Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Amanullah Khan passed away today. Here are 20 facts you must know about this resistance icon whose father hailed from Kupwor in Indian-controlled Kashmir.
1: In 1962 Amanullah Khan, when still a student of LL.B., started monthly the “Voice of Kashmir” which strongly preached the ideology of independent Kashmir. Before its closure under government pressure several years later, Khan had spent on the magazine most of what he had earned from his schools. He re-started the magazine in England in 1976 and continued projection of his independence ideology for several years. Its editorials and articles preached independence of Kashmir.
2: Khan with late G.M. Lone, then a member of ‘Azad Kashmir State Council’, played key role in establishment in 1963 of Kashmir Independence Committee, almost the first pro-independence Kashmir organization and worked as its first de-facto secretary before it was de-organized couple of years later for many reasons.
3: As co-founder and Secretary General of Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front (for Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and Pakistan) formed in April 1965 and of is two wings JKNLF and Kashmir Committee for Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity, Khan and JKPF contributed a lot through literature, rallies, press conferences, demonstrations etc. towards projection and expansion of independence ideology up to 1977.
4: As two very close friends for almost 24 years, and two of the co-founders of Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front (JKPF) and Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front (JKNLF), Maqbool Butt and Amanullah Khan played a pivotal role in promoting the ideology for reunification and complete independence of Jammu Kashmir as it stood on August 14, 1947 and of the concept of armed freedom struggle for Kashmir. Maqbool Butt was sent to gallows by India after keeping him behind the bars for over 10 years whereas he remained in Pakistan prisons for over two years. In both cases his ‘crime’ was his struggle for his national emancipation.
5: Khan has written, in both Urdu and English, about different aspects of Kashmir Issue, three books, over 60 booklets, brochures and pamphlets, over 100 leaflets, over 100 articles (most of them published in leading newspapers and periodicals of India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Europe, USA and of Arab countries) and has been interviewed by the print and electronic, national and international media on different aspects of Kashmir Issue and independence ideology.
6: Khan addressed three press conferences at the UN headquarter in New York, one at National Press Club in Washington (as guest speaker) about half a dozen in London and one or more each in important capitals of Europe before India and Pakistan put restrictions on his visits to countries outside Pakistan. This is besides scores of press conference addressed by him in Pakistan, Pakistan-controlled Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
7: Khan is the only Kashmiri who has been imprisoned abroad (England 16 months, Belgium 72 days and New York (UN Lockup for one day) as well as in Kashmir and Pakistan (Handwor, Gilgit, Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore (in the torture centre called Shahi Qilla Lahore) for his activities related to liberation of Kashmir and often subjected to unbearable mental and physical torture during detention.
8: Khan is the only Kashmir political figure against whom India has got International Warrants of Arrest (Red Notice) issued by Interpol and Pakistan has confiscated his passport, both doing so in order to keep him from political activities abroad to project his independence ideology. As far back as in 1973, Khan was offered Presidentship of Pakistan People’s Party in Gilgit Baltistan which would entitle him to become areas first Chief Minister but he flatly refused saying that, that was against his political ideology.
9: Khan has played key role in matters concerning formation of the ideology, policies and strategy of JKLF and in their implementation.
10: He is usually termed as the ‘common political property’ of all the three parts of Jammu Kashmir State i.e. of Gilgit Baltistan (his birth place and for whose people’s political, constitutional rights he spent over 15 months in prison in 1970-72 besides being expelled from the area three times), of Indian controlled part (where he spent 12 years and got attached to the freedom movement) and of Azad Kashmir (where his ideology matured and flourished) and also because his JKLF functions in all the three parts and works for their reunification and independence.
11: Khan was a great believer in national unity in politics. In 1966 his proposal to bring about unity of thought and action on topics on which the three parties of Azad Kashmir (1) AJK Muslim Conference (2) Jammu Kashmir Liberation League and (3) Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front agreed was approved by the Working Committee of JKPF and he did a lot of running about for that purpose and finally succeeded in it.
12: JKLF has a clear and unambiguous vision about the future of Jammu Kashmir State i.e. reunification and complete independence of Jammu Kashmir State with a democratic, federal and secular system of government and having friendly relations with all its neighbors particularly with India and Pakistan. JKLF has also presented a practicable roadmap to solve Kashmir Issue.
13: JKLF has branches in all districts of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and is also functioning in Gilgit Baltistan, in Indian controlled Kashmir, in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, most of the European countries (half a dozen branches in England) in USA and Canada.
14: JKLF has different wings i.e. student wing, called Students Liberation Front (SLF), militant wing called National Liberation Army (NLA), Diplomatic Wing and women’s wing. All these sections of JKLF, SLF in particular, have been actively participating in freedom movement as well as in organizational activities. Anyhow the activities of the militant wing stand suspended under a decision of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) taken on the advice of the Policy Planning Committee of the organization. CEC is the main policy making body of JKLF.
15: After its formation in England in 1977 by Khan and others, JKLF has so far held dozens of rallies, conferences, protest demos and seminars in all important capitals of Europe and in New York besides in different parts of the State and in Pakistan distributing pro-independence literature during those events.
16: JKLF started armed struggle in Kashmir in 1988 which injected a new life into the dying Kashmir Issue and almost dead freedom movement. JKLF was alone in the field for about 18 months before other groups were floated.
17: JKLF made four historic attempts from 1992 to 1999 to cross the bloody line bisecting Kashmir and called LoC, peacefully, unarmed and enmasse with thousands of people. These ventures attracted world attention towards Kashmir Issue.
18: A number of JKLF activities and ventures conceived, planned and their execution supervised by Khan gave instant projection to Kashmiris’ cause on national and international level. For instance, the historic protest demonstration held for about 20 minutes by JKLF activists one by one inside UN General Assembly Hall New York (visitors gallery) and throwing of thousands of leaflets containing Kashmiris’ demands, into the Hall, on October 10, 1980 during Indian foreign minister’s address to General Assembly, was a unique venture which made 155 foreign ministers, about a thousand senior diplomats and politicians from all corners of the world and above all hundreds, of world media persons, (then sitting inside the hall and in visitors galleries) aware of Kashmiris demands (through slogans raised by our activists and the leaflets thrown into the Hall) within one third of an hour.