PDP MLA Ansari dead, laid to rest

Prominent Shia cleric and Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLA Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari died here on Tuesday at the age of 74 following protracted illness.

Srinagar: Prominent Shia cleric and Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLA Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari died here on Tuesday at the age of 74 following protracted illness.

A four-time MLA from Pattan in North Kashmir, Ansari breathed his last in the wee hours after battling an ailment for more than a year, his family said.

Survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, the PDP legislator was laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard in Zadibal area in the city.

His body was taken in a procession from his residence at Qammarwari to the graveyard.

Beginning his career as a Congress leader in early 1960s, Ansari became a member of the state Legislative Council on the Congress ticket in 1973. However, he switched over to Janata Party in 1977.

Born on April 26, 1940, Ansari returned to the Congress in 1980s and was the Leader of its Legislature Party from 1983 to 1987.

After a brief stay in the National Conference, during which he was also a minister in the Farooq Abdullah government, Ansari quit the party in 2006 and joined the PDP.

Leaders across political spectrum condoled his death with Chief Minister Omar Abdullah saying his contributions both as a religious leader and a public representative will be remembered for long.

"His untimely demise has left a void that will be long felt," the Chief Minister, who visited his residence, said.

Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said Ansari was one of the rare political stalwarts who stood by people of the state in all the vicissitudes and endeavoured to serve, guide and lead them with determination and elan.

"Moulvi Sahib was a versatile personality who will be always remembered for his impeccability and praise worthy services to society," PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and party head Mehbooba Mufti said.

Governor N N Vohra also condoled Ansari's death.

Many areas, dominated by Shias, observed a shutdown as a mark of respect to the departed leader.

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