Srinagar: While Pakistan is observing its 73rd Independence Day today, the President of the country, Dr. Arif Alvi, conferred Nishan-e-Pakistan on the elderly Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani, Dunya News reported.
The award was conferred on Geelani during a prestigious flag-hoisting ceremony at the President House in Islamabad and was received by Hurriyat leaders from Pakistan Administered Kashmir on his behalf.
The award is the country’s highest civil award and Geelani became the recipient this year for his “services and sacrifices in the Kashmiris’ ongoing struggle for securing their right to self-determination.”
Since it was established on 19 March 1957, the prestigious award has been conferred on many world leaders and known figures like Queen Elizabeth II, Dwight Eisenhower, Morarji Desai, Nelson Mandela, King Abdullah, Mahathir Mohamad, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Abdullah Gul, Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping, Fidel Castro and many others.
In today’s award-giving ceremony, tributes were paid to Geelani for his “unwavering commitment, dedication and leadership and his role in exposing Indian atrocities, suppressive measures and human rights violations in occupied Kashmir.”
Also, concern was expressed over continued house arrest of the ailing 93-year-old Hurriyat leader.
“Pakistan will not leave Kashmiris alone. The Kashmir issue has been debated at the UN Security Council for four times during the last one year, which is a big success of Pakistan’s foreign policy,” Dr. Arif Alvi said while addressing the ceremony.
“Pakistan has also released its political map, reflecting true aspirations of its people as well as Kashmiris. The new map shows Pakistan’s principled stance on Kashmir issue,” he added.
The Senate of Pakistan had unanimously passed a resolution on July 27 this year calling upon the Government of Pakistan to confer the award to the senior leader.
The resolution had said that it should be done in view of the nonagenarian leader’s “life-long services and sacrifices for the just and fair settlement of Kashmir issue in the light of UN Resolutions, and the right of self-determination duly recognized by international law.”
The resolution also called upon the government to name the proposed Pakistan University of Engineering and Emerging Technologies near Prime Minister House in Islamabad as Syed Ali Shah Gilani University of Engineering and Emerging Technologies.
The resolution, moved by Jamat-e-Islami Pakistan senator Mushtaq Ahmed and passed unanimously with a voice vote, also asked the government to include Geelani’s ‘life and struggle’ in the educational curriculum at federal and provincial level.
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