The Golden Heroes of Kashmir
Kashmir is undoubtedly one of nature’s masterpiece- a perfect blend of charm and charisma. Allah created to appease humanity and soothe away a soul in distress, however man has unfortunately turned it into warzone where every second some brutal act of immorality is committed. The land of Kashmir has been turned into a bloodthirsty monster whose victims are none other than the unfortunate Kashmiris themselves. All possible hideous, heinous and brutal acts of injustice, oppression, persecution and immorality has been inflicted upon this pure land. People of Kashmir started objection against the tyranny of the rulers as back as the 16 the century with the onset of Mughal rule in particular the Dogra rule. The place has been crying for a separate independent identity since then but still, their struggle goes on.
The world community needs to know that Kashmir and people of Kashmir are not an item or property to have a right to own. They are living beings who have the natural right to live as they deem fit. They are not to be sold, exchanged or governed by force or coerced into submission. They have the right to decide for their future. If they demand a unique separate identity, it should be granted to them. They are born with this basic right.
The Real Heroes
History of Kashmir is full of tales of martyrs and patriotic acts. Some sacrifices were voiced and gained limelight however, most of the great heroic deeds remained echoing within the walls of the valley. These are the persons who daily sacrifice their lives, their dreams, their families, step out and take risks to help or take help to the victims of the Indian Militia. These are Kashmiri drivers, doctors, nurses and human rights activists who march around the Kashmir valley with brave hearts to help out their fellow Kashmiris regardless of the shelling, bombs or martial law. Many have died unceremoniously joining the pure land, but in doing so have left behind a rich legacy that every newborn Kashmiri proudly carries.
Health centers all scattered around the valley total 500 in number, medical colleges have 100 workforce and same is the figure for government medical hospitals and colleges. This medical staff consists of men who are Hercules that have never hesitated to patrol round in times of violence, bombardment, curfews, blockades or armed skirmishes attending the sick, the oppressed, the beaten and the dead. Staying away for days even months, these heroes of Kashmir also have families with big brave hearts. Same is true for the administrative persona-who remain positioned to service no matter what the conditions of the state might be.
It would be highly improper not to mention the great work that Kashmiri journalists, news publisher and cameramen perform and have done. They are the souls who scatter truth and enlightened the world with the real happenings within Indian Controlled Kashmir. Covering events and incidents of such mutiny under extreme volatile conditions is by no means an easy task. It is full of risk, danger and life threatening. These are the guardians who make and record Kashmiri history.
It is these men, whose untiring efforts and sacrifice with unmatched dedication has kept Kashmir intact despite the barbarian occupancy of the Indian government. Despite the violence and all possible violation of human rights in the area, Kashmiris like these have retained their love and faith which has made Kashmir stay alive despite full genocidal attempts by the Indian armed forces. The names of such individuals is an infinite list but all have one thing- courage in common be it be Ghulam Nabi Bhat, Abdul Aziz Kala, Nisar Ahmad Mir, Ghulam Muhamad Sofi from Ganderbal or Mukhtar Ahmad all who fulfilled their duty despite themselves being injured, hit by pellets or shot down. What saddens is that these people are often neglected and they do not receive the due recognition that they deserve. Their sacrifices more than often go away unvoiced and talked of. However, this has to change!
It is long due that the government as well as social media starts backing these real heroes of our times and pay the due homage to this workforce such that the staff is further ignited with the flames of dedication and sincerity to serve the Kashmiris as they do and much more.
The Martyrs Day-13th July, 1931
Kashmir since times immemorial has been the stage of political activity and power hunger games due to its strategically important location. It is the gateway to the center of South East Asia. Ever since the Dogra rule was applied to it, people of the valley have been fighting for freedom. Although their pleas of independence have yet to make a mark, Kashmiris have never forgotten what happened on 13 July 1931. The Black Day or Yaum- e- Shahadat –e- Kashmir is celebrate all around the globe in equal fervent to commemorate the 22 Kashmiri Martyrs who laid down their lives fighting for self-rule in Kashmir. On 13th July, 1931 22 Kashmiris gathered to protest peacefully against the unjust persecution of Abdul Qadeer Khan Ghazi and against the continuity of the Dogra rule. However, the Indian armies opened fire on these civilians and mass murdered all of them. Whole of Kashmir was shocked and vibrated with dismay at the Indian brutality and lack of understanding.
Many incidents fueled this condition leading to this bloody day in the history of Kashmir. Immediate cause however was that Abdul Qadeer Khan an employee under Butt of Yorkshire, openly addressed mass gathering at Kanqah -i-Maula. This was recorded by the Indian officials. At night upon his return, Abdul Qadeer was taken prisoner and charged with Treason. He was publically trialed and unjustly declared guilty. Masses of Muslims had assembled to witness the case proceedings and upon the result they retaliated. The crowd urged the judge as well as police to leave Qadeer and stop the unlawful persecution. However, instead of hearing the public pleas and revisiting his case, Qadeer was hanged, protestors were gunned down. It was so brutal that witness report that the earth shook and the sky blazed red with the blood of these martyrs. To this day all over the world, Muslims and Kashmiris commemorate this day with equal fervor. Certain remarkable people to have achieved martyrdom include names as
- Khaliq Shora
- Akbar Dar
- Ghulam Ahmad Rather
- Usman Misgar
- Ghulam Ahmad Bhat
- Ghulam M Halwai
- Ghulam Nabi Kalwal
- Ghulam Ahmad Naqash
- Ghulam Rasool Durra
- Ameer-ud-Din Makayi
- Subhan Makayi
- Ghulam Qadir Khan
- Ramzan Chola
- Ghulam Mohammad Sofi
The Kashmiri Youth
Although the Kashmiri youth has been active in the freedom struggle but the movement reached its pinnacle after Burhan Muzaffar Wani was martyred on 8th, July 2016. His killing aggravated and has ignited the already passionate youth of Kashmir. They youth has then been more active, upfront, bold and more aggressive in their quest for seeking freedom from the Indian armed sources. They are now not just engaged in protest or blockades but actively quoting their struggles with the world and also share/upload the Indian activities with the world using social media. The veil of innocence worn by India has been now shattered and finally the world is able to see for themselves what is actually been done in the valley-the death game and the civilized Kashmiri freedom struggle.
Burhan Muzaffar Wani was an innocent Muslim who at the age of 15 joined the freedom struggle after continuous persecution and oppression without any reason by the Indian armed men. He soon become a Hizbul Mujahideen commander and worked intelligently voicing the plight of the Kashmiris using the internet. His work and brave depiction of the cruelties soon turned him into a popular youth icon. His rising popularity and the damage to the Indian repute that his videos and pictures on social media did soon forced the Indian forces to quell this uprising force. Wani was captured and killed with ruthless brutality. The day Indian forces committed his murder, they unknowingly produced thousands of new Wanis in every house of Indian Controlled Kashmir. Today, every young Kashmiri dreams of being like Burhan Wani, every child loves wearing t-shirts with slogan lines: ‘I am Burhan too’.
Wani’s death has not just affected the Kashmiri but it has left a grave mark on Indian troops as well. His death still electrifies their mind and many suffer from nightmares of that awful day. The Indian security forces are haunted by the violence and insurgency that ensued after his murder. It was the worst period of tyranny and darkness in the history of Kashmir so much so that the Indian security forces had to keep strict curfew for 53 long days after the martyrdom of Burhan Wani. The momentum gained by the freedom movement since then has only accelerated with no chances of subduing.
Civilian turned Freedom Fighters
It is easier to invade any region, but to subdue the civilian uprising is not possible given the past world history of nations. External army no matter how strong unless and unless nuclear invasion takes place cannot beat civilian uprisings by sheer force. The history of French revolution, partitioning of the subcontinent itself, the decolonization of Britain colonies and states all tell tales of majority being the decisive factors. Majority is the authority holds true. This is what India chooses to disregard in case of Kashmir.
Initially, the freedom movement was unpopular and had mixed members. It consisted of Pashtuns, the tribal men and Kashmiris. Militant group number was less, now there are various operational groups. These freedom fighter had to urge Kashmiri youths to join the freedom cause but now the youth approaches these groups themselves to become active freedom fighters. Kashmiris were earlier awaiting the world to wake up to their plight and resolve the conflict, now they have decide to settle the matter by themselves. Slogans of ‘It is our land, we shall deal it our way’ has quite captured the imagination of the locals. Another popular motivational line is ‘We are free and we shall be free’.
The state of art regarding the freedom struggle is now no longer limited to the armed persona. Every household, every human being in Kashmir that can think and act is now its active representatives. People having seen all forms of possible cruelty, injustice, killing, torture, oppression, persecution, theft, molestation, beating, stoning, public abuse and harassment are no longer afraid of anything. Death holds no terror for them, instead the youth aims to die as a martyr fighting for the homeland. All Kashmiris particularly those in the valley firmly believe self-rule is the only way out. They want complete independence both from Indian dictatorship and Pakistani control.
The Indian forces now have to face an educated and intelligent opposition. The new freedom fighters are using social media effectively to promote their cause and share the real face of the Indian forces. They aptly upload the ground realities and actions performed within Kashmir by the Indian army, the military, and paramilitary as well as the secret service. The world is gradually coming to understand the real plight of Kashmiris and the grave injustice being inflicted upon these innocent souls just because they are Muslims or are Kashmiris.
Young Kashmiris now do not hesitate to share their pictures holding riffles and AK47 on various social media sites such as the Facebook. This is done to market the freedom spirit, motivate others to join and increase the pace of the freedom fight. As a result now militant groups have no issue recruiting new fighters.
The war zone has changed entirely now. It is no longer easier for the Indian militia to carry ahead their operations freely. Now, when they ambush any militant hideout, they have to cross a crowd who blocks them bravely disregarding any fear of being shot out.
Abdul Ahad Waza, pioneer of giving arms training in Azad Jammu & Kashmir to groups that could go and operate in Indian controlled Kashmir said that JKLF(Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front had not expected such a big turnout in terms of support after they planted the first bomb. He is reported to have said that a massive change in peoples thinking has emerged, one that is focused towards attaining freedom from the Indian control. Waza spent 11 years in jail for supporting the freedom activities, now however he lives retried but says new freedom struggle is infused with a frenzy and passion that lacked earlier. Kashmiris are now more united and focused then earlier.
The current freedom struggle involves not just militants but educated Kashmiris are also an active part of this movement. One such case was that of Abdul Manan Wani, a geologist Phd researcher, who left off to join Hizbul Mujahedeen group.
Wani is reported to have told the Kashmiri media reasons for his sudden move which included that now the fight was between them (the civilians) and the Indian forces. Although JKLF ended its operations in 1994, many other freedom groups have taken its place, who are more technologically advanced, better armed and much more focused and coherent.
The freedom struggle after the Srinagar bombing gradually started gaining momentum that revoked blind action from the Indian forces. It was followed by greater extrajudicial murders, killings, arrests and disappearances. The freedom group leaders urged public and civilians to maintain law and order following peaceful means of protests against the Indian forces. Years 2004 towards 2010 saw unarmed and peaceful protestations and blockades with streets witnessing massive increase in the number of civilians marching the streets. In contrast, the armed Indian forces countered these demonstration with aggression and dealt the participants with rough actions.
As a result, the rebellion and protests seemed to be diminishing when in 2016, Indian armed men made a fatal error. The killing of Burhan Wani, just 23 years of age sent whole of Kashmir into a fit of fury. Freedom fighters arose with a new passion and embers of self-rule that seemed to be fading rekindled and kindled anew with a brighter light. Curfew was implemented for longest duration around 57 days which did little to diffuse the condition. Wani was an intellectual rebel who recorded Indian forces acts of immoral atrocities and shared them timely on the internet. This had started to aggravate the world community and had captured the attention of many states. This in turn put foreign pressure upon New Delhi to look into the matter and stop the tyranny in Indian controlled Kashmir. Hence, for India eradication of Wani became an imminent easy step to quell the mounting world pressure.
Little did the armed forces knew that in killing Burhan Wani, they would be digging their own grave A dead Burhan exhorts a far-fetched and deeper pull on the Kashmiris in particular the youth. He is the youth icon for freedom and sacrifice.
Legendary Kashmiri Figures
Certain people are born leaders destined to reach out to millions of heart and live in them forever. Kashmir has a plethora of such gifted personals who rose above the common to deliver great services. In this case, many Kashmiris have from time to time, made unique sacrifices and worked untiringly for the freedom of their state. The list of such remarkable figures is infinite however only some of these are discussed in this article.
- Mirwaiz Molvi Mohammad Farooq
Mirwaiz Molvi Mohmmad Farooq born in 1944, Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq was a pure soul. Having received initial education from the Islamia School at Rajouri Kadal, founded by the great revolutionary and scholarly figure of Kashmir-Molvi Rasool Shah II. The school delivered excellent and correct Islamic education, along with moral classes and western knowledge as well. Mirwaiz’s family had a strong impact upon the Kashmiri society both in educational as well as religious facets. Hence, education he received right from his childhood shaped and molded Muhammad Farooq to be a rightful, thoughtful and pious individual.
Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq had always been perplexed and horrified at the politics and attitude of the Indian army within Kashmir. So, he started observing and studying these both. The incident of theft of the holy relic-Hair of the Prophet (SAW) gave him a chance to be involved in the mainstream politics and experience the manipulative tactics of the Indians. He bravely protested and conducted peaceful protest in front of every Indian armed and unarmed center in Kashmir against the issue until officials at New Delhi was compelled to resolve it. From then onwards, Muhammad Farooq started being the favorite leader of the freedom fighters and a model of courage for all. With the death of Atique Ullah Shah in 1962, the party workers urged Molvi Muhammad Farooq to be their Naib. From there, Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq soon came to be called as Young Farooq.
Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq then led a series of efforts focused on educating the locals about their religious rights and responsibilities. Then they were delivered sermons upon what political rights they had as being citizens of Kashmir. Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq also ultimately setup the “Action Committee” a body that turned into “People’s Action Committee” (Awami Action Committee) soon. The glowing demand of the party was that Kashmir be given its due right of freedom. Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq continued valiant efforts in this regard until his assassination in 1965.
Mirwaiz Molvi Muhammad was the head molvi at Jamia Mosque at Srinagar. Here the public was given sermon to realize tthe real motives of the Indians and to justify the actions of the power hungry Indian troops. His struggles and untiring efforts lifted the Kashmirs from their slumber and made them accept the harsh reality of their paradox and unjust actions of the Indiana army. Mirwaiz Farooq also urged the India establishment to lend a softer ear to what atrocities their army was committing in Kashmir, also to holf trilateral talks in order to solve the dispute peacefully. His passion and concern can be seen though the weekly newspaper that he published namely Huriyat and Haroof-e-Haq.
Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq suffered greatly at the hands of the Indian militia after his arrest in October 1965 where he was subjected to 3rd degree torture. At the time both rivals India and Pakistan had attained nuclear status and were at war with each other. Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was prisoned for 2 years. Some unknown person, gunned him to death on 21st May, 1990 at his resident in Nigeen Srinagar.
Fully aware of the popularity that Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq held, the Indian officials declared his murder to have been a planned terrorist attack. To make matter more grave and saddening for the Kashmiris, the funeral procession of Mirwaiz Muhammad Farooq was attacked by armed Indian troops. Displaying great disregard for humanity, the corpse was badly bulleted while more than nearly 70 people were martyred on spot.
For the people of Kashmiris he was a spiritual as well political enlightenment a hero, whose shadows will always linger the hearts and souls of every Kashmiri. Every year, his death is commemorate by a peaceful procession from his ancestral home at Rajouri Kadal to Martyrs Graveyard- Eidgah.
- Ayub Thakur
Muhammad Ayub Thakur is another refined Kashmiri great leaders who achieved martyrdom while serving the greater cause of freedom for homeland –Kashmir. M. Ayub Thakur lived from 1948 to 2004. He was an active political figure who founded the Kashmiri London based freedom movement organization, in short known as WKFM. This organization works to attain peaceful solution to the Kashmir conflict. Ayub Thakur also established a charity firm- Mercy Universal. British officials investigated it to be linked with militant groups in particular the Hizbul-Mujahideen. However, M. Ayub Thakur denied all such report and told he had solid proves in the form of videos and documents to show that money had been used to help the poor and the needy by buying sewing machines for them to make a living for themselves. Both these foundations lacked the right leadership after his death in 2004, therefore is slowly almost non-operative.
Muhammad Ayub Thakur was a intellect with had his Doctorate degree in the subject of Nuclear Physics. Before joining politics, he was a lecturer in the University of Kashmir. Soon, he become the head of the student front in the university. In 1974, he formulated the Jammu and Kashmir Students Islamic Organization and headed it till 1977. This organization later joined another and the two amalgamated as Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba. He remained it head from 1977 to 1981. He was also one of those leader who condemned and opposed the pact between Sheikh Abdullah and Indra Gandhi.
Muhammad Ayub Thakur’s major contribution to the Kashmir’s freedom movement has been his extensive lectures delivered all over the world that shed light on the actual condition in Kashmir and has helped the world community to know the ground realities of Kashmir. He managed to bring forth the common Kashmiri’s voice at Oxford, Cambridge, Saudia Riyadh conferences, Kuala Lampur and other important world universities.
During his tenure as the lecturer, Dr. Ayub increased his peaceful efforts at making the Kashmiris demand for self-rule and right to self-determination to be heard all over the globe in order to gain world community’s support. This he believed would pressurize the Indian government to halt it series of unlawful atrocities. In the month of August, 1980, he along with his Islami Jamat-i-Talaba assembled a group of scholars and researches to organize an international conference in the University of Kashmir. However, the Indian government issued a ban on this conference. Using the Public Safety Act (PSA) imprisoned Dr. Ayub after terminating him from his job at the university, along with his colleagues.
Dr Ayub was imprisoned for 5 months. During his imprisonment, Dr.Ayub confronted all kinds of torture that the Indian army knew and was exposed to severe metal harassment. However, his ideology was not weakened nor changed as the army wanted to. Instead, in 1981 he came out more focused, dynamic and infused with a new vision. He started patrolling all over Kashmir to awaken the youth of Kashmir and to mobilize them into active freedom activists. His activities were interrupted at will by the armed forces. As a result, fed up of the swaying dance between him and the forces he decided to join the University of King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah in Saudi Arabia as a lecturer (1981-1984).
Being true to his cause and ideology, Dr. Ayub never gave up. Where ever he lived, he forgot his duty as a Kashmiri. In his lectureship at University of King Abdul Aziz University, he soon started organizing groups that were dedicated to voice ahead the anguish of the Kashmiris. Then he left for UK to pursue the post doctorate program. Here again, he kept working on his agenda of mobilizing people and activists to work for bringing forward the plight of the Kashmiris on International level.
Dr. Muhammad Ayub became the President of the World Kashmir Freedom Movement in 1990, head of the UK-based charity firm: Mercy Universal in 2000, and Director the Director of the Justice Foundation in 2003. Out of these three firms, only the Justice Foundation is active at present. Growing success of his conferences and participation of various nationality people, made the Indian government wary of Thakur and his constant attempts to paint their true color on the International Canvas.
Having left nothing to inflict upon him in another country, they started accusing both WKFM and the Mercy Universal of having strong ties with militant groups particularly those residing and getting trained in AJK. The organizations were made to be thoroughly investigated both by the British Scotland Yard, as well as the Brussels intelligence. Nothing could be proved or linked so, in desperation they asked the British government to cancel his citizenship in 1991 and 1992. In addition they canceled his Kashmiri citizenship and turned him an exiled. Upon his death, his family pleaded the Indian government for allowing them the sanction to bury Dr. Ayub at his home place but it was given a big NO!
This is the price that these great leader have to pay. Having worked day and night throughout his life, this immortal leader of Kashmir could not find a final place amongst the air of his beloved homeland.
- Amanullah Khan
Another great Kashmiri patriot. Amanullah khan was born in Gilgit to a revenue employee Jumma Khan, who left him an orphan at the tender age of three. Amanullah lived with his uncle Hashmat Ali Khan in Kupwara wher he completed his initial education, later joined Handwara high school. He had 1st position in his matriculation exams amongst the Muslim students and got admission in Sri Pratap College in Srinagar. He was sponsored by the NC leader, Moulana Masoodi.
At that time, Kashmir has amidst conspiracies acceded to India, with Sheikh Abdullah being the first PM of Kashmir. His homeland, Gilgit, residency of Baltistan and northern parts of Kashmir had gone under Pakistan’s control. Although Amanullah, initially admired Sheikh Abdullah but he wanted Kashmir to join Pakistan not India depending on its ethnic similarities with Pakistan and stark differences with the Indian culture.
When Khan joined the protests against the assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan, he was forced to vacate IOK. He arrived in Pakistan in 1952, and tried to get admission in the Rawalpindi College. However, it was refused with the reason that his previous college was not recognized here. Then joined the Edwards College in Peshawar where again was kicked out as had falling out with the Principal. Finally, Amanullah settled in the Sindh Madrassa-ul-Islam (Karachi) from where he graduated having a Law degree in 1962.
Year 1962 saw Amanullah rising as a staunch leader amongst the unification advocates. He wanted to see the state of Jammu and Kashmir as it was before division with complete freedom from both Pakistan and India. He soon started monthly publishing of a magazine called ‘Voice of Kashmir’ that explained his ideological ideas and motivated others to join the cause. He was joined by G.M. Lone (member of Azad Kashmir State Council) in establishing the Kashmir Independence Committee. Purpose of this was to have an active presence in the politics of Indian Controlled Kashmir. In 1964, he was made the head of the AK Plebiscite Front similar to its counterpart-the Kashmir Plebiscite Front headed over by Mirza Afzal Beg. Later, both federations were merged as one known as Azad Kashmir Plebiscite Front.
Armed efforts started soon after the 1965 failure. He was joined by Maqbool Bhat and Mir Ahmad who while trying to have members for the armed cause in the Valley, accidently killed a police officer. They were chase, Mir Ahmad was killed but Maqbool managed to make it into Azad Kashmir. He was declared as an Indian spy and imprisoned. Similarly Amanullah was captured, imprisoned for 15 months. He was later released when agitation and protest in Gilgit did not seemed to stop or subdue. Other similar attempts to infiltrate into Indian controlled Kashmir proved futile due lack of structure, management, funds and ample arm supply.
Met with failure, Amanullah deported to UK where the British Mirpuris supported his cause and wanted to extend the efforts for reunion. These had left their homeland during the construction of the Mangla Dam. They converted the UK wing of Plebiscite Front into Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front-JKLF in the year 1977, with an armed wing labelled as the National Liberation Army-NLA. JKLF opened it offices in various areas such as the parts of Europe, Britain, Middle-East, the US as well as in LUT JKLF opened branches in various countries in Europe and the Middle East as well as the US.
Series of armed actions were designed such as the bombing of the 1983, March conference of non-aligned commission in New Delhi. This was however not acted upon yet the liberation captured Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre and asked Indian government to exchange him for Maqbool Bhat. Unfortunately, kidnappers got scared and Amanullah Khan failed to handle the situation. The result was that the captured diplomat was shot down. Six days later Indian’s executed Maqbool Bhat. UK government expelled both Amanullah Khan and Hashim Qureshi with terrorism charges.
This was yet not the last of Amanullah’s freedom struggles. He came back to Pakistan where he got the chance to work with ISI. The political scenario at the time was very stringent with Zia ul Haq being the Pakistani premier. He was in favor of creating civil disturbance within Indian controlled Kashmir to stop India from conducting the sham elections of 1987. On the other end, the youth of Indian controlled Kashmir was highly aggravated and bent on avenging the rulers of their shameful widespread armed actions. Hence, they crossed over the LOC to be trained over by JKLF led over by Amanullah Khan. The turnout that JKLF received astonished Amanullah as well. The liberation ha d not expected such huge numbers to join them Soon, within months, JKLF emerged as the dominant representative of the opposition force against the Indian control. It started working with renewed zeal and passion. Indians now had a real tough time implementing their waywardness and immorality.
Pakistan had been supporting JKLF for its own temporary reason primarily to create militant group that could infiltrate into Kashmir, and to handle their ongoing business with Russia at that time. In the long run, when it found Islamist and other militant groups performing counter terrorist activities in Pakistan as well, Pakistan ceased its support to JKLF. The liberation suffered a hefty blow. Moreover in 1994, Yasin Malik, the JKLF leader in Indian controlled Kashmir called for an indefinite ceasefire. Amanullah disagreed. Both had separate views leading to JKLF being divided into two divisions.to make matters more complex, Pakistan openly accepted Yasin Malik as the new JKLF leader. Despite differences, the two parts reunited in 2011 and Amanullah never supported armed resistance again.
Subtracting all other services and the struggles Amanullah Sahib took up for his homeland, even then he outshines all others. His literary contribution is also priceless. He wrote extensively and effective writings both in English as well as Urdu. He authored 3 books, many pamphlets, brochures and short booklets around 60. He wrote almost more than 100 hundred articles all discussed various facets of the Kashmiri lives. These hav been published in many leading newspapers of various countries: India, Pakistan, UK and even European lands.
- Asiya Andrabi
Asiya Andrabi is one of those fortunate lucky females who get the chance to exercise their leadership qualities. She is a rare gemstone of Kashmir. A miracle for all females of the Valley, Asiya Andrabi is the leading separatist freedom fighter in Kashmir. She leads the Dukhtaran-e-Millat group that is a subsidiary of the larger organization All Parties Hurriyat Conference. The group works to acquire complete freedom from the Indian Rule.
Asiya married Dr Qasim Faktoo one of the founders of the Hizbul Mujahideen group in1990. Although, Dr. Qasim was jailed in 1992, Asiya has been actively running the largest women jihadist organization since then. She has been openly opposing the Indians on all fronts. In retaliation of ban against beef meat sale she slaughtered a cow and, made its video and circulated it in Indian circle in 2015.
She has conducted many peaceful as well as armed protest across the Valley. She actively support and made the 2010 stone pelting protests called by Masarat Alam in 2010. She also hoisted Pakistani flags against all odds in sheer defiance of the Indian militia. Asiya was captured by the Indian National Investigation Agency to interrogate her about her supposed terrorist activities.
Asiya is not just another visionary. She is a graduate intellect having completed her BSc (Biochemistry) and post-graduation in Islamic studies. Asiya’s path into leadership was not pre-planned. She used to be attached with Talimul Quran where she taught women to understand their faith and have their vision clear. Females were educated about their legal rights and duties. Massive positive response from the females gradually shifted interest towards freeing others from the evil clutches of the Indian oppression. This gradually converted it into the Dakhtaran-e-Milat group. On motivation to finding the Islamic motivated group. Asiya is reported to have shared that she always wanted to study abroad but it was not allowed under the circumstances. That broke her and led her to depression. In this state, Asiya was rescued by Mayil Khairabadi’s book ‘Khawateen ki Baatein’. The story of Maryam Jameela, convert to Islam acted as the catalyst and prompted Asiya to plunge into Islamic studies.
Asiya rose to international notice with her active role in the 2010 rallies against the Indian control. She has been repeatedly arrested since 1993 for anti-national activities. She has been kept prisoner under many charges such as raising Pakistani flag, addressing telephonic conference in Pakistan and many other acts that to Indian are unacceptable but which are an individual’s right of expression. Despite her failing health, she is put in prison that had caused a lot of unrest within the valley and greater number of protest.
- Afzal Guru
On every 9th of February, whole of Kashmir stands up to commemorate the death anniversary of Afzal Guru- a hero and an everlasting motivation for all Kashmiris. He was as untiring man of iron will and a golden heart. He was secretly hanged in central Indian jail at Tihari on 9th Feb, 2013. His burial remains have not been handed over to his relatives. This still stands a grave issue and every year thousands gather around the jail to demand the return of his corpse. Martyrdom of Afzal Guru was jointly condemned by all-all freedom organizations, militant groups, International peace and human rights organizations. However, this has never swayed the evil and corrupt minded Indian politics and coward army. Afzal was charged of having laid plans for attack on Indian Parliament (2001), a charge that Afzal denied up-till his death.
What Indian have been doing is denial-denial of the fact that no other external agent/country or Islamic group is supporting or firing the hatred and defiance that Kashmiris depict against them. It is their natural reaction against their brutality, suppression and unjustified control over a land that has been crying independence since 1947. Whereas they know this fact in their hearts, Indians have been trying their best to suppress the Kashmiris through sheer force. Indian forces have left no illegal, unlawful or draconian law to inflict pain, suffering and molestation upon the Kashmiris to diffuse their spirit of freedom but all has been in vain.
Pakistan on the other end has been repeatedly accused by the Indian government of funding these insurgent groups and of training armed groups in Kashmir. However the truth is that Pakistan has always been favoring complete Freedom for Kashmiris as is their right. Pakistan has made serious efforts both locally as well as international level for freeing the
Kashmiris are now resolved not to let the blood sacrifice of heroes like Afzal Guru go wasted. The whole state is united in quest to drive out Indian forces from within Kashmir and provide their generations a better homeland free of bullets, gun noise, dirty politics and forced sexual assault.
- Yasin Malik
Yasin Malik born in Srinagar (1966), is a respectable and most active separatist leader of Kashmiris at present. His federation works to be free of Indian as well as Pakistani influence or control. He is current Chairman of JKLF- an organization that initiated armed rebellion in the valley; something which Malik abandoned in 1994 and since then the liberation is adopting peaceful civilized means of gearing Kashmir to Independence.
Malik tells that he grew up watching violence and extra-judicial killings on the streets. Initially these baffled and confused him but gradually he came to understand the dirty politics being played with the Kashmiris. The final straw was a fight between taxi drivers and the forces. After that accident, Malik choose to stand against the forces. He soon gathered men under a party called the Tala party. The members used to print, publish and distribute daily incidents of illegal acts of the Indians forces inflicted upon the innocent Kashmiris.
The group actively engaged in disturbing the cricket match in Sheri Kashmir stadium in 1983 against West Indies and also played a huge part in demonstrations and opposition against execution of Maqbool Bhat. Following these, Malik was jailed for 4months. Malik renamed his party the Islamic Students League after his release from the jail. Now, the league became quite popular amongst the young and the teenagers. Its notable members include names like Javed Mir, Abdul Hameed Sheikh, Ajaz Dar, Ashfaq Majeed Wani, Shoukat Bakshi, Firdous Shah and many other.
During the 1987, election ISI led by Malik joined the Muslim United Front although it did not participate in the constituent as had no faith in it. Despite that the league campaigned enthusiastically for MUF all across the valley. ISL integration with MUF was basically to counter the dirty tactics of the National Conference party in the streets by enforcing street power. When the election count began, ISL supported MUF candidate Mohammad Yusaf Shah had a massive lead, but at the end NC candidate was declared as the winner with simultaneous arrest of both Mohammad Yousaf and Yasin Malik without any warrant, arrest charge or formal complaint. Huge reports and evidences of rigging and manipulation were shown in the court-all was washed down the drain with NC being made the winner on 62 seats such that they formed the government single handedly.
The Indian manipulations and discrepancy in 19787 elections further fueled the Kashmiris of the fact that they had to turn to arms to let their voice s be heard. Eventually after his prison end Yousaf Shah decide to turn to arms and train himself for guerella fighting. H e promised to give Indians a taste of their own method. Along with Yasin Malik, he got training and eventually became the command in chief of Hizb ul Mujahedeen. Both returned to the valley as devout members of JKLF and vowed to work till the last breath for unified freedom of both parts of Kashmir.
Soon, the Kashmir wing of JKLF known as the HAJY group was formed with Yasin Malik, Hameed Sheikh, Ashfaq Wani and Javed Mir. This was now an armed group laced with training and art to inflict pain as the Indian forces. Hajy group was shocked at the overwhelming response they received from the locals especially the young. Millions flocked to join the armed cause and soon the group waged a full scale guerrilla war with the forces. The Indian army was in shock for the first time, it was at a loss at what to do.
Security officials were targeted, ministers and other army men with a series of bombing and kidnappings. Ashfaq Wani was killed while fighting the forces, Malik was wounded and take a prisoner. Similarly, although Hameed Sheikh was captured but released on condition that he would fight off the border guerrillas from Pakistan. Year 1992, saw most of the JKLF leaders either killed, captured or gone underground. Some of these were killed by the Indian forces others ceased to operate as Pakistan stopped it aid to the group since it was not supporting Pakistan’s cause regarding Kashmir. Major fell out between hizb ul Mujahedeen and the JKLF occurred as more than 300 activists were captured and killed without trial by the Indian security forces upon information leaked by the Hizb ul Mujahedeen members.
In May 1994, Yasin Malik declared a ceasefire to armed resistance. He declared to adopt Ghandi like methods to show resistance and attain freedom. He shared that loss of so many activists clearly affected his vision and now the league would work differently. No more force to obtain their right by birth. Kashmiris were born free and shall be free in all conditions. Malik proposed peaceful solution to the conflict and stated that trio negotiations be conducted between Indian, Pakistani and Kashmiri to arrive upon an acceptable solution of handling full freedom to the state of Kashmir. His suggestions and proposals have been met with negative response from the Indian government. Malik vehemently opposed the legislative elections of 1995 by declaring these to be a slap on democracy and a phantom of realities in terms of power.
In the end of 1995, JKLF parted ways into two divisions one led by Yasin Malik and other headed by Amanullah on grounds of varying political visions. Malik was prisoned under the Public Safety Act in 1999 and in 2002 under the Prevention Terrorism Act. Malik conducted face meeting with Pakistani President, Indian President as well as world leaders. In 2007, Malik launched the Safr-e-Azadi movement. Under this, malik along with his supporters visited more 3500 Kashmiri villages and enlightened the people of their rights and the politics being played with them Malik urged his fellowmen to rise up and come in front peacefully to demand their right to freedom. The journey did not end here, Yasin also visited world leaders in all parts of the world to inform them of the Kashmiri plight, to address the issues and problem at hand.
- Mirwaiz Mohammad Umer Farooq
In the Muslim world, there are few not familiar with the name of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq. He is an internationally recognized Kashmiri leader who wields massive support in and out of Kashmir. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq is the spiritual as well as political leader of the Kashmiris. He is listed in the 500 list of most Influential Muslims at present. This is a list published yearly in Jordon for research purposes.
He is the son of former Kashmiri Waiz Muhammad Farooq. He joined the rank of Mirwaiz just at the tender age of 17 when his father was gunned by an unknown militant. Born in 1973, Umer is a prominent Kashmiri separatist leader who heads the popular Awami Action Committee. Upon the death of his father, Umer was head of the AAC only but then he conjoined the 23 pro-freedom parties of Kashmir into a merger under All parties Hurriyat Conference- APHC. Most tragically, while walking with the funeral procession of his father, Indian forces opened wild arms and injured thousand. The body of the dead was molested with gun firing and 72 innocents were martyred on spot.
He became the 14th Mirwaiz of Kashmir on 30th May, 1990. He was interviewed in 1997 whence he described the role of a Mirwaiz in Kashmir. He explained that Mirwaiz has always been the religious teacher of the people and have had strong political education role in their lives. His grandfather was the co-founder of the first ever political party in Kashmir. He also explained that Sheikh Abdullah, was also given entry to politics by their family. His father formed the People’s Awami league which worked for the right of Kashmiris and making it heard across the globe. So in short. He said their role has not only been to teach, but to motivate, keep the flames of faith even in the darkest of times and allow Kashmiris to move on with the freedom struggle against all odds and hurdles.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq studied in Burn Hall School, of Srinagar. He had dreams of being a computer software engineer. However, that could not be pursued. Instead now he is a postgraduate in Islamic Studies with a Phd on “Politico-Islamic role of Shah-e-Hamdan” subject.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has been a pillar of Kashmiri roots and legacy of their religious and social believes. He is one of the most inspiring political and religious figure who is dedicated to Kashmir and its problems. He has been instrumental in carrying the voice of Kashmir to all over the world. He has represented his state in many countries and always has made his message heard via peace. Nothing has and will deter him from his struggle except death!
8. Masarat Alam Bhat
He was merely 19 years old when joined Hizbullah militant group. He was soon jailed in 1990. His political character has been discussed more than any other persons in the Indian cabinet. His aggressive and bold approach to demonstrate rebellion against the tyranny has been exemplary and threatening to the Indian army. He is fearless, passionate and starkly honest with a massive militant fan following.
Although, Alam has been right from the beginning of his career been subjected to repeated arrests, even then he wields great power within the freedom fighters. He was jailed in 1990, then again 1993, then 2001 and again captured in 2003. Masarat came to attention within the local population in 2008 with his role in the Amarnath land dispute. Alam opposed it with political force and armed militants. This landed him again in jail for another 21 months.
He was released in 2010 and took Active part in the rallies and agitation across the valley against the death of Matoo. This time however, using brains Alam went into hiding and kept his operations running. Again and again timelines with targets was released to the group that had to be conducted in order the momentum kept going. His activities smirked and agitated the forces so much that they announced a prize money of 15 lakh over his head. This further fueled Alam’s formidability.
October, 2010 saw Masarat being arrested at his uncle’s home in Telbal(Srinagar). He face no criminal charges and therefore had to be released. Currently he is the Secretary General of All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Alam also leads the Jammu Kashmir Muslim League.
Alam has been subjected to Indian military and paramilitary politics more than one can recount. His entire career and freedom fight is full of arrests, bails and imprisonment. The Indian forces has exercise the irrational and unlawful the Public Security Act over him again and again. Despite the court having released him, the forces captured Alam without any notice, or legal authorities and shifted him to unknown location. The forces have many times killed another, created massacres to put their charges over Alam and hence keep him detained. In September 2015, there was state wise protest and gatherings asking government to release Masarat Alam.
9. Ghulam Mohammad Bhat
Ghulam Mohammad Bhat was selected as the 4th Amir of the JeI and his party recorded majority votes first time in 15 years. He is agreed by all to be man of great wisdom, acumen and foresight. Having a business background, Bhat’s interaction with Jamat e Islami near his home area Lathi Shaath village, drove him towards freedom struggle. He formally joined JeI in 1960 as a Rakhuna and gradually rose up in rank. Initially, he was associated with the educational branch and communication area of JeI so, did his BA and also has been involved with family fruit business.
In 1985, Saad Ud Din Tarabali gave up his rank as the head which made Bhat elected as the 2nd Amir of JeI. He was again elected in 1993 however, Ghulam Bhat was imprisoned after many JeI members were severely beaten by state police in 1997. Later when released Ghulam Bhat declared that JeI would now not be involved in any armed insurgency nor protest in any armed manner. This led to mixed politics within JeI. In 2003, Nazir Ahmad Kashaani chooses to be the head of the largest pro-lslamic party-Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. This was later joined by Syed Sheikh Geelani and other JeI members. This move was not a great decision as it ridiculed both parties who were having separate identity and preaching about Abul Ala Maududi.
After his return from prison, Bhat started renewed efforts to change the entire outlook of JeI. He is holding meetings and talks with all other former JeI leaders as well as Syed Ali Geelani. He is willing to let bygone be bygones and is meeting with all his advisories to diffuse past misconceptions and conduct ahead more vigorous efforts for the freedom of Kashmir. He is also focusing more on the educational side of JeI. He believes education in true essence is necessary for the future generations of Kashmir. He believes that only when a civilization is educated in the right sense, only then can it understand what its rights, responsibilities are and how to take action for oneself. An educated lot is more organized, discipline and better equipped with legal proceedings. So a lot of work is being conducted on this aspect.
His re-election for the 4th time is expected to further alienate JeI from the Hurriyat Party that is led by Geelani. Ghulam Bhat is an advocate of peace and more educated approach towards freedom struggle.
11. Maqbool Bhatt
33 years passed since the martyrdom of Maqbool Bhatt, who was imprisoned by the Pakistani court as well as Indian court. He was accused of being a Pakistani agent as well as an Indian agent. However, people of Kashmir still even after 33 years of his death, celebrate his tireless and sincere efforts for the freedom of Kashmir. Bhat openly stated in both countries court that he was not an agent of either country but a freedom fighter of Kashmir who wanted to see his motherland free from external influences of all. He declared that he was the enemy of armed forces in Kashmir. He is justly revered by all the political parties of Kashmir and deeply loved and idolized by people on either side of the de facto LOC. He is also referred to as the Father of the Nation by Kashmiris.
Despite valiant efforts by the Indian forces to quell the struggle and Bhatts inspiration, the struggle goes on. People still praise Maqbool, sing poetry for his work and struggles not only in Kashmir but all around the globe. In UK, the JKLF conducts gathering every year on his martyrdom day where vows are made to carry and spread his vison and work. In front of Indian Embassy in US, UK, Saudi Arabia and other nations, peaceful rallies are carried singing slogans of “Bhat is alive and shall live always”
Maqbool Bhatt was born in Trahagam village of Tehsil Handwara in 1938. Maqbools mother left him only when he was 11 years old. Fed up with poverty and the harsh treatment of farmers by the then Maharaja made the young Maqbool’s heart harden and prompted him to rise up against the system where common man was devoid of social rights, equality and justice. Bhatt told his story from prison cell in 1972, where he narrated that the oppression and suppression seen at that tender age had a profound effect on his mind and soul. He wanted Kashmir a safe secure place for all without prejudice and social class system. He wanted Kashmir free of all forms of slavery like feudalism, class system and dictatorship. Law should be above all and for all irrespective of their status in life. Maqbool also stated that it was not just Indians he was fighting against but all other forms of slavery within the state. He wanted to see law rising up above all and to have a just land where children did not had to face favoritism in schools.
He also explained that after Sheikh Abdullah was elected, many of the unjust and many inequalities were still being carried on farmers and their children. What kind of a society makes rich children sit on colored and better comfort chairs as opposed to parents of poor children? Later, when Maqbool rose first in his class, he refused to take the prize unless seating arrangements were rearranged in a more fair and just manner without class differences. So he was a natural oppose to injustice in all forms. He had started fighting right from his teens during his schooldays. First went on to win a secondary status for his school, later led a fiery college life where his efforts led the college taken up by the government.
When Maqbool was questioned about crossing over to Pakistan, he told that in 1957 when Sheikh Abdullah was released, it was rejoiced by many while many protested. During that time he had his BA exams. Maqbool had his last paper on 2nd April, 1957. The forces started capturing activists and all those involved in freedom struggle directly or indirectly. He was also obviously going to be arrested, hence he went underground for some time. Sheikh Abdullah was rearrested on 27th April. Later, Maqbool sent his father to fetch him his temporary certificate and then they came over to Pakistan in 1958. Initially they came to Lahore, but finally settled in Peshawar. Here Maqbool Bhatt had the immediate problem of continuing his studies and to meet the expenses. It was difficult to live there until he found a job as a journalist in weekly INJAM magazine. Alongside, he completed his MA from the University of Peshawar in Urdu literature.
Maqbool’s entry into politics came when in 1961, he contested for a diaspora Kashmiri seat. He also campaigned widespread for KH. Khurshid and for GM. Lone as well during the elections. Both won their seats. At that time, new that Gibraltor mission was to be conducted started circulating according to which Pakistani forces wanted to send armed troops into Indian Controlled Kashmir to help the Kashmiris and secure integrity of Kashmir. However, Maqbool could not penetrate into the web of these news and later in 1963 joined KIC-Kashmir Independence Committee headed by Amanullah. During the same time, strong objection against the construction of Manga dam was under way. The Mirpuri were a rich riche lot and they vehemently opposed its construction. Many business men, shopkeepers and political figures joined the protest.
KIC took this opportunity and formed the Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front. Maqbool was made its head. This group was inspired from many of the freedom Liberation group all across the world during that time. In 1965, armed resistance protest was suggested before the Mirpur committee but it was rejected. Later, the same year, Maqbool Bhat, Amanullah, local business men, some Azad Kashmiri freedom lovers formed the NLF that signed down to start an armed struggle. Finally in 1966, Maqbool along with local Gilgit student and Kala Khan crossed LOC to recruit Kashmiris into NLF while Amanullah and GM. Lone stayed back to train and arrange for weapons for the trainees. Then NLF group succeeded in creating many small underground NLF units within IOK.
However, Indian Intelligence got wind of such activities and immediately launched a grand secret agency operation to seize all such Freedom Fighters.
Recalling the events of 1967-68, Dr. Syed Mushtaq Gilani narrates, “ I was in the higher secondary class in those days. My elder brother, Syed Muhammad Saeed was a professor at Degree College, Sopore. Those were my youthful days and I remember being the host of a young energetic Gentleman. The gentleman used to come from Srinagar and had a taste for western dressing”.
Those days, Wearing a Suit Coat and Pant was enough to lure eyes after you in Kashmir. The gentleman walked on the road to our house, Dr Gilani used to feel honored escorting him. Professor Saeed and some other companions used to have long discussions with the Well-dressed man.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked Kalay Khan AKA Tariq. “I want to be a doctor and serve free Kashmir”, this was the reply of the then young Mushtaq Gilani.
One day, a huge bang was heard at the front gate of the Gilani Manzil, Sopore. The news was that Ghulam Hassan Bach has been arrested by Indian forces. As soon as Prof Saeed heard this, he instructed Mushtaq to take the gentleman with him out of the valley. Bewildered, Mushtaq took the well-dressed man by his hand and took him out. Little did he know that he was escorting Maqbool Bhatt out of danger. Back at home, JKPD and indian armed forces laid a crackdown and banged into the house, where Syeda Kulsoom Andrabi, the mother of Prof Saeed knew what was coming. Prof Saeed along with two prominent freedom fighters was arrested. Over the next days as Mushtaq came over, the news spread that Maqbool Bhatt too was taken into custody with Kalay Khan badly injured. Prof Saeed remained behind bars for more than 2 years and suffered great torture while Maqbool Bhatt managed an escape plan from the jail.
The NLF was still in the structuring and organizational phase so it could not offer much resistance. Aurangzeb from Gilgit was Killed, Kala Khan badly injured, Maqbool, Kala Khan and Amir Ahmad were captured. They were labelled enemies spies and tried as agents. They received death sentence. Maqbool however managed to escape to Azad Jammu & Kashmir, where unfortunately was captured and this time interrogated by Pakistani forces. He was badly treated and severely tortured until protests and his supporters made the government release them.
Later Maqbool faces the same hardships, he crossed to India in 1976 although his friends had asked him to not to go. He was spotted and captured. For 8 long years he was inflicted upon all types of torture and pain and in 1984, was suddenly and in haste executed without any prior notice. At the time, his lawyers were about to reopen his case but before they could file, the Indian forces hanged him without trial and buried him inside the Tihari jail. His relatives were not allowed to cross over, his belongings were confiscated and his remains not allowed to be seen.
Here it is worth mentioning that to the whole world India shows that it is a great secular and the largest democratic country but when it comes to Indian controlled Kashmir, where does its democracy and upholding of law goes away? Why it has no ears to the request and pleadings from the buried and dead’s relatives seeking India to either allow them to visit his tomb or send over the remains of his tomb. The Indian government as well as army use the laws as per their need. In martyrdom of Maqbool Bhatt, they show complete disregard for the law that clearly states that person to be executed has the right to see family before death and his family can meet him after execution. To Kashmiris and Kashmir, India has and is being irrational and sane. All its activities go well beyond humanitarian understanding.
Maqbool Bhatt lives and will always shine in the heart of all souls seeking freedom!
11. Sardar Mohammad Abdul Qayyum Khan
He is a famous Kashmiri leader who acted as the Prime Minister as well as President of AJK. He also headed the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference. Sardar Qayyum was born in Ghaziabad in Poonch in 1924, then a part of whole presidency of Jammu and Kashmir. He completed his education in Jammu and went onto jin the Engineers Corps in the British Indian Army. In the regime, Abdul Qayyum got the chance to represent subcontinent in Africa as well the Middle East. In short, he got International exposure and experience that helped him in his later struggle for freedom of Kashmir.
In 1946-47, The Dogra ruler had openly refuted to concede to the wishes of the Kashmiri people and hand over the control to Pakistan, Sardar Qayyum stepped in. He was the sole person who guided, mobilized, militarized and activated the Kashmiris to launch the great Liberation Movement on 23 August, 1947. Sardar Qayyum was joined in his struggle by the Pashtuns, locals from Gilgit Baltistan and Kashmiris from the valley. The team managed by Qayyum invade the land from the historic Neela Butt and after laborious fight was able to snatch free around 32,000 square miles of the Kashmir area that now forms Azad Jammu and Kashmir zone of the former princely state of Kashmir. Qayyum operated and handed the AK Battalion which is now called the 19-AK Battalion.
The freedom war continued till 1949 when India in fear of ultimate defeat at the hands of a few armed men called upon UNO to intervene and had a ceasefire in effect. At the time, Qayyum was a Major but right after the ceasefire, he gave his resignation. He entered politics by joining the All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference party. For no reason at all, he was arrested on the charges of having transgressed the LOC. He remained in jail for one and a half years. Abdul Qayyum was a part of the AJK constitution from 1956 to 1996 having served as its President 4 times and Prime Minister once. During his tenure, Abdul Qayyum rendered invaluable services for the uplift of the AJK people with special focus over education.
For his political services, freedom struggles and lion heartedness, Kashmiris call him Mujahid –e- Awal, world politicians and historians remember him as The Liberation Movement Initiator, awarded him the title of Man of the Year (1998) for his peace efforts throughout the globe. Not only this Qayyum was often called by world universities and freedom Liberation groups to preside over in the conferences, deliver and share his views and opinions. Many universities granted and offered him Phd and handed him peace prizes to recognize his untiring efforts on peace. Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan breathed his last after a long illness in Islamabad at the age of 91 years on 10th July, 2010. With his death, the land of Kashmir lost another of its rare gems, a legend in every aspect. Although he has passed away, but in his wake has carved a path of peace and sightedness. He has left permanent marks on Kashmir’s history.
12. Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Name of Syed Ali Shah Geelani needs no introduction. He is an icon – a symbol of courage, unity and untiring will. He stands shinning atop of all other freedom leaders of Kashmir at present and past. It would not be wrong to call him most influential and inspiring Legend of this era.
Born in 1929 on 29th September, Syed Ali Shah Geelani runs the Kashmiri separatist organization Tehreek-i-Hurriyat. Earlier he was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami league. He has also been the head of All Parties Hurriyat Conference which is a collective federation of nearly 23 separatist organization in Kashmir. He was elected as chairperson of Hurriyat Conference for the 4th time. He has also served thrice as a MLA from the Sapore constituency of Indian controlled Kashmir.
Geelani has never backed away from protesting over any unjust death, illegal activity or act of violence in Kashmir. His party workers are organized and dedicated to the freedom cause of Kashmir. Geelani had also been actively projecting the voice and demand of Kashmiris on many International Forums and Conferences such as the meeting of foreign ministers of OIC and Kashmiri contact group in New York (2015).
Geelani played a very crucial role in subduing the angry mob after the death of Burhan Wani. The youth had been enraged when Indian military and paramilitary brutally killed Wani in 2016. The state had been on the verge of full-scale civil war, but Geelani and All parties Huriyiat’s efforts helped diffuse the dangerous condition. Geelani even invited UNO and sent it a 6 parameter guideline to pacify the angry citizens of Kashmir.
Geelani has been charged many times with sedition charges on grounds of voicing for the enemy and upholding Pakistani flag in strikes. These were usually carried after he along with party members delivered the seminar named: Azadi-the Only Way In New Delhi.
Geelani openly blames India for state terrorism. He has again and again calmly stated that Indian forces not just abuse of oppresses the Locals but they are inflicting great torture upon the citizens of Kashmir. He has denoted his property to the Milli Trust.
According to Geelani Kashmir should be given the right to determine self-rule but he states that the matter can be resolved only through dialogue between the three of them-India, Pakistan and Kashmiris. These state cannot live in peace unless and unless Kashmir is at peace. Kashmir is not a territorial dispute rather it is the matter of future of 15 million people. He also supports union of Kashmir with Pakistan.
Although at present Geelani has poor health but Indian government has home prisoned Geelani and he is not allowed to go abroad for surgical solution to his renal health.
Kashmir has been in freedom struggle since eons. The people of Kashmir generations after generations have suffered all sorts of humiliation and human rights violations. It is now high time that the world wakes up to their call for liberation!