Syed Ali Shah Geelani was a towering personality who used his unwavering courage, resoluteness and steadfastness to wage a lifelong struggle for the cause of freedom and self-determination for the people of Kashmir, and inspired generations of freedom-loving Kashmiris, Pakistanis and the Muslims around the world in the process.
This was the crux of thoughts and feelings expressed by speakers and human rights activities at two back-to-back virtual condolence references arranged respectively by the Pakistan High Commission in Canada and the Salam Pakistan Canada to pay homage to the great Kashmiri leader who breathed his last on Wednesday.
In the first reference hosted by Consulate General of Pakistan Toronto, former AJK President Sardar Masood Khan led the tributes to late Syed Ali Geelani whom he described as a towering personality who suffered persecution all his life but did not flinch back in the path of freedom. The most outstanding aspect of Geelani sahib’s personality was the absolute and unqualified trust Kashmiris of all schools of thought reposed in him, he said.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner-designate to Canada Mr Ameer Khurram Rathore extolled virtues of integrity, character, and charisma as being the hallmark of Syed Ali Geelani’s personality. He also lauded late Geelani for his ability to mobilize millions of Kashmiris and a clear vision he always exhibited to see through the fog of confusion manufactured by various so-called initiatives for diverting Kashmiris from their real objective of self-determination.
Former Pakistan ambassador Mr Karamatullah Ghori eulogized Syed Ali Geelani for dedicating all his life to the goal of freedom and self-determination. He said that while Geelani sahib had passed away, his legacy and sacrifices would keep ingrained in the memory of people.
Dr Zafar Bangash, Director of Institute of Contemporary Islamic Thought (ICIT) Toronto, singled out late Syed Ali Geelani for his leadership qualities, especially his ability to identify a goal and have a clear vision about where he wanted to go. Geelani sahib went beyond this and practically offered personal sacrifices and successfully motivated the people, particularly the youth, to the goal of freedom and self-determination.
Dr Ghulam Nabi Mir, President of World Kashmir Awareness Forum, opined that the Kashmiris would always remember Syed Ali Shah Geelani as being the most honest and steadfast leader who suffered house arrests and incarcerations and yet did not betray the Kashmiris.
Noted Canadian human rights activist and Director ‘Just Peace Advocates’ Ms. Karen Rodman remembered Syed Ali Geelani for his dedication and steadfastness to the principle of freedom for the people of Kashmir and inspiring generations of Kashmiris to remain resolute for realization of self-determination.
In the second virtual reference arranged by Salam Pakistan Canada and attended by Pakistan’s High Commissioner-designate Ameer Khurram Rathore, ICIT Toronto Director Dr Zafar Bangash, Prof Rehana Hashmi, Zafar Malik, Iftikhar Mirza, Abid Hussain, Uzma Khan, the speakers highlighted the services and sacrifices of Syed Ali Geelani for the cause of freedom and right to self-determination for the people of Kashmir. The speakers also dilated upon the significance of Defence Day and vowed to stand against all kinds of aggressions and threats against their motherland.