Shabir Shah Joins APHC After 10 Years
14 January 2008
The Daily Excelsior
Jammu: After his unceremonious exit from Hurriyat Conference 10 years ago, Kashmiri separatist leader and Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chief Shabir Shah today returned to the moderate amalgam-All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq which also asked other rival groups to follow suit. 'We are at a crucial stage of the freedom movement. We swim together, we sink together... Mirwaiz is our chairman,' Shah said while announcing his joining the party at a joint press conference with APHC chairman at Eidgah martyrs’ graveyard here. Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq welcomed the move saying the 'decision is a right one in right direction. His joining will not only benefit the Hurriyat Conference but the freedom struggle as well'. He said the goal of separatist parties in Jammu and Kashmir was same and time had come for everybody to unite. 'If we do not understand the realities of the situation, history will never forgive us.' Mirwaiz asked all separatists including Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) and Jamaat-e-Islami, who were members of the executive committee before Hurriyat suffered a vertical split in 2003, to join back the parent party. 'There is no place for petty differences. This struggle is not for concessions, roads, economic packages or power... It is for the right to self determination,' he said. Shah, who was thrown out of the amalgam in 1998 when he had met the then American Ambassador to India Frank Wisner without taking the Hurriyat executive into confidence, also appealed to all separatist political parties, including the rival Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to unite in one platform. Ahead of Shah’s joining, several separatist leaders including People’s League chairman Sheikh Abdul Aziz and Mahaz-e-Azadi chairman Azam Inqilabi had joined the Hurriyat Conference last week. 'It was a wish of the martyrs that the leaders of the resistance movement should come under one umbrella to pursue their cause. And we begin with our freedom struggle afresh from this place where hundreds of martyrs lay in the eternal rest,' Shah said. He thanked Mirwaiz Umar for considering the six point programme as put forth by the former a few days ago in a bid to unite the splintered separatist political outfits. 'My suggestions have been hailed by all the pro freedom parties including the Jamati Islami, Jamiati Ahli Hadis and the like. The United Jihad Council, an amalgam of various militant outfits across the border, also earnestly wished that the political leadership here should close its ranks for carrying forward the struggle. My joining the Hurriyat is a step in that direction', he said. Referring to Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s condition for restoration of 1993 Hurriyat constitution as a base for unification, Shabir Shah said, 'If we are traveling for an identical goal, there have to be no preconditions for reaching the destination. 1993 constitution is not only being restored but implemented also. 'Doubts if any can be cleared by sitting together,' he added. Mr Shah asserted that no sell outs will be allowed with the sacrifices of those who laid down their lives for the separatist cause. He revealed that coordination with leadership on the other side of Kashmir would continue and appealed them to support Hurriyat. He also pleaded to the people of Jammu and Ladakh divisions to participate in the ‘ongoing movement’. 'They have a role in the right to self determination,' he said, adding 'in the immediate future we will visit every nook and corner of the State and reinvigorate the movement'. The DFP chairman thanked the Government of Pakistan for continuously supporting the separatists even at odd times. He also expressed his gratitude for the role Iran has been playing in helping the people of Kashmir.