Pakistan Puts Weight Behind Geelani

21 April 2015
The Daily Excelsior
Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar: After Pakistan failed to unite various factions of separatists groups in Kashmir, they are now strengthening Hurriyat Conference (G) led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and forming an alliance of various separatists around the Hurriyat hawk. Sources said that it was decided a month ago in a meeting of the top functionaries of Government of Pakistan and its agencies that Geelani will be strengthened and other groups will be asked to rally around him. The decision was taken after every effort by Pakistan, for past two years, failed to unite various factions of the Hurriyat Conference. Last effort of unification was made soon after the last year's Assembly elections in which a record percentage of Kashmiris cast their ballot. After all efforts failed to unite separatists, it was decided that Hurriyat Conference (G) will be strengthened. The exit of seven separatist leaders from Hurriyat Conference (M) led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was part of strengthening the Geelani faction of Hurriyat Conference. The leaders who parted ways with Mirwaiz include Zaffar Akbar Bhat, Saleem Geelani, Yasmeen Raja and Bashir Andrabi. These leaders are likely to join Hurriyat Conference (G). Sources said that few more senior members of Hurriyat Conference (M) are likely to part ways with Mirwaiz to join Geelani faction of Hurriyat Conference soon. This will weaken the Mirwaiz faction of Hurriyat Conference and isolate some of its leaders with whom Geelani has reservations. Last year Mirwaiz faction of Hurriyat Conference split when its three senior leaders, Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Azam Inquilabi, formed a new faction Hurriyat Conference Jammu and Kashmir (JK). At that time they had alleged that some of the leaders in Hurriyat Conference (M) were sabotaging the unification of separatist groups. These leaders may be now part of Hurriyat Conference (M) but they will have no role in any decision making in the united forum of separatists. Besides, this Hurriyat Conference Jammu and Kashmir is likely to choose its chairman and other office bearers soon. This group will be most likely headed by senior separatist leader Azam Inquilabi. All the three Hurriyat Conference groups have been told to form a broader alliance around Geelani who will be having powerful role in decision making. The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman, Mohammad Yasin Malik, has also been asked to give its support to the coordination. The various Kashmiri separatist groups in Pakistan which had already united last year following pressure from the Pakistan Government are formally now under one platform for last one month. Sources said that since the formation of Government by Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Government has thrown its weight behind Geelani. Earlier, when former Pakistan President Musharraf was in power, he had thrown his weight behind Mirwaiz and the People's Party led Government followed the suit.