Upstaging of Hurriyat angers terrorists, ISI
20 December 2002
The Times of India
New Delhi: The killing of Peoples Democratic Party MLA Abdul Aziz on Friday is a warning to the PDP by Pakistan-based terrorist outfits not to upstage the Hurriyat conglomerate in Jammu and Kashmir, intelligence sources told The Times of India. Soon after assuming power in J&K, the PDP- led Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government had been taking up programmes like release of detenues, disbanding the SOG, asking the Central government to talk to the militants - demands with which the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) was identified with. ''There is a growing feeling among the secessionist leaders and particularly those managing the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) across the border that the APHC is increasingly getting marginalised with the Mufti government hijacking its agenda. ''Pakistan was already upset with successful completion of J&K Assembly elections. The growing popularity of the Mufti government had given the ISI and its secessionist friends in J&K sleepless nights of late'', a senior intelligence official said. The Mufti government''s healing touch initiative in Kashmir has also resulted in growing rivalry among the various leaders of the conglomerate, with some of them making efforts to consolidate their individual support base. Soon after his release, JKLF leader Yasin Malik was pursuing a mass contact programme independent of the Hurriyat, by addressing public meetings and reviving the JKLF at the grassroot level. The activities of Sajjad and Bilal Lone also indicated that they were intent on guarding their support base in Kupwara and did not want any other APHC leader to make inroads there. On the other hand, Maulvi Umar Farooq also felt that Yasin Malik and the Lone brother were strengthening bases in their respective areas and so was advised by his supporters to undertake a tour of the Valley and address Friday congregations at various mosques to consolidate his base. Even separatist leader and former militant Shabir Shah had said that ''APHC, which was a divided house, was losing ground with its activities remaining confined to issuing statements only.'' Shah had lamented that the Kashmiris were unable to form another organisation, ''as Pakistan was averse to the idea of floating a parallel body to the Hurriyat Conference.''