October 2001 News

Hurriyat maintains low profile following threats

14 October 2001
The Times of India

NEW DELHI: Support to Pakistan''s policy of toeing the United States has put the 23-party Hurriyat Conference in a quandary and its executive committee is unable to take any decision following threats from militant outfits.Hurriyat insiders said a former Hurriyat Conference Chairman had been receiving threats from militant outfits including Al-Umar Mujahideen, whose Chief Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar was released in 1999 in exchange for passengers of the hijacked Indian Airlines plane.The insiders said several letters had been sent to the immediate family members of the senior Hurriyat leader suggesting that they should persuade the moderate leader to ''shut his mouth.''Hurriyat Chairman Abdul Gani Bhat has also preferred to remain silent over the anti-US demonstrations held by various people following the air strikes on Talibans after he received threats to his life from Jammu and Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) for not supporting the hartal call given by various militant groups late last month.Though a spokesman for JKIF denied any threats to Bhat, Hurriyat Conference insiders said the statement had ''been extracted after a lot of pressure from Pakistan''s ISI on the outfit''s supremo Bilal Beig.'' Other members of the Hurriyat Conference including Abdul Gani Lone and Maulvi Abbas Ansari have also preferred to remain silent.JKLF Chairman Yaseen Malik, who is away in the United States for a medical treatment, has also decided to adopt a taciturn policy this time as some of his mentors including Ghulam Nabi Fai, an anti- India lobbyist in the US, have maintained a low-profile ever since the September 11 attacks.Malik, during his earlier trip, had held several meetings with Kashmiri expatriates, to drum up support for ongoing militant movement in Jammu and Kashmir.The Hurriyat insiders said that fire-brand Jamaat-e- Islami leader and former Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has also expressed his unhappiness over the functioning of the 23-party conglomerate.Geelani, who has been making venomous speeches against the United States and showing a pro-Taliban approach, is actually leading the amalgam from front by toeing the militant outfits'' line of criticising Americans.Kashmir analysts have termed the move as the ''beginning of the end of Hurriyat Conference in the Kashmir valley'' which would bestow legitimacy on the perception of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah that the amalgam was only an extension of Pakistan''s High Commission.The second rung leadership of the Hurriyat Conference also agrees with the fact that the conglomerate would have to face rough weather in future.


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