June 2004 News

Maqbool Butt's Ghost Haunts Pak Rulers

6 June 2004
The Daily Excelsior
P N Khera

Jammu: Reports that late Maqbool Butt's daughter Shazia, now leading the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) has revived with great vigour the movement in favour of the 'Third Option' or a 'Unified Kashmir' on both sides of the LoC, are giving the Pakistan rulers sleepless nights. The ghost of Maqbool Butt is beginning to haunt President Musharraf and his coterie. Shazia Ghulam Mohiuddin is the daughter of Mohammad Maqbool Butt, who led an armed secessionist movement in Jammu and Kashmir. Mr. Butt was hanged for his role in terrorist activity after the assassination of an Indian diplomat, Ravindra Mhatre. Ms. Ghulam Mohiuddin herself was a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, but later chose to renounce violence. APNA rejects violence, and is committed to democratic mass struggle. It is well known in Pakistan that Maqbool Butt's sons Showkat Maqbool Butt and Javed Maqbool Butt, along with Shazia Ghulam Mohiuddin, are working under the flag of APNA to carry on the campaign for a United Kashmir, independent form both Pakistan and India. The 'Third Option' as Mian Nawaz Sharief, the banished former Prime Minister of Pakistan had once called it. APNA, believed to be specially active in the Northern Area, or tracts of Gilgit and Baltistan in Pak Occupied Kashmir, is said to be making a strong bid to 'infiltrate the ranks of jihadi infiltrations from POK' to upset the apple cart of the pro-Pakistani and separatist elements in Jammu and Kashmir. It might he recalled that the 'United Kashmir' and 'Independent Kashmir' demands of APNA sought to be fanned by Shazia and her brothers are source of great allergy and panic to military rulers and fundamentalist cleric groups in Pakistan whose 'dream solution' of the so called 'Kashmir Dispute' is to annex the entire territory of the Kashmiris as a part of Pakistan. APNA, following the original footsteps of Maqbool Butt, is raising the option of a 'United Kashmir' independent of Pakistan. During a recent visit to India she expressed her abhorrence at the violence let loose by foreigners in Jammu and Kashmir. Like most APNA leaders, she made no secret of her hostility to armed groups operating in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the ethnic Punjabi-dominated organi- sations of the Islamist far-right. 'I want to say this is no Jihad, and no one who understands religion will describe it as one' she asserted. 'It is a carefully planned fraud perpetrated on the people. While we accept indigenous militant groups from within Indian-occupied Kashmir, 'we condemn the foreigners who have come to fight on our soil.' She has said: 'Our position is that there is no point talking to this group or that group. You must speak to all. Unless you talk to the people of Gilgit and Baltistan, and to our Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist brothers, how will dialogue be meaningful?' Ms. Ghulam Mohiuddin said such a dialogue needed to be international in character, and premised on the recognition of the unity of all of Jammu and Kashmir. APNA is spearheading an influential independence movement in Pakistani-held Kashmir. For the past two years, it has led a mass struggle against Pakistani rule and for the reunification of Jammu and Kashmir. It has established a considerable presence in areas such as Gilgit and Baltistan, where peoples long denied democracy are starting to revolt. Its position has brought it into direct confrontation with the Pakistani establishment. In 2002, for example, APNA leaders opposed plans to raise the height of the Mangla dam, which feeds Punjab's canal system, and thus expand its catchment area. APNA said the dam work would result in the settlement of non-Kashmiris in the Mirpur area of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. APNA leaders argued that the resettlement plans violated pre-1947 State subject regulations, which give only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir the right to own property in the State. What disturbed the Pakistani authorities the most was that Maqbool Butt's daughter was said to have visited Kashmir part of India also to neutralise the pro-Pakistani separatist groups and gather support for liberation of the Pak Occupied Kashmir too to reunite the divided Kashmir which was sought to be parcelised and broken into bits by Pakistan rulers and the separatist groups in India funded directly or indirectly by Pakistani secret agencies and fundamentalist organizations. The separatist terrorist groups, frustrated at the people of Jammu and Kashmir for defying their threats and coming out to participate in the democratic process of Lok Sabha elections, were equally in panic. They felt that if the Maqbool family succeeded in whipping up their United Kashmir movement all the plans and plots to make Kashmir a fief of Pakistan would be shattered. In this matter, return to the J&K scene of Hashim Qureshi, who will be always known as hijacker of Airlines Fokker Friendship plane from Srinagar to Lahore in 1971 and blow it up after releasing its passengers, is another source of headache for politicians in Pakistan. After 30 years in exile in Holland, he returned to Kashmir and launched his own party the 'Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party' and made the statement which spread panic among the separatists bent upon sabotaging the Jammu and Kashmir elections. He said 'I am ready to contest election'. Asked if his party had any branches in Pakistan occupied Kashmir or other parts of Pakistan, he said: 'We have an alliance of sorts with the All Parties National Alliance in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, which is headed by Maqbool Butt's son Showkat Maqbool Butt.' Striking a contrary note to Hurriyat diehards and people like Shabbir Shah who are boycotting the polls, Hashim Qureshi has said, elections are part of our struggle.' It might be recalled that a crucial rift had occurred between the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front leader Amanullah Khan and Maqbool Butt on the issue of not accepting a situation where Pakistan would become the sole master and arbiter of the destiny of the Kashmiris. In this context some excerpts from the 'Kashmir Human Rights Site' on the internet are of considerable interest. The site editor in his note has said. 'The following statement is a historical document regarding the struggle for the right of self determination of Kashmiri people. Maqbool Butt was hanged by India in Tihar jail on February 11, 1984. He passed most of his life in the prisons, of both India and Pakistan. During his trial in a Pakistani court Maqbool Butt had this to say: 'Call it a coincidence or tyranny of the conditions, I have to stand today in this special court under a special order to defend the charges which are baseless and false. More appropriately these charges are the creation of a mind that is enemy of the freedom of my country and a cruel joke with the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are fighting for liberation. History has given the verdict against those conditions and self-acclaimed rulers of Pakistan who have made me stand in this witness box. This verdict of history is so clear that no further explanation is needed. It has drawn a clear line between us and our hypocrite opponents. I take this proceeding as a compliment for myself and my comrades as future generations will have no confusion about our identity.


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