June 2004 News

Geelani to float new party

18 June 2004
News Network International

Srinagar: Veteran Kashmiri leader and Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani is seriously considering to form his own political party.   Confirming this to daily Kashmir Times, Geelani said, 'Yes, we are considering to form a new political party but have not yet taken a final decision over it. Whenever a decision is taken we would make a formal announcement'.   The veteran leader did not divulge further details on the grounds that it would be premature to talk on the subject at this stage.   The formation of the new party would end the decades long association of Geelani with Jamat-e- Islami.   After the split of Hurriyat Conference, Jamat had decided to remain neutral. The party neither supported the faction led by Moulana Abbass Hussain Ansari nor that of Geelani.   Infact the party formed Unity Force (UF) along with JKLF, Democratic Freedom Party, Peoples League, Kashmir Bar Association and some other organisations. According to the UF leaders, they joined hands to forge greater unity among the separatists.   Recently addressing a press conference, Sheikh Abdul Aziz senior leader of UF said efforts to unite the rival factions of Hurriyat failed. He threatened to expose some leaders of the two factions in public who are against the unity.   The UF has come under severe criticism by some militant groups, who asked its leaders to 'close the new shop' and join the 'real Hurriyat'. The militant groups alleged that Ansari faction deviated from Hurriyat constitution by entering into a dialogue process with central government.   Prior to Hurriyat split, Geelani wanted action against Peoples Conference, an important constituent of the conglomerate, for 'taking part in 2002 assembly polls'. He also got support from Jamat-e-Islami on the issue which refused to send its representatives in Hurriyat executive and general council meetings. With Jamat staying away, Ansari was elected the new chairman of Hurriyat in place of Prof Abdul Gani Bhat last year. Ansari gave a clean chit to Peoples Conference saying it did not contest polls.   Jamaat refused to accept Ansari as chairman saying the elections were held in a hush hush manner in its absence. Later the conglomerate split.   Geelani does not agree that Hurriyat has split. He claims that it was a cleansing exercise and those who violated the Hurriyat constitution were expelled. On the other hand Ansari claims that his is the real Hurriyat as majority of the executive council members support him.   Despite the Jamat-e-Islami not supporting his faction, Geelani continued to attend some meeting of the party till recent past.  


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