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.

jkdlp

jkdlp

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.

 The Liberation Front had, before I am effective and practicable action plan, the murder of Mhatre, if not the result of a conspiracy,  was certainly a dirty game of  winning cheap popularity and a foolhardy  adventure. The  leadership of Liberation Front could not utilize the sentiments aroused by the  martyrdom of Maqbool Butt to the advancement   of the  freedom movement of Kashmiri nation. What is more, unfortunately within the  party, the chairman injected confusion and contradiction by branding all those member and  individuals as traitors and communists who  offered a better proposal or differed with his opinion. It becomes my national duty to lift the curtain from Mhatre murder case and factors which inspired the adventure. It is necessary to come out in open because even now the killers of Mhatre, who are in truth the killers of Maqbool Butt, continue to exploit the sentiments of Kashmiri youth in order to satisfy their urge of winning popularity as leaders of Kashmir. Since I happened to be in London at the time of murder, some circles tried to create an impression that I had something to do with this murder. This also prompts me to put the record straight for those who are interested in our history and also for our future generations.

I will not speak about the work done by the Liberation Front on political front. But in the sphere of armed struggle, its action betrayed dismal immaturity as these were replete with dangerous consequences. Any person with elementary knowledge of the game of politics would neither himself undertake nor allow other to undertake such adventures. In this context, the letter I wrote to Amanullah Khan in 1985 was, in fact frank expression of protest against many actions of Amanullah Khan including that of the  murder of Mhatre conducted in the name of armed struggle. I condemned serious party affairs were conducted. At the time Butt Sahib`s martyrdom. I even caught Amanullah by his collar and said,” You are the murderer of Maqbool Butt.”

I have been virtually fighting a war within the party since 1984 with regard to Mhatre murder case. But the system since the days of Amanullah Khan`s chairmanship has been that no room is left for difference of opinion and frank debate on issues. As a result, till date more than a hundred workers have either been shown the door or chose to quit the party only on the basis of their difference of opinion with him, they have been given epithets no less than traitors. In the past, I was also bestowed the appendage of a communist on the basis  of my audacity to differ in opinions. By not accepting the democratic approach of debating issues, Liberation front is fragmented into dozens of groups today. While concluding that letter, I had emphatically said that if the member of central committee of the party is not capable of changing  the conditions, then in that case I would release this letter along with my resignation to party workers and the press. Ultimately in February 1986. I had to resign as an organizer and member of the central committee of Liberation Front. This resignation had not been accepted by the central committee and the working council till my departure from Pakistan in September 1986. I know nothing what happened later on.

Adventurism.

Before opening a detailed discussion on Mhatre case, I must speak about the contemplated plan of hijacking an airliner. Such a plan was certainly there with the objective of seeking the release of Maqbool Butt. Being ignorant of political and military strategies and impatient to win cheap and quick popularity, Amanullah Khan wrecked the entire plan, for the execution of this plan, he had selected two persons from Paris and two from London. The Paris team however, did not meet with Amanullah Khan for such a big adventure nor were  they briefed on the subject. But the two persons sent from London to bring the Paris team. Had been instructed to  brief them during the journey. This was disclosed by Amanullah Khan in his letter addressed to me and to Dr. Farooq Haider. He wrote” owing to paucity of time and no chance of a meeting could not make a briefing to Qayum and others. The other two people could not make him understand. Qayyum could not come because of legal constraints and I could not go to Paris for want of time.

For such a stupendous project, Amanullah Khan selected a team of four persons who had neither any knowledge of the technique of hijacking an aircraft nor did they know one another. They were given no training whatever of the mission entrusted to them. None among them  had ever taken a gun or a pistol in his hand. Yes, of course they were  brimming with sentiment . The hijacking was to synchronies with the Non-Aligned countries moot scheduled for 9-11 March 1983 in New Delhi . Earlier a plan of blasting the conference of the foreign ministers of non- aligned countries in Delhi had been chalked out which would have labeled us as CIA agents. After all, US imperialism and its allies in the world were known as the antagonists of non aligned movement. The contemplated plan of hijacking an aircraft faille because, as already said, all the four persons were untrained for the job nor had they been briefed in a group. At the eleventh hour, meaning at the time of boarding the airlines: they were frightened and without carrying arms on board, arrived in India. Three of them returned by road and came to my place in Rawalpindi.

In his letter of April 5, 1983 addressed to me, Amanullah Khan tried to justify the failure of this project. He wrote .” Major mission has failed. Sometimes I think it is good that it failed. In recent days a lengthy article has appeared in The Guardian saying tht CIA tried to scuttle the non-aligned conference. Had our mission gone the way we had  planned, three was a possibility of linking it to CIA`s doings  .that would have done us immense damage which could never set right just as in the case of Ganga hijacking, there is the allegation that it was a  conspiracy hatched by India to divide Pakistan . God forbidding if we had  been linked up with CIA`s efforts of  scuttling the non-aligned conference, We would have been devastated despite the fact that the allegation was totally baseless.  We would have to hang our heads  in shame before the international community. And from inside, our opponents would have used it as a weapon against us. This aspect of the failure of our mission is also very important.”

This shows that Amanullah Khan had not even this much of understanding of international politics that he could himself react on the comment given by the Guardian. He should have understood that in the non-aligned conference were also included the third world countries who had themselves fought wars of liberation. However, one positive aspect of this abortive hijacking was  that the conspiracy did not leak out and there was yet a possibility of undertaking it again. That opportunity would have been there for some time more because when I arrived in London on 19 January 1984 on a valid visa, there was mention of hijacking plan in the course of a meeting with Amanullah Khan and two persons involved in Mhatre kidnapping case, after a detailed exchange of ideas with Ammanullah Khan I offered myself for the proposed hijacking and mentioned the name of four persons of my choice to be associated with me in the mission, the deal was settled with Amanullah khan, six thousand pounds were involved for the expenses. He agreed and it was finally decided that a team of four person working under Hashim Qureshi`s command would undertake the execution  of the mission. It was also decided to summon to England the person proposed to be entrusted with the most crucial role of the entire scheme, I-e bringing arms to the aircraft. Having finalized the entire plan by 23 or 24 January 1984, Amanullaha`s  house in Luton for to London city to stay  with  a friend. Three days later, Amanullha gave me a ring saying that the concerned person  had arrived and that I should immediately return to Luton. Next day, KI was in Luton where in Amanullah `s house, I talked at length  with the person proposed to carry arms to the aircraft.  We talked in full detail about matter like airport security etc. having probed the mind of the man and having convinced myself that it was a viable plan( at least hijacking would take place without problems and what would then follow or what would have been its reaction, is a different story) I decided proceed.

I had strong reason to join the mission and take its command in my hands. In my opinion there was no better and more effective a plan than that of hijacking in order to seek Butt Sahib`s release from the Indian prison. The Indian government would not have run the risk of imperiling lives of 350 passengers on board by refusing to release Maqbool Butt it  would have given a new direction to the liberation movement. It would have also absolved us of the blame splashed  on us by the Pakistani military dictatorship and bureaucracy that gang hijacking was a  conspiracy to  fragment Pakistan. It is an irony that Amanullah Khan, the Chairman of Liberation Front, first agreed to the hijacking plan but then suddenly at 6 P.M in February 2, told me and my friends ….An important party worker—Afzal Tahir to go to the house of Malik Ejaz (member central Committee_)Ejaz came to talk us but when I insisted upon Amanullah Khan to tells why he was sending us away , he said,

 “Please go, something is going to  happen and I do not want that your presence at my house is proved.”

But when I tried to rag on the discussion, Afzal Tahir and Ejaz Malik bulled me physically, Afzal Tahir and  Malik Ejaz decided first to visit a video laboratory where I hired three films being prepared on the subject of hijacking. After dinning at Ejaz`s house, he dropped us at the residence of  a party worker named Iiyas originally of Khuratta in Azad Kashmir. We watched the hijacking films during the night. I wanted to acquaint myself with the new techniques in hijacking.

The question arises if Amanullah Khan had no knowledge of the kidnapping of Mhatre, then why he sent me and Afzal away from his house to another house. On that day,(it was Thursday). Mhatre kidnapping could not be carried out. On the next day , both of us, Afzal Tahir and myself, returned  to the house of Amanullah at about 2 P.M.

He said:

"That boy could not do the job yesterday, “I asked him since he was sized of the idea of hijacking an aircraft. Why then did he indulge in doing something there I asked him who were the boys he was alluding to and what were they expected to do  the previous day which they could not do. He said, I don’t know adding , I am not answerable to you”
 that day(Friday) he called to his house the owner of Luton, Travels  and member of people party namely Zaman Shahib.Malik Sahfi, Layaqat Tasadduq Hussan and other and kept me engaged in a lengthy debate on Kashmir issue from 1PM to 10 PM. Evidently he contrived to keep me and Afzal Tahir in the company of five or six persons while Mhatre was being kidnapped the same day at Birmingham which is at a distance pouf 90 miles from Luton. On Friday also he did not let me and Afzal stay in his  house but sent us to Shafi`s place.

The fact is that Amanullah khan wanted to leave a proof that afzal and I were not involved in the crime. He had himself expressed it. Returning from Malik Shafi`s house on the week end. He told us that the assistant High Commissioner of the Indian High Commission named Ravinder Mhatre had been kidnapped by some people in Birmingham and they have written a letter to me asking me to become contact source for realizing their demands. The police came on Saturday enquired about me also and left. Next morning which was Sunday a young man?

A young man (Musarat Iqbal Malik) involved in Mhatre case came to Amanullah’s house at about 11 AM. As Amanullah Khan and I came out from his house. “Musarat Iqbal told him that it appeared the police was about to land in the house of Sidiq Mirza where Mhatre had been kept. He sought instructions from him. Without waiting for a minute. Amanullaha said” shoot him and throw away the dead body somewhere. If we are caught. It will mean a disaster and all of us will be implicated.”I intervened promptly and said.” Aman sahib shooting will be tantamount to further worsening the situation, why not set him free and if people are caught, they will have to face the charge of kidnapping and taking hostage only and not of murder, India could take a revenge of murder Butt Sahib is languishing in the death cell . Above all if you had to do all this, then what was the need of calling me here and drawing the plan of Hijacking an airliner? He did not listen to me and issued instructions of shooting Mhatre.” Later I came to know that Musrat Iqbal shot him in his head.

On Sunday the police came again to Amanullah’s house at about 2 P.M. They took us, myself and Ammanullah khan, first to Luton and then to Birmingham police station called Steel House where I was kept in custody for 72 hours till Wednesday. Besides the Scotland Yard, two Indian officers also make certain enquiries from me. Since if I knew anything of Mhatre case at all, it was of post-kidnapping events, I tried to immediately reacted with the assertion that all that took place happened only after I came to England . at the time of Mhatre`s killing (5P.M) Sunday I was in the custody of the police. Both of us were released from custody after 72 hours and were brought to Luton. Afzal  Tahir was present at Amanullah’s house.

My first apprehension after the murder of Mhatre was that Maqbool Butt could be executed. Amanullah Khan tried to dispel the apprehension arguing that:
“India is a democratic country and her valuable asset is her credibility on international level. Government of India would never bring Maqbool Butt to gallows in retaliation to Mhatre`s murder because the world will call it a policy of revenge which will bring defamation to India.”
this was the limit of Amanullah khan`s political vision.? The first headline which the BBC news bulletin broadcast that evening said that in a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Indian cabinet decided to carry out the death sentence on Maqbool Butt.

My first reaction to this news was violent. I caught hold of Amanullah Khan by his collar and shouted at him.” You are the murderer of Maqbool Butt. I will expose you.” But Afzal Tahir dragged me away and locked me in a room downstairs. He tried to pacify me saying that my becoming emotional at that point of time could prove harmful for the movement and for the emotions likely to surface following the martyrdom of Maqbool Butt. He argued that Maqbool Butt would be hanged but if I brought the onus of his martyrdom to the doorsteps of Amanullah Khan. then all persons involved in Mhatre murder case would be arrested and Maqbool Butt`s sacrifices would come to a naught. The night was spent crying and wailing.

Front goes to press

Amanullah Khan called a press conference in London where Afzal and I were present. It was attended by the British, Indian and Pakistan pres correspondents. After describing the action of the British police, arrests and interrogation etc, he said” behind the kidnapping and killing of Mhatre was the hand of Indian agency RAW. It is they who contrived kidnapping and murder of their own diplomat.” I gently pressed Amanullah’s foot with my toe only to caution him. The correspondent of Reuter asked him what he thought could be the benefit for the Indian high commission to kidnap and then murder their own official? Amanullah began producing

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 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 1968 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. (Zafar Meraj also wrote a full story about Butt Sahib:"Maqbool Butt-an Untold story by Zafar Mehraj")

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.

The Liberation Front had, before I am effective and practicable action plan, the murder of Mhatre, if not the result of a conspiracy,  was certainly a dirty game of  winning cheap popularity and a foolhardy  adventure. The  leadership of Liberation Front could not utilize the sentiments aroused by the  martyrdom of Maqbool Butt to the advancement   of the  freedom movement of Kashmiri nation. What is more, unfortunately within the  party, the chairman injected confusion and contradiction by branding all those member and  individuals as traitors and communists who  offered a better proposal or differed with his opinion. It becomes my national duty to lift the curtain from Mhatre murder case and factors which inspired the adventure. It is necessary to come out in open because even now the killers of Mhatre, who are in truth the killers of Maqbool Butt, continue to exploit the sentiments of Kashmiri youth in order to satisfy their urge of winning popularity as leaders of Kashmir. Since I happened to be in London at the time of murder, some circles tried to create an impression that I had something to do with this murder. This also prompts me to put the record straight for those who are interested in our history and also for our future generations.

I will not speak about the work done by the Liberation Front on political front. But in the sphere of armed struggle, its action betrayed dismal immaturity as these were replete with dangerous consequences. Any person with elementary knowledge of the game of politics would neither himself undertake nor allow other to undertake such adventures. In this context, the letter I wrote to Amanullah Khan in 1985 was, in fact frank expression of protest against many actions of Amanullah Khan including that of the murder of Mhatre conducted in the name of armed struggle. I condemned serious party affairs were conducted. At the time Butt Sahib`s martyrdom. I even caught Amanullah by his collar and said,” You are the murderer of Maqbool Butt.”

I have been virtually fighting a war within the party since 1984 with regard to Mhatre murder case. But the system since the days of Amanullah Khan’s chairmanship has been that no room is left for difference of opinion and frank debate on issues. As a result, till date more than a hundred workers have either been shown the door or chose to quit the party only on the basis of their difference of opinion with him. They have been given epithets no less than traitors. In the past, I was also bestowed the appendage of a communist on the basis of my audacity to differ in opinions. By not accepting the democratic approach of debating issues, liberation Front is fragmented into dozens of groups today. While concluding that letter, I had emphatically said that if the member of central committee of the party is not capable of changing the conditions, then in that case I would release this letter along with my resignation to party workers and the press. Ultimately in February 1986. I had to resign as an organizer and member of the Central committee of Liberation Front. This resignation had not been accepted by the central committee and the working council till my departure from Pakistan in September 1986. I know nothing what happened later on.

Adventurism

Before opening a detailed discussion on Mhatre case, I must speak about the contemplated plan of hijacking an airliner. Such a plan was certainly there with the objective of seeking the release of Maqbool Butt. Being ignorant of political and military strategies and impatient to win cheap and quick popularity, Amanullah Khan wrecked the entire plan. For the execution of this plan, he had selected two persons from Paris and two from London. The Paris team, however, did not meet with Ammanullah Khan for such a big adventure nor were they briefed on the subject. But the two persons sent from London to bring the Paris team, had been instructed to brief them during the journey. This was disclosed by Amanullah Khan in his letter addressed to me and to Dr. Farooq Haider. He wrote: " owing to paucity of time and no chance of a meeting, I could not make him understand. Qayyum could not come because of legal constraints and I could not go to Paris for want of time.”

For such a stupendous project, Ammanullah khan selected a team of four persons who had neither any knowledge of the technique of hijacking an aircraft nor did they know one another. They were given no training whatsoever of the mission entrusted to them, none among them had ever taken a gun or a pistol in his hand. Yes, of course they were brimming with sentiment. The hijacking was to synchronies with the Non- Aligned countries moot scheduled for 9- 11 March 1983 in New Delhi , Earlier  a plan of blasting the conference of the foreign ministers of non- aligned countries in Delhi had been chalked out which would have labeled us as CIA agents. After all, US imperialism and its allies in the world were known as the antagonists of non aligned movement. The contemplated plan of hijacking an aircraft failed because, as already said, all the four persons were untrained for the job nor had they been briefed in a group. At the eleventh hour, meaning at the time of boarding the airlines, they were frightened and without carrying arms on boards, arrived in India. Three of them returned by road and came to my place in Rawalpindi.

In his letter of April 5- 1983 addressed to me, Amanullah Khan tried to justify the failure of this project. He wrote,” Major mission has failed. Sometimes I think it is good that it failed. In recent days a lengthy article has appeared in The Guardian saying that C.I.A tried to scuttle the non – aligned conference. Had our mission gone the way we had planned, there was a possibility of linking it to CIA’s doings. That would have done us immense damage which we could never set right just as in the case of  Ganga hijacking, there is the allegation that it was a conspiracy hatched by India to divide Pakistan. God forbidding if we had been linked up with CIA’s efforts of scuttling the non- aligned conference, we would have been devastated despite the fact that the allegation was totally baseless. We would have to hang our heads in shame before the international community. And from inside, our opponents would have used it as a weapon against us. This aspect of the failure of our mission is also very important.

This shows that Amanullah Khan had not even this much of understanding of international politics that h could himself react on the comment given by The Guardian. He should have understood that in the non-aligned conference were also included the third world countries who had themselves fought wars of liberation. However, one positive aspect of this abortive hijacking was that the conspiracy did not leak out and there was yet a possibility of undertaking it again. That opportunity would have been there for some time more because when I arrived in London on 19 January 1984 on a valid visa, there was a mention of hijacking plan in the course of a meeting with Amanullah Khan and two persons involved in Mhatre Kidnapping case. After a detailed exchange of ideas with Amanullah Khan, I offered myself for the proposed hijacking and mentioned the names of four persons of my choice to be associated with me in the mission. The deal was settled with Amanullah Khan, six thousand pounds were involved for the expenses. He agreed and it was finally decided that a team of four persons working under Hashim Qureshi’s command would undertake the execution of the mission.It was also decided to summon to England the person proposed to be entrusted with the most crucial role of the entire scheme. I.e. bringing arm to the aircraft. Having finalized the entire plan by 23 or 24 January 1984, Amanullah Khan rang up the person who agreed to arrive in England by 28 or 29 January. In order to streamline all preparations, I left Amanullah’s house in Luton for to London city to stay with a friend. Three days later, Amanullah gave me a ring saying that the concerned. Person had arrived and that I should immediately return to Luton. Next day, I was in Luton where in Amanullah house is, I talked at length with the person proposed to carry arms to the aircraft. We talked in full detailed about matters like airport security  etc. having probed the mind  of the man and would take place without problem and what would then follow or what would have been its reaction, is a different  story) I  decided to proceed.

I had strong reasons to join the mission and take its command in my hands. In my opinion there was no better and more effective a plan than that of hijacking in order to seek Butt sahibs’ release from the Indian prison. The Indian government would not have run the risk of imperiling lives 350 passenger on board by refusing to release Maqbool Butt. It would have given a new direction to the liberation movement. It would have also absolved us of the blame splashed on us by the Pakistani military dictatorship and bureaucracy that Ganga hijacking was a conspiracy to fragment Pakistan. It is an irony that Amnullah Khan the Chairman of Liberation Front, first agreed to the hijacking plan but then suddenly at 6 P. M. on February 2, told me and my friend.. An important party worker. Afzal Tahir, to go to the house of Malik Ejaz (member Central committee) Ejaz came to take us but when I insisted upon Amanullah Khan to tell us why he was sending us a way he said,

“Please go, something is going to happen and I do not want that your presence at my house is proved.” But when I tried to drag on the discussion, Afzal Tahir and Ejaz Malik pulled me physically. Afzal Tahir and Malik decided first to visit a video laboratory where I hired three films being prepared on the subject of hijacking. After dining at Ejaz’ house he dropped us at the residence of a party worker named Ilyas originally of Khuirtta in Azad Kashmir . We watched the hijacking films during the night. I wanted to acquaint myself with the new techniques in hijacking.

The question arises if Amanullah Khan had no knowledge of the kidnapping of Mhatre, then why he sent me and Afzal away from his house to another house. On that day, (it was Thursday) Mhatre kidnapping could not be carried out. On the next day. Both of us Afzal Tahir and myself, returned to the house of Amanullah at about 2 P.M.

He said,” Those boys could not do the job yesterday,” I asked him since he was seized of the idea of hijacking an aircraft, why then did he alluding in doing something there. I asked him who were the boys he was alluding to and what were they expected to do the previous day which they could not do. He said, “I don’t know, adding. I am not answerable to you.” That day (Friday) he called to his house the owner of Luton Travels and member of People Party namely Zaman Sahib. Malik Shafi, Liaqat Tasadduq Hussain and others and kept me engaged in a lengthy debate on Kashmir issue from 1 PM to 10 PM. Evidently he contrived to keep me and Afzal Tahir in the company of  five or six persons while Mhatre was being form Luton. On Friday also he did not let me and Afzal stay in his house but sent us to Shafi’s place.

The fact is that Amanullah Khan wanted to leave a proof that Afzal and I were not involved in the crime. He had himself expressed it. Returning from Malik Shafi’s house on the week end. He told us that the assistant High Commissioner of the Indian High commission name Ravinder Mhatre had been kidnapped by some people in Birmingham and they have written a letter to me asking me to become contact source about me also and left. Next morning which was Sunday a young man (Musarat Iqbal Malik) involved in Mhatre case came to Amanualllah house at about 11 AM.As Amanullah Khan and I came out from his house .Muskrat Iqbal  told him that it appeared the police was about to land in the house of Side Mirza where Mhatre had been kept. He sought instructions from him. Without waiting for a minute. Amanullah said” shoot him and throw away the dead body somewhere. If we are caught, it will mean a disaster and all of us will be implicated. I intervened promptly and said.” Aman sahib shooting will be tantamount to further worsening the situation. Why not set him free and if people are caught, they will have to face the charge of kidnapping and taking hostage only and not of murder. India could take a revenge of murder. Butt Sahib is languishing in the death cell. Above all if you had to do all this, and then what was the need of calling me here and drawing the plan of kidnapping an airliner?” He did not listen to me and issued instructions of shooting Mhatre.

On Sunday the police came again to Amanullah’s house at about 2 PM. They took us, myself and Amanullah Khan first to Luton and then to Birmingham police station called steel house. Where I was kept in custody for 72 hours Till Wednesday. Beside the Scotland Yard two Indian officers also make certain enquiries from me. Since if I know anything of Mhatre case at all it was of  post kidnapping events, I tried to prove my innocence. But the Scotland Yard and Indian officials immediately reacted with the assertion that took place happened only after I came to England. At the time of Mhatre killing (5 P.M) Sunday I was in the custody after 72 hours and were brought to Luton Afzal Tahir was present at Amanullah’s house.

My first apprehension after the murder  of Mhatre was that Maqbool Butt could be executed. Amanullah Khan tried to dispel the apprehension arguing that” India is a democratic country and her valuable assets is her credibility on international level. Government of India would never bring Maqbool Butt to gallows in retaliation to Mhatre’s murder because the world will call it a policy of revenge which will bring defamation to India.” This was the limit of Amanullah Khan’s political vision. The first headline which the BBC news bulletin broadcast that evening said that in a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Indira Ghandi, the Indian cabinet decided to carry out the death sentence on Maqbool Butt. My first reaction to this news was violent. I caught hold of Amanullah Khan by his collar shouted at him. You are the murderer of Maqbool butt. I will expose you. But Afzal Tahir dragged me away and locked me in a  room downstairs. He tried to pacify me saying that my becoming emotional at that point of time could prove harmful for the movement and for the emotions likely to surface following the martyrdom of Maqbool Butt. he argued that Maqbool Butt would be hanged but if I brought the onus of his martyrdom to the doorsteps of Amanullah Khan, then all persons involved in Mhatre murder case would be arrested and  Maqbool Butt’s sacrifices would come to a naught. The night was spent crying and wailing.

Front goes to press.

Amanullah Khan called a press conference in London where Afzal and I were present. It was attended by the British, Indian and Pakistani press correspondents. After describing the action of the British police, arrests and interrogation etc, he said: " behind the kidnapping and killing of Mhatre was the hand of Indian agency RAW. It is they who contrived kidnapping and murder of their own diplomat.” I gently pressed Amanullah’s foot with my toe only to caution him. The correspondent of Reuter asked him what did he think could  be the benefit for the Indian High commission to kidnap and then murder their own official? Amanullah began producing arguments in support of his assertion that the Kashmir Liberation Army was unknown to us and he had heard its name for   the first time. He said that the first objective of India was to block Liberation Front’s diplomatic and political thrust world over. India had planned to link up Liberation front with Kashmir Liberation Army and Mhatre case and thereby it had paved the way for declaring the Liberation front a terrorist organization. Subsequently it would be declared a terrorist organization in the U.K. the second important objective before the Indians he added, would be to pave the way for carrying out the execution of Maqbool Butt. He said that by linking up Kashmir Liberation Army with the Liberation Front, each and every member of the Liberation Front in UK was called to police station and served a warning. At the same time, announcement of execution of Maqbool Butt had also been made. But the correspondent of The Times of India asked,

Maqbool Butt has been in the death cell in India since 1976 and he is being hanged under the death sentence pronounced in 1968. Are the Indians so foolish and mad that they would get their own diplomat kidnapped and murdered on international level and thus revive Kashmir issue when they can hang Maqbool Butt at any time? Amanullah Khan made the pretext of time running out a parried the question. Afzal and I sat silently to hear Amanullah’s statesmanlike answer.

The jang of London in its issue of February 9- 1984 published report of this press conference. It said that Amanulllah believed the murder was engineered by the Indian intelligence agency RAW which, according to a book written by a high ranking officer of that agency, compassed such murders. He said that during the period when he was in police custody, a police officer told him that the murderers of Mhatre were professionals. This statement of Amanullah Khan speaks a lot when we look at Mhatre murder case keeping in mind the background of the story of the plot and the dramatic personae involved. The soul of the martyred leader Maqbool Butt must be uneasy in its grave while cobbling bits and ends of Mhatre’s murder plot.

Conclusion
           
Moving away from the events connected with Mhatre’s kidnapping and murder
described widely in the same in preceding pages, let me state that my differences with Amanullah Khan were not of personal. I never aspired for cheap political popularity and I never let the blood of our workers and activists be spilled because I never wanted fame. I never accused Amanullah Khan or his workers of misusing funds. All that I have done on the occasion of fourth death anniversary of Maqbool Butt is that I have taken the veil off the face of facts about his execution .”it is a reality that Kashmir Liberation Army had been formed by Amanulah Khan himself and he had all the responsibility of its affairs. I have a letter in my possession written by Amanullah Khan in his own hand which he wrote to Dr. Farooq Haider and me on 05 April 1983 from Luton in England.” It should be mentioned that at a time when Amanullah was being tried in a British court in case of spreading terrorism in Europe, I was in Holland and the letter in question was with me. I do not believe in politics of revenge. Had I passed on this letter to the British court Amanullah would not have been banished from U.K but certainly would have been languishing in her jails. While the facsimile of Amanullah’s hand written letter is appended to this volume we give an excerpt from his letter to provide a convincing proof for what we state:

This is the story of origin of Kashmir Liberation Army whose activists were identified as the murderers of Mhatre. There can be no proof more convincing and dependable of Amanullah Khan’s role in its creation than the word recorded in his own hand. But it is a travesty that in his book entitled Jihad-e-Musalsal the same Amanullah Khan feigns total ignorance of KLA only to absolve himself of the blame of having compassed Maqbool Butt’s execution. We reproduce the following relevant extract (page 150 – 151) from it.

“In 1982 and 1983, we too had contributed our share of effort for seeking Butt Sahib Release. In 1982, we hazarded an adventure in Delhi which shook the Indian government. However we did not succeed in seeking the release of Maqbool Butt.” Yet one more dare- devil adventure failed owing partly to an unforeseen development and partly to a misunderstanding among the activists. On the other hand some members of the Liberation Front floated a secret organization by the name of Kashmir Liberation Army without my  organization’s knowledge and permission. And engineered the kidnapping of Assistant High Commissioner of India, Ravindra Mhatre in Birmingham. The Kidnappers announced that if the Indian government did not release Maqbool Butt and his associates, Hamid and Riyaz and other freedom fighter of Indian held Kashmir within 24 hours then Mhatre would be killed. Soon after receiving this information, I pondered over the matter seriously and tried a good deal to establish contact with the Indian High Commissioner in order to find a solution to the problem. But the Indian High commissioner refused to talk with me saying that holding talks with Amanullah Khan meant recognizing Liberation Front. Indian High commission continued to avoid discussing the issue. Then on the next day I along with Zubair Ansari, Hashim Qureshi and some more activists of Liberation Front were arrested. This put an end to my effort. On the other side, instead of 24  hours of time limit a wait of 54 hours resulted in no reaction. Mhatre was killed. Information about this happening was given to me by the police while was in police station under their custody. Soon after release from police custody, Zubair Ansari Filed a writ petition against my arrest in the High Court.”

"I and Hashim Qureshi were set free after 72 hours in compliance of the court order. The same night BBC broadcast in its news bulletin the Indian government had decided to execute Maqbool Butt on February 11 1984. This news shattered us. At that time Hashim Qureshi and Afzal Tahir were with me. On February 9 I held a press conference in London and said that Maqbool Butt was being hanged for sins which he never committed; he had no hand in Mhatre’s kidnapping .Butt Sahib’s lawyer Muzaffar Baigh approached the Supreme Court of India with an appeal against hasty implementation of death punishment immediately after Mhatre’s murder which was rejected.”(Amanullah Khan  Jahad-e-Musalsal, 1992, Pages 150 et sea).

In conclusion it should be said that one is pained by Mhatre’s assassination for he was an innocent person and was deprived of his precious life for no sin whatsoever. At the same time Maqbool Butt was also punished for sins which he never committed. His only crime, if it is a crime, was that he loved Kashmir and Kashmiri people. On the eve of his hanging he had said,

“I am being given the punishment for a murder which took place eight thousand miles away from here and in which I am not at all involved.”

We shall have to stop politics of revenge and also the game of bringing innocent people to the brink of annihilation in the name of struggle for freedom. Let it be said that the persons who were given life imprisonment in Mhatre case (Two of them still in prison) were also used in the dirty game of Amanullah’s politics.

NOTE.

Mhatre case was disclosed by me fully in the central committee of Liberation Front in 1985 but it was brought to the notice of the public in 1988. Pakistani newspaper published the entire story in 1990- 91. In Kashmir and Pakistan, those who were with Amanullah till 1994, fully knew this story although they also occasionally raised the slogan “Maqbool Butt Zindabad”. When personal interests and aggrandizement overtook these very activists, they broke Liberation Front into Pieces. Had Kashmiri activists rejected Amanullah Khan soon after the execution of Mqbool Butt, as a result of his senseless adventurism and collaboration with ISI, Kashmir would have been spared the ongoing bloodbath thrust on her youth.


            “No matter how hard we try to digit or deny it, eventually 
  the lies fall away. Whether we like it or not. But here's the truth about the truth. It hurts. So we lie?”