Hawkish Hurriyat Leader Syed Ali Geelani’s move to quit the separatist body after 27 years’ association came after he was sidelined by Pakistan and its army intelligence, the ISI, sources in the home ministry told NDTV. The 90-year-old had resigned from Kashmir Valley’s biggest separatist amalgam yesterday, accusing it of conspiring against him and failing to fire up the separatist movement after Centre scrapped the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last August.
An intelligence report from Kashmir Valley now says Geelani blames Pakistan for “degradation” of separatist movement in Kashmir, while Pakistan, which for years had depended on him, made it clear that he has outlived his utility, an officer said.
Pakistan has changed its tactics after Article 370 was revoked last year, said a senior officer handling the Pakistan desk in the ministry said, “The focus of the ISI now is not azaadi for Kashmiris but more pan-Islamic. And for this, they want a leader who does not question them and just follow their diktats,” the officer said.
“We knew this would happen as Geelani was continuously being sidelined by ISI and Pakistan,” added a senior bureaucrat in the Home Ministry.
The separatists’ reaction to the scrapping of special status had also baffled Pakistan, officials said.
“Pakistan expected Kashmiris will revolt against Indian state after Centre abolished Article 370 but nothing happened. Geelani expected Pakistan will raise this issue internationally but nothing happened and both became disillusioned with each other,” said Avinash Mohananey who handled Kashmir desk in IB for over a decade and also served in Pakistan. “Now both are blaming each other,” he added.
“Geelani’s letter was an eye-opener. He has admitted his path was wrong, Kashmir used for personal gains,” state police chief Dilbagh Singh told NDTV.
The intelligence report says Mr Geelani was also upset with other separatist leaders for mishandling funds related to medical seats. He was not too keen with GM Safi, Hurriyat convenor in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir as there were allegations against him of mishandling funds.
“Geelani then got Abdullah Geelani elected against wishes of many in Hurriyat. But it seems there was resistance in ISI against Abdullah so a month ago, the ISI got Mohammad Hussain Khateeb elected as convenor,” said an officer, explaining the internal dynamics of Hurriyat and its relationship with Pakistan. “Geelani saw it as an insult as he was not consulted, he added.
“Pakistan earlier used to blindly support Geelani and that’s why they did not let any other separatist leaders grow in valley,” said the head of an intelligence agency. While Mr Geelani’s successor will not make the same impact, secession will only grow in valley in coming years, he said, as the new puppets propped up by Pakistan would compete with each other in taking a hard stance.