(This was originally posted in India Today by Kamaljit Kaur Sandhu)
Pak-Based Hurriyat Faction Prepares Kashmir-Centric Campaign Ahead of the death anniversaries of two separatist leaders — Mirwaiz Maulvi Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone — on May 21, Pakistan-based faction of the Hurriyat Conference has planned a social media campaign aimed at Kashmir. Mirwaiz Maulvi Mohammad Farooq was assassinated at his Nageen Lake residence on May 21, 1990. Meanwhile, Abdul Gani Lone was killed on the 12th death anniversary of Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq on May 21, 2002 in Srinagar at Eidgah.
Sajjad Lone, son of Abdul Gani Lone, had blamed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for his father’s death. “ISI is behind my father’s killing,” he had said. This year, observance of these death anniversaries has brought to the fore prevailing differences between the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) based in Jammu and Kashmir, and its wing in Pakistan. While the J&K faction has announced cancellation of programs owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the one in Pakistan has other plans.
After the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019, the Pakistan faction of the Hurriyat Conference has been trying to control separatist events and narratives related to Kashmir. India Today TV has learnt that the Hurriyat faction in Pakistan has devised a 12-point plan for May 21. This plan is expected to be executed over four days.
The 12-point plan includes:
1. Social media awareness campaign through Twitter, Facebook etc.
2. Affix posters and banners.
3. Reciting the Quran after morning prayers.
4. Gather at the graves of separatists before the Friday prayers.
5. March towards Mazar-e-Shuhada in Srinagar following Covid-19 protocols.
6. Organise meetings at mosques and other places throughout Kashmir.
7. Call for a complete shutdown in J&K.
For international attention/Kashmiri diaspora:
8. Organise protests and gatherings in different countries. In Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, they plan to further the separatist agenda.
9. Press conference at National Press Club, Islamabad.
10. Protest against the Indian government at Faisal Masjid,
Islamabad and offer prayers for separatists killed in Jammu and Kashmir.
11. Organise protests and gatherings in Islamabad and other provincial capitals.
12. Organise protests and gatherings in the capital and other parts of POK.
Meanwhile, the official Twitter handle of Radio Pakistan, Pakistan’s official broadcaster, has tweeted, “APHC appeals to observe complete shutdown on Friday to commemorate martyrdom anniversaries of prominent liberation leaders Khawaja Abdul Ghani Lone, Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammed Farooq and martyrs of Hawal (sic).” Speaking to India Today TV, a senior defence officer said the forces are aware of these plans and are constantly monitoring social media platforms. “We are keeping a tab on the situation. So far, J&K has been under strict lockdown. We are monitoring the situation on ground,” he said.
Another officer privy to the developments in J&K said the ISI is “under pressure to ensure a complete shutdown on May 21”. “The 12-point program enlists its aim to have a shutdown and protest march. They make plans every year but their desperation has increased after the abrogation of Article 37o,” he said.
Incidentally, the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Jammu Kashmir Awami Action Committee (AAC) in a press release recently announced cancelling ‘Hafta-e-Shahaadat’ (Week of Martyrdom) owing to the prevailing Covid-19 situation in J&K. It also alleged that All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq continues to be “under arbitrary detention” at his home since August 5, 2019.
However, in a sharp contrast, the Pakistan-based wing of the Hurriyat leadership has given a call for a shutdown on May 21, along with devising a four-day social media campaign. The J&K faction in its press statement had announced it is postponing the shutdown call due to the pandemic.
“Collective Fateha prayers at Eidgah and the commemorative rally thereafter, as well as the shutdown to honour Shaheed-e-Millat, Shaheed Hurriyat and the martyrs of Hawal, stand postponed due to the Covid circumstances,” the statement said.