‘ISI puts pressure on J-K hardliners to rope in moderates’
18 July 2004
The Indian Express
Press Trust of India
New Delhi: As the fate of Centre-Hurriyat talks remained uncertain, Pakistan’s ISI has adopted a two-pronged strategy of exerting more pressure on hardliners to expand their base by roping in moderates and using militant groups like Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) to terrorise pro-dialogue leaders from holding any parleys with New Delhi. The pressure on pro- Pakistan leader and head of the breakaway Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani was evident when he, on his return to Srinagar from Delhi, dashed a letter to Amir-e-Jamaat Nazir Ahmed Kashiani saying his outfit should be termed as a political wing of Jamaat, for which a committee has been formed, sources said. Geelani was directed to expand his base and become more acceptable, they said. Advertisement He was scheduled to announce his new party, Tehrek-e-Hurriyat-e- Kashmir, on July 4 but the move was deferred after instructions that he needed to expand his base, sources said. After failing to woo the Hurriyat group comprising Abdul Gani Bhat, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Maulana Ansari, ISI has been using LeT to terrorise them, especially Mirwaiz, and the killing of his uncle Maulvi Mushtaq and burning down of a school were in keeping with this. The continued terrorising of Mirwaiz strengthened his resolve and the Hurriyat’s statement at Maulvi Mushtaq’s funeral that the amalgam was committed to its mission of resolving the Kashmir issue through talks was a sign of defiance of militant diktats. However, terror tactics by militants had pushed the process of talks to uncertainty. The Hurriyat was now going ahead in attempts to rope in more leaders into its fold.