N N Vohra

He “affirmed that the separatists have yet to reach any consensus among themselves of what they want — autonomy, self-governance, “azadi” (freedom) — let alone what those terms mean.

On whether the Hurriyat separatists could be mainstreamed, he emphasized that “especially the ones under 40 see themselves as future ministers or Chief Ministers, are well-educated, and even if you disagree with what they say they are well-spoken and could easily enter politics.”
Source: 06NEWDELHI2365  2006-04-07 

Omar Abdullah
“Hurriyat is incapable of dialogue due to its lack of a political base, its lack of experts who can delve into details, and its lack of a knowledge base.  Omar said the PM had told him personally how disappointed he had been that the Hurriyat had never responded to his request for a list of demands.”

At the Pugwash Islamabad conference President Musharraf had a one-on-one session with pro-India Kashmiri politician Omar Abdullah. A US cable later quoted Omar saying that “Musharraf has shown greater flexibility than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh”. The cable also emphasized that “The conference was mainly aimed at endorsing the Pakistani President Parvez Musharraf’s out-of-the-box peace formula for Kashmir issues solution.”

Source: 06NEWDELHI2365 2006-04-07  06ISLAMABAD4386 2006-03-17

Wajahat Habibullah
A cable dated October 19, 2005 suggested that Habibullah shared with US diplomats his judgment that the earthquake will cause more political, dramatic long term impact and social change on the Pakistani side of Kashmir than on the Indian side. Reason: “Indian sectors hardest hit, Uri and Tangdghar, were already predominately Indian Army-run areas where civil authority was largely inactive and ineffective and the state government maintained a minimal presence (which is why the Army has the lead on relief and reconstruction).”  

It is the same famous cable in which he was quoted saying: “She (Sonia Gandhi) is very Italian.” The anecdote is about Habibullah informing Mrs Gandhi, according to the cable, that J&K’s the then finance minister Muzaffar Hussain Beig is lobbying for Mufti’s continuation as state’s chief minister. Sonia responded saying: “What has Mufti done for the nation, or the Congress Party?” Habibullah explained, the cable mentions about the October 19, 2005 meeting, “Mrs Gandhi continued to hold a grudge against Mufti for his decision to abandon Rajiv Gandhi in 1989 and support the VP Singh government (1989-1990).” He added: “Noting the long memory Mrs Gandhi has for those who cross her family.”
Source: 05NEWDELHI8120 2005-10-19

Mehbooba Mufti
PDP leader Ms Mehbooba Mufti told US diplomats that the earthquake triggered damage along the Neelam River is facilitating cross-LoC travel. “The earthquake dislodged boulders that fell into the river, and are now being used by villagers — apparently unopposed by security forces on either side — as a literal bridge across the LoC.”
Source: 05NEWDELHI8120 2005-10-19

A Y Khan

A prominent banker A Y Khan meets American diplomats to inform them about the state of economy in the state. The cable dated August 1, 2005 quotes Khan explaining how people hunkered down for the long years of violence, they sent their sons and daughters to school in every part of India, opened shops and businesses in Himachal, Delhi, Rajasthan, Bangalore, and Punjab, and, ironically, prospered mightily.

“Here’s how he explained it,” the cable records, “The already-rich elites in Kashmir had been taking money from India (the RAW and the IB) for a long time. Then, money started flowing in from Pakistan. In addition, radical Islamic money flowed in from all over the world. The end result was a situation where cash was abundant in Kashmir, and much of that cash was invested where it was safe: in businesses and factories and educations in an India that was finally beginning to prosper economically.”
Source: 05NEWDELHI5925 2005-08-01

Balraj Puri
Jammu’s prominent writer, columnist and civil liberty activist Balraj Puri had an interaction with US embassy’s deputy political counsellor on February 6, 2007, according to cable dated August 2, 2007. “In his judgment, the Indian Army has considerably improved its security operations in J&K and therefore the Kashmiris are better off under the army’s supervision compared with the J&K police,” the cable reads. “He (Puri) attributed this to two reasons: 1) the army is cognizant of human rights issues due to training, and 2) the army, given its involvement in other fields besides security (e.g. hearts and minds campaign and rural development), must maintain its reputation. The J&K police, however, are not as disciplined as the army. The police are not only exploited as a means for Kashmiris to settle rivalries amongst themselves, but the force is also plagued by widespread corruption.”
Source: 07NEWDELHI636 2007-02-08

Bilal Gani Lone
In a cable dated April 28, 2005, the US diplomats informed the State Department about how a meeting between moderates and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh failed to take off. “Lone said NSA MK Narayanan had called the Mirwaiz (Umer Farooq) to offer a meeting with the PM on April 15 or 16, but that the separatists were put off by the brusque manner in which they had been “ordered to Delhi.” Mirwaiz reportedly replied that a meeting on those days would not be possible, whereupon (according to Lone) Narayanan responded along the lines that “then the PM will not be available for the next six months.” He suggested “Kashmiris should at least talk to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who has a direct political line to Sonia Gandhi, instead of a “cop” like Narayanan”.
Source: 05NEWDELHI3218 2005-04-28

Prof Saif ud Din Soz
As the PDP had started attacking Ghulam Nabi Azad in 2007, Amerian diplomats had a meeting withy Soz, the then federal Water Resources Minister. A cable dated January 25, 2007 quotes him saying that there is difficulty, but this is the coalition that must stand.  “He explained that he is dead against forging a new alliance between the Congress Party and Farooq Abdullah’s United (read National) Conference party,” the cable said. “You cannot forge unity… and go back to a government that does not have credibility.” It was in the same meeting Soz was quoted saying: “Geelani is very courteous but even Musharraf keeps telling us privately that he is an extremist.”
Source: 07NEWDELHI406 2007-01-25

Mirwiaz Umer Farooq
He “meets regularly with Musharraf and makes news-grabbing statements at conferences to maintain his current privileged position”.

Prof Abdul Gani Bhat
“He has little political following in the Valley, but derives his influence because he is so erudite in English and is very well educated.”

Molvi Abbas Ansari

“A weak leader” who has “limited appeal in Srinagar” and “prefers to speak Urdu and Kashmiri or to let others do the talking”.

Ghulam Nabi Azad
“He will have to shed his reputation as Sonia’s long-time “chamcha” (suck-up/errand boy) by appearing to stand up to Delhi from time to time (as chief minister J&K).”

Lone brothers
Bilal is one of the “four musketeers” who make moderate Hurriyat. He lives in a “very large house” and is “a very liberal Muslim who likes the good life”. Sajad is “liberal Muslim” with “moderate views on lifestyle and politics” who lives in an “imposing house” and is “the most modern thinking Kashmiri separatist”.

Shabir Shah
The separatist with ‘Nelson Mandela of Kashmir fame’ is seen as “longwinded, prone to dwell on ancient history, and disinclined to take discussion beyond the Kashmir issue.” Unlike most major separatists, “he also immediately informs the press after meetings with Embassy officers, in order to demonstrate to the reading public that foreign diplomats take him seriously.” Shah “regards many of the Hurriyat leaders as “Johnnie come latelies,” or lacking leadership qualities.”

Shabir Shah is fence-sitting not out of conviction but because he cannot bear to defer to Mirwaiz, whom he views as a young upstart.  

Yasin Malik
Yasin Malik is “moody and temperamental” to the extent that “it is often difficult to have a dialogue with Malik because of his gloomy personality… He speaks good English and considers himself something of an intellectual, despite his lack of formal education.”

Syed Ali Geelani
He is most rigid, rejectionist, most hawkish, uncompromising pro-Pakistan, non-militant separatist who is increasingly angry with President Musharraf. When the government did not let him attend his father’s funeral in 1962 – when he was in detention, it “cemented his anti-India views” though he accepted India’s sovereignty over J&K while contesting elections thrice. New Delhi “saved his life in 2003”, by “flying him on a government plane from prison in Ranchi, Bihar to Mumbai for special medical treatment.” A conservative Muslim, “Geelani prefers not to shake hands with women”.

Nawang Rigzan Jora
He is possessing “personal appearance closer to “Wall Street lawyer.  

Muzaffar Shah
A “minor player” in Kashmir politics who “continues to engage the Embassy in support of his interest in convening a major peace conference in Srinagar and returning to the limelight.”

Balraj Puri
He is “much better on paper, as his English is difficult to follow (he mumbles) and is not focused in conversations”.  The cable terms him “absent-minded and protocol conscious” who believes “he should have been chosen Chief Minister or Governor”.

N N Vohra
In conversations, “he is prone to wander off topic, but is very well informed and shares information.”

Radha Kumar
“She has sought (and not received) Embassy financial support for numerous seminars she has held on the Kashmir issue, in Delhi, Jammu, and Srinagar”. 

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