Sunday, June 18, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

APHC units unlikely to merge
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, June 17 — Three main constituents of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, the Jamait-e-Islami, and the Awami Action Committee, led by Molvi Umar Farooq, and the JKLF, headed by Mohammad Yasin Mailk, are unlikely to accept the suggestion given by Dr Ayub Thakur, a London-based World Kashmir Freedom Movement, leader that all major units of the conglomerate should merge their organisational identities with the APHC.

This suggestion was conveyed to the top APHC leaders by Dr Thakur in a detailed letter last month.

In fact Dr Ayub Thakur has been worked up by the way the APHC leaders have been speaking in different voices to foreign diplomats who travel to Srinagar to assess the opinion of the separatists. He has also criticised the APHC leaders for their divergent stand taken in response to the offer for talks made by the Government of India.

In the letter Dr Thakur has explained at length that the Afghan turmoil did not end with the withdrawal of the Soviet troops because of lack of united political front. Several militant and political groups had campaigned against the Soviet intrusion and these groups did not form a united front which resulted in the ongoing turmoil. He has suggested to the APHC to emulate the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). He has said that whatever success the Palestinians have achieved was the result of the PLO which was formed by the merger of six organisations.

Though all six Executive Committee members of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference have received the letter from Dr Thakur but there has been no serious discussion on it. Informed sources said that the Jamait-e-Islami, which is the dominant unit of the APHC, was not prepared to close shop and merge with the APHC. The Jamaat has a long history and the APHC is just a six-year-old organisation which was formed simply to keep the flock of different hues under one umbrella.



Similarly the over 30-year-old Awami Action Committee has its history ingrained in the mind of several lakh people. It has its pockets of influence and its chief, Molvi Umar Farooq, is not ready to merge this organisation with the APHC. By doing that he would lose his identity under the dominant influence of the Jamait-e-Islami.

For the JKLF chief, Mohammad Yasin Malik, the idea of merging his party with the APHC would be very hard decision. It is no longer a secret that there is ideological conflict between the Jamait-e-Islami and the JKLF, the former is for Kashmir’s incorporation with Pakistan and the latter favouring Azadi for the state.

The Muslim Conference led by Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and the Peoples’ Conference headed by, Mr Abdul Gani Lone, have adopted a low profile in the tussle between the JKLF and the Jamait-e-Islami within the APHC. If circumstances allow Mr Lone would support the JKLF ideology.

During a seminar held in Jamia Masjid in Srinagar recently the JKLF Chief, Mohammad Yasin Malik, had come down heavily on religious leaders blaming them for having projected Islam in wrong colours. He had gone to the extent of blaming the Ulemas, and other religious leaders for distorting the Islamic culture for vested interests.

Senior Jamait leader and Chairman of the APHC, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, without naming Malik, lambasted those who were critical of the role of Ulemas and other religious leaders. He had berated those who tried to treat some Indian leaders as their idea. This was reference to Malik who has been saying that Mahatma Gandhi ‘‘is my ideal.’’ Molvi Umar Farooq had also supported Geelani while ridiculing indirectly Mohammad Yasin Malik.

This indicates that ideological contradictions within the Hurriyat Conference are so sharp that the constituents may not be prepared to merge their identities with the conglomerate.

Besides this, senior APHC leaders view one another with mistrust. Recently Syed Ali Shah Geelani was critical of three Hurriyat leaders who he alleged had been secretly hobnobbing with some leaders in the Centre. He had even hinted that these leaders would be called to explain their position before the general body meeting of the APHC.

A senior separatist leader, Mr Shabir Ahmed Shah, who now heads the Peoples’ Democratic Freedom Party, had resigned from the APHC when his suggestion that all constituents should merge in the organisation was not acted upon.

Dr Ayub Thakur had also suggested to the Hurriyat leaders not to encourage foreign diplomats to meet them individually because he had come to know that in their separate meetings they spoke in different voices. It has been seen that when some foreign diplomats visit Srinagar Hurriyat leaders try to meet them separately which has created an impression that the APHC is a house divided and the constituents are under its umbrella out of convenience instead of conviction.

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