May 2002 News

Expelled Hizb commander to launch political party soon

9 May 2002
The News International

ISLAMABAD: Abdul Majeed Dar, the recently-expelled former Hizb-ul-Mujahideen operational commander in occupied Kashmir, has finally decided to launch a political party and say goodbye to armed struggle. The Indian government has not even waited for the formal announcement of the political outfit. India''s Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah has not only welcomed the Dar gesture of joining political struggle but also hoped that the sacked commanders would participate in the forthcoming elections to the state assembly. The other day, Hizb''s supreme commander Syed Salah-ud-Din in a meeting of the central command council expelled Abdul Majid Dar and two senior leaders Zafar Abdul Fateh and Asad Yazdani from the party for violating the discipline and policy.''We have not violated party discipline,'' one of the two lieutenants of Dar has reportedly said. ''Salah-ud-Din has no authority to expel us. It is a decision taken in haste.'' An insider rejected the splinters'' claim of crisis of authority for Salah-ud-Din by saying, ''No one can rule out the sacrifices the supreme commander has made for the freedom struggle. Above all it was unanimous decision of the council comprising highly respected, senior most leaders like Saifullah Khalid and Tahir Ejaz.''Sources in the militant corps told The News that two senior commanders Abu Amir and Asghar Ibn Rahman have joined hands with Dar. Rahman, commander of Kupwara district, claimed of having the support of 700 Hizb activists. The group top official in Muzaffarabad reject the claim, ''This is totally false. Those who have been expelled want to demoralise the armed fighters by airing such rumours.''An insider remarked, ''I personally know all these commanders. They have changed the course as they are looking at saving their lives. Adopting political means is not more than an Indian ploy.'' The Hizb leadership had to wait for about two years to expel the three leaders from party to avoid a division of the leading pro-Pakistan Kashmir group. In its first step, the command council replaced Dar and his supporters by a new team led by Saif-ul-Islam.According to reports in the Indian press, the removal of Dar comes in the wake of Dar''s meeting with A S Daulat, former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief and Officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister''s Office, earlier this week. The reports say that A S Daulat was in Kashmir for a week, meeting separatists and urging them to participate in the forthcoming state assembly elections slated for October.So far, Dar has not spoken to the press or made any public moves. Sources also believe, ''He might have left the country before the high-level command council meeting.'' Dar and his lieutenants have taken a U-turn in their struggle for independence from India. The split in the group began when Dar announced cease-fire in July 2000. The observers of the freedom struggle believe that the unilateral move, contrary to the decision- making procedures of the group, pointed to political inclinations of the militant leader. Supreme Commander of the group Syed Salah-ud-Din owned the cease-fire so did his other lieutenants. However, the Hizb was expelled from the United Jehad Council (UJC) which was headed by the supreme commander of the very group.The group reversed its cease- fire after India refused to include Pakistan in the talks, UJC, the umbrella organisation for Kashmiri freedom fighter groups, restored its membership of the Hizb. Dar and his lieutenants'' claim that Syed Salah-ud-Din has contact with operational team and are not at all in control of the things. Saif-ul-Islam, the central commander in Indian side of the disputed state, is ''effectively incharge of all the activities.''Another Kashmiri mujahid requesting anonymity said, ''Even if Dar manages to form a political party, he would not be able to win some public support other than pleasing Indian establishment.'' ''His party would be more like many Tonga parties that you have here in Pakistan. A mujahid remains a mujahid and strongly believes the freedom could only be won through militant means,'' said a Kashmiri leader.Dar had continuously been showing gestures of adopting political means in his future struggle of independence. He kept mum while the rest of the mujahid leaders criticised the APHC leaders for attending the much-discussed Dubai moot. At the same time, the Hizb continues to carry on its hit and run activities against the military targets in Jammu as well as the valley. Indian observers have high words for Dar: ''He represents the most liberal face of the armed movement in the valley.'' Surprisingly, despite heavy political and moral support for the Kashmiri freedom fighters, Pakistani people as well as press both have paid hardly any attention to the ouster of Abdul Majeed Dar.


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