Pakistan bestows Nishan-i-Pakistan on Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani at Independence Day fete

Veteran activist Geelani headed the Hurriyat conference for nearly two decades

Our Correspondent August 14, 2020
Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani has been under house arrest in Srinagar for several years. FILE PHOTO


President Arif Alvi conferred the Nishan-i-Pakistan, the country's highest civilian award, on noted Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani honouring his struggle towards securing the right to self-determination of the Kashmiri people on Friday.

The Kashmiri political leader was bestowed upon this honour at an investiture held at the President House in Islamabad during the flag hoisting ceremony marking Pakistan's 74th Independence Day.

The award was received by All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Convener Muhammad Hussain Khateeb and other Hurriyat leaders.

Geelani started his political career in 1953 and formed the APHC to provide a joint platform to Kashmiri leaders for their movement to secure the right to self-determination, said Cabinet Division Secretary and moderator Ahmed Nawaz Sukhera as he read out the citation for Geelani.

The honoured Kashmiri activist headed the APHC from 2001 to June 2020 and fought the case for Kashmir despite facing house arrests, travel restrictions and other means of restraint by the Indian government.

After India's illegal actions of August 5, 2019 - when Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir's special status was revoked - Geelani played a central role in building public opinion against actions of the Indian state aimed at changing the demographics of the Muslim majority region.

In June 2020, the veteran Hurriyat leader quit his own faction of the APHC, saying it had failed to counter New Delhi's efforts to tighten its grip on Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Geelani, 90, who has been under house arrest in Srinagar for several years, accused the faction he led within the umbrella Hurriyat Conference, of inaction over New Delhi's move in a two-page letter and short audio message.

"Keeping in view the present situation in Hurriyat Conference, I announce my decision to part ways with it," he said, accusing members of the grouping of conspiring against him and saying it lacked discipline and accountability.

The APHC was formed by various freedom groups in occupied Jammu and Kashmir in 1993 to provide a political platform for seceding from India in the wake of an armed struggle against New Delhi’s illegal rule.

But the group split in 2003 when some politicians headed by Geelani, who advocated Kashmir's merger with Pakistan, walked out after moderates decided to hold talks with New Delhi and formed their own faction.


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