On February 2, 2012, I received a telephone call from Pakistan saying that Ashraf Qureshi had breathed his last at 3 o’clock in the morning. I was preparing myself for last one year to receive this bad news yet the news when broken to me caused me deep anguish. I telephoned his wife and children in Pakistan. We talked in cries. However the redeeming factor was that his dead body was being buried in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. I had talked about this matter with late Ashraf Sahib and many more friends in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. I was convinced that Ashraf had himself expressed this desire in his will.
He was my childhood companion and friend. We lived in the same locality viz Saydpora in Nowhatta (Srinagar) distanced by just two buildings. They were seven brothers including Ashraf and two sisters. He was also my blood relation and he was elder to me by just a year and nine months.
He was what his name depicted; noble, silent, harmless, and extraordinarily courageous and with artistic bent of mind. After passing our days of childhood, we came to the stage of youthfulness and were gripped by the fever of Plebiscite Front. Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was our icon. I was still a child when I developed fascination for Sheikh Abdullah. He once visited our house and took me in his lap. Ashraf was a fan of him. As a small boy he twice took me to Soura to come to the presence of Sheikh Abdullah at his residence. I think Ashraf was in communication with the Sheikh during latter’s internment in Kodikanal in Tamilnadu and also while he was in some other jail. It was Ashraf’s intense obsession for freedom that had brought him close to the tallest leader of the history of Kashmir freedom.