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Ansari to skip Pak envoy’s iftaar

New Delhi, Nov. 10 (PTI): Annoyed by Pakistan throwing its weight behind the rival All Parties’ Hurriyat Conference faction, the group led by Abbas Ansari has decided to boycott Thursday’s iftaar party called by Islamabad’s high commissioner.

The Ansari faction is further peeved that invitations for the party being hosted by envoy Aziz Ahmed Khan are in their individual names. There is no reference to the parties they represent, leave alone their status as Hurriyat leaders.

But Syed Ali Shah Geelani has instead been addressed as Hurriyat chairman, thus providing his hardline faction official recognition. Thursday’s party will be attended by Pakistani information minister Sheikh Rasheed, who is here for the Saarc information ministers’ meeting.

Ansari has said he will not attend the function. “I am not going there and I have contacted other leaders of Hurriyat who have also declined to attend the function,” he added.

But Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of the Geelani-led breakaway, said: “Geelani, along with three other members will be attending the iftaar party and will also meet the visiting Pakistani information minister.”

He said Geelani will be accompanied by Aga Syed Hussain, Ghulam Mohammed Hubbi and Ghulam Nabi Sumji.

The Ansari group regards the Khan invitation offensive as the high commissioner has invited Hussain as the chief of Anjuman-e-Sharin-Shia, which is actually headed by Ansari.

Hubbi has been addressed as chief of the Peoples’ Conference, which is led by Bilal and Sajjad Lone, and Sumji has been invited as president of the Muslim Conference, which is headed by former Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat.

The Ansari faction was already peeved by the success of Pakistani diplomats in getting the Geelani faction recognised as the real Hurriyat at the recent Organisation of Islamic Conference summit held in Malaysia.

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