September 2000 News

Pakistan''s Jamaat-E-Islami Takes Control Of Hizbul

11 September 2000
The Pioneer
Rashid Ahmad

Srinagar: Jamaat-e-Islami of Jammu and Kashmir has said a blunt ''no'' of being a party to Pakistan Jamaat''s reported decision to take over the control of Hizbul Mujahideen. Ghulam Mohammad Butt, Ameer (chief) of Kashmir Jamaat, told The Pioneer that his party had a separate identity and had nothing to do with the policy, politics and functioning of Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan. Reports from Islamabad on Monday said that Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami formally took over the Hizbul Mujahideen, the formidable militant outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir. The Jamaat is reported to have formed a 12-member committee with Qazi Hussain, chief of Pak Jamaat, as its head. The committee, according to reports, would take all the important decisions for the Hizb. Syed Salahuddin (chief of Hizbul Mujahideen), Professor Khursheed Ahmad, Syed Munnawar Hassan (both senior leaders of Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami), Abdul Rasheed Turabi (Ameer of PoK Jamaat) and Ghulam Nabbi Noushahri (a senior leader of Jamaat''s J&K chapter) would be the other members of the high-powered committee. According to reports, the decision to take over the Hizb was taken in a joint meeting of the leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami (Pakistan, PoK and Kashmir) and Hizbul Mujahideen at Mansoora headquarters of Pakistan Jamaat. Hizbul Mujahideen had come under severe attack from Qazi Hussain for declaring cease-fire with security forces in July describing it as a treason on the part of the outfit with the Kashmiri movement for ''azadi''. Qazi is reported to have warned the Hizb leadership in clear terms that he would not take lying down any further deviation by the outfit. ''If I am betrayed again, I would resign as the chairman of the committee,'' he is reported to have told the Hizb leadership. In the new dispensation Syed Salahuddin and Abdul Majeed Dar would continue to function as the Ameer and chief commander operations respectively. The Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan had been rendering all out support to Hizbul Mujahideen ever since the outfit was formed in late 1989. The development, therefore, did not come as a surprise, at least for those who knew the truck between the two. What, however, surprised many observers in the Valley was the participation of Ghulam Nabi Naushahri (a Kashmir Jamaat-e-Islami leader) in the meeting. Jamaat-e-Islami of Kashmir, which had been considered as the political face of Hizbul Mujahideen for many years in the State, distance itself from militancy when Ghulam Mohammad Butt became the party''s Ameer in 1997. He publicly pleaded for withdrawal of gun from Kashmir scene and favoured a negotiated settlement of Kashmir dispute. Butt expelled Syed Salahuddin, Riyaz Fasool Engineer Zaman and a battery of other senior Hizbul Mujahideen commanders from the party, who till then enjoyed the membership of Jamaat too. He, however, came under severe criticism from Syed Ali Geelani, a senior stalwart and the Jamaat''s public face with a considerable clout in the party, for his new approach. Butt''s policy largely found support from the common cadres of the party and he was re-elected as the Ameer for three more years, last month. ''We have not deviated from our set policy. We don''t believe in militant or military solution of Kashmir issue. We are for a negotiated settlement of the dispute to the satisfaction of all the three parties - India, Pakistan and Kashmiri people,'' Butt said adding, ''What was decided at Mansoora, we can''t be party to that.'' He said he was verifying the reports of Ghulam Nabbi Naushahri''s participation in the meting. ''I am trying to come in direct contact with Mr Naushahri and know the truth. Ours is a politico-religious party. We can''t afford to be militants,'' he explained. He did not rule out Naushahri''s expulsion from the Jamaat should he defied the party discipline.


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