Among the first four militants who launched the violent secessionist movement in Kashmir in 1989, separatist leader Yaseen Malik on Thursday left on his first visit to the Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir in 17 years.
He is a different man today -- a legitimate political voice in the Valley -- though he remains still the strongest votary of an independent Kashmir.
Also see: Tight security for Hurriyat journey
"It is exactly after 17 years I am visiting Muzaffarabad again," Malik told PTI shortly before leaving the headquarters of his Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front.
"In June 1988 when we left for Pakistan it was a different feeling. We were determined to go and obtain [arms] training," recalled
His group gave up arms in 1992-1993.
In 1988, Malik had crossed over to Pakistan without passport. He was accompanied by three others and they were to receive arms training in a militant camp.
Also see: 'Why should I go to Pakistan?'
Only one of his associates, Javid Ahmad Mir, has survived and he heads the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Forum.
JKLF's farewell to arms had earned it many enemies, including the PoK-based Hizbul Mujahideen.
JKLF joined the All Parties Hurriyat Conference when it was formed on December 27, 1993.
Malik's baggage on Thursday included signed statements of people demanding involvement of Kashmiris in the Indo-Pak talks.