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.



Sunday, October 20, 2013

Another Maqbool Bhat in the line of martyrs !!!

"In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act”, George Orwell

Sardar Arif Shahid did not use the title Sardar. Where to begin with his story? A strange man, a mountain of emotions, a restless soul madly in love with Kashmir that was Arif Shahid. He was a voracious reader. I have met with many freedom loving people; some of them were my comrades. But Arif Shahid was a very true, a very courageous man who passionately loved his native land and its people.

My reminiscences bring 1982 to my mind. Liberation Front was floated in Pakistan and I was elected Chairman of the Organizing Committee. Once in Rawalpindi in the company of Sardar Mushtaq and Sardar Razzaq, I was introduced to a tall and corpulent person named Arif Shahid. He was stationed in Dhahran, and was a friend of Afzal Tahir. Arif Shahid met me with great warmth, sincerity and attachment. He was not well-versed in the history of Kashmir. Nonetheless, I found light in his eyes. I found how deeply he nursed love and affection for Kashmir and her people. He promised to talk to me in detail after he returned from home. Two weeks later, he returned to Rawalpindi, and we talked at length in the house of late Farooq Haider. We talked about organizational matters of Saudi Arabia also although that topic did not strictly fall within the ambit of Liberation Front.

He loved to learn, and collected and preserved whatever literature he could lay his hands upon relevant to Kashmir. In due course of time he developed taste for writing mostly about Kashmir. Take any if his writings, its theme revolve round Kashmir and the freedom of Kashmiris and their day to day problem. He wrote freely and forcefully against slavery and against hegemony, oppression and tyranny of Pakistan over Azad Kashmir, Gilgit and Baltistan. He argued that occupational forces had divided our motherland in three parts. If we are true nationalists and want the entire homeland, then we should rise against these occupational forces in our respective parts of the State. If the people in Kashmir rise and fight against Indian occupation, this alone will not bring freedom to AK or GB. The people in each part shall have to rise against their respective occupational forces. People were surprised how a man could write so boldly against Pakistan while living in Pakistan and a part of Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Arif Shahid worked very hard in his life. He toiled in the hot sands of Saudi Arabia. He supported not only his family and kith and kin but also many unknown persons also, without making a show of it. He helped many people who were his relatives and friends to find work in Middle East. After a joining Liberation Front, he was in charge of entire Middle East chapter for the organization.

Nawaz Sharif, last hope for Pakistan

"A Genuine Leader is not a Searcher for Consensus but a molder of consensus". Mather Luther King Jr.

In May 2013 Pakistan National Assembly elections, Nawaz Sharif won with thumping majority making Imran Khan’s election hullabaloo meaningless. It is significant for two reasons; one that most of the voters participated in polling and second that this was the first election in Pakistan after the previously elected government completed its full term in office. Benazir was removed twice and her father Zulfiqar was removed as a result of army coup. On sordid democratic experience in Pakistan before the coup of General Ayub Khan had made Nehru remark that he had not changed as many pajamas as the regime sin Pakistan.

For next thirty-five years Pakistan languished under marshal law. The army and bureaucracy took her democracy a hostage. Nawaz Sharif was ousted twice and Pervez Musharraf humiliated him. However on the intervention of the US and Saudi Arabia he and his family were given shelter in Saudi Arabia. However, his industrial estate was ruined. Sharif brothers were not allowed to attend the funeral of their father. Muslim League (Q) was brought into power through the use of intimidation and force.

Nawaz returned in 2007 and the judiciary initiated action against Musharraf. After elections of 2009, ML (N) and PP formed coalition government but the former ended up in the opposition. There were occasions during PPP rule when agitation for ousting PPP government could have been launched but Nawaz Sharif asserted that democracy would not be toppled. That PPP could complete its normal term in office was just because Nawaz Sharif was very considerate showing his political sagacity. PPP edited only through democratic process. It was the victory of democracy in Pakistan. For the first time in her history, the people removed the incumbent government democratically.

Before forming the government at the federal level, Nawaz Sharif did not listen to non-democratic forces in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa. He did not stop Tehreek-I-Insaaf from forming the government in that province. Nawaz Sharif refused to fall in the trap of Maulana Fazlur Rahman.

Interview of Hashim Qureshi, Chairman JKDLP with KNS (2011)

Srinagar/ KNS

Terming both India and Pakistan as occupying countries, Chairman of Democratic Liberation Party, Hashim Qureshi stated that the farce of bilateral talks has been going on for Six decades in the past only to keep Kashmiri nation in a state of suspense. If both countries leave respective parts of the State free, this could be the only lasting solution to vexed Kashmir problem.

Criticizing the Hurriyat leaders, he asserted that they are ignorant about the real meaning and implication of patriotism. By misleading the people they serve only self interests. Calling last year’s agitation as peoples’ movement, Hashim Qureshi said that Hurriyat leadership had made the movement a hostage to strike calls. “If we are to open our mouth and divulge the facts, the whole thing may end up in a catastrophe of sorts”, he claimed.

In a special interview with KNS, the Chairman said that Pakistan is an occupying country like India. As such, she cannot be the advocate of Kashmiri nation. If Pakistan was truly a sympathizer and advocate of Kashmiris, it would not have split Azad Kashmir into two parts. He said that on one hand Pakistan arbitrarily changed the constitution of Azad Kashmir and on the other hand she feigns to be a sympathizer of Kashmiris. In regard to Kashmir, Pakistan wants to assume the role of the judge, the jury and the hangman. She supports and props up those who serve her agenda in Kashmir.

Soul searching needed !!!

How long do we continue to shift blame on others?
"If someone has Enough Courage to ask you a question seriously, then you should be Brave Enough to Answer truthfully" Cameron Milto

For various reasons I did not write for some time. During this time wanton bloodshed was profuse in Egypt and Syria. Those beating breast for democracy ordered trampling of humans and Muslims under rolling tanks. Some Muslim countries are part of this massacre. They provided more than 16 billion dollars to the Egyptian military dictators to spill the blood of Muslims. Syria is no exception. The Hadith says “If a Muslim in the East is in pain, his coreligionist in the West has to be his sympathizer.” What happened to this axiom?

Contrarily, Muslim is seeking the blood of Muslim and using poisonous gas. Newly-wed brides are minced under the tanks. Kids under impact of poisonous gas, die of breathlessness. Yet the Muslims are tight lipped.

In the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, human beings are torn to shreds by bombs hurled in mosques, Imambaras and churches day in and day out. Communal clashes were contrived in U.P resulting in loss of human lives and damage worth billion of rupee of property.

We the Muslims, instead of doing some souls searching tend to bring the onus of these killings to the doorsteps of the US, Israel or India.

What is happening in our small state? A national daily came out with the sensational news that in its report the army’s inquiry committee had said “that in 2010 General V.K. Singh, the Army Chief had passed on 1.20 crore rupees to the present Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hasan Mir for creating disturbed situation in the State.” Commenting on the report, the former Army Chief said “that Mir was a nationalist leader and doubting him is tantamount to doubting God”. Ghulam Hasan Mir rubbished the entire episode as false and fabricated.  But in a live interview to Times Now on 23 September, former Amy Chief did not only defend passing on money to Mir but also added that army has been passing on money not only to Mir but to many more ministers in J&K.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Why boycott elections?

The boycott call brings us no solace at international plane

Assembly elections are scheduled for 2014. But political observers anticipate it may happen earlier. They have an eye on NC-Congress spat. I think elections will be held as per the schedule. The coalition led by NC has not done anything extraordinary during past five years in office which would encourage it to obtain people’s mandate. Sajjad group of Peoples Conference has almost initiated election campaign. It is certain that the son of Abdul Ghani Lone the Martyr and the son in law of Amanullah are going to take part in elections. Many others are waiting in the wings. BJP has opened its office in the valley and is busy establishing a foothold. We have said that fair and impartial elections aimed at solving the problems of people should not be considered a contagious disease. Before I support participation in elections with the objective of safeguarding the interests of the people, I must say I personally am not eligible for fighting any election. Therefore my support to participation does not carry any personal interest nor do I default those who want to boycott elections. But I would like to clarify some points.

1. Boycott means casting zero per cent votes. That would convince the world that Kashmiri nation has no interest in the elections. But partial boycott reduces the importance of boycott message. In most of the places 60 to 70 per cent votes are polled and people believe this is going to solve their problems.

2. If boycott is observed in any electoral constituency, the voters of NC< Congress or PDP come out to cast their votes. The result is that a candidate from one of these parties emerges as victorious and thus the doors remain closed for a really meritorious and capable candidate.

Despite strong boycott appeal elections of 1996 brought NC full majority vote.The State is a multi-cultural, multi-religious and multi-lingual state. Freedom struggle is not widespread throughout the State. In Jammu region, Ladakh and Kargil people take full part in elections. In the valley itself, only that segment of people remains aloof from electioneering which is disgruntled with Indian system for one or the other reason. Those supporting accession to Pakistan or Kashmir’s Complete freedom is included among them.  Members of NC, Congress and PDP in the valley take full part in the elections and propagate for their party candidates vigorously. A number of people become candidates for assembly seats in a given constituency and they all impress upon their relatives and friends to cast vote to them. They even succeed in roping in such voters in their constituencies as are known for their pro-Pakistan and pro-independence tendency. The fact is that in the valley voting ranges between 40 to 50 per cent at some places and 60 to 70 per cent at other places. The average figures of entire stated touch 70 or 80 per cent. Through local media people come to know about the average of votes cast in different constituencies in Kashmir. But on international level the figures given on state level are taken into account.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Civil disobedience, hartals and stone pelting?

“The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off”
Since 9 February 2013, Kashmir has again run into turmoil, strikes, arrests, stone pelting and martyring people. People are at a loss to understand why when there is semblance of normalcy rulers in New Delhi or in J&K frantically seek a pretext to reverse the situation. The decision of hanging Afzal Guru was taken all of a sudden. Not allowing him a meeting with his family members, no review appeal of his case, and not returning the dead body to his family, are the acts the like of which disrupt normalcy in Kashmir. The cycle of oppression has been set in motion once again. As a consequence, Tahir Ahmad Sofi of Baramulla was martyred without any provocation. Mudassir Kamran, a student from Pulwama doing PhD in Hyderabad University was found hanged in his room. Instead of resolving the tension, the government imposed strict curfew which added to the difficulties of the people.

A suicide attack took place on 12 March in Bemina which warmed up political instability in Kashmir. The opposition in the Indian Parliament and the extremists raised the slogan of “kill and declare war”. Indo-Pak relations dropped to a freezing point. The outgoing Pakistan National Assembly passed a resolution condemning political execution of Afzal Guru. People ask why for five long years there was no resolution on Kashmir in Pakistan NA and why did a resolution come just two days before the Assembly’s term expired. Maybe it was to win the vote bank of Kashmir’s. Pakistani government demonstrated no reaction nor issued any statement at the time of execution of Afzal Guru.

The era of civil disobedience and violence has not begun just today. Such movements were to be seen in 2008, 2009 and 2010. These ended up without any result. In 2008, more than 68 Kashmir’s were martyred and in 2010, the number of martyred persons rose to 117 which included children. There was five-month long strike and stone throwing events and curfew imposition. All that the Kashmiri community achieved was economic and human loss.

We the Kashmir’s have strange psychology. We begin to bemoan our defeat and loss only after the event and then every person accuses the other for the failure. During 2008 movement, separatist organizations forged a temporary unity among themselves. In reality, there was not unity as such, as it came to an end when the movement died down. The 2008 Movement gave the impression that Kashmiri community will never come out of their homes to participate in the elections. But the elections in 2008 became a big joke. More than 60 or 70 % votes were cast at various places. Media was given the pretext that votes were cast not for the Kashmir issue but for roads, water and electric power and other developmental activities. We were unable to make the people understand that those who failed to provide water and electricity for sixty long years, could not guarantee the supply of these facilities in next six years.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quayyum Raja's (accused in Mhatre case) letter from UK prison

This open letter was written by Quayyum Raja on 12-11-1990 to JKLF's Central Commitee from a jail in UK and appeared in Weekly Kasheer from Rawalpindi/Muzaffarbad. Quayyum Raja is the man who was falsely implicated in Mhatre's murder case by Amanullah and spent 22 years in UK prison.

Quayyum Raja writes in this letter that Amanullah Khan is a traitor and informer. He also adds that Amanullah used to gather donations in the name of the accused in Mhatre's murder case and used the money for his personal expenses. He further adds that Amanullah was not even surprised when I accused him of the killing of Mhatre and that he actually came to meet me in jail only to know whether I had any proofs against him. Amanullah afterwards hatched a conspiracy in order to get deported, because he was afraid that the truth will come out and he will spend his life behind bars for masterminding Mhatre's killing. He also says that Amanullah Khan is a classical criminal who will do anything for cheap publicity. At the end he says that I am spending life imprisonment because he informed on me.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Handwritten letter of Amanullah Khan - Confession of forming KLA.

This is the 2 page letter by Amanullah Khan written in his own handwriting to Hashim Qureshi and Dr. Farooq Haider. This letter is dated 5 April 1983, just 10 months before Mhatre’s murder. In this letter Amanullah writes to Dr. Farooq Haider and Hashim Qureshi that he has established KLA in the UK and requests them to form a branch of the same in Pakistan. KLA was the organisation which was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Indian diplomat Ravindre Mhatre, which paved the way for Maqbool Bhat's hanging.

Also below this two page letter is a copy of page 150/151 from Amanullah Khan's book 'Jehd-e-Musalsal', which he wrote somewhere mid-nineties. In this book he denies that he ever knew a KLA existed and states that KLA was responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Mhatre of which he had no knowledge at all. Why this contradiction? Why writing a letter in his own handwriting stating that he formed KLA and then denying in his book that he had something to do with KLA and even stating he never knew of its existence or actions?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

From Mhatre's Murder To Maqbool's Martyrdom.

“Revealing the truth is like lighting a match , it can bring light , or it can set your world on fire”

In the month of February 1984, Amanullah Khan contrived the kidnapping of Ravinder Mhatre, an Indian diplomat in London, by an organization called Kashmir Liberation Army. At that time, I happened to be in UK with Afzal Tahir a friend from POK. London police rounded me up also like some other in connection with the investigation in the case. But as nothing was proved against me, I was set free within seventy two hours. 

I had no information that the diplomat had been kidnapped. I and Afzal Tahir had been staying with Amanullah in Luton but a day prior to the kidnapping incident, both of us were sent away to another friend’s house. By Amanullah's movements, I suspected that something abnormal was happening or was going to happen. Then came the news that the kidnapped diplomat had been murdered and with that the way was paved for the execution of Maqbool Butt in Tihar Jail.

The murder of Mhatre became catalyst to Maqbool Butt`s execution. The question is; was Mhatre`s murder really necessary? This is the fourth year( 1988 ) of Maqbool Butt martyrdom. Here I venture to make an effort to place before the Kashmiri nation and all freedom loving people the circumstances and events leading to his execution so that enslaved nations may learn a bitter lesson that the lives of great freedom fighters should not be thrown away cheaply. I have made it sufficiently clear that I nurse no political or personal grudge or enmity against anybody. I am stating only the facts because at the time of murder of the Assistant Commissioner of Indian High Commission in UK. I happened to be in    London. Scotland Yard also picked me up in connection with the investigation of the case but set me free within 72 hours when nothing that could implicate me, was found. Now I am fully acquainted with the real actors involved in Mhatre murder case. Alongside the story of the case, I am presenting documentary evidence leaving the task of judgment to the Kashmiri nation from whose hands  has been snatched an illustrious and remarkable son of the soil for personal fame and self projection only.

Maqbool Butt was arrested by the Indian security forces near Baramullah in 1976 and was brought to be locked up in a dark cell in Tihar jail, Delhi under close guard. Death sentences had been pronounced against him for alleged murder of a police inspector in 1966 though in fact this inspector had been shot dead by one Aurangzeb because he had tried to run away. Aurangzeb was killed the next day in an encounter with the Indian army. Death sentence pronounced against Butt Sahib after his second arrest (1976) was maintained by the Indian authorities who had been deferred because he had escaped from the jail in December 1968. He had filed an appeal against death sentence in the Indian Supreme Court which was rejected for technical reasons. He had filed write the death sentence by the special court, requisite legal formalities had not been completed. He had, as such, demanded that records pertaining to his case be brought before the high court. This writes 1976 to 1984, Indian authorities locked him up in the death cell but did not execute him.

As a matter of reaction to Mhatre`s murder, Indian government ignoring all political, moral and legal obligation, lost no time in sending him to the gallows. At the closing moments of his life, Butt Sahib had said;

 “I am being hanged immediately after Mahatre`s murder As a result of politics of revenge. I have no knowledge of the murder which has been carried out at Birmingham, a place eight thousand miles away from my prison cell”. 

My firm belief is that if Mhatre had not been murdered, the Government of India would not have executed Butt sahib. This view was endorsed by Zafar Meraj, the nephew of Late Shamim Ahmed Shamim(MP) in Rawalpindi in 1986. He is correspondent of Kashmir times and also the editor of weekly Aiena. His words were,” Indira Gandhi regime representative had held two rounds of talks with Maqbool Butt in the Jail. But he was not prepared to accept state`s accession to India. Instead, he argued for independent Kashmir asserting that independent Kashmir was necessary for bringing lasting peace to the sub-continent.

A number of times we suspended various types of action against India because we know that the Indian government would execute Maqbool Butt as retaliatory measure. Before that we had not act effectively according to plan, we forget a legal battle in  the Indian  courts for the release of Maqbool Butt. International opinion had to be smoothened against his execution.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Afzal Guru’s execution and legal aspects

“Some people don’t like telling the truth, others don’t like hearing it”

On learning about hanging an offender in 21st century, one is transported to 8th or 10th century.  In this century, offenders are not given punishment to put an end to their life but to improve and reform them.  In more than 150 countries capital punishment has been abolished. The thinking among intellectuals is that if a government retaliates with same vengeance as the offender acts, it has no better thinking than that of the offender. Thereby the government commits no less a crime. There can be an error in meting out justice. In the process of evolution nations have done away with capital punishment.

Was Afzul Guru a culprit or not, can be a contentious issue. We shall have a look at its legal aspects. We take into account his interrogation during imprisonment. Radio Pacific Network correspondent Vinod K. Jose had interviewed him in Tihar jail on 19 January 2013. Guru had talked at length about STF Kashmir, BSF Kashmir, 22 RR and Delhi Police. He had also given details of his case to Human Rights and Civil Society organizations. He also said how Delhi police had blackmailed him from time to time. He had not seen his lawyer or his family members for six months. “I saw my family at Patiala House Court but only from afar. I gave names of four lawyers to plead my case. Court judge S.N. Dhengra said they could not plead my case. The lawyer given to me by the court filed many prosecution papers without telling me which were accepted and at the end of the day he began pleading the case of another accused and not mine. The court appointed Amicus quadric. He was not appointed to defend me but to help the court and he never met me. Initially I didn’t have a lawyer available,” is what Guru had told the correspondent.

High Court acquitted S.A.R. Geelani and two more accused but upheld death penalty to Afzal Guru.

No direct witnesses were available in this case from the early beginning. It maintained his death sentence on the basis of circumstances. It was perhaps for the first time that such a high ranking court said this in its judgment:

“The incident which resulted in heavy casualties has shaken entire nation and collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender.”

We don’t intend to open any legal commentary on the court verdict but let it be said that more than two hundred intellectuals, writers and film makers wrote to the President of India as this:

“We believe that you made a grave error in rejecting the Mercy Petition of Afzal Guru”. They said that the offender is given the right for judicial review once the Mercy Petition is rejected. Afzal Guru was denied this right.

Monday, February 18, 2013

J&K caught in whirlpool of problems

“You are weak when you lie because you aren’t strong enough to face the truth”
Politics literally means serving humanity or making service to humanity as one’s profession. Unfortunately, in the sub-continent, and some Arab and Asian countries, politics carries only one meaning viz. oppression, tyranny, bribery, loot and pushing people to the whirlpool of complex problems. This generally has led to unrest and turmoil in these countries.

During 2008 election all mainstream political parties like NC, PDP, Congress, CPIM, Awami National Conference, BJP and other pro-Indian organization had made promises of redressing the grievances of people, especially the problems of power, water supply and employment. On these promises they obtained votes.

Actually the people of the State also changed their stance overnight like chameleon and took part in that election on the presumption that participation was not for solving Kashmir issue but addressing day to day problems. Prior to election nearly 63 Kashmiri youth laid down their lives in Ragra Movement.

The question is that when these parties made promises of redressing the grievances and sough the vote, why people did not ask them that they were not able to provide basic necessities like electricity, water, roads and employment during past sixty years. What magic wand had they now in their hands that they would do in just six years what they could not do in sixty years.

The people given to sentimentality were made scapegoats during past sixty-five years. I give a simple example. If anybody is able to make little progress by dealing in handicrafts like paper mache or wood carving etc. others want to follow suit, of course quite blindly. The result is that they have paved the way for decay of Kashmir crafts. Hundreds of thousands of people who had flocked to this business blindfold are in a wretched condition. Loans were taken from banks apparently for doing some business and self-employment. Instead they bought Maruti cars and scooters and ignored the original purpose of taking loans

Whenever elections were held, people willy-nilly participated in these. Yet in spite of that gun was very much with the militants. People did not care to put questions to them where the gun would be taking them to. And when the gun was taken up not one but few scores of them came into being. It is amusing to note that the gun that was imported to be used against the Indian troops has been used more against Kashmiris and by Kashmiris. When Kashmiris began to surrender, this also became a precedent followed blindly by the gun-wielders.

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Pakistan visit - Of Hurriyat initiative and the hard realities we must not ignore.

“Telling the truth is the right way to act. Living with lies is harder than living a truthful life. Being truthful and honest is important”.

I am back to my esteemed readers with good will and love after a gap of three months. I was not keeping well and went abroad for treatment.

Kashmir did not witness any big or small change of significance during this period. However during harsh winter days people braving the chill of winter stood in long queues on the roads and lanes to collect their quota of gas and kerosene oil. Government machinery sadistically enjoyed playing with the comfort and necessities of life of ordinary people. We shall very soon take up this subject.

But suddenly during this period the soft and delicate coalition called Hurriyat (M) had to face a jolt from its recent visit to Pakistan. The main reason for our nation not reaching its objective and remaining tied to slavery, and suffer loot, oppression and suppression, tyranny and use of muscle power is only the disunity among political parties.

I would like to clarify that my only intention of making comments or dragging the facts for analysis is to place before the public facts that remain locked up by suppressive elements in safe vaults of secrecy.

What was the logic for the Hurriyat (M) to visit Pakistan when the sitting government there will be quitting after a couple of months only and the clarion for new elections has already been sounded? One would like to know the reason behind Hurriyat (M) being invited to Pakistan for a visit. What is the logic for the Hurriyat to have accepted the invitation when Pakistan is embroiled in internal problems? We like to know why a Hurriyat leader living in Indian controlled territory of Kashmir has been invited to Pakistan?. The amusing thing is that the Hurriyat (M) accepted this invitation when its partners like Shabbir Shah and Naem Khan said “that since elections were round the corner in Pakistan they would not think it proper to accept the invitation for the visit. They said they should undertake the visit only after the new government was formed in that country.” Gilani Sahib, too, was of same opinion. Many conscious people in Kashmir also corroborated this statement.

Guest post: Maqbool Bhat - an Untold story by Zafar Meraj

It was one of those chilly evenings of winter of 1984 and I as usual was trying to gather news reports for next day’s issue of AINA which I was associated with, then. The budget session of the state assembly was on in winter capital Jammu and I would call Kashmir Times offices in Jammu to have the latest news about the day’s developments in the assembly. We, at AINA and Kashmir Times, had an understanding for exchanging the news. Kashmir Times had no one in Srinagar to look after the news and so was the case with AINA, without any correspondent in Jammu. Ved Bhasin, happened to be like part of our family, being one of the closest friends of late Shamim Ahmad Shamim and so the two papers decided to share the information on daily basis.

On that evening, if I remember correctly, it was February, 6, that I called Kashmir Times office, and my uncle, and a senior journalist, Mohammad Syed Malik, who was working then for Delhi based English daily Patriot and used to move to Jammu with annual durbar, picked up the phone. After briefing him about Srinagar items, I inquired from him the day’s developments in the assembly. “Zafar Ji, there is a big news, but you have to keep it as a secret till morning, when the paper comes out.......Maqbool Butt is being hanged on February, 11..... and this is our exclusive story. No one else (from amongst journalists) has any clue of this”, he told me in a hushed tone, as if none else could hear him.

And the details of that ‘great exclusive’ story were like this: Earlier in the day, while he assembly was in session, a special envoy from New Delhi landed in Jammu and drove straight to the legislature complex that is situated in civil secretariat complex. The envoy carrying a small black bag, was whisked inside the chief minister’s chambers, where the two remained closeted for about half an hour. In the meantime, chief minister summoned his law minister, chief secretary and the police chief and the closed door meeting lasted for another half an hour. No one could make any guess as to what was going on inside the chief minister’s chamber, had it not been the dramatic entry of a senior judicial officer of the state in the official chamber of the chief minister. It was when Thakur Pavitar Singh, then holding the office of the Sessions Judge of the special court was escorted by one of the close aides of the CM that one of the close friends of Ved Bhasin called him up and told about the high drama that was going on in the legislature complex. And it was from here, that Ved Bhasin and Mohammad Syed Malik picked up the threads to get that ‘exclusive story’.