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Separatist unification gathering steam in J&K

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
January 14, 2008 15:06 IST
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Continuing its unification move, another senior separatist leader, Shabir Shah, joined the moderate separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference headed by Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq on Monday.

Shabir Shah, who was invited last week by the Mirwaiz to join his conglomerate, on Monday announced his decision to be part of the moderate APHC group.

Shah chose to make the announcement at the martyr's graveyard in Srinagar, where he and Mirwaiz Umar later spoke to mediapersons, after offering Fateha at the graveyard.

"Ours is a common goal. I joined the APHC today to strengthen the conglomerate and we want unity at all levels," Shah said.

"I will soon meet the other separatist leaders including the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Yasin Malik and appeal to them to join the APHC," Mirwaiz said.

Last week, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, another separatist leader and chairman of People's League joined the moderate APHC group. The move is seen as a significant development, since elections for the 87-member state legislative assembly are being held later in 2008.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar