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Another split in Hurriyat Conference

Pak efforts on separatists' unity backfire

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Jan 6: Separatist Hurriyat Conference has split again leading to the formation of third faction of the separatist amalgam despite Pakistan’s untiring efforts to unite the two factions of separatist Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir.
Despite Pakistan’s efforts of unification of the Hurriyat Conference (M) led by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Hurriyat Conference (G) led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the faction led by Mirwaiz today split as three senior leaders – Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Azam Inquillabi – who were expelled by him last week for “indiscipline” today staked  their claim over moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference.
Without naming Mirwaiz or any other Hurriyat leader, the three leaders in a joint statement issued here today said: “The disruptive elements will not be tolerated in the Hurriyat Conference and we will run the forum according to the goals set by Martyrs and as per the wishes of the people.”
Pakistan has been making its efforts to unite two factions of Hurriyat Conferences led by Geelani and Mirwaiz to present a united platform for separatist groups in Kashmir ahead of 2014 when elections are being held in the State.
In order to put pressure on separatists for unity in Kashmir, Pakistan even closed down one of the offices of the Hurriyat Conference in Islamabad last year. Since then, the two factions are operating from same office in Islamabad, with Yusuf Naseem, representative of Mirwaiz faction of Hurriyat Conference and Ghulam Mohammad Safi, representing Geelani faction of Hurriyat Conference, issuing statements jointly signed by them.
In Kashmir valley after Pakistan failed to unite the two Hurriyat factions, it was mulling formation of a Coordination Committee of two factions of Hurriyat Conference. But instead of uniting two factions, one more division in Hurriyat Conference took place today a week after Mirwaiz expelled these leaders from Hurriyat Conference for “indiscipline”.
Mirwaiz also wrote letter to Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) Chapter of Hurriyat Conference directing it not to entertain the representatives of Shah, Khan and Inquillabi in their meetings.
The three leaders while commenting on Mirwaiz’s letter to PoK chapter of Hurriyat said: “The letter is childish act and it has been written by those who are using the forum for their own interests and against the movement.”
“We have some serious differences with the people in Hurriyat Conference but ironically they have cleverly called these differences as a matter of indiscipline”, said the statement.
The statement further says: “A meeting of Hurriyat leaders was organised at Shah’s residence and it was felt that the disruptive elements within Hurriyat have caused a great damage to the movement and the forum.”
Levelling serious allegations against Hurriyat (M) leaders, the statement said: “They have failed to run the amalgam according to its constitution so it was decided in the meeting that Hurriyat Conference will now be run by those who have a clear past.”
The three leaders alleged of Hurriyat Conference (M) of sabotaging the agreement between Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani and them. “The disruptive elements in Hurriyat (M) have time and again sabotaged the endeavors of unification.”
Accusing the leaders of Hurriyat Conference (M) of using the amalgam for their gains, the statement said: “In our meeting it was unanimously decided to take over the Hurriyat Conference. Few people present in Hurriyat advocate secret talks and even bilateralism even knowing the fact that Hurriyat Conference constitution does not permit it.”
One more division in Hurriyat Conference is a big setback to efforts of Pakistan after Foreign Policy adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Sartaj Aziz who met the leaders of the both the factions of Hurriyat Conference in November last year in New Delhi also stressed for unification of Hurriyat factions.
Sources said that since the formation of Government by Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Government has thrown its weight behind hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Earlier when Pervez Musharraf was in power in Pakistan, he had thrown his weight behind Mirwaiz and the People’s Party lead Government followed the suit.

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