Jamaat Sidelining Hardliners
5 July 2006
Srinagar: The recent developments within the Jamaat-e-Islami are a pointer towards the fact that Pakistan is once again trying to prop up hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani as against the moderate Amir-e-Jamaat Nazir Ahmed Kashani as the elections for the post of Amir are due in the month of August 2006. Pakistan's ISI of late, has eased restrictions on the militant outfits and has given directors to them to go ahead with militant activities in full swing as there shall be no dearth of funds. The threat issued to Mirwaiz by the HM may also be a signal to Kashani that there was no room for moderates in Jammu and Kashmir. Geelani and his coterie thus, enthused by these directions, is trying to have an upper hand in the affairs of Jamaat-e-Islami as the moderate leader Kashani had completely disassociated from militancy for three long years as Amir. He appeared of the view that moderation may be of use in the dialogue process some day. Geelani because of his hardline stance has been totally alienated within the Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir.
While Geelani and his coterie do not want Kashani to get re-elected, Kashani is trying his best to keep Geelani at bay. He has adopted a resolution whereby those who are holding dual membership - TeH and JeI - will not be allowed to contest elections or participate in the elections for the post of Amir or to get nominated for the Central working committee of JeI (Majlis-e-Shoora). Geelani, however, has rubbished it as "unconstitutional".
For the first time Kashani has decided that elections of Numayandagan, to form electoral college should be held district wise in the presence of Amir (chief), Qayam (general secretary) and Election Commissioner. Earlier the election of Numayandagan used to be held at Srinagar where Arakan (primary members) from all over the state used to cast their votes. The move is directed at keeping Geelani away so that he is unable to influence Arakan in his favour. Geelani had invited moderate factions' ire when he formed a separate organisation TeH on August 7, 2004. Kashani peeved by the activities of Geelani suspended him and those who were at the helm of affairs of Tehreek on the ground that a Jamaati cannot hold dual posts.
Kashani could silence another issue confronting the JeI regarding a campaign launched by the factions supporting Geelani that Amir-e-Jamaat of JeI should be elected directly by the Arakeen (primary members of JeI) and not by the Majlis-e-Numayandagan (electoral college). By his decision to hold district wise elections starting from July 2006, Kashani has put all the speculations to rest. Those favouring soft policy vis-a-vis JeI are of the view that Geelani should mind his own business and concentrate on TeH rather than wasting time and energy in fighting with the JeI and let JeI pursue its religious activity. In the event of Geelani's failure to pursue his agenda, he is more likely to remain associated with the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. The socio-religious organisation cannot be dictated by Pakistan or ISI. It has to concentrate on the religious activities and there should be no place for hardliners. For this Kashmiris feel it is essential that a moderate should head the Jamaat so that the objective for which it was formed is served. It should not be headed by a hardliner who is against anything that aims to bring peace to the valley and in the subcontinent. Those who continue to harp on the age-old resolutions do not have any place in the modern day Kashmir.