Geelani paves way for leadership change, appoints long-time aide Sehrai as chairperson

by Umar Khurshid 

Srinagar: Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani on Monday took a major decision by announcing that his long time aide and Secretary General Tehreek-e-Hurriyat will act as chairperson of the party.

Sources in TeH said that a meeting was held at its office at Hyderpora and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai was elected as interim chairperson till elections are held, adding that the election was delayed because most of the activists of Tehreek Hurriyat are imprisoned.

Geelani with Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai at his residence

Mohammad Ashraf has been aiding Geelani since a very long time, In November 1986 Mohammad Ashraf Khan, alias Sehrai, was released from Central Jail Jammu after serving one-year detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) for “talking about freedom of Kashmir”.

Geelani with Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai at his residence

By then, the ground situation in the valley had changed completely as Muslim United Front (MUF) was formed. When 1987 elections were announced, Sehrai was at his home in Kupwara. Sehrai and (Syed Ali) Geelani’s release was part of “goodwill gesture” after Rajiv-Farooq accord paved way for elections. “I was kept in Jammu jail on G M Shah’s (then CM of Kashmir) insistence, as he knew keeping me and Geelani in the same jail meant trouble,” recalls Sehrai, now secretary general of Geelani led Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (The duo formed TeH after an agreement with Jama’at-e-Islami in 2004).

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