Geelani steps down, Sehraie steps up

Ashraf Sehrai Replaces Geelani As Tehreek-E-Hurriyat Chairman

Ending speculations, Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani stepped down as chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) and appointed long-time associate and pro-Pakistan leader Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai as his successor.

The decision to appoint Sehrai as the interim leader of THK was taken in an extraordinary meeting of the party's highest decision making body or Majlis-e-Shoora here. Senior Hurriyat leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai replaced him as the party's chairman.

Sehrai and Geelani, both strong votaries of implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir, have been close associates for nearly six decades, first in the Jamiat-e-Islami J&K and later in the TeH.

Geelani and Sehrai both have roots in Jamaat-e-Islami for over 50 years.

Sehraie, then a member of Jamat, was instrumental in the formation of the new separatist outfit, say sources.

Geelani had cited health reasons as he offered to step down.

Sections of media had earlier reported that Geelani may pickup his elder son Naeem Geelani, a medical doctor by profession, to lead his party.

Sehrai has been a close aide of Geelani for over 50 years. Before that, Sehrai had given a miss to executive council meetings of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and the Hurriyat as well.

As per reports, Sehraie, a few months ago, had written to Geelani expressing his displeasure about some developments within the faction. He was one of the accused in the Kashmir terror funding case.

A resident of Tikki Pora Lolab in North Kashmir's Kupwara district, Sehraie joined Jama'at in 1950s a few years after Geelani.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference split up in 2002. Geelani held the position for 18 years.

When JeI J&K chose to launch its student wing, Sehraie was chosen to lead Shooba-i-Talaba since 1977.

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