This Blog provides an insight on the Kashmir-issue, India and Pakistan. The articles on this Blog can be best described as thought-provoking. The articles thrive to trigger debate about the miseries enslaved Kashmiris are facing and discuss also possible solutions to this long standing conflict. It also aims to convince readers why Independent Kashmir is the best solution for all parties involved.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

MAQBOOL BHAT: MY COMPANION, MY LEADER (Part I)

WHEN HE SPOKE, ONE FELT THAT THE SOUL OF ALL REVOLUTIONARIES HAD CONVERGED IN HIM


It was the winter of 1968; I was just 15. Nevertheless conscious that final decision of Jammu and Kashmir State was pending and freedom invariably meant Pakistan. I knew very little about Maqbool Bhat. Then suddenly in December 1968 we found large size posters carrying pictures of Maqbool Bhat, Yasin Sahib and Mir Ahmad displayed on the walls in Srinagar city. The caption said: “dangerous criminals who had fled from the central jail and anybody giving information about their whereabouts would be rewarded with ten thousand rupees.” I pulled down hundreds of these posters in Lal Chowk and its adjoining areas, taxi and bus stands, Dalgate area and its surrounding places and tore these to pieces. This was my first meeting in absentia with Maqbool Bhat.

Shaheed Maqbool Bhat with Hashim Qureshi
In 1969, passports were issued to my mother, grandmother, my maternal uncle and my younger brother and sister. In January of that year we crossed over to Pakistan via Ganda Singh, Ferozpore route. I had such fascination for Pakistan that no sooner did I cross the border and landed on Pakistani soil, than I not only bowed my head to show reverence to the land of Pakistan but also kissed the soil. A Pakistani soldier in uniform asked me what did it mean? I said that “Pakistan was no less than Mecca and Medina for us and that is why I kissed the earth.” I did not understand the deeper meaning of his retort at that time. He said,” Khoja go inside and see the Mecca and Medina”.

We headed for Peshawar, our destination. From my maternal uncle I came to know that Maqbool Bhat also happened to be in Peshawar at that time in Qissakhwani Bazaar. I was just thinking of arranging a meeting with him when Maqbool Bhat dropped in the house of my maternal uncle. This was my maiden meeting with him in person. When I recounted to him the story of my tearing the posters in Srinagar, his face lit bright. I never knew that my words would turn the brightness of Maqbool Bhat’s fair face as a beacon of light for me in my future life and that it would change the entire course of my life. He promised to meet us next time and left.He paid us another visit shortly and took me along with him to Khyber Café in Peshawar Sadder. The café was the hot bed of political discussions in those days. It was also the rendezvous of Wali Khan’s party and Pukhtoon Students Federation. People talked anything from local to international politics. It was in this café that Bhat Sahib had introduced me to many revolutionaries from the Frontier, included among those were Latif Afridi, advocate Sarfarz, Afrasiyab Khatak and many more progressive thinkers of the day. This was also the beginning of Maqbool Bhat’s role as my mentor and teacher.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are we victims of ideological Confusion? The Fai Case

Aristotle said that “He would walk the way shown by logic.” Thousands of people have sacrificed their precious lives for the sake of their ideology. Let us look around. We find Musaddeq in Iran, Hasan Nasir and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan, Bhagat Singh, Ashfaq and Sukhdev in India and Maqbul Bhat in our state who became martyrs for the cause they upheld. History tells us that rulers, exploitative elements and occupational forces have tried to change the ideology of revolutionaries through intimidation, oppression or persecution. Those who had accepted the truth of their ideologies did sacrifice their lives but did not change their course and struggle.



I would like to submit with humility that I am not against the ideology of any person, group or organization. Those differing with me on ideological basis continue to be my personal friends. I have fought against oppressive forces shoulder to shoulder with them. In the past, Altaf Husain Qureshi, Mujib-ur-Rahman Shami, Javed Hashmi and Mian Tufail Muhammad were all associated with Jamaat-e-Islami. But during my internship whenever excesses were done against them I stood by their side and took up cudgels with jail authorities on their behalf. Incidentally it was I who was the most victimized by torture in the jail. Let me come to the point.

Ghulam Nabi Fai is a personal friend of mine. I remember that it was in 1981-82 when he, Ayub Thukar and a third person whose name I no more remember came to see me in Peshawar. This marked the beginning of our friendship. There is no disputing the fact that Fai Sahib was connected to Jamaat-e-Islami and made its teaching the lodestar of his life. Most of our meetings were held in Rawalpindi, Holland and especially in Geneva. He is a model of gentleness, hospitality and caring for friends. But there are no tow opinions in his conformity with the thinking of Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan policy planners in regard to Kashmir issue. He considers Gilgit, Baltistan and Azad Kashmir part of Pakistan. He considers it an article of faith to struggle for the integration of Indian-held part of Jammu and Kashmir into Pakistan. He is a diehard supporter of J&K”s accession to Pakistan.In the light of this ideology, Pakistani establishment and rulers deputed Fai Sahib, late Ayub Thukar and Nazir Qureshi to different countries of the world to carry forward Pakistani perception and support its interests in regard to Kashmir. Fai Sahib was deputed to Washington and the ISI committed its fullest support to him for launching Kashmir American Council in Washington. Ayub Thukar incepted International Institute of Kashmir Studies in London. Its foundation was laid by Pir Husamu’d-Din. Nazir Qureshi opened his office in Jeddah under the banner of WAMY.