Key Figures in Kashmir Uprising

Maulana Fazalur Rehman is the leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, or Party of Islamic Clerics, a Pakistani religious party with wide influence over Islamic militants fighting Indian forces in Kashmir. The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam has historic links with the Taliban. In December 2001, a spokesman for the interim Afghan Defense Ministry said Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 attacks, had escaped from Afghanistan into Pakistan and was being protected by Rehman's followers. However Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, later denied the report and in an official response, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam called the report "baseless."

Mirwaiz Omar Farooq

The mirwaiz is the hereditary title of one of Kashmir's most important religious leaders who is also the imam (head priest) of the prestigious Jama Masjid (mosque). Mirwaiz Omar Farooq took on the challenging role of mirwaiz in May 1990 at the age of 17 when his father, Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq, was assassinated at his residence in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The Indian authorities claimed his father's death was conducted by a faction of the Hizbul Mujahideen, with the help of the Inter Services Intelligence, the powerful Pakistani intelligence agency, in a bid to eliminate moderate Kashmiri Muslim leaders. Omar Farooq also served as the leader of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a loose alliance of 23 Kashmiri separatist parties. Unlike his father, the young Omar Farooq is believed to be less amenable to dialogue with the Indian government. During a visit to India in July 2001, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf defied Indian government pressure and met with the mirwaiz and other Kashmiri leaders in the northern Indian city of Agra.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil

Chief of Harakat-ul-Mojahedin, a militant group dominated by Pakistani and Afghan Islamic fighters. The Harakat-ul-Mojahedin (HUM) was formerly known as Harakat-ul-Ansar, which was declared a terrorist group by Washington. HUM was one of the key military groups, including the Lashkar-e-Toiba, that had occupied some of the heights in the Kargil region of Indian-administered Kashmir in 1999 that led to a massive Indian military operation to flush out the terrorists, which claimed the lives of more than 200 Indian security personnel. The HUM has repeatedly denounced cease-fire attempts between the Indian government and various militant groups and has in the past denounced various Pakistani administrations for what it calls Islamabad's succumbing to pressure from Washington.

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