Sajjad Lone's passport application in limbo

On the boil: J&K Cabinet minister's name figures in prior approval category

Sajjad Lone's passport application in limbo

Authorities in Kashmir have denied a passport to a cabinet minister in the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed- led government.

Sources told Deccan Herald that separatist-turned-mainstream leader and now Minister for Animal Husbandry Sajad Gani Lone had applied for the passport three years earlier. “However, his application remains in limbo and he has been unable to move out of the country for the last three years,” they said. “Lone’s name figures in the prior approval category (PAC) of Foreign Ministry. The list has 5,000 people from Kashmir Valley,” they added.

The denial of a passport for Lone makes news just when the non-issuance of a passport to hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani has been making headlines.

Pertinently, Lone is married to Asma Khan, daughter of the Pakistan-based pro-independence JKLF leader Aman-ullah Khan. Lone’s party, Peoples Conference (PC), contested last year’s Assembly elections and won from two segments. Lone, who himself won from the Handwara segment in north Kashmir, was given a Cabinet berth from the BJP quota in the coalition government led by Mufti.

Before elections he met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and Lone was all praises for him. “I cannot tell you how humble he is. He was talking as if I was the Prime Minister and not him. It was like two brothers talking to each other,” he told reporters after the meeting.

Sajjad Lone, who has a degree in economics from Cardiff University in London, burst on to Kashmir’s political scene after his father Abdul Gani Lone was assassinated by unidentified militants on May 21, 2002 during a rally in downtown Srinagar. His elder brother Bilal Lone is executive member of moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Despite repeated attempts to contact Sajjad Lone, he wasn’t available for comment.

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