There is an agreement and disagreement, uproar and outrage over Pakistan’s announcement that it’s national security adviser Sartaj Aziz will meet Hurriyat Conference leaders in New Delhi. Hours after this declaration, all Hurriyat members were placed under house arrest, later on all these Kashmiri separatist leaders were released by authorities in Srinagar. They have still detained Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has shown his firm willingness to meet Pakistani representative. While Geelani and Mirwaiz have accepted the invitation, JKLF chief Yasin Malik said his party is yet to take a final call. Mirwaiz Umar will lead a high level delegation for the reception followed by the meeting on August 23, while Geelani is likely to travel on August 24. During the house arrest, authorities put up stop gates and deployed police personnel outside the houses before informing the separatist leaders not to step out. The steps were taken to prevent the separatists from going to Delhi to meet Sartaj Aziz.
In a provocative act the Pakistan High Commission had called hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani for a meeting with Aziz and invited moderate separatist Kashmiri leaders including its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for a reception on August 23. Last July, India called off talks with Pakistan because Kashmiri separatists were invited before a meeting of foreign secretaries. Unfazed by India’s strong reservations, Pakistan said it will go ahead with its engagement with Kashmiri separatist leaders when National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz goes to New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart Ajit Doval. Anyway, Sartaj Aziz is shrewd Pakistan patriot and he is quite capable of brainwashing the separatists.
The war with India cost Pakistan an economical price, when the latter lost the half a billion dollars it had coming from the Consortium for Pakistan through the United States. Ayub Khan could not suffer the aftermath and fall from the presidency after surrendering the presidential power to Army Commander General Yahya Khan in 1969. Escalating the further crises, the country was floundered, losing East-Pakistan after India again attacked Pakistan six years later, with the economy in great jeopardy without United States’ assistance. Sartaj Aziz did not join the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto but was hostile towards the issue of nationalisation. Aziz criticised Bhutto for intensifying the government control of the privatised mega-corporations, citing that “Bhutto’s nationalization failed to make up for the “mismatch” between economic reality and policy formulation. In protest, Aziz departed from Pakistan in 1971, joining the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization where he continued till 1975, and later joined the staff of the International Fund for Agricultural Development in 1978.
Geelani is a separatist leader from Jammu and Kashmir. He was previously a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir but later on founded his own party by the name of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. He has served as the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of separatist parties in Jammu and Kashmir. He was an MLA from the Sopore constituency of Jammu and Kashmir three times. Masarat Alam is expected to be the successor to Geelani. Geelani, in general, has taken the position that Kashmir must have the right of self-determination, but specifically advocates the position of union with Pakistan. He has been seen as close to the Pakistani government, but has not shied away from criticising that country’s policies in the past. He was particularly critical of the Kargil episode, saying that while Pakistan had been supporting “the indigenous struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, morally, diplomatically and politically, this does not mean Pakistan can take a decision on our behalf”. Geelani has been viewed as a key leader in Kashmir. In October 2013, he was re-elected to the three-year term as chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G), a faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which split up in 2003.
On November 29, 2010 Geelani, along with writer Arundhati Roy, Maoist Varavara Rao and three others was charged under “sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B, 504 insult intended to provoke breach of peace and under section 505 (false statement, rumour circulated with intent to cause mutiny or offence against public peace)… to be read with Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967″. The charges, which carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, were the result of a seminar they gave in New Delhi titled “Azadi-the Only Way”, at which Geelani was heckled.
Geelani, who would settle for nothing less than right to self-determination as solution of the Kashmir issue, has taken a leaf from former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s book while calling for a solution within the ambit of humanism.