In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times after he assumed the charge of the Chairman of the Hurriyat Conference for a fourth time on Tuesday, he asserted that he or the Hurriyat Conference were not anyone's mouthpiece.
"Yes, Pakistan tried to stall when we entered into dialogue with India in 2004. They were against our talking to Delhi. They never wanted bilateral dialogue between us and Delhi."
The Mirwaiz Umer Farooq was replying to a question about a widespread perception that he and his group were the mouthpiece of Pakistan. "This is unfortunate. But, we have always done, what we felt was right."
The dialogue with Delhi was difficult for the Hurriyat Conference. There were plenty of risks. "We were called traitors and there were so many threats and attacks." He was referring to the killing of his uncle, grenade attacks at his house and the burning down of the Islamia school run by his family.
The Hurriyat had started the dialogue with NDA Government on January 22, 2004. Thereafter there was another round on March 18 that year. There were two more rounds with the UPA Government on September 5, 2005 and May 3, 2006.
Times have changed, and he thinks that everybody has realized that there should be a solution of Kashmir crisis. "Its time when the Kashmir issue can be solved."
Now Pakistan is playing a "very positive role now. It is appreciative of our approach and efforts."
Mirwaiz showered praise on President Pervez Musharraf, who he said, understands the realities. "He is a realist and a statesman."
'"I can say Pakistan understands us better now than earlier."
He is the only leader to head the secessionist conglomerate for the fourth term. Mirwaiz was the founder chairman of this combination, more as a compromise candidate of the leaders with inflated egos like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Abdul Ghani Lone.
Thirteen years ago, when the Hurriyat Conference was constituted to give a political face to the secessionist terrorism, he was a novice. At 20, Mirwaiz was still trying to emerge out of the emotional crisis of the assassination of his of his father Maulvi Mohammad Farooq. His father was assassinated at their residence in Nageen, on the outskirts of Srinagar, on May 21, 1990.
"Then, I did not know what was happening around me. I was clueless," reminisced Umar Farooq. Today, I know what I am doing and what is happening around me.''
He is the only leader to head the secessionist conglomerate for the fourth term and is happy that things were moving on a positive track. But, there was sadness about the fact that he lost senior colleagues like Abdul Ghani Lone and several others. 'They were great assets and source of inspiration."
There was a tinge of bitterness, the way Geelani had split the Hurriyat Conference. Geelani, who was a Chairman for one term from 1998-2000, now heads his own faction of the Hurriyat Conference.
His other colleagues like Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Shah and Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yasin Malik are out of the Hurriyat fold.
'But, we are right and we know our course and track. We will move on that and achieve results."