THIS is with reference to an AFP story ‘Veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani passes away at 92 (Dawn.Com; Sept 1). Though the story in the newspaper the next day (Sept 2) was published with due editing of the wire story, I would like to point out the objectionable and out-of-place comments in the online version, like “separatist leader” and “a thorn in India’s side”. These remarks were inappropriate for a towering personality and an internationally recognised veteran Kashmiri leader like Syed Ali Geelani. He was, in fact, an epitome of the freedom struggle in the occupied valley and spent all his life for the legitimate right of the people of Kashmir to self-determination.

Also, the editorial ‘Geelani’s death’ (Sept 3) rightly paid glowing tribute to Syed Ali Geelani, calling him “… one of Kashmir’s most respected and tenacious freedom fighters…” and that he was “… universally respected for the refinement of his personality and dedication to his mission…” and adding for good measure that “it would be self-delusionary for India to believe that Geelani’s death will put an end to the struggle”.

Likewise, the report in the printed version (Sept 2) managed the coverage professionally, paying due homage with descriptions like, “Geelani was an ideologue and a staunch proponent of the merger of held Kashmir with Pakistan”.

While appreciating positive, factually correct, and unbiased contents of the editorial and report in the newspaper, it is deemed necessary to point out that the publication of biased and objectionable AFP story in the online version of Dawn, reflects badly on a newspaper that was founded by the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who staunchly believed in the valorous freedom struggle of the people of Kashmir and fully supported their right to self-determination.

Tajammul Altaf
Former ambassador
Islamabad

Published in Dawn, September 12th, 2021

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