MUZAFFARABAD: Indian authorities have declared a renowned jurist of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) “persona non grata”, cancelling his permit for intra-Kashmir travel through Chakothi-Uri crossing point along the Line of Control (LoC).
The decision about Syed Manzoor Hussain Gillani, a former acting chief justice of the AJK Supreme Court, was conveyed by an unnamed official dealing with intra-Kashmir travel in Srinagar to his counterpart in Muzaffarabad by an email.
‘Dawn’ has reported claiming of having copy of the e.mail as saying; “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.
In accordance with the message, Mr 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.
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. Here 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.
In 2010, he retired as acting chief justice of the apex court. 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.
When contacted, Mr Gillani said the decision was shocking for him because he had a vast circle of friends and family members throughout held Kashmir and India.