Centre toughens stand on Kashmiri separatist leaders’ travels abroad
The home ministry feels that Kashmir separatists like Yasin Malik should not be pampered as JKLF was a part of the United Jehad Council and recipient of operational funding from Pakistan. Shishir Gupta and Toufiq Rashid report.india Updated: May 23, 2013 01:46 IST
Hurriyat leader Umar Farooq's statement last Friday that "Kashmir would have naturally gone to Pakistan given its religious-political affinities" has strengthened the home ministry's belief that the Mirwaiz was no different from fellow separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and thus he should not be allowed to travel abroad. Seen internationally as a face of Kashmir, the Awami Action Committee chairman had applied for a passport on January 3, 2013.
"There are communication intercepts that clearly show that Mirwaiz was in touch with his Pakistani masters. There is no difference between Mirwaiz and Syed Ali Shah Geelani for us," said a senior official. Mirwaiz was not given permission to travel abroad for UN Human Right Conference in Geneva this March and home ministry was in no hurry to grant him passport to travel in near future unless there was a change in his behaviour.
When contacted by HT, Mirwaiz Farooq said that he had simply reacted to legal expert AG Noorani's statement that it was Mohammed Ali Jinnah who did not support right of self- determination for Kashmir. "I was just putting things in historical context. We have always believed that Kashmiris should be given an option of determining their future which includes the option of an independent Kashmir," the separatist leader said.
The home ministry's stance on Mirwaiz reveals a new strategy of not allowing hard-line separatist leaders to box above their political weight.
The same is reflected in its handling of JKLF leader Yasin Malik who has caught the government's eye for sharing a platform with Lashkar-e-Toiba chief patron Hafiz Saeed at a fast organised in Islamabad last March in protest of Afzal Guru's hanging in Tihar jail on February 9.
The home ministry feels that Kashmir separatists like Yasin Malik should not be pampered as JKLF was a part of the United Jehad Council and recipient of operational funding from Pakistan. It has noted the conspicuous silence of Malik after All Parties National alliance (APNA) leader Arif Shahid, a PoK based staunch advocate of independent Kashmir, was gunned down by unidentified men in Rawalpindi on May 13. This is the first time that a pro-independence Kashmiri leader had been targeted in Pakistan.
When contacted by HT, Yasin Malik refused to comment on Arif Shahid killing. "I don't want to talk about it," he said. However, senior JKLF leader on condition of anonymity said: "We were on the streets In Pakistan. Demonstrations against Shahid's killing were led by our leader and chairman Amanullah Khan."
First Published: May 22, 2013 20:04 IST