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February 24, 2015 11:00 pm

A Kashmiri Who Refused Indian Passport

SRINAGAR: A staunch Kashmiri nationalist, veteran National Conference leader Sheikh Nazir Ahmad, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 84 never applied for passport as he refused to describe himself an Indian as is required by the passport clause.

In one of his last interviews, Sheikh Nazir maintained that he has never accepted Indian passport. “When Sheikh Sahib had to visit Iraq, he wanted to take me along but I told him that I don’t have a passport nor am I going to have one till I die. But yes, I’m a Kashmiri and my nationality is Kashmiri. Yes, I am contributing in whichever manner I can. Babe-e-Qoam (Sheikh Abdullah) always referred to Kashmir as nation, never as Riyasat (State) because we were a very strong independent country", said Nazir said, the nephew and adopted son of NC founder Sheikh Abdullah.

"We have been occupied since Mughal period, and the occupation is still continuing till date. We defeated Akbar almost 17 times before he made inroads into Kashmir. We were a great nation. We were a great people of an independent country called Kashmir. I believe we should be given a free hand for running our own affairs", Nazir said adding he always told it to Indians.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, Nazir said, "had it not invaded us, our condition would have been different altogether. We would have emerged as an independent country had Pakistan not mingled with our affairs in 1947. Our actual struggle is for what Nehru promised to Babe-e-Qoam at Lal Chowk in front of lakhs of people and New Delhi should fulfill those promises.”    

‘He helped Maqbool Bhat’

National Conference stalwart had a soft corner for late JKLF founder Muhammad Maqbool Bhat who was executed in Tihar Jail in 1984.

Old guard of Kashmir’s independence movement Azam Inqilabi said in an interview that it was Sheikh Nazir who guided and helped Maqbool Bhat cross over to the other side of the border in 1978. “Maqbool Bhat had a firm trust in Sheikh Nazir. When Jammu Kashmir Police was hunting for Bhat and his space in Kashmir was shrinking, Sheikh Nazir helped him to cross the border. Sheikh Nazir not only guided Maqbool but also provided the names of persons living across border and informed him to approach them for any help,” Inqilabi said.

“Be realistic and pragmatic. Let us accept this fact that he (Sheikh Nazir) was the son of the soil whose statements revealed that he wanted to relieve the people of Kashmir from pain and had been always urging upon India and Pakistan to resolve the long pending Kashmir problem,” Azam said adding that Nazir was the nephew of Sheikh Abdullah but the later always treated him like his son just because Nazir was obedient, truthful and transparent.

Recounting the days in 1970 when he returned from Pakistan administered Kashmir, Azam Inqilabi said that soon after his return from PaK, he was arrested by Indian security agencies and was handed over to Kashmir Police. “It was Sheikh Nazir who came forward to help us. Being an advocate, he voluntarily pleaded our case and did not charge a single penny from us. I along with my friend Muhammad Maqbool Ganaie, who retired as Director Excise were languishing in jail and Sheikh Nazir pleaded our case in court and ensured our freedom,” he said adding that, “it was the pro-Pakistan and pro-Kashmiri sentiment that prompted Nazir to fight for justice.“  With inputs from CNS

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