The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stung Sajjad matches Geelani fire with fire

Srinagar, July 8: The People’s Conference today launched a counter-offensive against Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has been pressing for its expulsion from the Hurriyat Conference.

People’s Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone — son of slain founder leader Abdul Gani Lone — said Geelani has made the party “the target of his overactive, destructive imagination”.

“Geelani is creating the same environment which he viciously created before the assassination of our esteemed leader, Abdul Gani Lone. He has ensured that every militant outfit issues statements. The stage is set. The threat perception for the top leadership of the Conference is once again very high,” Sajjad said.

The chairman said statements by Hurriyat leaders, including Geelani, “were a major contributory factor in the assassination of… Lone”.

“We had urged the Hurriyat to form a committee to probe Lone’s death, but despite our written plea, no committee has been formed to probe the statements of various constituents of the Hurriyat prior to his (Lone’s) assassination,” Sajjad said.

“Attempts are being made to malign the Hurriyat Conference,” Sajjad said. “(The Hurriyat) has emerged as a threat to those who are averse to the resolution of Kashmir issue. Dividing, splitting, maligning is part of the Indian strategy.”

He added: “It is unfortunate that some leaders are playing a villainous role by trying to divide the pro-Kashmir forces. Geelani is the biggest threat to pro-Kashmir forces by virtue of his recent utterances.”

Sajjad said: “The Kashmir issue seems to be all set to be a priority in the agenda charted out by the international community.

“In light of changes taking place around the world, the need to resolve Kashmir has acquired an element of urgency and the current peace winds blowing across India and Pakistan are an indicator of the prescriptive role of the international community. Both India and Pakistan seem to be adhering to a set of guidelines scripted by the international community,” Sajjad said.

But he regretted that the “Kashmir leadership is a divided lot. They are divided into different camps,” Sajjad said.

Geelani has not been attending Hurriyat executive meetings and has been urging action against the People’s Conference, alleging that it fielded dummy candidates in the October elections.

Sajjad said: “We presented our point of view regarding elections to the Hurriyat when we were summoned. Our stand remains the same. We expelled party leaders who participated in the Assembly polls last year.”

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