January 2006 News

Wanted: Pure Kashmiri Leaders

13 January 2006
The Indian Express

Srinagar: India's summary rejection of Pakistan's self-governance proposal and invitation to People's Conference leader Sajjad Ghani Lone has given an opportunity to the Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led Hurriyat hawks to assert themselves and term the peacemaking efforts by Pakistan and Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq as an exercise in futility. Besides, for the first time in their separatist history, the pro- Pakistan hardline Hurriyat grouping has publicly called for the indigenization of the Kashmir's separatist politics. 'India rejected the self-governance proposal because they (Hurriyat doves and Pakistan) exhibited a unilateral flexibility,' Masarat Alam, a senior leader of the Hurriyat hawks and a close Geelani aide told The Indian Express. 'India is waiting for them to get more flexible. Geelani, on the other hand, is in Saudi Arabia these days performing Haj. According to reports, the Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Salahuddin has also gone to the Arab country to meet Geelani.' The move is considered significant in the Valley given the fact that Salahuddin had also met Mirwaiz on his visit to Islamabad. Expressing disgust at the continued support of Pakistan for Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat, Masarat called for a 'Kashmiri separatist movement' free from the control of Islamabad. 'We should have an independent separatist struggle. A leader who has his own mass base and is not there because of support from India or Pakistan,' Masarat said. 'This way we won't be forced to toe either one or the other country's line.' Talking about the break-up of the earlier united Hurriyat, Masarat said, Pakistan was interested in it and supported the hawks. 'Pakistan was happy at the purging of Hurriyat of its compromising leaders (doves) but subsequently threw its weight behind them,' Masarat said. He said the shift in Pakistan's stance was the result of the 'devious machinations' of Hurriyat doves besides other geopolitical circumstances. 'They (doves) are arm-chair freedom fighters. They want azadi without sacrifices and in their own lifetime. They can't wait,' Masarat said. 'But we (hawks) think short-cuts are not going to solve Kashmir problem. It has to be addressed in its entirety and absolutely. And if that is not possible today, it will be tomorrow.' Masarat expressed dismay over the Pakistan climbdown from its traditional stand on Kashmir and President Musharraf's 'progressively compromising position,' on Kashmir. 'Musharraf changes his position on Kashmir every day. It is amazing. Kashmiris feel betrayed,' Masarat said. 'Earlier, he called for demilitarization of entire Kashmir, now he seeks it in only three districts of J-K. We don't understand it'.


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