NEW DELHI, July 23: The head of Kashmir’s All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, whose tenure ends on Wednesday, may continue to be the chairman of the pro-freedom group for one more year, the Press Trust of India said on Tuesday.

The PTI, in a dispatch from Srinagar, quoted Bhat as saying that the decision regarding a new chairman would be taken within a week.

However, in the absence of three of its senior executive members, all being held in jail, a formal election may have to be postponed, thereby, giving Bhat an extension.

“Till the next chairman is elected, I will have to (continue),” Bhat, seen as a pro-Pakistan member of the APHC leadership, said.

“The organization is passing through a critical phase, it’s going to be a daunting task for the next chairman,” Bhat was quoted as saying.

The PTI quoted unnamed sources as saying the absence of three APHC executive members — Jamaat-i-Islami’s Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Yaseen Malik and Peoples’ League chief Sheikh Aziz, a one-year extension to Bhat was imminent.

“There is pressure from other quarters, including militant groups, also on Bhat to continue as chairman,” the agency said.

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