March 2006 News

Geelani's Pak Plan Has Hawks Fuming

4 March 2006
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Syed Ali Shah Geelani's hardline politics has become a liability for him, or so it seems. The constituents of the Hurriyat faction led by him are unhappy over his application for travel documents to visit Pakistan for March 10-12 Pugwash Conference in Islamabad. They have termed the move as an 'unexpected climbdown'. 'He is the one who turned down President Musharraf's invite to visit the country last year. Now, he is raring to go ahead of all the other separatists,' said sources in the faction. The constituents are also miffed about Geelani's 'refusal' to PM's invite for the Kashmir roundtable. 'If he is heading a forum of independent parties, he should have at least taken us into confidence before rejecting the invite,' they said. Indicating fissures in the faction, the hawks have called a Hurriyat meeting on Monday to press home their resentment. 'Yes, we will oppose Geelani Sahib's decision to go to Pakistan,' the sources said. 'He cannot make decisions on his own'. Geelani is on the defensive. He said he was also going 'to tour quake-affected areas' in PoK. But this does not wash with the opponents, who maintain it does not change the 'basic nature' of the visit. The stage for the conference was set after a visit to J-K by a delegation of the International Pugwash. It met all major separatist leaders, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Shabir Shah and Yaseen Malik.


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