September 2005 News

APHC moderates lose sympathy?

11 September 2005
The Daily Times

Washington DC: India has finally succeeded in isolating what it calls the 'hardliner' Kashmiri leadership from the 'moderate' faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), according to a well- informed report from New Delhi.Arun Rajnath writes in a Washington- based online publication that Hurriyat has lost support in the Valley, noting that when its leaders went to the Srinagar airport to board a flight for their meeting with Manmohan Singh, there was no one to see them off. In contrast, when these leaders were allowed to visit Pakistan recently, 'people were so excited that they drove with them to the Pakistani border.' When they arrived in New Delhi for their meeting with the Indian Prime Minister, 'they locked themselves in a house situation in the NRI (non-resident Indian) colony of Mandakini under tight security and enhanced vigilance of the agencies. Nobody was allowed to meet them or talk to them even on the telephone before (their) meeting (with) the prime minister.'Rajnath says the four people who have worked hard to divide the Hurriyat are NN Vohra, a Congress leader from Kashmir, politician Saifuddin Soz, former RAW chief Amarjeet Singh Daulat and Indian government bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah. According to him, 'The involvement of the Indian intelligence agency RAW cannot be ruled out in persuading the APHC leaders to come to the negotiation table as Amarjeet Singh Daulat was appointed officer on special duty (OSD) for Kashmir affairs in the Prime Minister's Office by the Vajpayee government.' Though he had to leave office after the BJP's defeat, the Manmohan Singh government continued to utilise his services. He was replaced by Saifuddin Soz, who prefers to work through the 'backdoor.' According to the correspondent, 'The Government of India has always been trying to isolate (Syed Ali) Geelani, and now this time the APHC (Mirwaiz faction) has also joined hands (with New Delhi). Secondly, the Government of India also wants to send a message to the international community that it is serious about the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and Pakistan should move further. Thirdly, Dr Singh wants to take something with him to the UN when on the sidelines he would meet President Bush and Gen Musharraf.' Rajnath writes that 'Kashmir watchers' are not sure if isolating Geelani is a good idea, because 'it is a well-known fact that other than Mirwaiz, his contingent consisted of lightweights who neither have any base nor do they have any political agenda as compared with Geelani. It is to be noted that when the Pakistani government invited these leaders, they immediately cashed in the opportunity' in a bid to 'expose' Geelani. 'The government-controlled Pakistan Television also did the same and changed its priorities.' This change by Pakistan Television was seen in Kashmir as the Pakistani establishment's approval of the stand taken by Mirwaiz and rejection of Geelani's stand. Geelani believes in adhering to the Kashmiri people's right of self- determination under UN resolutions. The report continues, 'Mirwaiz at present enjoys a pat from Pakistani General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. But where would this lead to? One should not forget that Geelani is getting older, he many not live long, but his ideas are still relevant. There is a large section (in Kashmir) that follows him and would continue to follow him even in his absence. It needs to be understood that Ali Shah Geelani is not an individual but represents the silent majority. Ignoring this majority may be easier but it may not lead to a lasting and peaceful solution.'


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