In a significant development, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Monday resigned as chairman of his party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat but would continue to head the faction of Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of separatist groups. Senior Hurriyat leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai replaced him as the party's chairman.
Mohammad Ashraf has been aiding Geelani since a very long time, In November 1986 Mohammad Ashraf Khan, alias Sehrai, was released from Central Jail Jammu after serving one-year detention under Public Safety Act (PSA) for "talking about freedom of Kashmir".
Sources in Hurriyat Conference said the Sehrai was elected chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat at a meeting of its executive committee held on Monday at Geelani's Hyderpora residence. "I extend my fullest cooperation and honest wishes to the would-be leadership of the organization", Geelani, as per the TeH statement said. Sehrai will be interim chairman until formal elections are conducted as decided by Majlis-e-Shora. He has also been in the view of the National Investigative Agency's probe into terror financing cases in Kashmir.More news: Greece: 15 migrants killed in worst accident in months
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Sections of media had earlier reported that Geelani may pickup his elder son Naeem Geelani, a medical doctor by profession, to lead his party. Geelani held the position for 18 years.
Observers say that Geelani's departure from active politics would have far-reaching impact on the politics of Kashmir. Tehreek-e-Hurriyat is our party and Hurriyat has 23 allies. Shooba-i-Talaba was renamed as Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT) later on and the current framework of IJT has been designed by Sehraie himself in 2001.