Syed Ali Shah Geelani Appoints Shabir Ahmad Shah As No. 2

25 November 2015
The Indian Express
Bashaarat Masood

Srinagar: To accommodate separatist leaders who had recently joined his faction of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani has re-structured the separatist conglomerate and appointed Shabir Ahmad Shah as the new secretary general of the Hurriyat. 'Shabir Ahmad Shah sahib has been appointed as the secretary general,' the Hurriyat announced, adding that, 'Ghulam Nabi Sumji and Masarat Alam have been appointed as his deputies.' Shah - and his close friend Nayeem Ahmad Khan - had parted ways with Mirwaiz Hurriyat for being ignored. Before joining the Geelani faction, Shah had formed his own Hurriyat. The two separatist leaders, despite being pioneers of the separatist struggle, were only members of the general council in the Mirwaiz-led amalgam. Shah's appointment as the second-in-command in the Hurriyat Conference assumes significance, as he has been elevated over Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai and Masarat Alam - two strong contenders as Geelani's successors. After the restructuring, Shah will replace Sumji as the Hurriyat secretary general. The restructuring of the separatist amalgam was on cards since several leaders from the Mirwaiz faction had switched sides and joined hands with Geelani after a push for unity from Pakistan. Geelani, who is the lifetime chairman of Hurriyat, also constituted several committees to 'strengthen' the Hurriyat and announced their heads and members. Shah, Khan, Alam and Sumji have been appointed as members of the important political and social affairs committee. The other members of the committee include Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Ahmad Shah, Shia leader Aga Hassan and Firdous Ahmad Shah. Aga Hassan has also been given the charge for affairs of Leh and Kargil, which have a substantial Shia population. Almost all the leaders, who recently joined Geelani Hurriyat, have been accommodated in different committees in the restructuring.