Hurriyat’s last man standing has quit, says former RA&W chief AS Dulat on Geelani’s resignation

Geelani, who was the chairperson for life of All Party Hurriyat Conference (Geelani faction), resigned last week stating that the group had failed to lead people after the abrogation of Article 370

Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Ashlin Mathew

Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was Hurriyat’s last man, said former Research and Analysis Wing chief AS Dulat.

Geelani, who was the chairperson for life of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC)-Geelanifaction, resigned last week stating that the group had failed to lead the people of the state after the abrogation of Article 370. He had headed the Hurriyat faction for 17 years before stepping down. Geelani had also nominated Abdullah Geelani as the convenor of the PoK chapter, but he was removed. Abdullah Geelani was not a favourite of Pakistan.

“There must have been some internal issues, but age and health must have prompted this decision. With age and family, a person becomes more vulnerable. He is 91. He probably did not want any controversies at this stage of his political career. No one can be sure what the other leaders of Hurriyat have in mind. Now, he couldn’t care less what happens to the Hurriyat,” Dulat said.

Among the names doing the rounds on who is likely to take over is that of Ashraf Sehrai’s. Mohammad Ashraf Khan, who is popularly known as Ashraf Sehrai, is a separatist leader and chairperson of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.

“Somebody like Ashraf Sehrai could take over, if there is supposed to be a take-over. It might just fizzle out. But I don’t think he can be as tall a leader as Geelani was. Or maybe it could be Umar Mirwaiz too. We are also not sure if Pakistan wants another Hurriyat. Time will tell as it is with most issues in Kashmir,” Dulat added.

There have been news reports that Geelani was worried about the activities of two leaders — one from Kashmir’s Bandipore district and another from Pulwama district.

Geelani, in his resignation letter, accused Hurriyat representatives of corruption and cosying up to Pakistan. It comes as a turn-around as Hurriyat was often the voice of Pakistan in the Valley and Geelani was heading the group.

“We must not forget that Geelani knows what is happening on the ground. He contested elections thrice and was an MLA from Sopore thrice. Yes, now he is with the Hurriyat, but as with all things related to Kashmir, it has a complicated history. He has a long story,” said Dulat, who was appointed as advisor on Kashmir in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2000 to May 2004.

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