October 2003 News

Geelani engineered split: Lone

8 October 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent

NEW DELHI: Mr Sajjad Lone, chairman of the Peoples Conference, has accused hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani of playing Pakistanís game by engineering a split in the Hurriyat Conference, which he claimed represented the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. In a statement here, he said conscious efforts were being made by some disgruntled elements to weaken the Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of 23 separatist political groups. The statement came following the expulsion of Molvi Abbas Ansari as chairman of the Hurriyat Conference by 13 members of the general council. However, majority of the members of the executive council, the highest decision making body of the conglomerate, has contested the councilís authority to expel the chairman. Prominent leaders like Mirwaiz Omer Farooq, Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and Mr Bilal Lone lent their full support to Molvi Abbas. Mr Sajjad Lone, who succeeded his father Abdul Gani Lone as chairman of the Peoples Conference after his assassination in 2001, said Mr Geelani was playing Pakistanís game by creating confusion about the political definition of the Kashmiri leadership.'If Mufti Sayeed and Farooq Abdullah are the Indian face of Kashmir, Geelani is the Pakistani face of Kashmir and the All Party Hurriyat Conference the Kashmir face of Kashmir', he said. Asserting that the general council had no mandate to oust Molvi Abbas, he said the council only had an advisory role. There is a clear demarcation of powers between the all powerful executive council and the general council. As Molvi Abbas was elected by the executive council it is only this body which can remove him from the chairmanship. The Peoples Conference leader said Syed Ali Shah Geelani played an important role in the formulation of the constitution of the Hurriyat Conference. Morally, ethically and politically, he is committed to it. Till date the general council has no say in the election of the chairman . Mr Sajjad Lone said the changed political scenario had provided new opportunities for projecting the cause of the Kashmiris. As the onus of providing the pro-Kashmiri political thrust falls on the Hurriyat Conference it has to rise to the occasion and deliver on behalf of the people of Kashmir. He said the sentiment of azadi among Kashmiris remained strong as was evident from the sacrifices made by the people. (UNI)


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