Quaid’s commitment with Kashmir

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Dr Muhammad Khan

AS per the available archives, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah visited Kashmir at least
four times. First time, Quaid visited Kashmir in 1926. Apparently, it was a private visit to spend a 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 a political party of their own. 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 local leadership of the state. However, both visits remained low profile, aimed to visualize the ground realities in the former Princely state, having overwhelming Muslim population.
The 3rd visit of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah to Kashmir was a very formal and as a leader of Indian Muslims. The Quaid visited the heavenly Valley in 1936 where he was given a landmark reception by the united Kashmiri leadership of Muslim Conference under Sheikh Abdullah and Chudhary Ghlum Abbas. During this visit Quaid told Kashmiris: “Oh Muslim! Our Allah is one, our Prophet is one, our Holy 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. Sheikh Abdullah formed a new political party with the name of National Conference. This in fact was a tragic development in the history of Kashmir. Had National Conference not acted as an unofficial offshoot of the Indian national Congress, Kashmiris would not have suffered these miseries in 72 years post partition history.
The 4th visit of Quaid-i-Azam was materialized in 1944, during which he 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 both political parties of 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 illegal invasion of Indian forces in Kashmir on 27 October 1947, Quaid-i-Azam issued orders to the Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Army to dispatch troops to Jammu and Srinagar. Unfortunately, owing to mysterious reasons, Quaid’s orders were not implemented. Earlier, smelling a rat Quaid-i-Azam tried his best to create circumstances, which could stop Indian annexation of Kashmir. The fraudulent Instrument of Accession was an example of deviation and contradiction in the politics of Indian National Congress. Following the partition, Quaid 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.
The struggle of Kashmiris 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 India-occupied Kashmir. From the aspects of geo-strategy and geo-economics, the State of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan are interlinked. For centuries, water flows down to irrigate the agricultural lands of Punjab, Sindh and other parts of the Indus Valley and the agricultural products were consumed both by Kashmiris and the locals; establishing the relationship of interdependence.
Indeed, there existed a historical mutuality between Kashmir and Pakistan. This relationship of interdependence is centuries old and everlasting in nature. It was indeed, in the same context that 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 died a year after Pakistan came into being. Had he lived for a few more years, Kashmir would have been part of Pakistan. Let’s follow the footsteps of Quaid and wage a political and diplomatic war against the illegal Indian annexation of Jammu and Kashmir as union territories. In order to attain this, let’s shed-away the petty personal gains and bring national consensus to strengthen Pakistan. A politically united, socially harmonious and economically prosperous Pakistan will pave the way for freedom of Kashmir from the illegal Indian subjugation; the fulfilment of Quaid’s commitment with Kashmiris.
— The writer, a retired Brig, is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.