Syed Ali Geelani : Character and Contributions

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Zafar Iqbal,
A veteran Kashmiri leader and an iconic symbol of Kashmir Freedom Movement, Syed Ali Geelani died of prolonged illness on Wednesday night September 01, 2021. Despite life threats from Indian occupation forces he lived his life to the fullest, inspired millions of Kashmiris through his moving speeches, courage and passion. He stood by his principles and due to his unflinching commitment to his mission he proved himself as an iron man. His charismatic personality, prepared Kashmiri men, women and even children to raise their voice for the noble common cause “Right to the Self-determination”. Due to his flawless character and firm resolve, Kashmiri people responded his every call positively and freedom movement gained strength day by day. He infused popular slogan “we want freedom” to every Kashmiri. Most importantly, this is the slogan, taught to the children by Kashmiri parents soon after teaching them Kalma Tayyba. Symbol of resistance, Syed Ali Geelani also introduced the popular slogan, “Hum Pakistani han, Pakistan Humara ha” which mean we are Pakistani and Pakistan is ours. This shows his conviction and love towards his ideology. This slogan attributed to him will remain etched in the memories of People of Kashmir and Pakistan. This iron man, who was the strongest voice against Indian occupation in Kashmir, had been under house arrest for the past 12 years. Syed Ali Geelani was born in Sopore Baramulla district on September 29, 1929. After early education in his native town, he went to Lahore to pursue higher studies. After conferment of degree in Islamic theology in 1940 he returned Srinagar. He was well versed in Islamic Jurisprudence, besides Urdu and Persian. He met Maulana Saad-ud-Din, the first Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami in 1949. He was convinced by the Jamaat-e-Islami through its literature and sessions attended by him. He resigned from the Gvernment job in 1959 and started his political career and soon became district Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami Kupwara and Baramulla. He became General Secretary of the party in1964 due to his tireless effort, commitment and devotion to his ideology. He was greatly influenced by Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt which is considered as a sister organization of Jamaat-e-Islami and its leaders Hassan-al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb. He was also influenced by the literature of Syed Maudoodi and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. During his political career, India used all his tactics to refrain him from his struggle; he was first arrested in 1962 on the charges of raising voice for the freedom of Kashmir and remained imprisoned for about 13 months. He was arrested again in 1965 and spent 22 months in Jail. Altogether, he spent more than dozen years incarcerated. He participated in elections and won from his constituency in 1972, 1977 and 1987. In 1987 his votes were counted twice to make him lose but he stood victorious. In these elections, despite alleged rigging only four candidates of Muslim United Front secured seats. Geelani launched mass awareness movement and was incarcerated along with three other winners. This was the turning point of Kashmir movement, which marked the start of armed resistance. In1992 All Parties Hurriat Conference was formed and Syed Ali Gillani played a vibrant role for the advocacy of Kashmir freedom movement not only in Indian held Kashmir but also on international forums. His love for Pakistan was beyond any compromise. He faced all the hardships including physical and mental torture but he showed steadfastness at every step. He was most popular leader of Kashmir and all the state sponsored oppressions by India could not push him even a single inch back from his just stance. The man of steely resolve was remained symbol of resistance till his burial. The brutal Indian regime did not allow Kashmiri people to mourn the death of their hero. Even media persons were stopped more than five hundred meters away from the residence of Syed Ali Geelani. Barbed wires and barricades were installed on entry points to stop people from attending funeral ceremony. Indian coward forces assaulted the mourners. They snatched the mortal remains of great Kashmir leader from his bereaved family and did not allow them his burial according to his will. The whole family was locked up at house and the body was buried by the policemen. Internet services were also suspended in IOK as they did not want to watch the whole valley pour out to bid farewell to their hero. This is blatant human right violation by Modi’s fascist regime. The people of Kashmir and Pakistan mourned the passing away of great leader. May Allah grant him the loftiest ranks of Jannah and bless the Kashmiri people enough strength to carry his mission of self-determination. Ameen.