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Pakistan and other donors question Hurriyat about funds utilisation

Pakistan and other donors question Hurriyat about funds utilisation

Author: Sumir Kaul in New Delhi
Publication: Rediff on Net
Date: November 25, 2001

Simmering differences between the Hurriyat Conference and Pakistan over utilisation of funds by the former came to fore when the entire executive council of the 23-party amalgam did not attend the Iftar party hosted by Pakistani High Commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi in Delhi on Friday.

Attempts to take comments from the Hurriyat Conference leaders failed as no one was willing to comment on the 'ticklish issue'.

However, highly placed insiders within the amalgam said the relation between one of the former chairmen and the present incumbent with Pakistan had become 'sour' over a variety of issues, including funds utilisation.

The insiders said several leaders of the Hurriyat Conference had been asked to account for the money provided by various organisations, majority of them from Pakistan.

Another worry for the Hurriyat was the recent press conference by its chairman Abdul Gani Bhat, where he put forward a proposal for a comprehensive ceasefire, which was not liked by their mentors across the border, the Hurriyat insiders said.

During a recent visit to the national capital, the amalgam leaders were summoned by officials in the Pakistan High Commission separately and asked about funds utilisation, the Hurriyat insiders said.

They said at least two senior leaders of the amalgam had heated exchanges over the funds received from overseas, majority of them from Pakistani organisations.

Much to the consternation of the amalgam leadership, now even these overseas organisations have started asking for details about the utilisation of money, which was meant for disbursement among needy persons, the insiders said, adding no Hurriyat leader had been able to give a clear picture so far.

The insiders said some organisations have even threatened to stop all remittances and expose the Hurriyat if it failed to give details about the disbursement.

Another senior Hurriyat functionary, Abdul Gani Lone, who has been in midst of controversy after a militant organisation asked him to hand over the money he owed the outfit, preferred to keep a distance from Pakistan and did not even visit its high commission during a recent visit to Delhi.

The relations between Lone and Islamabad have been at their lowest ebb as even his son, Sajjad Lone, who is married to Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Amanullah Khan's daughter, had to leave Pakistan for writing an article criticising Pakistan's Kashmir policy.

The JKLF led by Yasin Malik, which received an invitation for the Iftar party, continued its boycott of all Pakistani functions, which started with the boycott of the much-hyped tea party with Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf before the Agra summit in July this year.

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