September 2005 News

Geelani Gets A Jolt

22 September 2005
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Days after the Hurriyat doves emerged as the Kashmiri separatist partners of dialogue for New Delhi and Islamabad, the first major fissures have emerged in the hardline separatist camp, thus beginning the process of sidelining Syed Ali Shah Geelani, an ardent opponent of the talks process. In a well-orchestrated move, two major constituents of Geelani's camp , National Front and Peoples Conference (PC), today announced their split from Geelani, praised President Musharaff's Kashmir policy and dropped obvious hints that they are headed to join the Mirwaiz camp. In fact, Ghulam Mohammad Hubi, who heads the hardline faction of PC, claimed that the reason to leave is Geelani's 'global agenda and his bid to portray Kashmir as part of the Pan-Islamic movements across the world.' 'He (Geelani) has a bigger agenda,' Hubbi said at a press conference here. 'We respect his agenda but we can not shoulder it. We don't have a global agenda.' However, Khan's reason for severing ties with the hardline Hurriyat was the lack of culture of mutual consultation between the constituents. 'Though we respect him (Geelani) as a person, he as a chairman has disappointed us,' Khan said. The two leaders, however, left their options open for any future alignment with the moderate Hurriyat. The future course of action will be decided by the advisory committee of the National Front and the working committee of People's Conference, Khan revealed. This is the third split in the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Geelani in the recent months. Earlier, its constituents - Anjuman-i-Share Shian led by Agha Hassan Budgami, an influential Shia cleric and a little known Jammu-based separatist organisation, Jammu and Kashmir People's Movement (JKPM) parted ways from the separatist amalgam. Budgami later joined the Hurriyat faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. The differences between the two constituents and Geelani's Hurriyat had surfaced early this year when Pakistan invited the separatist leaders to Islamabad and its part of Kashmir. Khan and Hubbi along with Agha Hassan Budgami were in favour of the cross-LoC trip. 'I was contemplating this (exit from Hurriyat) since eight months,' Hubbi said. 'But Nayeem Sahib persuaded me to continue with the amalgam.' The split will give a boost to Hurriyat moderates involved in parleys with the Centre. In fact, Khan too advocated dialogue provided it is meaningful, result-oriented and aimed at ending the Indian occupation. Hubbi went a step further and said: 'There is no way other than the dialogue.' The chairman of the National Front said the guns would fall silent if the talks are geared to resolve the issue. 'If the talks are aimed at ending occupation, the guns will fall silent in Kashmir,' Khan said. 'It (militancy) is not violence but a sacred cause. India is on war with the whole of Kashmiri population.' Khan too favoured the involvement of militant leadership in the dialogue process. 'We are fighting on three fronts - politically, militarily and diplomatically,' he said, while responding to a question about the statement of People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti. She had called for inclusion of Hizbul Mujahideen, the largest indigenous militant outfit, in the talks process. The mujahideen are represented by UJC (United Jihad Council) of which HM is a formidable part. 'Mehbooba Ji has realised it today but we have been advocating it right from the beginning.' In response to a question, Khan said he has firm belief that Pakistan will not compromise on the Kashmir issue. They have never compromised and will not compromise on Kashmir, he said. Pakistan leadership is realistic in its approach, Hubbi said. Welcome Gen Mufti NAYEEM Khan, chairman of National Front (NF), today termed chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as General Mufti. He was addressing a press conference here. 'I call him General Mufti,' Khan said. 'On the one hand, he is advocating dialogue and on the other hand he is heading the Unified Command Council. I believe Jammu and Kashmir is the only state where the chief minister heads the army command council.' Making a mention of the NDTV survey, Khan said Kashmir has the highest concentration of armed forces. The world's deadliest insurgency is in Iraq. According to surveys, there are 1.5 lakh American soldiers against 3500 insurgents, he said. 'However, in Kashmir we have eight lakh Indian soldiers.'


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