Apparently trying to dabble in internal rivalry in the Hurriyat, Pakistan has invited hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani as the 'Chairman' of the amalgam along with six other Kashmiri separatist leaders for a meeting in Islamabad later this month.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has sent an invitation to seven Kashmiri separatist leaders including Geelani, a hardline leader; Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, a moderate; President Kashmir Bar Council Mian Abdul Qayyum, Shabir Shah, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yaseen Malik, firebrand woman separatist leader Aasiya Andrabi and Shia leader Aga Syed Hassan, according to Hurriyat sources on Thursday.
Surprisingly, Geelani has been referred to as 'chairman' of the Hurriyat Conference -- a major point of difference between the Mirwaiz and Geelani factions, in a virtual snub by Pakistan to moderate separatists who consider the Mirwaiz as the chairman of the secessionist outfit.
Ironically, Pakistan chose to invite Shah and Andrabi despite the former being in jail for his alleged involvement of anti-national activities and the latter eluding the police in connection with her alleged role in spreading enmity.
Prominent leaders like Abdul Gani Bhat and Bilal Lone have not been invited.
The Mirwaiz was out of the country in Jeddah to perform Umrah (mini Haj) and no one from the Geelani camp was willing to comment on the developments.