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APHC: Masarat Alam Bhat is Geelani’s successor

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has elected Masarat Alam Bhat as its chairman and Shabir Ahmad Shah as vice-chairman on Tuesday, following the death of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who was the lifetime chairman of the political amalgam. Although Geelani had resigned from Hurriyat last year, the conglomerate didn’t announce his replacement until his death on September 1, 2021. Both Alam and Shah are currently lodged in Tihar jail along with other pro-freedom (freedom of Kashmir) leaders. Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar has also been elected as a second vice-chairman, while Moulvi Bashir Ahmad Irfani has been elected as the general secretary of the political platform. The APHC has said that this interim arrangement will continue until the holding of elections as per the constitution, as and when the situation will improve.

“Considering the challenges and a greater role of the Hurriyat leadership, a consultative exercise has been conducted with members of the executive council of APHC using different media to avoid arrests and Indian counter strategy,” read a statement emailed to journalists. The APHC Chapter in Muzaffarabad has conveyed the decision to the media. The statement read that the situation in J&K has turned worse with “Indian oppression in full swing, especially against the freedom-loving leadership and people”. Bhat, 50, is a leader of the Muslim League, who has spent almost 25 years in jail and is considered as a straight talker following a strict political and religious belief system. He minces no words to criticise even colleagues in his own camp, which may hinder his growth, if he is released from jail. In the past decade, he has served around 40 preventive detention orders and has been named in scores of different crimes, including involving in anti-national activities like staging protests and waging war against the state, but nothing has been proved in court as of now. Bhat has studied from prominent missionary school Tyandle Biscoe and graduated from Sri Pratap College, both in the heart of Srinagar city. In 1990, as a member of militant organisation Hizbullah, 19-year-old Bhat went to jail for the first time, only to be released over a year later in November 1991. After spending some years in jail, Bhat, a pro-Pakistan leader, became active in the Hurriyat Conference in the late 1990s.

Source: Economic Times

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