Malik, Geelani, Mirwaiz, others condole demise   

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KG News Desk

Srinagar, April 26: Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and other pro-freedom groups on Tuesday condoled the death of Amanullah Khan, one of the founders of the JKLF group that led a campaign for independent Kashmir, describing it as an “irreparable loss” to the ongoing “freedom struggle”.

The 82-year-old leader was suffering from chronic lung disease for the last one year and breathed his last in a Rawalpindi hospital this morning, a JKLF spokesman said here.

He said the funeral prayers would be held at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi tomorrow at 11 am and later his body will be laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard at Astor in Gilgit.

Khan is survived by daughter Asma Khan, who is married to pro-freedom leader-turned-politician Sajjad Ghani Lone.

Asma had flown to Pakistan last week to attend to her ailing father. Lone, who is chairman of a Peoples Conference faction and minister in the PDP-led government in Jammu and Kashmir, is unlikely to attend the last rites, party sources said.

While expressing his deep shock, sorrow and grief over Khan’s demise, Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani prayed for peace to the departed soul.

While expressing his heartfelt sympathy and condolence with the family members and the party men of late Khan, Syed Ali Geelani said that we equally share their grief and pray to Almighty Allah to bestow them with patience to bear this great loss.

“I will not hesitate to say that he was a sincere pro-freedom person who had dedicated his whole life for the Kashmir cause. Amanullah Khan wanted an end to the miseries and hardships of the Kashmiri people and for that he led a sincere struggle. I pray to Almighty Allah to forgive his sins and grant him Jannah.”

Expressing grief over the demise of the JKLF leader, Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “Khan was a great nationalist leader and his passing away has left a deep void which is very hard to fill in the future.”

General Secretary of Hurriyat Conference, Shabir Ahmad Shah also expressed sorrow over the demise of “a great resistance leader”.

“Khan rendered meritorious service for the cause of freedom and his services will be written in golden letters,” he said.

A prominent Kashmiri leader, who was based in London before being deported to Pakistan in 1986, Khan was believed to have masterminded the killing of Ravindra Mhatre, the number two in the Indian Consulate in Birmingham in 1984.

Though Khan had set up JKLF in 1977, he was relegated to the background after militant groups established their dominance in Kashmir with a bloody campaign that began in the late 80s.

He has written two books Free Kashmir (English) and My Autobiography (in Urdu) and about three dozen booklets and pamphlets in English and Urdu highlighting different aspects of the Kashmir issue.

“Khan visited over 20 countries to lobby for the Kashmir cause including attending the UN General Assembly,” the spokesman said.