Islamabad: Former Acting-Chief Justice and renowned jurist of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Syed Manzoor Hussain Gillani was declared ‘persona non grata’ by Indian authorities canceling his permit for intra –kashmir travel via Chakothi –Uri crossing point along the Line of Control (LOC).
The notification about Mr. Gillani was sent to TFO official Travel and Trade Authority (TATA)Muzaffarabad by an email. The notification reads as fallows:
“… It is to inform you that Syed Manzoor Hussain Gillani, bearing permit number 65900 had arrived in Jammu and Kashmir on 21/08/2017 via crossing point Kaman who has violated the norms at cross LoC travel during his stay at J&K. His permit is cancelled. In view of the above, it is requested not to issue further LoC permit to the individual,” reads the email.
Late Justice Gillani was informed in writing by an official of the AJK Cross LoC Travel and Trade Authority (Tata) that his multiple entry permit had been cancelled.
Manzoor Gillani fears banning a bona fide visitor might be beginning of frustrating travel protocol
Mr Gillani was born in India-held Kashmir, where he did his graduation from Baramullah and earned a law degree from Aligarh Muslim University in 1970. Shortly after starting legal practice in Srinagar, he migrated to AJK in 1976.
Later he was appointed advocate general in 1986 and later in 1991 a high court judge. He held the position of AJK High Court Chief Justice from 2001 to 2004, before his elevation to the AJK Supreme Court.
Justice Gillani retired as acting chief justice of the apex court in 2010.
From 1984 to 2012, Mr Gillani travelled to India and held Kashmir on a Pakistani passport on five occasions, after obtaining Indian visas.
After the launch of Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus service in 2005, he has also been a regular visitor to India-held territory, travelling across the divide almost every year and sometime twice a year through Chakothi-Uri crossing point (Kaman bridge). Last time he was there in August for four weeks.
According to daily Dawn, Justice Gillani termed the decision as shocking for him as he had a vast circle of friends and family members throughout held Kashmir and India.
“In fact I am at a loss to understand as to what ‘norms’ I have violated during my last visit, except for holding formal and informal meetings and interactions with old friends in pro-India and pro-freedom organisations and forums,” he said.
“The change appears to be reflection of the hostile attitude of BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) government against the Kashmiris and Pakistan; otherwise there was nothing ‘abnormal or unusual’ in my visit and interactions,” he added.
Mr Gillani feared that banning a bona fide visitor was beginning of frustrating travel protocol and said he would soon write a protest letter to Pakistani and Indian authorities in this regard.