March 2004 News

For Pak, Geelani Is Still Hurriyat Chief

18 March 2004
The Times of India

New Delhi: Syed Ali Shah Geelani has ceased to be the chairman of the Hurriyat Conference but Pakistan doesn't think so. A letter inviting Geelani to attend the Pakistan Day celebrations on March 23 designates him as All Parties Hurriyat Conference chairman. In contrast, Maulana Abbas Ansari, Hurriyat chairman, has also been invited but only as 'a Kashmiri leader'. By not addressing Ansari as APHC chairman and calling him merely a 'Kashmiri leader', the Pakistanis have made clear who their favourite is, said a senior security expert. That Islamabad is using the Pakistan Day guest list to score a Kashmir point is also borne out by the omissions. Bhushan Bazaz, the sole Kashmiri Pandit member of the Hurriyat hierarchy and president of the JKDF, is yet to get an invite. Bazaz, who has always been on the mailing list of the Pakistan high commission, echoes the assessment of the security agencies that 'notwithstanding the India-Pakistan thaw some elements within the Pakistan administration continue to play their old tricks of strengthening the separatist cause in J&K'.


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