Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, headed by 87-year-old Syed Ali Geelani, on Monday announced that Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai (78) is the new chairman of the separatist amalgam, clearing the decks for a "smooth transition" of leadership. Sehrai lost to the National Conference (NC) candidate.
The party was formed following a split in the Hurriyat Conference in 2003 since then Geelani had been the chairperson. Till the next party chief get elected, Ashraf Sehrai will be served as the interim chairman of TeH.
Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Monday resigned as the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. In fact, three years ago, Geelani had chose to nominate him as his successor in the Hurriyat but the announcement was halted at the last moment after some members questioned Geelani making a nomination when organisation had an election system.
However, Syed Ali Shah Geelani will continue as the APHC (G) Chairman indefinitely, the sources said.
Sehrai is Geelani's long-term aide.
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He further said that by the grace of Allah Almighty and your timely cooperation I have stood my stand despite testing times of Jails, Interrogations, domestic hardships, physical and psychological onslaught, but for the last 8 years of continuous house arrest, restrictions on the interactions with my party colleagues has dented the function of the organization. The Geelani-led Hurriyat comprises at least 24 smaller parties.
Geelani, who represented the Jamaat in the Hurriyat, was seen as a hardliner which didn't go down well with the former. Tehreek-e-Hurriyat is a constituent of Geelani-led Hurriyat group.
Observers say that Geelani's departure from active politics would have far-reaching impact on the politics of Kashmir.
However, in 2010, Jamat-e-Islami (JeI) suspended Geelani from the basic membership of the party over the "adverse" remarks made against his parent outfit in a new controversial biography. He was an MLA from the Sopore constituency of Jammu and Kashmir three times.