Pro-Pakistan separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, who spearheaded the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir for over three decades, died at his residence in Hyderpora in Srinagar at the age of 92 years.
The hardline separatist leader was buried in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area on Thursday amidst attempts by Pakistan and its sympathisers in Kashmir to stoke tensions in the Union Territory. Geelani was buried at Srinagar’s “Martyrs’ Cemetery”, where most terrorists and separatist leaders have been buried. The police allowed only a limited number of his relatives to attend the funeral.
Here is a brief profile of Syed Ali Shah Geelani and his pro-Pakistan propaganda in Kashmir for over seven decades.
Who is Syed Ali Shah Geelani?
Born on September 29, 1929, at Zurmanz in Bandipore, Syed Ali Shah Geelani became the face of the pro-Pakistan agenda in Jammu and Kashmir. After his early education in his home town, Geelani travelled to Lahore for higher studies. He returned to India after finishing his degree in Islamic theology and worked as a teacher.
Geelani started his political career under Maulana Mohammad Sayeed Masoodi, a senior National Conference (NC) leader. Later, on instigation from Pakistan, Geelani quit NC to join radical Islamic organisation Jamaat-e-Islami. The pro-Pakistan radical Islamic organisation has been implicitly involved in spreading unrest and violence in the valley.
Geelani first contested the Assembly elections in 1972 from the Sopore constituency in the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. He won the elections for two successive terms, first in 1972 and then in 1977. He lost the 1982 poll to NC candidate, however, he won the controversial 1987 polls for his third term. The last term ended abruptly in 1987 after Pakistan-sponsored terrorists created havoc in the valley, which led to the genocide of Kashmiri Pandits.
Geelani, a face of Pakistan in Kashmir
Geelani, a three-time legislator and the face and voice of Pakistan in Kashmir, was active in the political landscape of Jammu and Kashmir for around seven decades. In the 1990s, with active support from Pakistan, Geelani instigated several Kashmiri Muslim youths to pick up arms against the state. In a way, Geelani was the chief architect of terrorism in the valley.
With active backing from Pakistan, Geelani advocated for an armed struggle to resolve the Kashmir issue and opposed the government of India. Geelani was one of the masterminds of the separatist movement in Kashmir, who founded the Hurriyat Conference in 1993. He was a staunch supporter of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession with Pakistan.
A vocal supporter of Pakistan and its designs in the Kashmir valley, Geelani had made it clear that his agenda is Islamism, packaged and delivered as per Pakistan’s wishes. “Hum Pakistani Hain Aur Pakistan Hamara Hai”, was his famous slogan.
However, internal power struggles and ideological issues led to growing tensions between him and other members of the Hurriyat Conference, leading to a split in 2003. In 2004, Geelani also quit from Jamaat-e-Islami when it distanced itself from terrorism, and formed his own political outfit, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
Geelani and his minions were responsible for pushing generations of Kashmiri youth towards bloodshed, violence and hatred. While his own progeny enjoyed a sheltered, lavish life, Geelani spent his life inciting the poor and uneducated people in Kashmir to shun development, education and embrace the hollow ideologies that brought nothing but violence and misery.
The man shall not get the courtesy of being named on my TL. But he who sent young children in jihad’s arms while seeking safe houses for his own children does not even deserve 2 gaz zameen in the land I call home. That is all that shall be said.— Sunanda Vashisht (@sunandavashisht) September 1, 2021
Faced crackdown in later part of his life
In March 2019, Syed Ali Shah Geelani was charged with a penalty of over Rs 14 lakh by the Enforcement Directorate under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for illegally possessing foreign exchange of USD 10,000. A month later, the officials attached the properties belonging to Geelani located at Delhi over tax fraud.
In a massive crackdown on the separatist Hurriyat leaders in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack in 2019, the security cover of 18 Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani was withdrawn by the government calling it a wastage of resources.
In 2020, eight months after the Modi government scrapped the controversial special provisions of Article 370 granted to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Geelani resigned as head of the Hurriyat in June 2020.
The separatist leader, who was on the payroll of Pakistan and its intelligence agency ISI, had also written a detailed two-page letter highlighting the reasons behind his resignation from the Hurriyat Conference. Apparently, Geelani had quit the pro-Pakistan separatist unit 27 years’ association after he had founded it, claiming that he was being sidelined by Pakistan and its army intelligence, the ISI.
Last year, the Pakistan government awarded him with Nishan-e-Pakistan, the highest civilian honour of the country.
Geelani’s life was the living narration of how a pro-Pakistan Islamist agenda ruined millions of lives in the Kashmir valley, made the Pandits refugees in their own country and pushed a resource-rich, beautiful region into decades of meaningless violence.