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India denies Rashid entry to J&K

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
June 22, 2005 22:46 IST
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The government of India is understood to have told Pakistan that it cannot accept the travel document of Pakistan Information Minister Sheikh Rashid, who was expected to travel to Jammu and Kashmir on a permit on June 30.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna told that he had nothing to say on the matter as of now, but reports emanating from Pakistan indicate that the government has already conveyed that Rashid will not be allowed to travel to the Valley as scheduled.

The denial of the visa is on the ground that Rashid was involved in running terror camps in the early 1990s, which was revealed by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yaseen Malik during his visit to Pakistan early in June.

Apparently embarrassed over the revelation that he supported Kashmiri militants, Rashid on Wednesday said both India and Pakistan should forget 'old issues' and move forward with 'open hearts' to resolve bilateral problems, including Kashmir.

"If we have to move forward, all issues from Mukthi Bahani camps to Sheikh Rashid's hospitality house have to be forgotten," he said in an apparent reference to the allegation that he had organised a training camp for Kashmiri militants and the Bangladesh liberation war.

The minister was speaking to senior editors and executives from the Indian Newspaper Society at a luncheon he hosted for them in Islamabad.

"We should forget about old issues. If we have to move forward, we should not look back," he said.

About his proposed visit to Kashmir by the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus, Rashid said that he was not certain about it.

With PTI Inputs

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi