SRINAGAR: Kashmir’s political landscape is witnessing a significant change as various political and social taboos are being broken.

Breaking past practices and traditional style of politics, the pro-‘Azaadi’ lobby in Jammu & Kashmir has joined others in expressing condolence over the demise of former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who breathed his last in the AIIMS in New Delhi on January 7.

Professor (retired) Abdul Gani Bhat, former chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), visited Mehbooba Mufti at her Gupkar residence in Srinagar on January 9 to offer his condolence. Prof. Bhat sympathised with the bereaved family.

Addressing a condolence meeting at Fairview Gupkar, the senior Hurriyat leader paid “rich tributes” to late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and described him as “visionary” and an “embodiment of peace”.

“Among many of his good qualities, one was that Mufti Sahab knew how to take people of different faiths along. He possessed ability to bring Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims together, even those who do not believe in God,” Prof. Bhat said while crediting Sayeed for the renewed Pakistan-India bonhomie.

“He (Mufti Sayeed) worked tirelessly to promote friendlier relations between Hindustan and Pakistan. As of today, India and Pakistan are coming closer to one another. This is a fitting tribute to Mufti Sahab,” the Hurriyat leader said.

Prof. Bhat described Sayeed as a “good friend”.

“Despite our ideological and political divergence, we (Sayeed and Bhat) lived as good friends do,” Bhat said while remembering Sayeed’s student days at Aligarh Muslim University.

Sayeed obtained degrees in law and Arab history from Aligarh while Bhat studied Persian there.

Bhat was not the only pro-‘Azaadi’ leader to express condolence on Sayeed’s death.

Mirwaiz Maulvi Umar Farooq, the Srinagar based head priest and chairman of his faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference [APHC], communicated his condolence message by sending out a tweet.

“Condolences on the demise of Mufti Mohammad Syed [Sayeed], express my sympathy with the bereaved family,” the Mirwaiz wrote on Twitter.

Even Syed Ali Geelani, the pro-Pakistan octogenarian leader who heads the ‘Tehreek-i-Hurriyat’, condoled Sayeed’s death. In his condolence message, Geelani said that death was an ultimate truth.

“Death is an ultimate truth. Whether one is a king or a commoner, everyone has to die,” Geelani said in a statement.

“Every death is a lesson for a wise human being and a reminder that his name should be remembered for good even after his death,” he further said in an apparent reference to Sayeed’s pro-India politics.

Geelani’s statement did not go down well with Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen, a pro-Pakistan militant outfit.

In a statement, Jamiat said that Geelani by offering condolence to a pro-India politician like Mufti had “hurt the sentiments of the families of martyrs of Kashmir”.

Jama’at-e-Islami, Kashmir’s prominent socio-religious-political group, also expressed sympathy with the family of late Sayeed.

The Ameer of (chief) JeI, Ghulam Mohammed Bhat in his condolence message said: “Death is imminent which every living soul has to confront whatever the status any person may be holding. Wise is the person who remembers death at every occasion of the life keeping in mind that one day is fixed when all human beings would be resurrected and brought before Almighty Allah for final decision regarding the worldly deeds.”

The 79-year old Mufti Sayeed died after being diagnosed with severe lung infection and acute pneumonia. Had he survived, he would have celebrated his 80th birthday on January 12.

Peoples Democratic Party’s founder and patriarch Sayeed was laid to rest in the same park in Bijbehara from where he started his political innings six decades ago. Hundreds of people and PDP workers and sympathisers attended his funeral procession on January 7 and ritualistic ‘fateha’ prayers on January 10 in hometown, Bijbehara, in south Kashmir.

Sayeed happened to be the third Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir to have died while in office. Before him, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and GM Sadiq also died as sitting Chief Ministers.