-By RC GANJOO
New Delhi (NVI): Today Amanullah Khan’s JKLF (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front) is divided into two major parts.
One faction is called the Rawalpindi group, comprising of spokesman Rafiq Dar, Khawaja Saifuddin- head of interim committee, Raja Zaffar Khan- diplomatic head with PoK, Gilgit-Baltistan headed by Dr Toqeer Gilani- its president and Advocate Arshad Jalal secretary-general and Nawaz Ul Haq, vice-chairman of GB unit.
Another group is based in US backed by a UK group.
Lately, after the elections were conducted in Gilgit-Baltistan in October 2020, by Pakistan, the JKLF convened a conference of all political parties and they unanimously opposed Pakistan’s proposal of declaring Gilgit-Baltistan the fifth province. Soon after that, on November 19, 2020, JKLF spokesman Rafiq Dar and Saleem Haroon, a Pakistan-based vice-chairman in a meeting of 33 committee members dissolved the Supreme Council and all zones in UK, US, EU, and Gulf.
But the US unit headed by Altaf Qadri as convenor, Raja Muzzafar, Farooq Papa, Qasim Khokar, Halim Khan its prominent members, backed by UK the group headed by Syed Tahseen Gilani, Liquat Lone, Secretary-General, European Union the group headed by Tanveer Chaudhary and Tahir Masood its secretary-general, and Gulf headed by Malik Shafiq and Kashmir zone refused to accept the decision of Rawalpindi headed by Toqeer Geelani, and Advocate Arshad Jalal. Shrewdly, on the instruction of ISI, Yaseen Malik, JKLF leader presently in Tihar jail has been accepted as chairman of both Rawalpindi and US-UK groups of JKLF.
First-time JKLF was divided in 1981 by Dr. Farooq Hyder along with Sardar Rashid Hasrat and others, who were in touch with ISI, expelled Amanullah Khan, Raja Muzaffar, Khawaza Saifudin by JKLF Centre Committee. In 1984 Amanullah Khan was deported to Karachi by UK following the killing of Ravindra Mhatre, an Indian Diplomat on 3rd February 1984 in UK and HQ of JKLF was shifted to POK.
Meanwhile, in 1990, Amanullah Khan announced an interim government in exile which was not accepted by the majority of the organization. Again on this issue, JKLF was divided into two parts. Srinagar sided with Amanullah Khan. A new set-up was formed in which Amanullah Khan as Chairman, Raja Muzaffar, Senior Vice Chairman, SM Afzal Secretary-General, Dr. Haider Hijazi Publicity Secretary and Ghulam Mustafa Alvi Secretary was included.
After the release of Yasin Malik from prison in 1994, some of India’s intellectuals, politicians, diplomats, and media people approached and suggested him to give up the militancy and pursue a political struggle. Pakistan’s ISI was against this move and his peaceful struggle was unacceptable to Amanullah Khan, who removed him as the president of JKLF.
In return, Malik expelled Khan from the chairmanship. Thus JKLF had split into two factions. The Pakistan government recognised Yasin Malik as the leader of JKLF, which further complicated the situation. But the two factions of the front reunited in 2011. Amanullah Khan became the supreme head while Yasin Malik was appointed as the chief of both the PoK and Jammu and Kashmir units.
ISI again played a dirty role in keeping JKLF in the division. At present, there are other eight factions of JKLF in PoK, and four groups in Jammu & Kashmir who have been banned for unlawful activities and their offices have been sealed and leaders are put in jail.