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Geelani removed from Hurriyat executive by Jamaat-e-Islami
May 24, 2003 22:39 IST
Jamaat-e-Islami has removed Syed Ali Shah Geelani from the executive body of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference.
The move is seen as an attempt to moderate the extremist voices in the separatist amalgam in the wake of the thaw in Indo-Pak ties.
Geelani's exit will also reduce Jamaat's conflict with the People's Conference, which is represented by Bilal Gani Lone in the Hurriyat.
Geelani had accused Bilal and his younger brother Sajjad of a sell out. The sons of late Abdul Gani Lone, however, claim the Jamaat leader is out of touch with ground realities.
Sheikh Ali Mohammad, who took up the Jamaat position in the executive of Hurriyat following Geelani's arrest last year, will be the permanent representative of the party, Hurriyat sources told PTI.
Jamaat-e-Islami chief Ghulam Mohammad Bhat has recently sent a letter to Hurriyat chairman Abdul Gani Bhat, informing him about the party's decision to replace Geelani on the executive council, the sources added.
Bhat, however, said the decision to replace Geelani was owing to his health condition. He said the arrangement was temporary and Geelani would resume his duties within the Hurriyat as and when his health permitted him.
Geelani, when contacted, said he knew nothing about the missive sent by the Jamaat chief to the Hurriyat chief.
On his grouse with the Lone brothers, Geelani said, "I do not have anything personal against them. It is just that they have contested the so-called assembly elections through dummy candidates."
Geelani, a hardline fundamentalist, sees merger of Kashmir with Pakistan as the only realistic solution to the dispute between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Although many pro-Pakistan parties and leaders have softened their stand on a merger and have suggested that the future dispensation of the state be in accordance with the people's wishes, Geelani has refused to budge.
Geelani had accused Pakistan of putting the Kashmir issue on the back burner in the wake of latest peace initiative between New Delhi and Islamabad, which led to announcement of several confidence building measures.
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