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Will Geelani's son step into his shoes?

india Updated: Dec 14, 2010 23:39 IST
Arun Joshi
Arun Joshi
Hindustan Times
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With the hardline Hurriyat faction's second rung of leadership in jail, whom will Syed Ali Shah Geelani (82) appoint as his successor?

Sources in the separatist camp have said the person most likely to step in Geelani's shoes is none but his eldest son, Naeem-ul-Zafar, particularly when the persons just below Geelani, Masrat Alam and Mian Abdul Qayoom, are behind bars.

It was not happenstance that Naeem, who did his master's in surgery in Pakistan, returned after Masrat and Qayoom were sent to jail, they said.

However, Geelani has denied this for now, without ruling out such an eventuality.

"To tell you honestly, some members of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (the hardline wing) had filled up his membership form, but I rejected that because I felt he did not have the required standards for becoming a member of the organisation," he said.

"At the moment there is absolutely no possibility of Naeem taking over charge of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. He is a doctor. Why should he walk the path of thorns and live in jail or under house arrest," he added.

Naeem (46), while brushing aside any chance of his heading the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat at this point of time, did not make any commitment for future years. He said: "Every Kashmiri is a political person and nobody can (say) what will happen later."