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Mehbooba Knocks at High Court Door, Seeks Directions To Issue Passport

Ishfaq-ul-Hassan | India Tomorrow

SRINAGAR–It happens only in Kashmir. Mehbooba Mufti, a former chief minister, and two-time Member Parliament had to approach Jammu and Kashmir High Court for her passport.

In December last year, Mehbooba had applied for a fresh passport after it expired on May 31. However, the passport application is pending at Regional Passport Office as police have yet to submit verification report.

Mehbooba has pleaded that the government was violating her fundamental right to travel abroad as guaranteed under Article 21 of the constitution of India.

In her plea, filed by her counsel and former advocate general of Jammu and Kashmir Jahangir Iqbal Gani, she alleged that the police verification had not been forwarded to the Regional Passport Officer, Srinagar.

Mehbooba said under rules the passport should have been dispatched to her within 30 days, but her application is pending since December 11, 2019.

Mehbooba was among three former chief ministers including Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, who were detained under Public Safety Act after centre abrogated Article 370 on August 5, 2019.

She was released in October 2020. However, she has vowed to fight for the restoration of the special status. She is one of the founding members of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a five-party conglomerate formed to fight for the restoration of Article 370.

A law graduate Mehbooba, 60, was a hesitant politician. Initially, she plunged into the electoral fray in 1996 from her home constituency of Bijbehera on the instance of her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who was then the tallest Congress leader of J&K.

It was sheer luck for Mehbooba to plunge into politics as her father wanted his son Tasaduq to contest the polls. Since Tasaduq was underage, Mufti picked Mehbooba from the Bijbehera seat while his wife Gulshan was nominated from the Pahalgam constituency.

Mehbooba however romped home but her mother lost bitterly. And since then there was no looking back for her. Known for her oratory and connect with the grassroots, Mehbooba became the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader in 1996 taking on the National Conference (NC) which had a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Assembly.

Mehbooba was perhaps the first pro-India politician who broke the traditions and visited the victims of human rights violations during the height of militancy. She courted many controversies in the late nineties when she visited the families of militants killed in encounters.

However, the soft-separatism card played by Mehbooba did not go well with Congress given their national outreach. Mehbooba and her father developed differences with Congress which led to both of them resigning and forming the PDP in 1999.

A single mother of two daughters Iltija Javid and Irtiqa Javid, Mehbooba’s marriage with her cousin Javid Iqbal Shah ended in divorce in 1987. She moved to her father’s home and raised her two daughters.

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