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ALL PARTIES HURRIYAT CONFERENCE (APHC)

ALL PARTIES HURRIYAT CONFERENCE (APHC) The All Parties Hurriyat Conference-an alliance of 26 political, social, and religious organizations-was formed on 9 March 1993 as a political organization to further the cause of Kashmiri separatism The Conference was consistently promoted by Pakistan in its effort to create a united front against the Indian occupation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir It was initially shunned by India However, speculation that Delhi was prepared to talk to the APHC began in early 2000, shortly before the visit to South Asia by US President Bill Clinton This did not happen; the APHC had to wait for another four years before the senior leaders of India began formal discussions with it This was done by Lal Krishna Advani, the deputy prime minister of India According to the constitution adopted in March 1993, “the APHC shall be a union of political, social, and religious parties of the state of Jammu and Kashmir with its headquarters in Srinagar” It will “make peaceful struggle to secure the [Kashmiri] people the exercise of the right of self determination, in accordance with the UN Charter, and the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council



However, the exercise of the right of self-determination shall also include the right to independence” The organization “pledged to project the ongoing struggle in the state, before the nations and governments of the world as being a struggle directed against the forcible and fraudulent occupation of the state by India, and for the achievement of the right of self-determination of its people” With an eye on the ideology to which the vast majority of the insurgents fighting the Indians subscribed, the APHC said that it would “endeavor, keeping with the Muslim majority character of the state, to promote the build up of a society based on Islamic values, while safeguarding the rights and interests of the non-Muslims”A decade after it was founded, the APHC split into two factions On 7 September 2003, dissenters representing 12 of its constituents removed the chairman Maulana Muhammad Abbas Ansari, and appointed Mussarat Alam in his place The split was engineered by S A S

Gellani, the leader of the avowedly pro-Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islam The remaining 14 groups formed the organization’s moderate group, led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the hereditary leader of many Kashmiri Muslims and the head cleric of the Jamia Masjid, in Srinagar Following reconciliation between the moderates and the APHC supporters in Pakistan, a delegation of the APHC, led by Mirwaiz Farooq, visited first Azad Kashmir and then Pakistan This was the first time that such a large group of Kashmiri separatists was allowed by the Indian authorities to travel to Pakistan During this 14-day visit, from 2 to 16June 2005, the group met with President Pervez Musharraf and several other senior leaders of Pakistan The Pakistani leadership assured the Kashmiri group that no solution to the decades-old Kashmir problem would be viable if it did not have the support of the state’s people The Pakistanis suggested a forum that included not only the governments of India and Pakistan but also a representative group of Kashmiris to begin discussions to resolve the issueLater in the year, on 5 September 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India had a two-hour meeting with a delegation representing the APHC As was the case with the visit to Pakistan, this group was also led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq This was the first meeting of India’s senior leaders with the organization in more than a year An Indian government spokesman said after the meeting that Singh had raised the possibility of reducing troop strength in the state in return for a reduction in violence

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