Chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group Syed Ali Shah Geelani has applied for a passport to visit quake-ravaged areas of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Pakistan to distribute relief supplies.
Geelani has submitted the necessary papers at the regional passport fffice in Srinagar, a Hurriyat spokesman told UNI. Geelani wants either a passport be issued to him or he be given some kind of travel documents, he added.
The firebrand leader plans to lead a 16-member delegation, which will visit the quake-hit areas. The spokesman said the decision to travel to Pakistan and PoK was taken after a crucial meeting of the group's constituents.
The delegation includes Geelani' s close aide Ghulam Nabi Sumjhi, G M Sopori, Sadhullah Tantray, Sheikh Ali Mohammad, Mohammad Ali Lone, Mian Manzoor, Nazir Ahmed, Mohammad Iqbal Mir, Syed Muzaffar, Ghulam Mohammad, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Malik Noor Taj and Mohammad Saleem Zargar.
The Centre has already allowed Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chief Yaseen Malik to visit Pakistan and PoK with financial assistance for the quake-affected people.
Moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and other members of his faction are also scheduled to leave for PoK with relief supplies after Eid-ul-Fitr.
The Hurriyat delegation led by Mirwaiz would distribute blankets, medicines and eatables among the affected people in PoK.
Yesterday, Geelani had termed as ''futile'' the Centre's move to open three rehabilitation points along the LoC and said Kashmiris must be allowed to visit quake-ravaged areas of Pakistan for relief operations.
''This time everyone needs to go to Pakistan.... affected people need to be helped. We must help them physically,'' Geelani said.
''Scores of Kashmiris brethren have been killed.... We must take part in rescue operations in Pakistan,'' he added.
Earlier this year, Geelani had turned down Pakistan's invitation to visit that country and PoK in June on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus as he had strongly opposed the resumption of the cross-border bus service.
Geelani declined to comment on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's proposal of 'softening' the borders.