The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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J&K global body crystallises

New Delhi, April 20: Several leaders from Kashmir, including the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and the pro-independence lobby in Pakistan, have joined hands to form an outfit in London.

The International Kashmir Alliance also draws members from various Kashmir-related outfits spread across the globe. According to government sources, the alliance chairman is UK-based leader of the Jammu and Kashmir Council for Human Rights, Syed Nazir Gilani.

Next in command and occupying the vice-chairmanís chair is Mohammad Mumtaz Khan of the Internal Kashmir Centre, an organisation situated in Canada. The other top functionary of this recently established global body is Shaukat Ali Kashmiri, who was earlier with the United Kashmir Peopleís National Party, which operates from Switzerland.

Some JKLF leaders, including the UK-based Shabir Chaudhary and Abbas Butt, have also defected to join the new outfit, said government sources. Chaudhary has taken over as the spokesman of the alliance, they added.

The new development has caused considerable panic among the Pakistan think-tank and, the sources allege, JKLF chief Yasin Malik expelled Chaudhary and Butt earlier this week on the grounds that the duo was indulging in anti-party activities.

They claimed that with the changing scenario in the Valley, the Alliance has opted for a balanced approach towards India and Pakistan and is unlikely to resort to the rhetoric on human rights violations in Kashmir.

The infighting within the JKLF, that is waging a war for an independent Kashmir, has triggered a chain reaction, with Chaudhary and Butt taking disciplinary action against Majid Tramboo on suspicions that it was Tramboo and their Canada-based leader Farooq Papa who engineered their exit, say government sources.

It is not the JKLF alone that is passing through turbulent times. Even Pakistan-based Hizb-ul Mujahideen has lost its sting as far as fighting a proxy-war in the Valley is concerned. Much of it happened after Abdul Majid Dar developed differences with his chief Syed Salahuddin on the issue of ceasefire called by the outfit in July 2000. Dar, the pro-dialogue militant within the outfit, was shot dead on March 23 this year at his ancestral house in Sopore.

The security forces in Kashmir, said sources, are taking advantage of the rift between Salahuddin and Dar loyalists. According to them, police shot dead the Hizb chief operation commander in Kashmir, Ghulam Hassan Khan alias Saif-ul-Islam, on April 2, following a tip-off from within the rank of the militant organisation. More encounters have followed since then.

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