Lone's Son Says His Father's Stand On Kashmir Vindicated
19 May 2003
News Network International
Srinagar: Slain Hurriyat Conference leader Abdul Gani Lone's son believes that his father's stand for a dialogue to resolve Kashmir issue peacefully had been vindicated by the latest peace overtures between India and Pakistan. He (Abdul Gani Lone) was a visionary who had foreseen the trend of global events in the aftermath of the September 2001 attacks on the United States and had urged for a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue, Bilal Gani lone said as his People' Conference prepared to hold a massive rally to mark the first anniversary of his father's death, according to an Excelsior report. Bilal's father, the founder of People's Conference, which is an executive member of the Hurriyat Conference, was shot dead by unidentified assailants on May 21 last year while he was at Eidgah martyr's graveyard to attend the anniversary function of Moulvi Mohammad Farooq. Bilal said his father's stand that gun had played its role and that time had come for a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue was vindicated by the latest peace initiative between India and Pakistan launched by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his recent visit to the Valley. 'Is there anyone, cutting across the political spectrum, to deny the foresightedness of Lone Sahib? Even those who had pointed an accusing finger at my father for advocating a dialogue are today demanding the same,' he said. Asked about the progress made in investigations into his father's murder, Bilal said 'I am highly disappointed with the state government. It seems that the file might be on the verge of being closed'. Bilal, who has been in the eye of a storm ever since he took his father's position on the seven-member decision-making body of the Hurriyat, believes the senior Lone was killed as an attempt to decimate the ideology of People's Conference. 'His death was a major blow to us in the family as well as the party but his ideology continues to live on. Those who killed him have failed,' he added. The Lone brothers, Bilal and his younger brother Sajjad, were let off by the Hurriyat Conference last year after they assured the 25-party separatist conglomerate that they had not put up dummy candidates in the Assembly Elections. The lone brothers weathered the storm of infighting in their party following their father's killing and are now concentrating on strengthening the cadres at grass root level even outside their bastion of north Kashmir. 'We are strengthening our cadres all over the State with special focus on the Valley. We have our presence in Budgam, Anantnag and Pulwama districts besides Baramulla and Kupwara in north Kashmir,' Bilal said.