtual acceptance of Line of Control as the permanent border between the two countries.
Pakistan had deputed the Deputy High Commissioner of its mission in Delhi Munawar Bahhti to placate Geelani and persuade him to attend the national day. After failing to get any positive response from him, Pakistan High Commissioner Aziz Ahmed Khan met Geelani this morning but this also did not move the pro-Pakistan leader.
(Kashmir Observer, 24 March, 2005)