Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a leading Kashmiri separatist and former chief of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), passed away on Wednesday.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away at home at 10 pm on Monday, APHC leader Abdul Hameed Lone said. According to the Kashmir Media Service, he was 92 years old.
Residents said Indian authorities have imposed a security clampdown in occupied Kashmir since Geelani’s death. Following Geelani’s death, troops placed barbed wire rolls and barricades around his house in Srinagar’s main city.
Reports cited that hundreds of security forces had been deployed and internet services would be cut immediately. Announcements came over the loudspeakers of the main mosque near Geelani’s residence asking people to march to his residence. However, scores of armored vehicles and trucks patrolled the main roads in the area. The police asked people not to go out in the street.
Who was Syed Ali Shah Geelani?
During the past 11 years, Geelani, an uncompromising campaigner against Indian rule in Kashmir, had been under house arrest. He had been sick for several months.
Geelani was a thorn in the side of India because he began campaigning for the territory’s merger with Pakistan in the early 1960s. As a member of the Kashmir assembly, he also pursued his separatist views. After 1962, the politician was jailed for nearly 10 years and often restricted to his home.
Geelani had been a member of Jamaat-i-Islami since his youth, which was banned by the Hindu nationalist government in 2019. Moreover, he resigned from his post as APHC chief last month. He had been a member since its formation in 1993 as a political arm of the anti-India movement. In 2003, he became its chairman for life.
His health continued to deteriorate as a result of the 11 years of house arrest, the APHC reported last month. Along with his general weakness, the veteran leader also suffered from a chest infection which did not satisfactorily respond to treatment, according to an APHC press release.
Pakistan to observes a day of official mourning
Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “deeply saddened” to hear of Geelani’s death. The premier recalled that Geelani had fought all his life for his people and their right to self-determination. “The Pakistan flag will fly at half-mast and we will observe a day of official mourning,” the premier announced.
The country’s highest civil award, Nishan-i-Pakistan, was conferred on Geelani by President Arif Alvi last year in recognition of his decades-long fight for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination.
PM and Army Chief General Bajwa have clearly said Pakistan would never abandon Kashmir. The people of IOK want freedom from the Indin-occupied forces. We hope to see that very soon.
Story Courtesy: Dawn News
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