Kashmir logjam: Hizbul chief Zakir Musa's threat to Hurriyat comes as separatists warm up to New Delhi

Srinagar: The threat by Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Zakir Musa to Hurriyat leaders has come at a time when the separatists have been holding constant dialogue with the representatives of national mainstream political parties over ending the logjam on Kashmir.

The separatists including the Hurriyat Conference(G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, met civil society delegation led by senior BJP leader and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha in October last year. A Kashmir conclave of different parties is expected in New Delhi this month. Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has said that the proposal to hold a conference in Delhi is an attempt to seek a "unified voice" on resolving unrest in the Kashmir valley.

Geelani had been vocal against any dilution of stand on Kashmir and bilateral talks with New Delhi and had even rebuffed former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf over his four-point formula on Kashmir which emphasised on porous borders and devolution of regional autonomy. He had out rightly rejected bilateral talks, stating that the dialogue either between India and Pakistan or Delhi and Srinagar was a futile exercise unless the issue is resolved through UN resolutions.

File image of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. AFP

File image of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. AFP

The dialogue between separatists and mainstream political parties came even as other Hurriyat members including Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chairman, Shabir Shah, and Nationalist Front chairman, Nayeem Khan, broke up from the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, blaming the amalgam of dilution of its stand on Kashmir. On 10 September, 2015, Shah, Khan and Anjuman-e-Shar-e-Shian president Agha Syed Hassan had joined Geelani’s group after they had dissociated with the Mirwaiz-led group. According to sources, the trio had left the Mirwaiz faction after a senior Hurriyat leader had advocated that the resolution of the Kashmir problem has to be found while shelving the UN resolution. As per the UN resolution, a referendum was to be held to give the people of both the parts of Kashmir administered by Pakistan as well as this part of Kashmir the choice to decide on their final accession with either New Delhi or Islamabad.

Shah and Nayeem Khan had said in the Hurriyat(M) meeting that the Hurriyat shouldn’t deviate from its 1993 constitution, whose “preamble was that the UN resolutions are the bedrock of solution to the Kashmir problem." But in a recent development, Shabir Shah had resigned from the position of general secretary of the Hurriyat Conference and in his letter to Geelani, he had noted that Hurriyat had failed to live up to the promises of people. However, Shah reiterated that there should be no politics read into his resignation. "I was not able to do justice to the job. Since I was remaining mostly under arrest, I was not able to deliver effectively," he said.

However, three of the separatist leaders — Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and JKLF Chairman, Yasin Malik — have also significantly formed a joint conglomerate after the 2016 uprising which was triggered after the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant commander Burhan Muzafar Wani. The joint statements are being issued by the three leaders including the calls for the shutdown.

While Geelani is influenced by Jamat-i-Islami ideology as its member, that seeks the revival of Islam to its pristine glory, both Mirwaiz and Malik maintain a moderate posture. Malik is advocating the freedom of Kashmir both from India and Pakistani rule, while Hizbul Mujahideen has been advocating merger of Kashmir with Pakistan. Geelani, Malik and Mirwaiz had in a joint statement termed the Kashmiri struggle a political movement which led to the Hizbul Mujahideen commander issuing a warning.

Despite his meetings with the mainstream politicians, there are many who still consider Geelani closer to the Pakistani establishment. However, political commentator and Kashmir legal expert, Dr Sheikh Showkat Hussain, differs. "Geelani is the one who took on the Pakistani establishment and even went against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's four point formulae," he said.

Reacting over the threat, National Front Chairman, Nayeem Khan, said that the Hurriyat Conference is a recognised political forum which has "nourished the blood soaked struggle of people". He said that "we are seeking the resolution of Kashmir issue as per the international norms." He said that the it was for the United Jehad Council (UJC) Chief, Syed Salaudin, to issue any "clarification" over the situation that has developed after the warning by HM militant commander.

On Friday, hours after Zakir Musa released the video, UJC chief, Syed Salahudin, said that he has “directed the militants on the ground to desist from issuing statements and consult the top commanders on policy and freedom matters.” He said that there is no role of Al-Qaeda, Islamic State and Taliban in the freedom struggle of Kashmir.

“The ongoing freedom struggle is aimed to throw the Indian forces out of Kashmir has been started by the people themselves. There is no role of any other force including Al-Qaeda, ISIS and Taliban,” Salahudin told a local news agency, adding that “there is also no need to involve them in this freedom struggle.”

Updated Date: May 13, 2017 11:05 AM

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