When Mirwaiz recently expelled three senior faces from Hurriyat (M) the chances of a united Hurriyat vanished too.  Shah Abbas analyzes the timing and significance of Mirwaiz’s decision and how it has divided the separatist camp across LoC

From L to R: Nayeem Khan, Azam Inquilabi and Shabir Shah.
From L to R: Nayeem Khan, Azam Inquilabi and Shabir Shah.

At a time when almost every separatist leader was talking about the ‘importance of unity’, Mirwaiz led faction of Hurriyat Conference expelled its three key leaders from the amalgam paving the way for a third front in the separatist camp.

“Yes, we are in touch with a number of resistance activists and leaders to form a group to safeguard the great sacrifices rendered by Kashmiri people,” a senior separatist activist working for a possible ‘third front’ among separatist camp informed Kashmir life on the condition of anonymity adding “our movement has reached to a stage where it is facing more from its own people.”

On asking whom he is in touch with, he named Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan, Azam Inquilabi, General Mousa and Yousuf Naqash saying “there are many others whose names can’t be disclosed at this point of time.”

The latest development within the separatist camp has separated the separatists across the Line of Control (LoC). According to sources the separatists function from a same building in Islamabad, the capital city of Pakistan. The “Hurriyat House” situated in Islamabad, Pakistan is called “The Azad Kashmir Chapter of Hurriyat Conference”.

Sources added that both the factions of Hurriyat Conference partly occupy the ‘Islamabad Hurriyat House’ and they organize separate meetings in the same building. “Till last week “Hurriyat House” in Islamabad was divided into two, now a particular part of it has been occupied by the representatives of leaders expelled from Hurriyat (M). It was clear when last week these representatives organized a separate meeting after the letter of Mirwaiz reached ‘Azad Kashmir’ chapter of Hurriyat (M).”

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Chairman of his faction of Hurriyat finally expelled Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Azam Inquilabi for creating “indiscipline” and directed the Hurriyat leadership of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) not to entertain the said leaders’ representatives in its programmes.

Mirwaiz has asked the PaK Convener of his faction to cease the membership of Freedom Party, National Front and Mahaz-e-Azadi, led by Shah, Khan and Inquilabi, respectively.

Mirwaiz has accused them of “violating the organizational discipline.” Mirwaiz in a letter to Hurriyat’s PaK Convener Yousuf Naseem, has said, “It is expected from you to note that the persons or groups who have voluntarily chosen not to conform to the organizational discipline of Hurriyat and who have chosen to tread a separate path of their own have practically ceased to be the members of Hurriyat.”

“Mirwaiz should have explained what sort of indiscipline we have created,” said Nayeem Ahmad Khan adding “it was very disturbing for me when I was served an explanation by Hurriyat at a time when I was under police custody.” Khan further said, “In fact I received two papers at same time (explanation) from Hurriyat (M) and another Public Safety Act (PSA) orders from police early this year.”

“After my release I was never ever contacted by Hurriyat, even Mirwaiz Sahab did not bother to visit my home when I was released so how can I know that what kind of indiscipline I have created. But, yes, I am not satisfied with the functioning of Hurriyat Conference and if it is called indiscipline by Hurriyat then no doubt I am an undisciplined man.”

Hurriyat (M) insiders say that Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was under pressure from Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan and Azam Inquilabi to overhaul the conglomerate and Mirwaiz after seeking the confidence of Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, Abbas Anasri and Bilal Gani lone managed to expel the “pressure builders”.

“We were demanding the restructuring of Hurriyat Conference so as to institutionalize the resistance movement, said Shabir Ahmad Shah, adding “It indicates the existing sorry state of affairs within Hurriyat that instead of giving any thought to our concerns they expelled us.”

Nayeem Khan is of the opinion that Hurriyat Conference led by Miwaiz Umar Farooq has failed to bridge the gap between common people and the “resistance” leadership. He said that Hurriyat (M) should have been a force to reckon but instead “it has widened the gaps between the leadership.”

Calling Hurriyat (M) “an incompetent amalgam” senior separatist leader, Nayeem Ahmad Khan said, “I think there is a need of evaluation so that people come to know that what led to the failures of 2008, 2009 and 2010 uprisings.”

 The Hurriyat (M) politics is witnessing a downhill process for some time. Being a group of many political parties, majority consisting of only two, three or four people,  it only claims to represent the same amalgam which was formed in 1993 and which included traders bodies, employees unions and civil society groups as its members.

The separatist amalgam witnessed a vertical split in 2002 following allegations that one of its constituents allegedly participated in polls indirectly.

Syed Ali Geelani, the old ailing but a strong face of resistance, decided to head a separate faction of the Hurriyat accusing the amalgam of failing to take action against those who allegedly proxy-contested in the state elections of 2002.

The split, according to experts, has resulted in weakening the political energy of resistance in Kashmir. “After continuous splits, practically and ideologically, the separatist camp has lost its credibility among common masses,” A political science student at Kashmir University said.

The cracks within the Hurriyat (M) cropped up when its executive leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat on May 7, 2012, termed UN resolutions “not applicable” on Jammu and Kashmir.

The statement later led to a public scuffle between the leaders who claim to represent the sentiment of Kashmiris.

After the scuffle, Mirwaiz served a show cause notice to Shah, Khan and Inquilabi, who ‘in protest’ did not appear in some of the Hurriyat meetings. Sources said Inquilabi was served the show cause notice though he was not present when the public scuffle took place at Rajbagh.

 “I myself distanced from Hurriyat as I found Shah and Khan’s stand based on logic,” Inquilabi told to a local newspaper.

Inquilabi is smelling rat in the latest developments within Hurriyat. “I can only say that Mirwaiz’ letter to PaK Convener can be the handiwork of invisible hands just to divert the movement. This is an effort to dismantle the dream of united Hurriyat” he said adding “This has happened at a time when we were working hard to see a united leadership. Now things are moving towards disarray in the leadership instead of unity.”

Mirwaiz Uma Farooq
Mirwaiz Uma Farooq

Pertinently, Hurriyat (M) Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq dissolved the entire administrative structure of the amalgam ‘to reshape and reorganize the amalgam’. It was only after Shabir Shah demanded for a complete restructuring of the separatist amalgam.

Earlier Hurriyat (M) had announced opening up of offices in each district of the state to “reach out to the masses.” The plan, however, could not see the light of the day and failed to take off for unknown reasons.

“It was my suggestion to open district level offices of Hurriyat but I was arrested and when I came out of the prison, they (Hurriyat) had changed their mind,” Shah said later.

“I don’t know what happened in 2009. In fact, I am not a soothsayer and do not live in the past. But I am optimistic about brightest and better tomorrow,” said Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, who represents a splinter group of the Muslim Conference in APHC (M). Bhat is pro-dialogue in all circumstances and for a negotiated settlement of the Kashmir issue.


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