May 2002 News

Dar may join Shabir, take part in J&K polls

7 May 2002
The Hindustan Times

Jammu: Expelled Hizb-ul-Mujahideen leader Abdul Majid Dar could join Shabir Shah''s Jammu & Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP), a separatist political group which is ready for bilateral dialogue with the Centre, to resolve the Kashmir issue. If that happens, the JKDFP may not rule out the possibility of taking part in the polls due later this year. Ever since his expulsion, there has been intense speculation in political circles in J&K about the possibility of Dar joining Shah''s group. Sources said reports of their coming together could be authentic since both Shah and Dar have similar views on settling the Kashmir issue. Some discussions that may lead to a coming together have already taken place. Shah and Dar had met about a week ago before the JKDFP chief undertook an extensive tour of the Jammu region during which he canvassed for ''peace and a solution'' for Kashmir and involvement of the people of all the three regions - Kashmir Valley, Jammu and Ladakh — in the peace process. Sources said Shah in his latest meeting had discovered in Dar a ''transformed personality''. Dar, they said, appeared to be ''disillusioned and on the threshold of taking a decisive step''. According to sources, Dar is ready to step into the political arena despite having claimed through a local news agency that he controls over 700 militants in Kupwara alone. Shah and Dar had met even before Dar had announced the unilateral ceasefire in July 2000, which was, however, subsequently withdrawn by the Pakistan-based Hizb supreme commander Syed Salahuddin. Shah declined to confirm or deny these reports. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Committee on Security met on Tuesday and is said to have finalised a deal for Jammu and Kashmir. Who’s where JKDFP leader Shabir Shah is for elections. Could soon be joined by expelled Hizb leaders, including Dar Hurriyat chief Abdul Gani Bhat and leaders Abdul Gani Lone and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq are pro- elections, though they don''t say it in public Hurriyat leaders Yasin Malik and Syed Geelani are against elections


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