There was a major development in the Tehrik-e-Hurriyat after Syed Ali Shah Geelani stepped down as the chairman to make way for his long time friend Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai.
Geelani would however continue to head the Hurriyat Conference. The TeH was started in 2005 and Geelani and Sehrai were its founding members. The reason behind the formation of this organisation was due to a rift that Geelani had with the Jamaat-e-Islami. It was Sehrai who was instrumental in the formation of TeH.
Geelani had in fact proposed Sehrai as his replacement in the TeH. However it was opposed as several members questioned the nomination system especially where there is an election process in place.
The decision by Geelani is a major one and sources say that there were several factors that led to this decision. First and foremost, one could expect Sehrai to play a bigger role in the Kashmir issue in the next couple of years. Sehrai is Geelani's most trusted aide and friend and he would in due course to look to place him as the Hurriyat Conference chief. Further both has similar ideologies.
For Geelani to take this step there are a host of reasons. He cited health as an issue before stepping down. However sources say that he was unable to sustain the pressure that was mounting on him from various quarters. The Indian Government was increasing pressure on him. The probe by the National Investigation Agency in the Kashmir terror funding case had mounted pressure on Geelani.
Further he was also under pressure from the people of Kashmir. It may be recalled that Zakir Musa at the time of quitting the Hizbul Mujahideen had lambasted Geelani for selling false dreams to the youth.
There was an equal amount of pressure from Pakistan as well. The Pakistan establishment felt that he was not doing enough in recent times. Owing to health issues, age and pressure from all quarters, Geelani decided to step down.