In a letter that circulated on social media calling for strike on 13th July and “commemorating” terrorist Burhan wani’s killing on 8th July, was initially claimed to belong to Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a nonagenarian separatist in Kashmir. Albeit, his family has claimed the letter was not written by him. At a glance, the letter-head of both his resignation letter from Hurriyat conference on Jun 29th and call for protest today, appear same. But yes, such letter heads can be easily copied and we can cut Syed Ali Shah Geelani some slack this time, and assume that indeed he’s being dragged into a controversy. But this not-so-decorous past of pushing Kashmiri youth, like Burhan Wani, into the funeral pyre of terrorism and keeping Kashmir burning, does make one wonder what does it take to satiate Geelani’s greed for money?
There’s a reason why he earned the sobriquet of Bub-jihad in Kashmir (bub means father).
In the pic: Comparing the letter shows the letter heads and hand writing are not similar. Pic source: Kashmir police
Geelani, Hizbul Mujahideen & ISI dalliance
Four years ago, on this day Burhan Wani, a Hizbul-Mujahideen terrorist, was killed by Indian Army. It was considered a huge success for the forces as they had managed to take down the face of terrorism in Kashmir, who purveyed ISI’s propaganda on social media and who had recruited at least 30 boys from Kashmir into the terrorist organization of Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM). Few days later the most revered name among the separatists in Kashmir, Syed Geelani, called Burhan a martyr. The violence that erupted in the valley lasted 6 months and caused deaths of many innocent Kashmiris.
Pakistan’s spy agency ISI used to pay Syed Geelani as much as Rs700,000 per month as salary for bringing to fruition it’s nefarious plans. Indian agencies had found that though Geelani had declared his monthly income as pension of Rs 7,000 from Government of India and Rs 10,000 from agriculture, his expenditure per month exceeded Rs 150,000. Geelani had been in the “business” of separatism since 1972 when he was first elected the member of legislative assembly of J&K, so he considered it his pejorative to splurge money he made out of the chaos in Kashmir. But recently he had to bid adieu to his position as the chairman of All Party Hurriyat conference (APHC), which he had been heading since last 19 years. In his resignation letter he was clearly rattled for being sidelined by new breed of leaders which ISI had propped-up, in addition to this he also cited financial irregularities as a reason. It was clearly evident in the missive that his emotional outburst was triggered by pruning of his financial resources by ISI. But to ISI, which had been pampering Geelani since last few decades, he had now become a white elephant– a useless show piece with high maintenance.
On one side we have a 90 year old man who owns properties worth Rs 150 crores, and on the other side is ISI, which had invested Rs 520,000,000 (crores) into APHC in last 4 years— this should give one an idea about the amount of money that was being pumped into Kashmir, to keep the region terrorism ridden.
He was the man who vehemently supported Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan and coined slogans like –‘Hum Pakistani hain, Pakistan humara hai’ (translation–we Kashmiris are Pakistanis and Pakistan is our’s). Of course, he was paid incentives by Pakistan’s Army for every ripple he created in India. But recent events caused both ISI and Geelani to butt their head.
Here’s a sequence of events which lead to his resignation
- August 5th 2019: Indian Government revoked J&K’s special status, rendering separatists and local politicians irrelevant.
- After abrogation of article 370, Geelani says he called for strategies against autonomy abrogation, but none from APHC chapters in Kashmir and Pak-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) paid heed to him.
- He supported induction of old Hizbul-Mujahideen (HM) fighters into APHC PoK. These were terrorists who could not fight anymore and desired political rules via APHC. But once again Geelani’s request was not taken seriously by anyone.
- Geelani nudged ISI’s proxy Syed Manzoor Ahmed Shah, leader of Humat-e- Islami) in Pakistan to facilitate a meeting between his nephew Abdul Gilani (who lives in Pakistan) and Syed Salahuddin (commander of HM).
- Decline in trust deficit between Syed Salahuddin (commander of HM) and ISI. Both Geelani and Salahuddin had been facing similar problem of being relegated by ISI. Apparently, ISI had launched TRF ( The Resistance Front) to eclipse Hizbul mujahideen, a terrorist group which since it’s inception has been supportive of Syed Geelani.
- May 13th 2020: Geelani dissolved APHC PoK.
- May 28th: Official end of separatist ideology in Indian side of Kashmir, through court’s order. Read more here. This turned separatists like Geelani into toothless tigers– sans any power over Kashmiris.
- June 3rd 2020: Mustafa Mohammad Hussain Khateeb was unanimously elected as the interim convener of APHC PoK, this was clearly in defiance against Geelani.
- June 29th 2020: Syed Geelani resigned as chief of APHC, made his nephew Abdul Gilani the convener of APHC PoK.
Irony is after he resigned, and elevated his own nephew to the convener of APHC PoK, he accused Pak based APHC of nepotism and corruption. Pretty much like pot calling kettle black!
But minting moolah has been Geelani’s strongest inspiration to keep Kashmir embroiled with separatist ideology, was clear as early as 2001 when Intelligence Bureau (IB) of India had detected 20 transaction to his account from a London based ISI proxy called Ayyub Thakur. Later investigations revealed that one of his kin SAR Geelani was directly involved in Indian Parliament attack case of 2001.
Geelani and his two sons were arrested and they were slapped with POTA (prevention of terrorism act). Yet he managed to walk scot free 2 years later when Mufti Syed was elected as the chief minister of then J&K state.
Rising up the ladder and bumping off competitors
As in any game, like moths to flame the business of separatism attracted others with ideology similar to Geelani’s, — one of the names which matched Geelanis aura was Abdul Ghani Lone. All party Hurriyat conference, where Hurriyat stands for freedom, was originally his brainchild. During the initial days of APHC in early 90’s, Lone and Geelani were thick friends but slowly their differences took a toll on their friendship. Geelani propagated ISI’s view that Hurriyat was a religious movement while Lone insisted was political. Painting the so called Hurriyat a religious movement had a hidden agenda– that religion would fetch the movement more audience and jihadi pawns.
The final straw of bitter differences between Lone and Geelani was the Kargil War, after which Lone was certain that Pakistan’s Army was not interested in the welfare of Kashmiris. After the epiphany Lone slowly began to drift away from Geelani’s version of Hurriyat, but this did not come easy.
On one side Geelani welcomed foreign terrorists like Talibans and Lashkar-E-Toiba as “yeh hamare mehmaan hai” (they are our guests), while on the other side Lone fought hard to inoculate Kashmiris with the fact that terrorism would destroy peace in the region. Lone was soon proven right, surge in violence and a morally vacuum Kashmiri society where fathers would happily give away their daughters to be impregnated by jihadis, destroyed the heaven it used to be.
ISI soon found out that Lone was being backed by Indian agencies in restoring peace in the region, while also gaining more popularity than Geelani. So ISI’s next mission was to turn Geelani into a figure who is considered a strong leader, infront of whom rest of the moderate separatists appear as fledglings. The reason Geelani was chosen out of myriads of Hurriyat leaders was because he could go great lengths for his incentives, he was trustworthy and he was one of the senior most Hurriyat leaders.
The first time Geelani made people sit up and look at him was– when he objected to Musharraf’s 4 point formula. People began to look at him as a morally sound leader who could defy Indian and Pakistani authorities, but alas! They did not know that the collective sentiment was being manipulated by ISI, by touting Geelani as a force to reckon with.
Lone was increasingly seen as a threat and finally in 2002, he was shot dead during a public meeting, where everyone except Geelani was at the dias.
Abdul Ghani Lone’s son Sajad Lone first lambasted Geelani when he came for funeral but later retracted from his stance. Apparently his mother told him—I do not want to see another bullet ridden body in this family. Understandable! Geelani could have stooped really low to get rid of competition. Sajjad Lone in one of his articles published later wrote– ‘Death comes in multiple ways, and so does mourning, thanks to the leaders who have managed to learn to extract profit from the enterprise.’
ISI’s hit list included–Abdul Ghani Lone, Mirwaiz Moulvi Farooq, Majid Dar, Fazl-haq Qureshi, Qazi Nissar Ahmed (the chief cleric of south Kashmir) and also the killing of Hurriyat leader Prof. Abdul Ghani Bhat’s brother, are few of the many names who were struck down when they refused to take ISI’s orders. This was Geelani’s style of bulldozing his opponents executed by ISI.
Geelani, Mufti and Congress
Geelani was showered with cornucopia of good luck when on one side he had ISI’s backing while on the otherside he had local politicians helping him flex his pecs. It is believed Geelani along with Mufti Sayeed decided to circumvent Congress and created PDP (People’s democratic Party), albeit officially only Mufti is credited for the same. Mufti Sayeed strongly believed Congress and National Conference (headed by Farooq Abdullah) had a behind the curtain deal– that Congress would not interfere in Kashmir while Farooq will prevent Kashmir’s chaos spilling over onto Delhi. Geelani ensured Jamaat-E-Islaami (party he was associated with) and HM would help in campaigning for Mufti in 2002. But soon Mufti and Geelani too parted ways.
Interestingly history of Geelani, Mufti and Congress are entwined. Geelani was funded by Congress through Jamaat-E-Islaami and that’s how he ostensibly won the 1972 election.
Money, a lot of it was squandered for many reasons in Kashmir, it’s welfare got the least priority.
Hubris knows no bounds, and in Geelani’s case it expedited his fall from grace. Hurriyat had begun to develop cracks as early as 2000, and by 2002 it was split into two factions, one of which was headed by Mirwaiz Farooq.
By the end of Musharraf’s term, he too had begun to blurt personal affront to Geelani, on occasions asking him—“who are you old man? Get out of the way”. Well, nothing better could have been expected from Pakistan’s Army which merely used separatists as its pawns in the game of chess called Kashmir.
Despite Geelani’s cacophony of venom filled slogans, local politicians and Indian agencies decided to ignore him for they did not want him to be turned into a martyr by ISI—something everyone on Geelani’s opposite side agreed.
Every year on July 8th when separatists and ISI funded rallies are held in the memory of Burhan Wani, Geelani and ilk who made a successful business out of separatism, show no remorse for their wrongdoing towards the Kashmir valley. While Pakistan’s spy agency, ISI, had done everything it did for it’s nation and organization, but who was benefiting out of Geelani’s version of religious liberation of Kashmir? Just ruminate?
Only him and his limitless avarice!!!
An article by Levina
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