Srinagar, July 28: Syed Nazir Ahmad Kashani has been elected the new amir (chief) of the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Kashani, perceived to be a moderate, enjoys the confidence of hardline Jamaat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who recently opened a Pandora’s box within the All Parties Hurriyat Conference by seeking the expulsion of the People’s Conference — founded by slain leader Abdul Gani Lone — from the separatist conglomerate.
Geelani alleged that the “People’s Conference had damaged (sic) the objectives of the Hurriyat by fielding proxies” in last year’s Assembly elections. Geelani has been boycotting Hurriyat executive meetings.
A Jamaat spokesman said here this evening that 97 members — the house of representatives chosen from 2,000 basic Jamaat members — voted this afternoon for the post of amir. Kashani won the polls with an overwhelming 59 votes, while outgoing chief Ghulam Mohammad Bhat got only 30 votes, according to the spokesman.
Jamaat sources said Kashani is a known moderate but has the support of Geelani.
With the election of the new amir, some Hurriyat leaders who were banking on Geelani’s recall by his party from the conglomerate’s executive would find themselves in an unenviable position.
With his man heading the Jamaat, Geelani is likely to pursue his demand for the expulsion of the People’s Conference more vehemently.