Rift between Hurriyat and PoK-based militants deepens
8 July 2002
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: The rift between the militants based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Hurriyat Conference deepened today with the dominant constituent of the United Jehad Council, Hizbul Mujahideen, throwing a fresh challenge to the separatist amalgam asking it to either launch an anti-election campaign or quit. In a statement, Hizbul’s operational commander in Kashmir Saif-ul-Islam criticised the Hurriyat leaders for rejecting the UJC’s suggestion for launching anti-election campaign in Kashmir. In an apparent reference to the recent statements of Hurriyat leaders that they will not follow anybody’s dictates, Islam said ''it is not the matter of taking dictation from UJC but to honour the opinion of those who are giving blood for independence and the question of representing the people of Kashmir and their sentiments.'' ''People of Kashmir do not want elections but right to self-determination and as per the wishes and desire of the people, Hurriyat should start anti-election campaign and if they failed to discharge their responsibilities then they will themselves fall in the eyes of the people who will hand over political leadership to others,'' Islam said in the statement faxed from PoK to local news agencies. Reacting to remarks of assassinated Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone’s son Sajad Gani Lone, who had asked UJC chairman Syed Salahuddin to return to Kashmir and lead the anti-poll campaign, Islam said ''Salahuddin does not need the advice of a ''sulking’ leader and will come to Kashmir whenever he wishes and fight shoulder to shoulder with his brothers.'' However, Islam said ''Salahuddin is staying in PoK as part of Hizbul Mujahideen’s strategy.'' Salahuddin has spent most part of his life in Kashmir and had started the struggle here, Islam said adding, he has sufferred at the hands of repressive authorities, and is still controlling the Hizbul Mujahideen from PoK. The Hizbul Mujahideen leadership in Kashmir is acting on the advices of Salahuddin, Islam added.