Hizb Initiative To Unify Hurriyat Factions
29 April 2005
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: If reports reaching here from Muzaffarabad are to be believed, Kashmiri guerrilla organisation Hizbul Mujahideen has been desperately trying to reunify the split factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference. In the last two years, everybody from the Hurriyat's well-wishers in Srinagar to its masters in Islamabad has failed to forge unity among the fragmented constituents of the conglomerate. Quoting 'reliable sources', a local news agency, KNS, today claimed that Hizbul Mujahideen's 'supreme commander' Syed Salah-ud-din was continuously in touch with the leaders of the Hurriyat's divided factions, namely Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, over telephone. Purpose of Salah-ud-din's interaction with Geelani and Mirwaiz is said to be the Hizbul Mujahideen's initiative to combine the Kashmiri separatist leaders on one political platform. The Hizb supremo, according to the news agency, has explained to Geelani and Mirwaiz that their game of one- upmanship was proving to be detrimental to the Kashmiris' 'cause of azadi'. Mirwaiz has claimed at least twice in the last 16 months that he had tried his best to reunify the split factions and other estranged leaders of the conglomerate. Later, he admitted candidly that his efforts had failed. Meanwhile, a combination of separatist activists, led by president of High Court Bar Association Mian Qayoom, claimed to have taken a similar initiative. After a year's groundwork, Mian Qayoom admitted at a news conference that all efforts to combine the Hurriyat had failed. He even levelled serious allegations of the 'politics of one-upmanship' against Geelani faction. Though neither Geelani nor Mirwaiz were available for comments on the fresh development, Mirwaiz told his audiences at Jamia Masjid that he had started a fresh effort of forging unity among the divided separatist leaders. In his pre-prayer sermon on occasion of the Friday following Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, Mirwaiz disclosed that when General Pervez Musharraf desired a meeting with the Kashmiri separatist leaders during his recent visit in New Delhi, he insisted that all the leaders should jointly meet the Pakistani President. 'However, unfortunately it didn't happen. But, in my meeting with Gen Musharraf, I explained the perils of division among the Kashmiri leaders. Gen Musharraf agreed with me and he looked concerned', Mirwaiz said. Sources close to Mirwaiz said that the young separatist leader would also seek a thorough interaction with other separatist leaders like Shabir Shah and Yasin Malik.