Remembering Syed Ali Gillani: Two years on, inspiring freedom struggle of iconic Kashmiri leader lives on

Remembering Syed Ali Gillani: Two years on, inspiring freedom struggle of iconic Kashmiri leader lives on

ISLAMABAD, Sep 1 (APP): The Kashmiris from across the globe as well as the people and Government of Pakistan paid rich tribute to iconic leader of Kashmir freedom struggle Syed Ali Gillani on his second death anniversary on Friday with a resolve to carry forward his legacy until the Kashmiris are given their due right to self-determination as per the UN Security Council resolutions.

The leadership of Kashmir and Pakistan remembered the great Kashmiri leader for his life-long struggle for freedom and justice while facing Indian persecution and hardships.

Special seminars, protest demonstrations and social media campaigns were held to remember the Kashmiri leader who breathed his last in a long-drawn house arrest on September 1, 2021.

In a horrific act, his dead body was snatched by the Indian occupation forces from his family, and hurriedly buried in a graveyard in the absence of his family and friends. His family and friends were not allowed to pay their final respects or bury him in a graveyard of his choice.

In Azad Jammu and Kashmir, mammoth rallies were taken out at Lal Chowk, Upper Adda, in Muzaffarabad and Bagh to commemorate the Kashmir leader. Hurriyat leaders led the rally, participated by various political, religious and social organizations.

On the occasion, the speakers paid glowing tributes to Syed Ali Geelani for his unparalleled and eternal sacrifices during the freedom movement.

“My respects to iconic Kashmiri leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on his second death anniversary… In the face of persecution and hardship, his commitment to the Kashmir Cause was unparalleled. I pay homage to his life-long struggle for freedom and justice,” Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Interim Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, in his statement, said late Geelani was a brave and steadfast leader who inspired generations of Kashmiris in their struggle for realization of their right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant UN Resolutions.

“Syed Ali Shah Geelani was a true voice and face of the Kashmiris’ struggle for their rights and freedom. His unflinching commitment to the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, in the face of persistent persecution and tremendous personal hardship, has inspired generations of Kashmiris in resisting the occupation and tyranny,” Foreign Office spokesperson told the media in her weekly press briefing.

She said Syed Ali Geelani would be remembered for his matchless sacrifices and unconditional love for Kashmir and for Pakistan.

“We also urge the Government of India to give unhindered access to his family and followers to his final resting place,” she remarked.

In a message resounding with solemnity and admiration, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf said late Geelani had been a steadfast advocate for the inalienable right to self-determination for his compatriots.

He also said Geelani has become a model of exemplified fearlessness and unflinching commitment to championing the rights of the Kashmiri people. His legacy transcended the constraints of time and would continue to kindle the fervor of succeeding Kashmiri generations, inciting them to relentlessly strive for their birthright of freedom.

To mark the death anniversary, All Parties Hurriyat Conference organised a march towards the Hyderpora graveyard where Syed Ali Gilani is buried and all pro-freedom organizations supported the call.

The APHC had also urged the clerics to hold special prayers for the veteran leader and other Kashmiri martyrs in the mosques.

Posters appeared in different areas of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) urging the people to massively participate in the march and pay tribute to the veteran Kashmiri leader. The posters read that the sacrifices of Kashmiri martyrs would not be allowed to go waste and their mission will be accomplished at all costs.

The Secretary-General of World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Ghulam Nabi Fai also paid high tributes to Syed Ali Geelani, saying he was “incorruptible and conscientious.”

In a statement, Dr. Fai said that Geelani stood firm in the struggle for the freedom of Kashmir, “the paradise on earth, ” despite India’s oppressive measures, including twelve long years under house arrest.

Fai said that a common Kashmiri has lost faith in Indian democracy, calling it “sham democracy.”

In this regard, he pointed to a write-up in The Washington Post, saying, “Over the years, he (Geelani) had repeatedly said no to any talks with New Delhi, asserting that “India can’t be trusted unless it calls Kashmir a disputed territory, demilitarizes the region and releases political prisoners for a meaningful dialogue.”

Chairman J&K People’s Freedom League Muhammad Farooq Rehmani said the Indian Hindutva influence in Jammu and Kashmir was unsuccessful in weakening Syed Ali Geelani’s resolve in his pursuit of Kashmir’s freedom.

He said faced with the illegal and forceful occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, Geelani remained resolute in not surrendering his faith and ideology to the oppressors.

Employing various methods of torture, the occupiers relentlessly pursued him. Eventually, in 2010, he was arrested and confined, even in the midst of battling numerous ailments, while his own residence was transformed into a makeshift jail.

Talking to APP, Lt. General (Retd) Abdul Qayyum highlighted the resolve of Kashmiris in their quest for freedom and said Kashmiris’ resistance against Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir had been going on for the last over seven decades. Many prominent Hurriyat leaders have played an important role in carrying forward this movement, he added.

Lt. Gen. Ashraf Saleem said undoubtedly, Syed Ali Geelani was the tallest figure in the resistance history of Jammu and Kashmir.

He was an embodiment of honesty, unwavering resoluteness and struggle, with matchless passion, ideology, and vision about Kashmir, he said.

Dr Fakharul Haq Noori, a noted professor and educationist said that Geelani not only presented the cause of Kashmir with great clarity but also united all the Kashmiri people for that one cherished goal.

The Kashmir Institute of International Relations (KIIR) organized a seminar in Islamabad during which supreme sacrifices and indomitable role of the towering resistance leader were highlighted. The speakers said that the life-long struggle of the martyred leader for the cause of Kashmir would be remembered for a long time in the annals of Kashmir history.

On the occasion young scholars from different universities of the federal capital made a pledge to spread the mesaage of Ali Geelani to every nook and cranny of Pakistan and to international audience through their writings.

The Institute for Dialogue, Development, and Diplomatic Studies (IDDDS) at Scholars School of Sciences and Information Technology Muzaffarabad held a seminar, where speakers paid tribute to Syed Ali Geelani.

In his address, Director of IDDDS, Dr. Waleed Rasool, praised Geelani as a towering political leader and unwavering champion of the Kashmiri cause, leaving an indelible mark on the socio-political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. Geelani’s advocacy for self-determination and his belief in the people of Jammu and Kashmir determining their political destiny were highlighted.

By Ishtiaq Rao

Ishtiaq Ahmed is a Sr. Reporter who reports on Prime Minister, President, Foreign Office, and special assignments. Backed by 20-year experience, he has written for local and foreign newspapers. Reach out at 03335293238/ [email protected]/ X: ishtiaqrao

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