Asia - Pacific, Anadolu Agency's 100th year

Kashmiri leader marks Anadolu Agency's 100th year

Kashmiri advocacy groups extend greetings to news agency, founded on April 6, 1920, for 100th year of operations

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 06.04.2020
Kashmiri leader marks Anadolu Agency's 100th year


Kashmir's top resistance leader on Monday marked Anadolu Agency's 100th year of operations. 

Syed Ali Geelani, 90, praised Anadolu Agency for standing up for "oppressed people".

"Please accept my heartfelt congratulations and best wishes on this century of landmark success," Geelani said, congratulating the agency's Director-General Senol Kazanci.

Anadolu Agency was established on April 6, 1920 by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, to cover the Turkish War of Independence for readers across the world.

"This is the single news wire agency in the Muslim world which disseminates news without bias, but on the basis of justice and truth," said Geelani, who leads All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference.

"One hundred years of Anadolu Agency operations prove that Turkey's global news agency has all the characteristics to be world's top news producing agency," said Abdullah Gilani, spokesman of Syed Ali Geelani.

"As Kashmiris, we are proud that [one of] the first journalists at Anadolu Agency has been of Kashmiri descent, which adds color to our relations with the great civilization of Turkey," he added.

Born in Peshawar, the capital of Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, in 1886 in a wealthy family, Abdur Rehman Peshawari left the Aligarh Muslim University to join a people's mission to help the Ottoman Empire during the First Balkan war.

He did not return home, but joined Anadolu Agency as one of its first reporters.

Peshawari is of Kashmiri descent and his family had moved to Peshawar in the late 19th century.

'Equality-minded people counting on Anadolu Agency'

In a separate statement, a Kashmiri advocacy group extended its greetings to Kazanci on the agency's centenary.

"On this auspicious occasion, [we] wish to express our profound congratulations on the 100th anniversary of Anadolu Agency," said Farhan Mujahid Chak, secretary general of Kashmir Civitas.

"This is not just any century, but one that truly reflects a remarkable milestone -- built on unparalleled integrity, relentless perseverance and courageously giving voice to the voiceless in the world," said Chak.

He said Anadolu agency put facts before financial gains or political correctness.

"Now, and forever, that is rightly applauded and commands tremendous respect. Since through that commitment Anadolu Agency has inspired countless others to bravely confront cultural hegemony, open their hearts and share their own story with the world," he added.

"Lastly, freedom, justice and equality-minded people, throughout the world, are counting on your [Anadolu Agency] continued efforts,” the Kashmir Civitas secretary general said.

'Looking forward to Anadolu Agency leading global news'

Another Kashmiri group, the Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir, extended its support and solidarity to Anadolu Agency in a statement.

"In a fast-changing world where news is seen as commodity, AA has stood its ground and reached marginalized, downtrodden and oppressed people of the world," said Nasir Qadri, director of the Pakistan-based LFOVK.

"Its news production explains its priorities which is nothing but news which values life, freedom and justice," said Qadri, a human rights lawyer by profession.

He said the Anadolu Agency had the honor of being the first global news wire of the Muslim world. "AA has silently evolved itself as voice of voiceless and those who have been ignored by mainstream media."

Qadri added that LFOVK, which works on legal aspects of the Kashmir dispute, "places on record contributions made by AA in highlighting Kashmir cause."

"Post Aug. 5, 2019, when India re-annexed Kashmir, AA produced the most of the news on Kashmir among its international counterparts," he added.

"On this auspicious day, LFOVK joins AA to celebrate the proud moment and looks forward to AA taking lead in shaping the global news industry," said the LFOVK director.

Disputed region

Jammu and Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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