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Saturday October 23, 2021

Jailed Hurriyat leader Ashraf Sehrai dies at Jammu hospital

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Mohammad Ashraf Khan, aka Sehrai, Chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and a lifetime aide of Syed Ali Geelani, died at a hospital in Jammu where he was in detention for the past year.

Booked under draconian Public Safety Act, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai was shifted to Udhampur Jail in Jammu on July 12, 2020. His condition deteriorated in jail and was shifted, yesterday, to a hospital in Jammu where he died, Kashmir Media Service reported on Wednesday.

Sehrai was suffering from multiple diseases andwas not provided with any treatment during his incarceration. His family members were kept unaware of his health condition. He was nearly 80 years old. He, all along his life, worked as a lieutenant of Syed Ali Gilani, and was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Sehrai was a hardcore freedom fighter and had allowed his son Junaid Sehrai to join the ranks of armed struggle. Junaid was martyred on May 19, 2020 in Srinagar. The detainees are systematically killed in jails by not providing them medical care, proper food, appropriate atmosphere besides being subjected to torture.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, while expressing its grief over the demise of senior Kashmiri leader Ashraf Sehrai in Indian custody on Wednesday, called for immediate release of incarcerated Kashmiri leadership and all innocent Kashmiris. “The government and people of Pakistan are deeply grieved at the demise of senior All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir Chairman Ashraf Sehrai in Indian custody,” Foreign Office said in a statement issued here.

“As the COVID-19 situation in India deteriorates, we also remain deeply concerned over the health and safety of the incarcerated Kashmiri leaders as well as other innocent Kashmiris, languishing in jails at undisclosed locations,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, they were not even provided any medical treatment. Given the worst pandemic situation in India, the Indian government must immediately release the incarcerated Kashmiri leadership and all innocent Kashmiris,” the statement stressed.

The incarcerated Kashmiri leaders include, Aasiya Andrabi, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Advocate Shahid-ul-Islam, Altaf Ahmed Shah, Naeem Ahmed Khan, Ayaz Akbar, Peer Saifullah, Raja Merajuddin Kalwal, Syed Shahid Yousuf, Shakeel Ahmed, Farooq Ahmed Dar, Fehmeeda Sofi, Nahida Nasreen, Zahoor Ahmed and others.

Many others were under house arrest including Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, it added. “We once again call upon the United Nations and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to urge India to drop all fabricated charges against political leaders of IIOJK and provide them complete legal protections, including the right to a free and fair trial,” the Foreign Office statement said.

“For its part, Pakistan will continue to support the Kashmiri people in their rightful struggle against Indian oppression till the realization of their inalienable right to self-determination as enshrined in the UN Security Council Resolutions,” it added.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has expressed sorrow over the demise of prominent Kashmiri Hurriyat leader Ashraf Sehrai.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, he said the whole of Pakistan and Kashmiri people knew the great sacrifices for the independence of Kashmir by Sehrai.

Shahbaz said that Ashraf Sehrai took his last breath in Indian custody and set a shining example of loyalty to the Kashmir’s independence movement. “He spent his entire life fighting against the aggressive occupation of Kashmir by India,” Shahbaz said, adding last year Junaid Sehrai was martyred but Ashraf Sehrai stood firm till the end for the freedom of Kashmiris and the usurping against Indian army.

He said that his struggle as the Chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir would be written in golden letters in the history. “It is a great loss for all of us. May Allah Almighty elevate the ranks of Ashraf Sehrai and grant patience to his family and survivors,” Shahbaz concluded.