Number 23 has a significance for the revolutionaries of South Asia. Sardar Muhammad Abdul Qayoom Khan, now about 90, was a 23-year-old revolutionary when he, as determined warrior, triggered off armed insurgency at Neelabutt (Azad Kashmir) on Aug.23, 1947 against the Dogra rule. The freedom zealots who rallied behind him knew that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had vowed on March 23, 1940 in Muslim League convention (Lahore) to struggle strenuously for the creation of Pakistan.
Maqbool Bhat was 23 when he, after acquiring Masters Degree in Urdu in 1960 from Peshawar University (Pakistan), began to think about armed resistance in Kashmir to facilitate a breakthrough in the tripartite Kashmir discourse. And Ashfaq Majeed Wani, the revolutionary general of the unconventional guerrilla warfare, was 23 like 23-year-old Bhagat Singh (who had been executed on March 23, 1931 by the British imperialists) when he, as ideal disciple of protomartyr Maqbool Bhat, asserted on March 30, 1990 to become a martyr and blaze a trail in the path of revolution.
I, during my 3-hour interaction with Sardar Muhammad Abdul Qayoom Khan (the Azad Kashmir Premier) in Kashmir house Rawalpindi in the first week of Dec. 1994, tried to bring home to the seasoned pacifist leader the exigency of my repatriation to Kashmir valley to provide some sort of psychological antidote to the festering infighting among the militant outfits. He promised to guarantee requisite protection to me on the diplomatic front. I talked to Farooq Rehmani Sahib and Sheikh Tajamul Islam Sahib as well and while taking them into confidence, explained to them how exacting and daunting the Kashmir situation had become because of the unwanted and undesirable polarization of militant organizations.
After my return from Pakistan in Jan. 1995 I remained busy in receiving the resistance luminaries, journalists, students and friends as guests; they thronged my drawing room and thus added to glamour of Inqilabi Manzil which is emblazoned by pigeon nests as well.
My cottage was abuzz with excitement and festivity. The respected guests of the informal workshop remained hectically engaged in the concourse to evolve consensus on important topics through discursive discourse. Concord and communion of ideas, notwithstanding the right to dissent, was the prioritized agenda of the workshop. The prominenti who graced my den included Shabir Ahmad Shah, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Advocate Bashir Ahmad Butt, Fazal Haq Qureshi, Moulana Mufti Abdul Gani Azhari, Dr. Yousuf-ul-Umar, Moulana Abdul Rasheed Tahri (late), Kaleemullah Khan and political rapporteurs of Mujahedeen.
I, in my own circumspect and nonchalant style, was candid and forthright in explaining that in the protracted war of attrition and battle of nerves it had become imperative and indispensably paramount to attenuate the resistance cadres on the militant front. The attentive guests could understand my dialectics entailing scientific analysis of the dynamics of Kashmir resistance movement. I called on Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Sahib and apprised him of my pacifist strategy. I had an interaction with Syed Ali Geelani Sahib and Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai Sahib as well at the rendezvous of their choice.
All the Kashmiri Mujahedeen felt satisfied with my role as an assertive resistance writer; they used to read and relish my articles which embellished the daily English newspapers. Journalists and human rights activists were still glamourizing my dramatic resurgence as a pacifist resistance zealot when the Indian establishment felt nostalgic about its domineering and overbearing demeanour; the arrogant rulers, while relinquishing the ostensible and seeming policy of liberalism, began to victimize the resistance leaders and activists. Just imagine how horrifying and horrendous the moment would have been when an artillery shell pierced the wall of the room where Syed Ali Geelani was asleep at Haiderpure Srinagar! Geelani sahib had a narrow escape.
BSF personnel watched the situation with gratitude when renegades attacked me in Hazratbal street on Aug. 02, 1996. I remained confined to bed for about a month. I was still recuperating from ailment when the SOG commandos raided my house on Sept. 21, 1996 and victimized me. My ailing mother came to my rescue. He is the man who instigated the Kashmiri youth, SOG soldiers yelled. Yes, they were looking for the Kalashnikov rifle which I had already presented to 12-year-old boy Muhammad-bin-Qasim at Muzaffarabad in Dec. 1994 before my departure from Pakistan on Dec. 19, 1995.
In April 1997, I visited Saudi Arabia with an intention to perform Umrah and spend some time in meditation and introspection. I would lean against a pillar in Haram Sharief and gaze at Kaba with intuitive devotion and consecration. I had an occasion to interact with a Pakistani intellectual in Haram Sharief. I, while dilating on Kashmir insurgency, said to him, It is true that western powers, through a peripatetic diplomatic campaign, pre-empted the strategic initiative of Pak army to get militarily engaged in Kashmir. And it is equally true that some military strategists of Pak army feel wary of the urban guerrilla warfare of Kashmir. They believe that Kashmiris, due to the compulsive situation created by long-drawn guerrilla war, have every right to think in a realistic, pragmatic and empirical way to mitigate their own suffering and ensure the continuity of the resistance movement on the political front. These strategists want to convert the urban warfare of Kashmir into mountain warfare to provide a reprieve and respite to Kashmiris. So they are not sadists; they are the affectionate strategists who want to alleviate the sufferings and hardships of Kashmiris.
I returned to Delhi in June 1997 and, after getting lodged in a room of a hotel near Nizam-ud-din shrine, I began to write articles for my journal Wahdat (under the new caption? Majrooh Kashmir). Again, it was an occasion for me to interact with G.M.Butt, the JI chief, in the rented apartment of Firdous Aasmee, my taught. Brilliant Butt sahib subscribed to my viewpoint when I emphasized the pacifist approach to Kashmir issue. I was in Srinagar when S. Hameed, the peoples league stalwart, was eliminated in his own home by SOG assassins. On April 22, 1998 I addressed the Fateha Congregation in the compound of S. Hameeds house. I paid homage to martyr S. Hameed for his historic role in the resistance movement.
On July 31, 1998 army personnel raided my house and while questioning, impugning and arraigning my role as a pacifist resistance leader? tortured me to break my will to resist. Their scheme foundered. The aggressive assault boomeranged. I began to assert with added resolve and unprecedented will and valour. BSF personnel murdered Dr. Ghulam Qadir Wani on Nov. 4, 1998 at Bandipora. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, the Hurriyat stalwart, was martyred on Aug. 11, 2008 at Uri along with a dozen freedom zealots. Fazal Haq Qureshi, the Al-fatah leader, was attacked on Dec. 4, 2009. The enervated and debilitated leader is confined to a room in his house. And Afzal Guru was hanged on Feb 9, 2013 in Tihar jail. We pay obeisance to all these resistance warriors who remained steadfast in the path of their struggle with requisite wisdom and political acumen.
Indian political strategists should try to understand that the resistance leaders of Kashmir including late Moulvi Farooq, Ab. Gani Lone, Dr. Qazi Nissar, Dr. Gh. Qadir Wani and Sheikh Aziz left no stone unturned in ensuring the invariability of the tripartite nature of Kashmir issue. If India and Pakistan, despite all the overtures of reconciliation and vibes of rapprochement, fail in facilitating an early peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue through tripartite talks the day is not far when some vocal political hawks of the Muslim World will try to convert Kashmir into an ideal battlefield of a Milli Campaign directed against India. And western powers, for their own reasons on the Crimean front, would want to aid and abet the trend and rope in India as a friend for pro-west stance.
Nawaz Sharief (the Pak Premier), as a prudent Asian strategist, can make the Indian rulers understand the message which explicitly alludes to the unwholesome future unpredictability. Please ponder over the paradox.
Present contemporary resistance leaders of Kashmir, while emphasizing an appeal for poll boycott, want to add to the situation of political uncertainty through peaceful democratic assertion so that the Delhi rulers feel psychologically constrained to adopt a humanistic approach to Kashmir issue and seek its peaceful solution by co-opting Kashmiri resistance leaders for a meaningful tripartite discussion and discourse on Kashmir. These outpourings of ours, which are based on wisdom and prudentialism, seek precedence in election rambling activities of New Delhi. Let wisdom prevail on all concerned.
Author is chief patron, J&K Mahaz-e-Azadi. The views expressed are his own. He can be reached at: [email protected]
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