T he Kashmiris from across the globe along with the people and the Government of Pakistan paid rich tribute to the iconic Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on his second death anniversary on Friday with a resolve to carry forward his legacy until the Kashmiris are given their due right to self-determination as per the United Nations Security Council resolutions. The leadership of Kashmir and Pakistan remembered the great Kashmiri leader for his life-long struggle for freedom and justice while facing Indian persecution and hardships. Special seminars, protest demonstrations and social media campaigns were held to remember the Kashmiri leader who breathed his last in a prolonged house arrest on September 1, 2021. In a horrific act, his dead body was snatched by the Indian occupation forces from his family, and hurriedly buried in a graveyard in the absence of his kith and kin. His family and friends were not allowed to pay their final respects or bury him in a graveyard of his choice. In Azad Jammu & Kashmir, mammoth rallies were taken out at Lal Chowk, Upper Adda, in Muzaffarabad and Bagh to commemorate the Kashmir leader. Hurriyat leaders led the rally, participated by various political, religious and social organizations. On the occasion, the speakers paid glowing tributes to Syed Ali Geelani for his unparalleled and eternal sacrifices during the freedom movement. “My respects to iconic Kashmiri leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, on his second death anniversary… In the face of persecution and hardship, his commitment to the Kashmir Cause was unparalleled. I pay homage to his life-long struggle for freedom and justice,” Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar wrote on X, formerly Twitter. Caretaker Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani, in his statement, said the late Geelani was a brave and steadfast leader who inspired generations of Kashmiris in their struggle for realization of their right to self-determination in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions. “Syed Ali Shah Geelani was a true voice and face of the Kashmiris’ struggle for their rights and freedom. His unflinching commitment to the Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, in the face of persistent persecution and tremendous personal hardship, has inspired generations of Kashmiris in resisting the occupation and tyranny,” the Foreign Office spokesperson told the media in her weekly press briefing. She said Syed Ali Geelani would be remembered for his matchless sacrifices and unconditional love for Kashmir and for Pakistan. “We also urge the Government of India to give unhindered access to his family and followers to his final resting place,” she remarked. In a message resounding with solemnity and admiration, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf said the late Geelani had been a steadfast advocate for the inalienable right to self-determination for his compatriots. He said Geelani had become a model of exemplified fearlessness and unflinching commitment to championing the rights of the Kashmiri people. His legacy transcended the constraints of time and would continue to kindle the fervor of succeeding Kashmiri generations, inciting them to relentlessly strive for their birthright of freedom. To mark the death anniversary, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference organised a march towards the Hyderpora graveyard in Srinagar where Syed Ali Geelani is buried and all pro-freedom organizations supported the move. The APHC also urged the clerics to hold special prayers for the veteran leader and other Kashmiri martyrs in mosques. Posters appeared in different areas of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) urging the people to massively participate in the march and pay tribute to the veteran Kashmiri leader. The posters read that the sacrifices of Kashmiri martyrs would not be allowed to go waste and that their mission would be accomplished at all costs. The Secretary-General of World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Ghulam Nabi Fai also paid high tributes to Syed Ali Geelani, saying he was “incorruptible and conscientious”. In a statement, Dr. Fai said that Geelani stood firm in the struggle for the freedom of Kashmir, “the paradise on earth”, despite India’s oppressive measures, including 12 years prolonged house arrest. Fai said that a common Kashmiri had lost faith in Indian democracy, calling it a “sham democracy”. In this regard, he pointed to a write-up in The Washington Post, saying, “Over the years, he (Geelani) had repeatedly said no to any talks with New Delhi, asserting that “India can’t be trusted unless it calls Kashmir a disputed territory, demilitarizes the region and releases political prisoners for a meaningful dialogue.” J&K People’s Freedom League Chairman Muhammad Farooq Rehmani said the Indian Hindutva influence in Jammu and Kashmir was unsuccessful in weakening Syed Ali Geelani’s resolve in his pursuit of Kashmir’s freedom. He said faced with the illegal and forceful occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, Geelani remained resolute in not surrendering his faith and ideology to the oppressors. Employing various methods of torture, the occupiers relentlessly pursued him. Eventually, in 2010, he was arrested and confined, even in the midst of battling numerous ailments, while his own residence was transformed into a makeshift jail. Talking to APP, Lt. General (Retd) Abdul Qayyum highlighted the resolve of Kashmiris in their quest for freedom and said the Kashmiris’ resistance against the illegal Indian occupation of Jammu and Kashmir had been going on for the last over seven decades. Many prominent Hurriyat leaders had played an important role in carrying forward that movement, he added. Lt. Gen. Ashraf Saleem said undoubtedly, Syed Ali Geelani was the tallest figure in the resistance history of Jammu and Kashmir. He was an embodiment of honesty, unwavering resoluteness and struggle, with matchless passion, ideology, and vision about Kashmir, he said. Dr Fakharul Haq Noori, a noted professor and educationist, said that Geelani not only presented the cause of Kashmir with great clarity but also united all the Kashmiri people for that one cherished goal.