Shabir Shah ready to join Hurriyat
14 July 2003
Our Staff Reporter
Jammu: A day after the new Hurriyat Conference chairman, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, invited the various separatist leaders to return to the conglomerate, the Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party chief, Shabir Shah, today said that he was ready to disband his party to join the conglomerate provided some pre-conditions were fulfilled. Mr. Shah was suspended from the Hurriyat executive council on August 11, 1996, for defying its directives against meeting the United States envoy to India, Frank Wisner, in Srinagar. Later, he formed the JKDFP. Talking to The Hindu , he said, 'the Hurriyat chairman's offer to us is a positive development for the people of the State. I have always believed that every separatist leader should come under a common banner. Right now it is a confused picture as every one is claming to be the representative of the people. I am prepared to take the lead and disband my own outfit in the interests of the people of the State for the cause of unity among separatists.' However, this was possible only if the Hurriyat was prepared to reshape the organisation and give it a democratic form. 'The first condition is to democratise the whole organisation and make it a political outfit. The start should be made at the top level i.e. at the executive council. The system of seven permanent members of the executive for lifetime is an undemocratic and archaic practice. This is against the principles of democracy and the practice needs to be immediately shunned.' Mr. Shah suggested forming a working committee on the pattern followed by political parties everywhere and the creation of district bodies. The Hurriyat must be renamed as the Jammu and Kashmir Hurriyat Conference to reflect the aspirations of the people of the whole State.