In a major boost to the unification drive initiated by moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief Yasim Malik addressed a Friday congregation and prayed along with the Mirwaiz at historic Jamia Masjid in Srinagar.
The two moderate leaders have joined hands to forge a unity among separatists and chalk out a future strategy based on consensus between all separatist parties.
Without naming hard-line Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the Mirwaiz said: “I once again extend unification call to all pro-freedom leaders at this crucial movement. I hope like Malik other leaders will unify too in the larger interest of the movement,” said the Mirwaiz to a huge congregation held on the eve of Eid.
Last week, Mirwaiz sent two emissaries to Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Malik asking them that separatists should form a united front and chalk out future strategy regarding protests and shutdowns.
Geelani asked for time to mull over it and suggested to the Mirwaiz to circulate a resolution drafted by Geelan's Hurriyat at Eid congregations. The draft included Geelani's 5-point proposal put forth before New Delhi to scale down street agitation in Kashmir. Geelani, however, was arrested on Thursday.
In a positive sign to unification drive, Geelani had asked people to pray at Srinagar's Eidgah area with the Mirwaiz just before he was arrested.
Hardening its position, the Mirwaiz said India is left with two options in Kashmir. "Either to allow people to exercise right to self-determination or initiate a trilateral dialogue with India, Pakistan and representative of Kashmiris at the table," said the Mirwaiz.
Earlier, the Mirwaiz would use the word "triangular talks" to be held at Delhi-Srinagar, Delhi-Islamabad and Srinagar-Islamabad level separately.
Speaking on the occasion, Malik exhorted upon youth to show discipline and protest peacefully. "We have history of being non-violent nation. Guns were imposed on us in 1989 when all our non-violent initiatives to resolve the Kashmir issue were discarded by India. India is repeating it now," said Malik, who offered special prayers for injured and the youth participating in street protests.
Referring to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's statement "that everything is possible within the ambit of humanity" made in Kashmir during his tenure and the Kashmiri poem recited by him then, Malik asked the BJP to understand the Kashmir problem in right context and play a positive role in its resolution.
Malik praised CPI(M) senior leader Prakash Karat's recent statements made on human rights abuses perpetrated by the security forces in the valley.