"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.