IIOJK: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday sought External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s intervention for her passport, saying she has been waiting for it for the past three years to take her 80-year-old mother on a pilgrimage to Mecca.
In a letter to the minister, she said her passport’s renewal has been pending as the Jammu and Kashmir CID gave an adverse report that issuing the travel document to her would undermine national security.
Mufti also highlighted the delay in issuing of passport to her daughter Iltija who wants to pursue higher studies outside the country.
“I am writing to you about a matter that has dragged on needlessly for the last three years, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said and added that “my mother (Gulshan Nazir) and I applied for passport renewal in March 2020”.
“Jammu and Kashmir CID gave an adverse report that issuing passports to my 80-year-old mother and I would undermine national security. In J&K, it has become the norm to arbitrarily reject passport applications of thousands, including journalists, students, and others, by misusing national interest as a pretext,” Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader said in her letter.
She said they went to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and after the case “dragged” on for three years, the court gave clear directions that the Regional Passport Office in Srinagar should not operate as the CID’s “mouthpiece” by denying passports on vague grounds.
“In my case, I was asked to approach the Passport Authority of India which I have done multiple times since 2021. Unfortunately, I have not received a positive response yet. The inordinate and deliberate delay in issuing my passport is a grave violation of my fundamental right,” Mehbooba, who is currently in Jammu, said.
She said that “if suspending my basic rights in a democracy like ours is done with such brazen impunity and contempt, one cannot even imagine what an ordinary Kashmiri goes through”.
“My daughter Iltija applied for her passport renewal in June 2022. Her application too is in limbo and it seems that the Passport Office in Srinagar is yet again failing to discharge its duty,” the PDP leader said.