Lt Cdr Alikunhi Mailanji, 92, passed away peacefully on 21 February 2015 from pneumonia after developing a sudden chest infection. His funeral was held at the Gallipoli Mosque, Auburn on Sunday, 22 February attended by family friends and a large number of the Muslim community.
Kunhi sahib, as he was popularly known arrived in Sydney, Australia in 1970 representing Pakistan International Airlines, PIA for Australia and New Zealand. He later worked as General Manager, Saudi Arabia for Aquila Steel before he retired.
Originally from the Indian state of Kerala, Kunhi Saheb migrated to Pakistan before finally settling in Australia.
During the seventies, when the Muslim community was very small, he was one of the most competent speakers to talk on Islam specially while addressing non-muslims having an excellent command on the English language. He spoke at Churches on a number of occasions explaining Islamic teachings and removing misunderstanding about Islam and Muslims. He also acted as an Imam at Friday congregational prayers at the Surry Hills mosque during the early seventies.
He was active and popular member of the Pakistani community and established the first Pakistan Association in Sydney. He and his wife, Nefeesabi Alikunhi, had a high profile within the Pakistani community and hosted frequent popular get togethers at their Killarney Heights home for the Pakistani diplomats, dignitaries and politicians.
He was looked after by his daughters at his home in his old age till he passed away.
He is survived by his daughters Shaheen and Shama, son Shahid, daughter in law Hasna and grandson Mohammad Ali and granddaughter Sabeeha.