Maqbool Butt – Man And His Mission
This time he was kept in the notorious Tihar prison of Dehli. He was hanged on 11th February 1984 allegedly in vengeance of the kidnapping and murder of an Indian diplomat R Mahatre in Birmnigham.His family was not allowed to see him. He remains buried inside the prison compound. He is described as the martyred prisoner. .Maqbool Bhatt (18 Feb 1937 – 11 Feb 1984) have grown into the most popular and iconic symbol of the national liberation idea and struggle in Kashmir across the line of division and amongst nearly two million strong diaspora in UK, Europe, Canada, USA and Middle East.Born in a small Trehgam village to a toiling and tailoring family, Maqbool Bhatt was dragged into the activities against feudal exploitation and elitism from childhood. At Baramulla College he campaigned against the removal and detention of Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah by the Indian government in 1950s. He crossed the ceasefire line which divides Kashmir into the Indian and Pakistani occupied areas in 1958 and settled in Peshawar where along with studying Urdu Literature, Maqbool Bhatt worked as sub editor with a local paper called Injam.When Pakistanis tried to capture Kashmir through plan TOPEC, Maqbool Bhatt offered his services but was refused which led him to join Plebiscite Front in 1965.In 1966 realising that no one was listening to the peaceful demands for referendum, he created Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front (JKNLF) along with Amanullah Khan and few others to wage armed struggle if needed.He along with some other members of NLF crossed back to the Indian occupied Kashmir and created underground cells of NLF supporters but the group was exposed within few months. Mr Aurangzeb, one of the NLF member from Gilgit was killed in an encounter with the Indian intelligence patrol party and Maqboll Bhatt along with ?? were given death sentence by the court of ???They were kept in ? prison from where Maqbool Bhatt along with ??? fled through a tunnel they managed to dig over many months. This act was lauded in Kashmir especially in the Pakistani occupied side as the most significant operation fro freedom in the post division Kashmir era. It made Maqbool Bhatt an undisputed leader of the independence movement. In 1971 he masterminded the first ever hijacking in Kashmir for which he along with the teenager hijackers Hashim and Ashraf Qureshis were applauded but when Indian closed her airspace for Pakistani planes in the wake of Bangladeshi uprising against Pakistan, they were put in prison and tortured to accept that hijacking was an Indian ploy.After two years of trial they were acquitted. In 1976 he went back to the IOK again and was son arrested and the death sentence was restoired.
On 9th February ? Mr Afzal Guru, another Kashmiri fighting against the Indian occupation was executed and buried inside the prison.Maqbool Bhatt was a practicing Muslim but his politics was always secular and inclusive.Defining his struggle before a court in Lahore during Ganga Hijacking Trial when he stated that he was not guilty of any conspiracy against Pakistan but his actual crime for which they were tried was to rebel against the forces of obscurantism, ignorance, exploitation, nepotism and wealthism.By freedom he said we mean not merely the end of foreign occupation but alleviation of poverty and deprivation also.In 1983 Maqbool Bhatt summed up his political ideology in an interview with Kumkum Chadda, an Indian journalist in the following three questions:
KK: Are you religious? MB: I have no pretentions of being a deeply religious man in the conventional sense of the term. Yet I do feel indebted to my study and understanding of religion in the development of my thinking and the determination of the course of my life. I think devoid of religion, the very moral and ethical foundations of social life are destined to crumble down. Apart from its historic role in the development of human civilisation, religion continues to be and will always remain in one form or the other an important objective condition of social life which simply cannot be wished away and will have to be taken into consideration by those who stand for reform and change. Personally I am a Muslim according to my own understanding of the faith – deen as Quran calls it. My study of Islam, although very meagre, has certainly played an important role in the development of my personality. KK: What do you believe in? MB: Equality of human beings, to be fortified by what ought to be termed as social justice constitute my fundamental social belief. All else in this connection follows from this basic source. Society as such means a lot to me. Without it, I think, I will cease to be even my ownself. KK: What is your political belief? MB: Freedom of thought, and in pursuit thereof the right to freedom of expression, action and association for all humans constitute my basic political faith. I believe a democratic order of society can best guarantee the fulfilment and realisation of this concept. The term political ideology has come to be synonymous with one’s inclination towards what is termed as right or left. I am afraid that is not the case with me. My political ideology consists of my faith in the right of all peoples to make and shape their present and future in accordance with their freely expressed wishes and aspirations through the instruments and institutions enacted and established by them without any external compulsion coercion or interference .
As fate would have it Amanullah Khan of Astore too would go on to become an Icon of Kashmiri Nationalism based on a Pluri-Nationalist Ideology of a Secular, Democratic and Welfare State. Having strong personal and political roots in all divided regions of the state – J&K, AJK, GB, he was a towering symbol of the Unity and Diversity of the state.
After becoming orphaned at a young age, Amanullah Khan went to live with his sister in Kupwara District, J&K in search of better educational opportunities. He passed his matriculation with honours topping the list of Muslim aspirants, while standing third in the entire J&K state. He then joined the renowned SP College in Srinagar where he got embroiled in Politics and faced incarceration, his first brush with imprisonment already occurring when in class 8. He’s political activism compelled him to cross over to Pakistan in 1952 and he eventually based himself in the city of Karachi. His initial years proved very harsh having to even sleep on the footpath for the first 6 months after his arrival. He was soon juggling multiple jobs while simultaneously pursuing his studies. The relative financial autonomy gave him the opportunity to rekindle his political pursuits and he formed the Kashmir Students Federation in 1954 while yet in college. By 1957 his growing intellectual engagement with the Kashmir issue lead him to favourably consider the idea of an Independent Kashmir.
As a means of further refinement of his Ideology Amanullah Khan established a monthly News magazine called the “Voice of Kashmir” in 1961.
Amanullah Khan had realised very early on that a key means of pursuing his political autonomy would be his financial Independence and thus in the late 1950’s he lay the foundation of his Independent private Schools which would go on to enable him an Independent political stance by financially supporting his politics. Till date he remains a beacon of financial integrity, a tool otherwise employed to elicit political and Ideological compromises.
In 1963 Amanullah Khan broadened his political canvas to co-found the Kashmir Independence Committee with AJK State Council member G M Lone. This was merged with the Mahaz- e – Raishumari (Plebiscite Front) established in 1965 by Abdul Khaliq Ansari, Maqbool Bhat, GM Lone and Amanullah Khan. Gathered in the borderlands of Sialkot and Jammu the leaders enacted an emotional pledge towards the Independence of their homeland by taking oath on the soil of Kashmir. This was also an era of revolutionary fervour sweeping across the globe witnessing the establishment of Al Fatah in Palestine and the Algerian Guerilla organisation the FLN. Amanullah Khan had been deeply influenced by the FLN. He also personally knew the Algerian diplomats in Pakistan. Modelled on the FLN Amanullah Khan along with Maqbool Bhatt founded the National Liberation Front (NLF) – the English rendering of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale in 1965. In 1969 Amanullah Khan was able to sneak in Palestinian Fatah representatives in Pakistan to the Plebiscite Front…
Mohammad Yasin Malik
Chairman, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF)
MohammadYasin Malik was born in 1966 in a modest Kashmiri household of Maisuma Bazar nearBudshahChowk in the center of Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu Kashmir. For being the lone brother of his three sisters, today, after fifty four years of his birth, he lives in the same house with his mother and elder sister as his father died in 2011.His other two younger sisters live their married lives. His introduction to political activism occurred while he was still in school at the age of 14. It was the dreadful day of July 26, 1980 when a group of army men in civvies with hockey sticks and iron rods appeared in LalChowk. While thrashing civilians they started damaging taxis, private cars and government property. These army men had actually came out of the barracksfrom a nearby army headquarter BadamiBagh and went berserk just to free an army driver from the police custody who had actually hit a rickshaw on Moulana Azad road near Polo ground Srinagar. This group of army men resorted to loot and arson from Sonawar to Batamaloo. This army mayhem evoked severe reaction from the local population that resulted in killing of 6 civilians including a visiting Rawalpindi based Kashmiri origin Pakistani. Teen aged Yasin Malik, and everybody of his age, had a great influence of this incident that haunted him as he himself very closely survived this attack when he hid under the main reception counter of a nearby KMD bus stand. Just after four years on 11th February, 1984 when the great son of soil and “Baba-e-Qoam” (father of nation) Muhammad Maqbool Butt was hanged by India in Delhi Tihar Jail, Yasin Malik with his new friends agitated against the action. He was caught and beaten by the police for showing boyish awareness of his rights as a citizen of a State that holds a unique historical,legal and political position in South Asia. He was not the only one of his age, and time, to be treated in thismanner.What set himapart from his peers, however, was that he understood the intent and attitude behind the treatment he had received and resisted. He allowed himself to be politicized.
By 1986, two years later, he was engaged in full time political activity. He became a founding member and General Secretary of Jammu &KashmirIslamic Students League (JKISL), an organization devoted to publicizing and debating the true status of the State within the student community in particular and among the masses in general. He began to organize protest marches and distributed literature that advocated a comprehensive solution to Jammu Kashmir problem. This time he was caught, beaten and imprisoned for twenty days under the charges of possessing and handling pro-freedom and anti-India literature. In 1987, after the so called State elections, during which he along with his JKISL cadres playedvery active role in support of Muslim United Front (MUF), a pro-freedom united forum established against pro-Indian parties, he was again arrested, taken to an interrogation center (a euphemism for torture centers) for twenty days and then imprisoned for a year under the draconian law called the Public Safety Act (PSA).Soon thereafter his release, this time he joined the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), of which he is currently the Chairman, an executive head. JKLF questions any presumption of the finality of the division of the State between India, Pakistan and China, and advocates the restoration of the sovereignty and independent status of State of Jammu Kashmir.
It was during this period that the four core activist members of JKLF, Hameed Sheikh, AshfaqMajeedWani, JavidAhmedMir and Yasin Malik met to form the famous HAJY Group, an acronym formed of the first letters of their first names. Frustrated by the intransigence of the Indian government to consider a debate on the status of the State, they resort to an armed insurgency led by the then chairman and founder of JKLF, Late Amanullah Khan. One of its primary objectives was to bring the international recognition of Jammu Kashmir issue after a hiatus of almost forty years. Two members of the HAJY Group Hameed and Ashfaq got martyrdom during the struggle.Yasin Malik was caught, imprisoned and tortured until 1994.In that year, Mr.Malik was released on medical grounds as he had undergone open heart surgery during the incarceration. Soon after his release, he announced a unilateral cease-fire on the part of his party. Though it went unacknowledged by the government of India but he has stuck to this day to his commitment of reverting to a non-violent struggle. Meanwhile, since 1994,no less than 600 of his party members were killed by Indian forces even after the announcement of unilateral ceasefire by JKLF. The last half of Mr. Malik’s life has been a series of visits to Indian prisons where he was alternately beaten, put in solitary confinement (at one stage for two years) and even subjected to mental torture by being placed amongst the inmates of an in sane asylum in Agra.
The years of imprisonment, beatings and deprivation have left him frail. Even since his release in 1994 he was arrested numerous times and had 6 attempts made on his life. Three ruthless murder attempts were made by trigger happy Indian forces for not complying with their dictates and three were made by militants itself for they did not like his ceasefire announcement. Yet, despite this, he has sought to moderate the attitudes of fellow fighters. Yasin Malik has made two lengthy visits to the United States of America (USA) for health reasons. During his stay in the United States besides undergoing a major surgery,Yasin Malik spent most of his time on diplomatic mission and public awareness campaign to educate the US public and policy makers on Kashmir and garner support for the cause of Kashmir liberation struggle. He spoke and briefed US officials at State department including some important US policy making institutes and put light at length on the current situation and discussed new ideas with them to follow for the resolution of long standing vexed issue of Kashmir. Yasin Malik addressed more than a dozen international conferences on Kashmir and has delivered lectures in the major universities of India, Pakistan and USA as well.He served as a guest lecturer at Harvard University and Yale University USA, Oxford University UK, and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Saint Stefan College Delhi India. He debated Kashmir in a famous “Hard Talk” TV talk show during his UK visit and established well his point of Kashmiri’s national liberation struggle and Indian atrocities. In October 1999 Mr. Yasin Milk along with other APHC leaders was again arrested by Indian authorities and put behind the bars under PSA. This time he was lodged in the most infamous Jail of India,The Jodhpur Jail. This was done because Yasin had successfully led an election boycott campaign in the State. He was released but
laterre-arrested on March 26, 2002 under another draconian law namely; POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act). He was released after torture and illegal detention of almost one year.Yasin Malik and his JKLF members in Indian Held Kashmir(IHK) started an 18 month longmost famous signature campaign in mid June 2003 followed by another 116 days long extensive day-night mayhem namely; “Safr-e-Azadi” (journey to freedom) in June 2006. During both these campaigns he visitedmore than 6000hamlets, villages, towns and cities in Jammu Kashmir and addressed at least similar number of public gatherings. For being the principle party to the issue and in view of bilateral dialogue between India and Pakistan, 1.5 million Kashmiristhrough their signatures in the campaign demanded their active involvement in the dialogue (peace) process for the resolution of Kashmir conflict. In the backdrop of post 9/11 world resolve, these extensive peaceful mayhems actually led to the famous peaceful people’s revolution of 2008, and resultantly has proved very fruitful for the transformation of Kashmiri youth from violent to non-violent peaceful means. JKLF under the dynamic leadership of Yasin Malik led many other peaceful political campaigns in the State that stressed the need for the early resolution of issue. These include hunger strike camps, volunteer court arrests, long marches and spontaneous protestsmostly against the gross human rights violations in IHK perpetuated by Indian forces. Unfortunately, neither did India respect this transformation nor could international community made their valuable intervention in resolving the issue. JKLF later held photo and video exhibition of its Signature Campaign and Safre-e-Azadirespectively at New Delhi, Islamabad and New York and presented its soft copies to the then Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of Pakistan Showkat Aziz and President of Pakistan Gen ® ParvezMusharaf during his official meetings with them. Yasin Malik is a great social worker as well. Snow storm that struck and destroyed many villages in Kashmir in 2005, Yasin and his party was the first to rush with relief. He collected and sent more than 100 points of blood to victims of Latur Maharashtra flood victims in 1990’s. Again when Tsunami and Gujratearthquack devastated humanity,Yasin and his party provided relief to the victims. Yasin Malik through a blood donation camp in New York voluntarily collected blood for 9/11 victims as he was in USA at this fateful day. During 2005 earthquakeYasin and his men were on the front line in Uri, Tangdar, Kupwara and other adjacent affected places in Kashmir. Yasin himself went to AzadJammu Kashmir(AJK) and provided relief to the victims where his party cadre led by the then party chief patron Amanullah Khan (late) were already on the drive. Furthermore, Yasin Malik has been regularly participating in World Social Forum programs world over and has been delivering lectures regarding social justice, gender equality, freedom of nations and concept of right of self-determination. During these years, especially after 2004 when dialogue process between India and Pakistan took off, besides the heads of all major political parties of both India and Pakistan,Yasin has hadofficial meetings with President and Prime Ministersof Pakistan namely; Gen. ParvezMusharaf, Showkat Aziz, ChoudharyShujaatHussain, Syed YousufRazaGilaniand Prime Ministers of Indianamely; AtalBihari Vajpayee and Dr. Manmohan Singh.He also held meetings with the former Prime Ministers of both the countries namely; Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, Mian Nawaz Sharief, I K Gujral, DeveGovda, ChanderShekhar and other high ranking political dignitaries like Ms. Sonia Ghandi and the current Prime Minister of Pakistan, the cricketer turned politician, Imran Khan.
In January 2009, Yasin got married to a Pakistani painter MushaalMullick who is famous for her woman based paintings. Duo is blessed with a daughter RaziyaSulatana, now eight year old. It is pertinent to mention that Yasin Malik’s passport was confiscated by Indian authorities in 2013 and from that time he has neither been able to see his wife and daughter nor he has been able to meet his party cadre in AJK. In May 2015, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik with his efforts brought pro-freedom Kashmiri leadership under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL). This unity was deeply sought by the pro-freedom people of the State after the breakaway of All Parties Hurriyet Conference (APHC), a conglomerate of all pro-freedom political, social, religious and business organizations, in 2003. Chairman APHC-G Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Chairman APHC-M Mirwaiz Muhammad Umar Farooq and Chairman JKLF Yasin Malik on the platform of JRL spearheadedthe gallant resistance movement especially the 2016 revolution after the martyrdom of Kashmiri freedom fighter BurhanWani during which he was put behind bars for near about 6 months. During the first term of PM Modi led Bharti Janata Party (BJP) government in India, from 2014 to 2019, Yasin Malik remained in custody for near about four years. He has been in and out of jails,local police stations and detained at his house during all these years. According to an estimated report, he has been arrested for more than 800 times and remained in custody for almost half of the period since 1994.
JKLF chairman was last arbitrarily arrested on 22nd February, 2019 and was again slapped with PSA on March 7 and shifted to Jammu Kotbalwal Jail from where from he was illegally flown to New Delhi under the custody of infamous National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the intervening night of 8 and 9 May, 2019. Yasin Malik against the callous approach of NIA started hunger strike in their custody on 10th of May that ended on 22nd May only after a judicial magistrate intervened and ordered his shifting to Delhi’s TiharCentral Jail under the judicial lock-up. Since then the most popular leader from across the both parts of the State of Jammu Kashmir, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik is there in solitary confinement and deprived of basic human rights that includes the intensive medical care for he being a patient of multiple ailments especially of heart, kidneys and back bone disc. This callous Indian approach towards him, registering of new concocted cases and re-opening of three decades old false cases against him and his colleagues backed up with the continued malicious media trial is enough to indicate that present extremist regime in India has some sinister design in store against him. Therefore, at the end,JKLF appeals the saner elements in India and the international community especially the human rights organizations to save Yasin Malik who has served a lot for peace in the region then and who for his political belief is becoming the worst victim of injustice and political vendetta now