Hurriyat drops plan for global poll panel
11 February 2002
The Indian Express
Srinagar: THE Hurriyat Conference is holding a special executive session tomorrow to decide on the names for the election commission it proposes to form. ‘‘There are no differences of opinion on the list,’’ said Hurriyat Chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat. Sources in the separatist conglomerate said it has been decided to name only Indians and Pakistanis and not involve anyone from any other country in deference to Indian sensitivities. It’s due to this fact that East Timorese Nobel laureate Jose Ramos-Horta’s name has been reportedly dropped from the short-list, they said. Horta is a friend of Hurriyat’s executive member Yasin Malik. Justice (retd) Sajad Ali Shah and Majid Malik of the Pakistan supreme court, whom Hurriyat had approached, have reportedly declined to be on proposed panel, they said. The names reportedly under consideration are human rights activist Tapan Bose, I A Rehman, who heads the Pakistan human rights commission, Justice V M Tarkunde and Rajmohan Gandhi. Hurriyat’s executive member Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said the conglomerate was one on not including people from outside India and Pakistan. ‘‘We are aware that people of other nationalities will not be to the liking of India. It is a delicate issue and we are alive to it,’’ he told The Indian Express. Umar said they were meeting diplomatic missions in New Delhi to win support for the proposal. They have already met diplomats from France, Germany, Iran and Pakistan. The Hurriyat wants to name the commission quickly and then seek support for it in India and Pakistan. The development has already led the National Conference to consider holding the assembly elections earlier than September as scheduled. The Hurriyat is also contemplating inviting other separatist leaders and parties for coordination on the lines of the Muslim United Front which had emerged as a major threat to the National Conference in the 1987 elections. Veteran separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah, who heads the Democratic Freedom Party, has proposed ‘‘reorganisation’’ of the Hurriyat to accommodate ‘‘like- minded groups’’.