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ISI woos Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Farooq

By Sumir Kaul in New Delhi
September 26, 2004 18:18 IST
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Founder chairman of the All Party Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has met former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharief and a host of ISI officials in Jeddah even as the moderate faction set moves afoot to seek de-recognition of Syed Ali Shah Geelani's faction from Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).

Umer, who is presently in Jeddah to perform a religious ritual, has met Sharif and discussed the present situation in Jammu and Kashmir besides the new agenda of Pakistan vis-a-vis Kashmir, Hurriyat sources said.

The Hurriyat leader also had a series of meetings with ISI officials as Islamabad rushed the entire Kashmir cell of its intelligence organisation to bring him into the fold of Geelani, who has formed his own Tehrer-e-Hurriyat-e-Kashmir (THK).

Sardar Abdul Qayyum, who has been critical of Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's Kashmir policy, was also in Jeddah to convince the Mirwaiz for ensuring one voice from Kashmir.

In order to woo Umer, religious head of Muslims in Srinagar, ISI has even offered to support his candidature for Jeddah-based Rabita-al-Aalam-al-Islami (World Muslim League), a post held by Geelani whose termed is to end shortly.

However, in light of these efforts by Pakistan, Hurriyat Conference has initiated "diplomatic" moves to de-recognise Geelani's Hurriyat Conference from OIC. Hurriyat Conference has an observer status in this forum.

The Hurriyat Conference would be making a representation to OIC Secretary-General for de-recognising Geelani's faction from the world Muslim conglomerate on the plea that he did not represent the wishes and aspiration of people of Kashmir.

Umer is slated to meet the Secretary General of the OIC and submit his case for the same, the sources said.

Although the ISI has promised Umer help in Rabita-al-Aalam-al Islami but they were not happy with the move of Hurriyat to seek de-recognition of Geelani from OIC.

Pakistan had supported Geelani faction in gaining recognition in OIC last year after the hardline leader parted ways with Hurriyat Conference.

The Mirwaiz has been asked to join Geelani as Pakistan wanted THK's acceptability in Western countries, which was not possible with Geelani being the head of the organisation for his Jamaat-e-Islami links.

The ISI has reportedly promised Umer some financial aid as well help in his business venture in Dubai, which is being looked after by his friends, the sources said.

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Sumir Kaul in New Delhi
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