With his son ailing in Pakistan, the government has issued a passport to hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for the first time since militancy broke out in Jammu and Kashmir.

Highly-placed sources said Chief Minister Omar Abdullah personally intervened in the matter and saw that 79-year-old Geelani, who was recently released from custody, gets his travel document for visiting Pakistan to see his son.

The passport of the erstwhile Jamaat leader was seized in 1981 for his anti-India activities and he was given a country-specific travel document in 2006 for performing Hajj pilgrimage.

The Geelani camp had approached the state government through backdoor intermediaries for issuance of passport to the leader. After assessing the case, Mr. Geelani was handed over his passport for a period of one year and according to sources close to him, he would be travelling to Pakistan to meet his son Nayeem, who had suffered two consecutive heart attacks last month and continued to be in hospital there.

The government also issued a passport to moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq who is expected to attend contact group meet of Organisation of Islamic Conference’ Foreign Ministers in New York later this month.

He may also be travelling to Pakistan.