After his unceremonious exit from Hurriyat Conference 10 years ago, Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah on Monday returned to the moderate amalgam which also asked other rival groups to follow suit.
Announcing this at a press conference here, Shah, who had formed his own Democratic Freedom party, told reporters that their "struggle" was at a crucial stage. "...We swim together, we sink together...The Mirwaiz (Umer Farooq) is our chairman," Shah said.
Welcoming him back into the separatist amalgam, the Mirwaiz said it was a decision in right direction which would "not only benefit the Hurriyat conference but the freedom struggle as well."
He chose the occasion to give a call to other separatist leaders and parties including Jamaat-e-Islamia and JKLF's Yaseen Malik to return to the conglomerate. "If we do not understand the realities of the situation, history will never forgive us. There is no place for petty differences. This struggle is not for concessions, roads, economic packages or power...It is for the right to self determination," he said.
Shah also appealed to all separatist political parties, including the rival Hurriyat faction led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, to unite in one platform.
Shah was thrown out of the amalgam in 1998 when he had met the then American Ambassador to India Frank Wisner without taking the Hurriyat Executive into confidence.
Ahead of Shah's joining, several separatist leaders including People's League chairman Shiekh Abdul Aziz and Mahaz-e-Azadi chairman Azam Inqilabi had joined the Hurriyat Conference last week.