After having been at the receiving end for several months, Peoples Conference leader Sajjad Gani Lone finally ended his silence and hit back accusing Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani of abetting his father Abdul Gani Lone's assassination.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar, Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Lone said, "Geelani is creating the same environment, which he viciously created before the assassination of our party founder Abdul Gani Lone. The threat perception to the top leadership of the Peoples Conference is once again very high."
He alleged that statements by various Hurriyat leaders, including Geelani 'were a major contributory factor in the assassination of Abdul Gani Lone'.
"We had urged the Hurriyat Conference to form a committee to probe Lone's death, and the statements of various Hurriyat constituents prior to his assassination, but to no avail."
Geelani had been pressing for the expulsion of the Peoples Conference from the separatist All-Parties Hurriyat Conference accusing the party of putting up proxy candidates during the 2003 assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sajjad said Geelani has made his party 'the target of his overactive, destructive imagination'.
"We presented our point of view to the Hurriyat. Our stand remains the same. We expelled those leaders of our party who participated in the state assembly polls last year."
But Geelani is not convinced and continues to insist on the expulsion of the Peoples Conference from the separatist conglomerate.
"The APHC has emerged as a threat to those averse to the resolution of the Kashmir issue. Dividing, splitting, maligning is part of the Indian strategy."
"It is unfortunate that some leaders are playing a villainous role by trying to divide the pro-Kashmir forces, and Geelani is the biggest threat by virtue of his recent utterances," Sajjad said
He said the international community appears to taking a keen interest in the Kashmir issue.
"In light of changes taking place around the world, the need to resolve the Kashmir issue has acquired an element of urgency and the current peace winds blowing across India and Pakistan are an indicator of the prescriptive role of the international community. Both India and Pakistan seem to be adhering to a set of guidelines scripted by the international community," he said.
He, however, regretted that the 'Kashmiri leadership is a divided lot'.