Geelani steps down as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman, Ashraf Sehrai replaces him
Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Monday stepped down as the head of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH), a constituent party of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, handing over the reigns to long-time aide Ashraf Sehrai after being at the helm for 14 years.
Party sources said that the decision taken during the Majlis-e-Shora or the advisory board of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat was to ease the burden on Geelani, who is over 88 years old and often keeps ill.
“At this age, he needs some relaxation given the responsibilities of TeH as well as Hurriyat Conference. So he transferred some of his burden of TeH on to the shoulders of Ashraf Sehrai,” Hurriyat Conference spokesperson GA Gulzar said.
“However, he continues to be the chairman of the Hurriyat Conference,” Gulzar added.
Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a part of the composite Hurriyat Conference which consists of 24 smaller parties under the leadership of Geelani, has been espousing for Kashmir’s “Azadi for the sake of Islam or its amalgamation with Pakistan”. It was formed by Geelani in August 2004 after he left politico-religious organisation Jamaat-e-Islami.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference split after a section put up a proxy candidate in the 2002 assembly elections. Another Hurriyat Conference conglomerate is headed by moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.