Monday, June 18, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mohammad Yunus dead
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 17
Mr Mohammad Yunus, veteran freedom fighter, a distinguished diplomat and a close friend of the Nehru family, today passed away at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here after protracted illness.

He was 85. Nephew of Frontier Gandhi Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, he is survived by his wife.

Mr Yunus was admitted to the hospital last month and he breathed his last at 0715 hours, a Congress spokesperson said.

He joined the freedom struggle when he was a student and came in contact with the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Born on June 26 at Abbottabad in Pakistan, he joined the Khudai Khidmatgar Party of Badshah Khan, Frontier Gandhi, and later became its Secretary, a post he held till partition the of India.

He was imprisoned during the Quit India Movement and wrote a book “Prisoner’s Letter”. He preferred to remain in India after partition.

Mr Yunus played a crucial role in countering the Pakistani propaganda on Kashmir and projecting India’s image at international fora as India’s envoy in Indonesia, Iraq, Turkey and Algeria.

A keen votary of non-alignment, he was associated with three NAM summits at Lusaka, Algiers and Colombo.

A student of Aligarh Muslim University, Mr Yunus was a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha in the eighties.

President K. R. Narayanan, Congress President Sonia Gandhi, her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and several senior Congress leaders offered floral tributes to the departed leader at his Lodhi Road residence.

Senior Congress leaders Manmohan Singh, Ahmed Patel, Moti Lal Vora, N.D. Tiwari, R.K. Dhavan, Shivraj Patil, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and DPCC president Subhas Chopra were among those who offered tributes to the departed soul.

The mortal remains of the departed leader will be put to rest at the Okhla graveyard beside his son Shaharyar, who was buried here a few years ago.

“In his death, the country has lost a staunch freedom fighter and prominent public figure of post-independence India who served the nation well in diverse capacities,” the President said in a message.

President K.R. Narayanan and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee condoled the death of Mr Yunus and recalled his contribution in various spheres from politics to economic planning and diplomacy to social service.

Mr K.R. Narayanan said he had known Mr Yunus for many years and had the occasion to closely interact with him from his early days in the foreign service. “The nation will miss this sincere and fervent patriot”.

Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee said “the country had lost a freedom fighter, a versatile administrator and an accomplished diplomat.

“He served the cause of India globally with great aplomb and will be remembered for a long time for the impressive range and depth of his concerns,” Mr Vajpayee said.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi said Mr Yunus belonged to the older generation which upheld moral values in public life. His contribution to the Congress would always be remembered, Mr Jogi added.

The death of his son Shahryar, a few years ago had shattered him. He led a life of a recluse after the loss.


Pant holds review meeting

New Delhi, June 17
The Centre’s interlocutor on Jammu and Kashmir, Mr K. C Pant, today held a review meeting of senior government officials to take stock of the progress made on various issues raised by various groups during his visit to the state.

Mr Pant, who met officials from the Home Ministry and the Planning Commission, took stock of the situation on the demands raised by various groups in Jammu, Srinagar, Leh and Kargil, official sources said here.

Among the issues raised during the three-hour meeting were problems of migrants who fled from Pakistan -occupied Kashmir in 1947. Relief on interest against bank loans, power shortage, upgradation of the Srinagar airport for international chartered flights and tapping of solar energy, the sources said.

They said in order to reduce power shortage in the Himalayan areas of Leh and Kargil, efforts were already on to tap solar energy for electricity generation. Mr Pant has asked the officials to submit reports of action taken on various projects. He would convene another such meeting to assess the pace of development. PTI

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