Srinagar, May 2: Ailing Jammu and Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Monday said the Hurriyat Conference will name a successor only after he dies.
Refuting rumours that he was likely to name his successor, Geelani told the media here: “The issue of naming my successor will be decided by the office bearers of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat only after my death.”
There was intense speculation on Sunday that Geelani would be naming Ashraf Sehrai, the deputy chairman of the hardline Hurriyat Conference, as his successor.
Geelani, 86, has been a key figure in the Hurriyat Conference since 1990, when the separatist campaign erupted in Jammu and Kashmir. He has headed his faction of the Hurriyat since 2003.
A three-time former legislator, Geelani was diagnosed with renal cancer in 2006 when he was in jail. In March this year, he suffered a mild heart attack in New Delhi.
Geelani has been mostly under house arrest in Srinagar since 2008. He is widely seen as a key player in the separatist movement and advocates Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan.