J-K leaders, separatists call for Faktoo’s release

Both separatists and mainstream political leaders on Sunday sought the release of jailed Muslim League Chairman Ashiq Hussain Faktoo.

"Keeping the separatists under detention is not a viable and long term solution," National Conference leader and parliament member Mehboob Beig said.

The issue of the release of the separatist leader Ashiq Hussain Faktoo alias Dr Qasim has come up after Justice Mansoor Mir of the J-K High Court dismissed his petition wherein he had sought his release after 20 years in jail. The court had on Friday ruled that life imprisonment meant "imprisonment for the whole of a convict's natural life".

Independent legislator Engineer Sheikh Rashid also called for release of Faktoo and offered his support to the ruling Congress-National Conference coalition in the upcoming legislative council elections if "Faktoo and other political prisoners are released". On Saturday, Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani said that the judgment was dictated by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and called it the "worst kind of political vendetta".

Faktoo, who is husband of Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Aasiya Andrabi, was sentenced for life by the Supreme Court in the killing of human rights activist H N Wanchoo in 1992.

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