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Monday, November 29, 2021

Imran Khan decries ‘forceful’ snatching of Geelani’s body during UN speech

In his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan asked the world leaders to pressure India to allow the burial of Kashmir resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani according to his wishes.

Calling it another example of New Delhi’s “descent into fascism”, Khan slammed India for “snatching” the body of Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani — who passed away on — earlier this month, and for registering cases against his family.

Geelani was buried in a tightly controlled pre-dawn ceremony after Indian authorities allegedly snatched his body from his family and disallowed his burial to be held in accordance with his will.

“Snatching the body of the 92-year-old Syed Ali Geelani, one of the most respected and principled Kashmiri leaders, and then registering cases against his family is just another shameful example of India’s descent into fascism,” Khan said.

In a prerecorded speech aired during the evening, the Pakistani prime minister touched on a range of topics that included climate change, global Islamophobia, and “the plunder of the developing world by their corrupt elites” — the latter of which he likened to what the East India Company did to India.

Khan reserved his harshest words for India’s government, once again labeling Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government “fascist.”

“New Delhi has also embarked on what it ominously calls the ‘final solution’ for the Jammu and Kashmir dispute,” Khan said, rattling off a list of what he termed “gross and systematic violations of human rights” committed by Indian forces. He specifically decried the “forcible snatching of the mortal remains of the great Kashmiri leader,” Syed Ali Geelani, who died earlier this month at 92.

Geelani’s family has said authorities took his body and buried him discreetly and without their consent, denying the separatist leader revered in Kashmir a proper Islamic burial. Khan called upon the General Assembly to demand Geelani’s proper burial and rites.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and has been claimed by both since they won independence from the British empire and began fighting over their rival claims.

He said Pakistan desires peace, but it is India’s responsibility to meaningfully engage.

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