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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Hurriyat faction divided over Pak visit

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, December 04, 2012
First Published: 23:30 IST(4/12/2012) | Last Updated: 23:32 IST(4/12/2012)

The cold war between already divided factions of the Hurriyat Conference over Pakistan visit on Tuesday saw hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani opposing the idea to go across the border.

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"Hurriyat delegation's visit to Pakistan would not be fruitful. It is not yet proper to make hurried decisions. The elections for the Pakistan national assembly are being conducted and the present administration there is not in a position to take any decision with regards to Kashmir," said hardline Hurriyat spokesman Zafar Akbar.

The statement was issued after a meeting of the Hurriyat constituents was called hurriedly to mull over the idea of visiting Pakistan following an invitation from Islamabad.

The hardline Hurriyat is of opinion that any visit by separatists will be used by political parties "for election campaign as the participants need some sort of election stunts there".

Both Hurriyat factions, one led by Geelani and another by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, have received an invitation from Islamabad to visit the country at a time when poll activities are at a feverish pitch.

The Hurriyat spokesman said Pakistan has recognised the issue and has always impressed India and the world bodies to resolve the Kashmir issue as per aspirations of the people.

In an oblique to reference to the Mirwaiz, who is garnering support for separatists visit to Pakistan this month, the hardline Hurriyat spokesman said: "(Kashmir) leadership must keep it in mind that the proposed visit to Pakistan should not be a mere photo opportunity."

Without naming any political organisation, Geelani's Hurriyat said, "some quarters are trying to change the status of the Kashmir issue and allocating hype to the commerce and trade issues".

"They are trying to deviate and undermine the aspirations of people by changing priorities. While some quarters are bent upon to motivate the people that in present scenario, the trade is the priority and the core issue with regards to the political future of Kashmir comes next," said the spokesman.

The hardline Hurriyat constituents made it clear that "business and trade politics is no more important and superior than the sacrifices laid for the noble cause".

"Change of priorities is deception and has no moral ground," said the spokesman.

Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq is all for a visit to Pakistan and is meeting civil society and traders' bodies in Kashmir for their inputs.

"Kashmir is being seen as a bilateral issue. We believe Kashmir is a tripartite issue with people of Kashmir as its real stakeholders. The amalgam will work out a legal sanctity with the Pakistan leadership," said the Mirwaiz while arguing for a visit to Pakistan.

"The move will also help give Kashmiri people a right to speak and also project Kashmir as a tripartite issue," he said.

The Mirwaiz's Hurriyat insists that the Kashmir issue has many dimensions like social and economic. "Besides talking about the resolution of Kashmir issue, we need to talk about the plundering of our water resources, power and other things," said the Mirwaiz.

The Mirwaiz said during his visit to Pakistan he will ask Pakistani leadership to push for a conference over the Kashmir dispute with India in Srinagar.

On differences with the other Hurriyat faction, the Mirwaiz said: "I can't force someone who wants to remain alone. I can't pick anybody on my shoulder for unity. We can't make the struggle and resolution process hostage to unity."

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