Publish your news item
Mufti Muhammad Sayeed (1936-2016) Mufti Muhammad Sayeed (1936-2016)
The Chief Minister breathed his last at around 7.30 am, J&K government spokesman and senior cabinet minister Naeem Akhter told media persons here after the body was flown from New Delhi. Sayeed is survived by his wife, three daughters including Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti, and a son.
Soon after his death, the central government declared a day of “national mourning” while the state government announced seven-day mourning as a mark of respect for Sayeed.
The Chief Minister’s body was flown to Srinagar at around 2 pm, more than an hour after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid wreath on the mortal remains of the departed leader at New Delhi’s Palam Airport. Modi met the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, who was by the side of her father for the past 14 days at AIIMS, and offered his condolences. Former Chief Ministers Ghulam Nabi Azad (leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha) and Omar Abdullah accompanied Sayeed’s body to Srinagar. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, also flew to Srinagar to join the last rites of Sayeed.
Around 2:47 pm, Sayeed’s body was taken from the Srinagar Airport to Muftis’ residence on Gupkar Road here where the family members including Mehbooba, PDP ministers and leaders and BJP ministers led by Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh had already reached. While Omar and Azad were accompanying the body, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister in the PMO too joined later at this spot.
Amid tears and sobs, Sayeed’s body was taken to Sher-e-Kashmir Stadium Sonwar for Nimaz-e-Jinazah (funeral prayers) by a large gathering at around 4:50 pm. The prayers were led by senior PDP Minister Naeem Akther. A ceremonial ‘Guard-of-Honour’ was also given as a mark of respect to the departed leader.
Governor NN Vohra, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, State BJP President Sat Sharma and state ministers and legislators, top officials of state administration and police department including Chief Secretary BR Sharma, Principal Secretary BB Vyas, Director General of Police K Rajendra and IG Police Kashmir SJM Gillani also attended the funeral prayers of the Chief Minister.
The mortal remains of Sayeed were later taken to his hometown of Bijbehera for burial.
Mufti’s supporters and PDP workers were seen waiting to have the last glimpse of their leader at Dara-Shikov Park in the South Kashmir town.
Emotional scenes were witnessed at the Park where Mufti’s body reached at around 6:40 pm, with many of his supporters breaking down.
Later, funeral prayers were held in the Park which witnessed participation of thousands of people, mainly the supporters and workers of PDP. The prayers led by local religious cleric, Zia-ul-Haq Nizami.
Mufti was laid to rest in the Park at around 6:50 pm.
Though Muftis’ ancestral graveyard is located in the compound of a shrine of Hazrat Baba Naseeb-ud-Din Ghazi (RA) in Baba Mohalla locality, he was buried at the Dara Shikoh Park which was developed by Mufti during his previous stint as Chief Minister in 2002.
“When Mufti Sayeed joined politics in 1950s, he used to organize party meetings in the same Park,” said one of his old party workers, Kaloo Ji Nanda from Khanabal area of Anantnag town.
He said: “Mufti used to visit the Park and rest under the shade of Chinar tress every time he would come to Bijbehara.”
A number of ministers and leaders attended Mufti’s funeral at Bijbehara. These included Haseeb Drabu, Abdur Rehman Veeri, Syed Altaf Bukhari, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Sartaj Ahmad Madni, Farooq Andrabi, Nazir Ahmad Laway, Dr Mehboob Beg, Sajad Gani Lone and others.
National Conference leaders Bashir Ahmad Veeray, Altaf Ahmad Wani, Abdul Majid Bhat (Larmi), Iftikar Misgar also participated in the funeral prayers.
State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir, its leaders Muhammad Amin Bhat, Gulzar Ahmad Wani and Hilal Ahmad Shah also attended the funeral prayers.
Minister for Health and BJP leader Lal Singh also accompanied the body to Bijbehara.
Several top bureaucrats and police officials also attended the funeral.
Among Mufti’s relatives, his brother Muhammad Amin and his son Sajad Mufti performed the last rites.
MAN WHO MODIFIED POLITICS ACCORDING TO CIRCUMSTANCES
FROM A LESSER-KNOWN lawyer in his hometown of Bijbehara in south Kashmir’s Anantnag (Islamabad) district to becoming first Muslim Union Home Minister, Mufti Muhammad Sayeed created a name for himself in politics, both at the state and central levels.
With a political career spanning over more than 60 years, Sayeed, a quiet but sharp politician who enjoyed good relations across the political spectrum in New Delhi, was known for his ability to modify his politics according to the circumstances.
Hailed for his ‘Healing Touch' policy, Sayeed was a strong votary of Indo-Pak dialogue for lasting solution of Kashmir issue and created a rich political legacy in his decades-long career.
After returning to the highest position in the state in March 2015, for the second time in coalition with BJP, Sayeed focused on two-point strategy: ‘Revival of Indo-Pak dialogue and bring all the three regions of J&K together.’
EARLY LIFE AND POLITICAL CAREER
Born in Baba Mohalla in Bijbehara town of Anantnag (Islamabad) on 12th January 1936, Sayeed graduated from S P College Srinagar and went on to obtain a Law degree and Master’s degree in Arab History from the Aligarh Muslim University.
After completion of his studies, he joined the Anantnag Bar Association and briefly practiced as a lawyer at District Court Anantnag.
Sayeed formally begun his political career in 1950 when he joined the circle around prominent lawyer and National Conference leader PL Handoo to later follow him into the breakaway Democratic National Conference (DNC) led by GM Sadiq.
He was elected to the Assembly from Bijbehara in 1962 and returned to retain the seat in 1967 following which he was appointed as Deputy Minister by Sadiq.
However, a few years later, he fell out with the party and joined Congress to rise to the level of a cabinet minister and later the Chief of the J&K Congress.
Under his tenure, the party grew in strength in J&K as he continued on the post for over a decade. While he headed the Congress, the party withdrew support to the government ahead of 1977 elections that saw Jammu and Kashmir coming under the Governor's rule.
Years later, Farooq Abdullah’s brother-in-law GM Shah rose to power with the support of Congress after serious differences between Shah and Abdullahs. However the tenure of Shah was short-lived as Congress withdrew support to him.
RISE TO NEW DELHI
A determined politician, Sayeed made his mark on the central stage as he was appointed as Union Tourism and Civil Aviation minister, ahead of the 1987 election in Jammu and Kashmir.
However, he quit the position and co-founded Jan Morcha with VP Singh to rise to the level of Union Home Minister after winning Lok Sabha elections from Muzafarnagar in Uttar Pradesh in 1989 when militancy broke out in Kashmir.
The government didn’t last long and Sayeed returned to J&K politics after having rejoined the Congress in 1996. He won the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat in 1998, but soon resigned from both his position and the Congress party to form a new regional political party—the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
In 2002, Sayeed, for the first time became the Chief Minister of J&K when his party, which had won 16 seats, formed an alliance with Congress.
During his tenure as the Chief Minister between 2002 and 2005, the State saw India and Pakistan taking some significant measures on Kashmir like opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road and resumption of trade and travel across the Line of Control (LoC).
The PDP continued to grow from strength to strength as it again rose to power following the 2014 elections in which it won 28 Assembly seats and emerged as single largest party in its short career of 16 years.
He formed the PDP as an “alternative” to National Conference that was described by Sayeed himself as his “biggest achievement”, on November 1, 2014.
“My satisfaction is that I gave an alternative to people of Jammu and Kashmir,” he had told a press conference here.
“He knew the art of politics and keeping the flock together in trying circumstances, and now he was in control of the coalition that is otherwise poles apart, ideologically,” said a political analyst.