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Geelani quits his Hurriyat

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Srinagar: Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the lifetime chairman of the pro-Pakistan Hurriyat Conference, made a surprise announcement of completely dissociating himself from the 16-party amalgam on Monday, alleging lack of accountability and a brewing rebellion in the ranks.

The 90-year-old Geelani, the most prominent of pro-Pakistan separatists in the Kashmir Valley, was a founding member of the undivided All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) set up in 1993. He broke away in 2003 by enforcing a vertical split into the original amalgam after he had differences with other factions for adopting a “moderate approach”.

After creating his own faction of Hurriyat Conference (APHC-G), he went on to appropriate himself lifetime chairman of the conglomerate. The other faction (APHC-M) continues to be headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

He has been politically inactive of late, particularly since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year which had far-reaching consequences for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Geelani accused separatist leaders based in Pakistan-administered-Kashmir (PaK) of being opportunist and using the platform of Kashmir for their personal gains.

In a four-line letter and an audio message to the media, a spokesperson for the nonagenarian leader said, “Geelani has announced complete dissociation from Hurriyat Conference forum.”

Geelani has written a detailed letter to all constituent parts of the amalgam about the reasons behind his decision to leave the Hurriyat Conference, of which he had been nominated as a lifetime chairman, he said.

Geelani said the activities of Hurriyat Conference members currently in PaK were being investigated by the amalgam for various allegations.

“The activities of these representatives were limited now to seeking access to assemblies and ministries for joining the government there (PaK). Some members were expelled while others started holding their own meetings. These activities were endorsed by you (constituents) by holding a meeting here to endorse their decisions,” Geelani said in his two-page letter titled “in view of the current state of the Hurriyat Conference”, to the constituents of the amalgam.

In his letter, Geelani, who has also been a three-time member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly, also referred to inaction by the Hurriyat members post the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and the division of the erstwhile state into two Union territories.

“I sent messages to you through various means so that the next course of action could be decided but all my efforts (to get in touch) went in vain. Now that the sword of accountability is hanging over your heads for the financial and other irregularities, you thought of calling the advisory committee meeting,” he alleged.

Geelani said he was forced by the constituent parties in 2003 to take over the reins of the Hurriyat Conference and was made its lifetime chairman later.

“The lack of discipline and other shortcomings were ignored and you did not allow a robust accountability system to be established over the years but today, you have crossed all limits and indulged in rebellion against the leadership,” he added.

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