SRINAGAR: The devastating September floods in Kashmir Valley have also hit the efforts initiated for unification of at least two factions of the trifurcated Hurriyat Conference.
Prior to the floods, Hurriyat Conference (Geelani faction) had made a conditional call for unification to all components of the pro-freedom camp in the Valley. Subsequently, the conglomerate constituted a committee for negotiations with other groups.
Initially, the committee approached the recently constituted JK Hurriyat Conference, which comprises political parties of Shabir Ahmad Shah, Nayeem Ahmad Khan, and JKLF (R) as its main constituents. And the latter responded positively by forming a complementary committee to try build a bridge between the two amalgams.
The unprecedented floods, however, resulted in suspension of the initiative.
“We formally suspended all political activities initially for a month due to the floods. As our focus shifted to flood-affected populace, the suspension was later extended by one month. Consequently, the effort (for unification) was suspended too,” Ayaz Akbar, spokesman of the Hurriyat (G) told Kashmir Reader Monday.
And there is no immediate plan for revival of the process “as the order for suspension of political activities stands”, Akbar said.
“We will have to reinitiate the process now, and that is only possible when we resume the political activities. For now, there isn’t any date fixed for (discussing) it,” he added.
Shabir Shah also cited floods as the reason for halting the process. He said, “The committees couldn’t meet because the flood had damaged the roads. A member of Hurriyat (G), for instance, had to travel from Anantnag, and he couldn’t come for the meeting for obvious reasons. The meeting was eventually suspended. Later we became involved in relief activities; the political activities became less a priority.”
Shah too is uncertain about the future of the process. “Definitely, we will like to restart the efforts, but nothing is certain as yet because we are still focused on the post-flood situation,” he told Kashmir Reader.
In the months preceding the flood, both the factions had revealed possibilities of their joining hands on issues of common interest. They were openly sharing stands and stages over issues like the controversial yatra to Kousar Naag or elections.
“While the initiative (for unification) needs to be restarted, we (both factions) have made it clear that we can have issue-based unification. And same applies to the coming elections as well,” Shah added.