August 2003 News

Hawk Geelani's Wings Clipped

19 August 2003
The Indian Express

Srinagar: In a dramatic development that is good news for those pushing the moderate cause in the Valley, Jamat-e-Islami, an important Hurriyat executive constituent, today announced the retirement of its hardline hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Although Geelani is one of three senior Jamat leaders to have retired today, his retirement is extremely significant in view of the protracted controversy between him and the Hurriyat. The pro-Pak Geelani, who recently slammed the Hurriyat and indicated he would float a new party, has been staying away from Hurriyat meetings demanding that the Hurriyat first expel the Sajjad Lone-led People's Conference for their 'proxy' participation in the Assembly polls last year. 'Geelani Saheb has voluntarily retired from his post and from now on he will work only as rukn-e-Jamat (basic member),' the newly elected Jamat-e-Islami chief Nazir Ahmad Kashani told The Indian Express. 'There are two other senior leaders who too sought retirement. I was also going to retire but because I was elected as Amir, I had to continue,' he said. The Jamat which is in the midst of its Shoora (executive body) meeting was seized of two key issues: Who will represent it in the Hurriyat executive and whether Geelani should be allowed to launch a new party. Kashani, considered to be a moderate and who replaced G M Bhat last month as Jamat chief, said that since Geelani would still be in Jamat, he would impress upon him not to launch a new party. Despite repeated attempts, Geelani was unavailable for comment. It is learnt that Hurriyat chief Moulvi Abbas Ansari had sent a letter to the Jamat chief asking him to send a representative to the executive as Geelani was unwilling to participate in meetings unless his demand was met. Sources said Kashani replied saying that the Jamat would send a representative to the Hurriyat in the next meeting as also for the general council and working committee.


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