• Tuesday, Feb 07, 2023
  • Last Update : 10:24 am

Pakistan seeks UN inquiry into Indian Kashmiri leader Geelani’s death

  • Published at 07:38 am September 11th, 2021
Syed Ali Shah Geelani  Kashmir
File photo: Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani arrives at the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi on August 19, 2014 AFP

India booked Geelani’s family in a sweeping anti-terrorism law for allegedly chanting anti-New Delhi slogans and wrapping his body with Pakistan’s flag after he died.

Amid developments involving the death of Indian-administered Kashmir’s separatist icon, Pakistani authorities have approached the UN to probe what the country called “custodial killing” of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

In a letter on Friday, the chairman of Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir, Shehryar Khan Afridi, also wanted the desecration of Geelani’s body and criminal cases against his family members to be impartially investigated, reports Dawn.

The recipients of the letter are United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and high commissioner of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Michelle Jeria. 

Afridi told reporters that the UN secretary general must order an immediate investigation into the custodial killing of Syed Ali Geelani which is part of a series of custodial killings of Kashmiri leaders.

“Hurriyat leaders are being killed in custody by the illegal occupational regime of India in Jammu and Kashmir under the garb of the Covid-19 pandemic. Had the UN investigated the custodial murder of Ashraf Khan Sehrai, Geelani’s life could have been saved,” he said. 

The Pakistani leader feared that other imprisoned Kashmiri leaders including the new APHC chief Massarat Alam Bhat, Syed Shabbir Shah, Yasin Malik, Asiya Andrabi, Dr Qasim Faktu and others may also be killed the same way.

Geelani’s long time comrade and successor, Tehreek-i-Hurriyat Chairman Mohammad Ashraf Khan Sehrai was also killed in custody earlier this year, according to Afridi. 

“Against this backdrop, we fear Kashmiri voices will further be muffled and jailed Kashmiri leaders would be killed the same way,” he said.

Tensions in the Himalayan territory, which is disputed between India and Pakistan, have been heightened since Syed Ali Geelani died on September 1 at the age of 92 in the main city of Srinagar.

Soon after his death, Indian authorities imposed a lockdown in Kashmir and also blocked access to the Internet.  

India booked Geelani’s family in a sweeping anti-terrorism law for allegedly chanting anti-New Delhi slogans and wrapping his body with Pakistan’s flag after he died.

The separatist leader’s son Naseem Geelani claimed that police took his father’s body away to be buried in the middle of the night just hours after his death, and did not allow the family to perform last rites.

However, Indian police have refuted those allegations.

Geelani, a popular figure in the region, spent over five decades fighting for self-determination for people in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Islamabad observed a day of national mourning after Geelani’s death and funeral prayers for the leader were held across Pakistan and in Turkey.

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