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By Dr Raja Muhammad Khan

Quaid-e-Azam in Kashmir
Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah is among the few leaders of the 20th century, who are recipients of the greatest tributes. While, Sir Aga Khan considered him “the greatest man he ever met”, Mr. Nichols, the author of `Verdict on India’, called him “the most important man in Asia.” Other gauged him as “an outstanding figure of 20th century not only in India, but in the whole world.” Since a lot has been said, and written about the Quaid’s unparallel commitment with people of Kashmir and Kashmiri cause, the fact remains that, the first ever Muslim Political party of sub-continent the; “All India Muslim League” was formed in 1906, at the residence of a Kashmiri of Bengal, Sir Salimullah Khan. Above all, the greatest Philosopher, poet and Scholar Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal, a Kashmiri himself, initially sponsored the idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of Sub-continent in 1930. He also made it clear that, the dream of Muslim India would be incomplete without the freedom of the Islamic State of Kashmir. In a way, it was the formal announcement of Kashmir as an inalienable part of the new ideological Muslim State in Sub-continent, Pakistan.

Quaid-e-Azam, Fatima Jinnah and the Liaquats in Kashmir
As revealed through the available archives, Quaid-i-Azam, visited Kashmir at least four times. First time, Quaid visited Kashmir 1926. Apparently, it was a private visit to spend few holidays in Kashmir, but, practically, this visionary leader had used the visit to assess the socio-economic condition of the people of Kashmir, under the cruel rule of Maharaja Hari Singh. Indeed, there was no political awakening in the State, nor Kashmiris could form political parties. Earlier, once some noted Kashmiris dared to submit a memorandum to the Viceroy of India, demanding reforms in the educational and economic sectors, and to redress the grievances of Kashmiri masses, the Dogra Government in Kashmir victimized and tortured them. The Quaid uneasily watched this situation and later, got a special resolution passed in the All India Muslim League Working Committee session held in Lahore in 1926. The unanimously passed resolution drew the attention of the Maharajah’s Government towards the educational and economic backwardness of the Muslims of Kashmir and requested him to improve the living standard of the Muslim masses, forming bulk of the population. Quaid again visited Kashmir in 1929, and met with some salient leaders of the state. Both these visits remained low profile and to watch the situation there.


Quaid in Kashmir
Quaid’s third visit to this heavenly Valley in 1936 was more distinct and well planned. He was given a landmark reception by the united Kashmiri leadership of Muslim Conference, with Sheikh Abdullah and Chudhary Ghlum Abbas in the forefront. During the visit, the Quaid, told the Kashmiris: “Oh yes Muslim! Our Allah is one, our Prophet is one, our Quran is one, and therefore our Voice must also be one”. Unfortunately, three years after this visit, there came a split among the leadership of Kashmir, and Sheikh Abdullah, raised a new political party with the name of National Conference. This in fact was a tragic development in the history of the Kashmiri Muslims. Had National Conference not acted as an unofficial offshoot of the Indian national Congress, Kashmiris would not have suffered these miseries in their 63 years of post partition life. In 1944, during his fourth and the final visit to Kashmir, this great leader stayed in various parts of the state for over a month. He made this visit on the joint invitation of Muslim Conference and the National Conference and address with the gatherings of both parties. He met with the leadership of all political parties in Kashmir and attended functions, meeting with workers, students, lawyers, common people and journalists. His stay in Kashmir being the last but the most important had a great impact on the future politics of Kashmir. Quaid’s love for the people of Kashmir can be imagined from the fact that, during his visit of Kashmir in 1944; he picked up a newly graduate Kashmiri youth, K.H. Khurshid as his personnel secretary. K.H. Khursid remained as the personnel secretary of the Quaid from 1944 to 1947.

Upon fraudulent accession between Maharaja and India, and invasion of Indian forces in the Kashmir, on October 27, 1947, Quaid-i-Azam issued orders to the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army to dispatch troops to Jammu and Srinagar. Unfortunately, owing to mystifying reasons, Quaid’s orders were not implemented. Earlier, smelling a rat, Quaid-i-Azam tried his best to create circumstances, which could stop the annexation of Kashmir to India. The fraudulent accession of Kashmir with India in fact was the best example of deviation and contradiction of the INC from its basic stance, which says, the wishes of the masses would be taken into consideration in case of Princely states. Following the partition, Mr. Jinnah had to confront the Indo-British conspiracy with the Maharaja of Kashmir as a pawn, and the anti-Pakistan National Conference of Sheikh Abdullah as perpetrator. The odds were many and the enemies of Pakistan had joined hands to make the experiment of a free and independent Muslim state a failure. In spite of this, Quaid’s greatest achievement and miracle was the formation of Pakistan, which was opposed by the Hindu Congress and anti-Muslim elements in the British hierarchy.

Kashmiri struggle was essentially based on two-nation theory. In this regard, Kashmiris have always taken into consideration the rights of the non-Muslim and minorities of Kashmir. Throughout its history, the pundits and other minorities have lived peacefully in Kashmir and have been holding high posts in the administration. The APHC, which is leading the people of Kashmir, while following the principles of Quaid, opened its doors for the assimilation of the non-Muslims too. From the aspects of geo-strategy and geo-economics, the State of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan are interlinked. Pakistan is such a state whose principal economy is agrarian based, needing constant supply of water, which comes from Jammu and Kashmir. For centuries, water flows down to irrigate the agricultural lands of Punjab, Sindh and other parts of the Indus Valley and the agricultural products from the areas, is consumed by Kashmiris, besides, the locals; thus establishing the relationship of interdependence.

Indeed, there existed a historical mutuality between the Kashmir and the areas forming part of Pakistan. This relationship of interdependence is pre-partition of the sub-continent and even pre-canal system, hence everlasting in nature. It was indeed, in the same context that six decades earlier, on the eve of independence of Pakistan, the father of the nation, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah through his visionary statement declared Kashmir as the “jugular vein of Pakistan.”

It was very unfortunate that Quaid-i-Azam passed away before the future of Kashmir could have been determined by its people through an impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations. Upon his death, there was great gloom in Jammu and Kashmir, where people wept bitterly and said that Kashmiris had become orphans with the death of this great leader of the subcontinent. Had he lived a few more years, today Kashmir would have been part of Pakistan, with Kashmiris living their lives.

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