ISI chief''s presence puts Hurriyat meet in doubt
12 May 2002
The Times of India
NEW DELHI: Even as the differences over the Sharjah meeting within the Hurriyat Conference continued, a fresh controversy has come to the fore over the presence of Pakistan''s ISI Chief Ehsan-ul-Haq at the meet creating doubts that the meeting was called to undermine the moderate leadership within the amalgam. Though Haq''s presence was kept ''under wraps'' for obvious reasons, amalgam insiders said the two Hurriyat leaders - Abdul Gani Lone and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq - had been advised to keep away from the polls and maintain unity among the amalgam. Haq, along with another senior army official incharge of Kashmir in ISI, asked Lone and Farooq to remain within the amalgam and ensure boycott of the forthcoming assembly elections, Hurriyat sources said. The two Hurriyat leaders, who were considered to be the propagators of peace, are reported to have conveyed to Haq and other officials who included Sardar Abdul Qayoom, Chairman of Pakistan''s Kashmir Committee, that people in Jammu and Kashmir wanted peace and resolution of the issue through political dialogue, the sources said. The two leaders also highlighted the adamant attitude of fire-brand Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who was scuttling all efforts to bring in a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir issue. Geelani had criticised the two leaders for participating at the Sharjah meet and had given a call for continuance of ''Jehad'' (armed crusade).