Is Pak pushing separatist unification?

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: Apr 20, 2015 23:47 IST

First rare meeting of separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik on Monday in north Kashmir's Narbal area reflected renewed efforts by Pakistan to push separatists' unification.

The meeting, first since the 2010 street agitation, saw hardline Hurriyat chairman Geelani, moderate Hurriyat chairman Farooq and JKLF chief Malik expressing condolences and solidarity to the family of slain Suhail Ahmad Sofi, killed in police firing on Saturday.

The youth's killing, which took place during violent protests over hardline separatist Masarat Alam's detention and killing of two youth in south Kashmir, fuelled more protests.

The meeting came on a day when the state government decided to lift security restrictions around the houses of Geelani and Mirwaiz.

Sources said Pakistan through a second-rung separatist leadership is trying to bring the fractured and divided separatists together for a united face on issues if not for one platform.

"BJP and other pro-Indian parties of Kashmir are jointly engaged in efforts of weakening the movement. People of Kashmir are united and one in perusing their goal," said the Mirwaiz in his joint address with Geelani and Malik to a rally at Narbal Chowk.

Geelani, while accusing the PDP of pursing RSS agenda in Kashmir, said, "There is attempt to rob Kashmir of its identity. The need of the hour is a well-planned and a well-disciplined strategy. Any unification for this to happen will take place on the principles of Quran."

Speaking on the occasion, Malik said, "Why are Indians hell bent upon pushing our young generations towards violent path by killing these young ones in non-violent peaceful struggle? It's choking space for peaceful political activities."

The joint cameo comes in the wake of hardening position of the BJP government in New Delhi.

"We are facing an onslaught from New Delhi. There is an attempt to criminalise our genuine struggle. The time has come to get united to fight the aggression," said a separatist leader on the condition of anonymity.

The separatist scene in the Valley is in for a major rejig with Pakistan, sources said, cobbling together splintered factions to join hands with the bigger groups.

Around six moderate separatist leaders, who left the Mirwaiz's faction, are likely to join Geelani. Similarly, the smaller parties may be merged with the bigger conglomerates.

Upping their politics, separatist Democratic Freedom Party chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah on Monday left for three-day visit to Jammu to meet the Pandit community to extend his full support for their return to their old houses.

Shah, in the past, headed the move to unite the splintered Hurriyat factions, which has around 20 constituent members.

Meanwhile, incarcerated separatist leader, Muhammad Qasim, heading the Muslim Deeni Mahaz, in a statement issued from the Central Jail asked separatists to chart a strategy. "Until and unless leadership prepares a long term, well-planned and aggressive strategy, we will be unable to achieve the fruits of these sacrifices of youth," said Qasim

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