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Lashkar, Jaish our benefactors: Geelani

September 28, 2003 20:02 IST

Jamaat-e-Islami leader and chairman of a Hurriyat Conference faction Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said the actions of pan-Islamic militant outfits Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and Lashkar-e-Tayiba (LeT) are within the parameters of 'humanity and morality'.

In an interview to Pakistani weekly The Friday Times, Geelani said, "Lashkar and Jaish are our friends. They are our benefactors. They have been sacrificing their lives for us. And they have never acted in a manner that is against humanity or morality."

He was countering accusations that non-Kashmiri militant outfits such as Lashkar and Jaish had hijacked the indigenous struggle of Kashmiris.

Taking a dig at the present Jamaat chief Nazir Ahmed Kashani's announcement of retiring him from the JeI, Geelani said, "The retirement philosophy is un-Islamic."

He denied the split within the Hurriyat was engineered by Pakistan, saying India had spread this propaganda.

However, the weekly pointed out that state-run Pakistan TV had led with the election of the Jamaat leader as chief of a Hurriyat faction but remained silent on the factional fight within the amalgam.

Asked about which is the real Hurriyat, Geelani even denied a split. "The Hurriyat has been purged of some black sheep that had emerged as its leaders during the last three years," he said.

Asked whether he was happy with Pakistan's Kashmir policy under President Gen Pervez Musharraf, Geelani said, "That's not his (Musharraf's) policy. That's Pakistan's policy. Kashmir is an issue of top priority for him."

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