Islamabad (Pakistan) | Jagran News Desk: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday expressed grief over the demise of pro-separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and said that the "Pakistani flag will fly at half-mast and the country would observe a day of official mourning". In a series of Tweets, Imran praised Geelani's "courageous struggle" and remembered his words "Hum Pakistani hain aur Pakistan Humara hai".

"Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kashmiri freedom fighter Syed Ali Geelani who struggled all his life for his people and their right to self determination. He suffered incarceration and torture by the Occupying Indian state but remained resolute," he tweeted.

Geelani, a pro-Pakistan supporter who led the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir for over three decades, died in Srinagar on Wednesday night. He was 91.

Geelani was suffering from kidney disease for over two decades. He also had multiple age-related issues, including dementia.

He was one of the founder-members of the Hurriyat Conference, a separatist amalgam of 26 parties but fell out with the moderates who advocated dialogue with the Centre for resolution of the Kashmir problem.

He launched his own Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Kashmir in 2003 following a vertical split in the Hurriyat Conference that he is believed to have engineered. He launched his own faction of the Hurriyat after bickering with moderates over the allegations of proxy participation in 2002 Assembly elections by People's Conference led by Sajad Lone.

Geelani quit Hurriyat politics in June 2020, saying the second rung leadership did not rise to the occasion following the abrogation of Article 370 by the Centre in 2019.

Geelani is survived by two sons and six daughters. He remarried after his first wife passed away in 1968.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted saying that she was saddened by the news of his death. "We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness and standing by his belief..."

People's Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Lone said, "Heartfelt condolences to the family of Syed Ali Shah Geelani Sahib. Was an esteemed colleague of my late father. May Allah grant him Jannat."

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma