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Dec 22, 2006

Kashmir Issue - Jinnah and Sheikh Abdullah...

The true story of personal vendetta and ego-clashes that none of the Kashmiri Muslims or the Pakistan leadership will ever tell you... because they want to keep milking the old rant of how "Accession of Kashmir" to India was not legal. Yes, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir did sign the "Instrument of Accession with India" - but an equal fact is that the masses of Kashmir - which even in 1947 was an absurdly Muslim majority, also supported the accession. They fought the Pakistani army and tribal raiders during the Oct 1947 invasion - much ahead of actual accession - or the arrival of Indian Army in the valley.

But the Muslim leaders in Kashmir will never tell this to you - that it was their own parents and grandparents who formed a local "Militia" - armed with sticks and a will to keep control of Pakistan - which they knew was headed to be an Islamic state - away from the valley. And this militia was led and guided by none other than Sheikh Abdullah - who was at that time, and for decades to come - till his death in mid-1980's the biggest mass leader of Kashmiri Muslims. Hailed as "Sher-i-Kashmir" for the sway he held with the masses - he was a critical element in Kashmir joining India at Independence. His personal differences with Jinnah, Jinnah's dislike for this neo-convert and Jinnah's arrogance are well known...

Did Sheikh Abdullah support the accession just to satisfy his personal ego and to show Jinnah who was the boss in Kashmir... Did Sheikh swing the masses towards India to ensure he gets the crown - which he was sure Jinnah wouldn’t let him have in Pakistan. Were the Muslims of Kashmir so stupid and gullible to get fooled around and high jacked by Sheikh for his own gains...?

It does seem more true now - no wonder even Sheikh's grave needs Z-category security now... after attempts were made to exhume and urinate on it in early 1990's...

The following article from Kashmir Sentinel Dec 2006 issue throws some more light...
(Kashmir Sentinel and KNN duly acknowledged)

Source: Kashmir Sentinel

December, 2006 issue

Did Sheikh Abdullah visit Pakistan in October, 1947?

By Raman Kumar Bhat

Did Sheikh Abdullah visit Pakistan in October 1947 to meet Jinnah? If yes, how Mohiuddin Karra, hero of 'Quit Kashmir Movement' of National Conference remain unawares about it? Karra asks how could it have been possible when Sheikh Abdullah soon after his release from jail at the end of September was 'busy making speeches, giving press statements and meeting the people who came pouring into his house'. If such an event had taken place everyone would have known, Karra adds.

Bilquees Taseer, the wife of Prof. MD Taseer, former Principal of Sri Pratap College, Srinagar and a top Muslim Leaguer, provides new evidence, hitherto unavailable, in her book 'The Kashmir of Sheikh Abdullah'. The book, which reflects strong communal bias and is based on oral testimonies of dramatis personnel active during 1947, has virtually gone unnoticed in J&K though it was published a decade back.

Why Jinnah, the leader of Muslim League and Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the leader of Kashmiri Muslims hated each other exceeds the scope of this review article. Though Jinnah continued to hate Abdullah, the evidence provided by Bliquees Taseer indicates that Kashmiri leader did make attempts to break ice with Jinnah.

Nawab Mushtaq Ahmed Gurmani was Head of the Information Directorate at Simla and Delhi from 1943-47. After the creation of Pakistan he was appointed Minister of Kashmir Affairs for a few years. He was close to Jinnah. Prof. MD Taseer too served in the Information Directorate under Gurmani.

As per Gurmani, Taseer had tried to arrange twice meeting between Jinnah and Sheikh Abdullah-in early 1945 and 1946. The first meeting did not materialise. It was in early 1946 that Taseer brought Sheikh Abdullah to Gurmani again to arrange a meeting with Jinnah. The latter's reply was "If he (Abdullah) wants to see me let him write a request and then I will consider". How could a popular leader who carried the mandate of his people could stomach this insult? In contrast, Pt. Nehru, a taller leader of Indian people, treated Sheikh Abdullah as his equal.

In early 1947 yet another attempt was made by Hafiz Jullundri, poet and close friend of Sheikh, besides Maulana Daud Gaznavi and others. Initially, Jinnah agreed for the meeting, the date and time for an appointment was fixed. But when the party accompanied by Sheikh Abdullah reached Jinnah's house and were waiting in the drawing room, they were given the message that Jinnah had changed the mind.

Taseer still pursued with his efforts. His visit to Srinagar led to deputation of GM Sadiq to Lahore to hold talks with Muslim League leaders. What happened to this mission is a separate story.

The Pakistani left leaders-Mian Iftikharuddin, Prof. MD Taseer who wanted to outherod Jinnah in championing the two-nation theory were trying all stratagems to trap Sheikh Abdullah and annex Kashmir for Pakistan. They were the principle players in first trapping Sheikh Abdullah, then if possible make him captive and finally formulating Tribal invasion of Kashmir if the first two stratagems failed to take off. Shameless intrigue of Pakistani Left leaders including Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mian Iftikharuddin, Prof MD Taseer during 1947 is a blot on the history of left movement in the Indian sub-continent.

Taseer came to Srinagar on October 2, 1947 and left for Lahore the next day alongwith GM Sadiq. Mian Iftikharuddin, the cunning politician, came to Srinagar again only a day or two after Taseer and Sadiq had left for Lahore. Why were Taseer, Iftikharuddin in hurry to trap Sheikh Abdullah? Hadn't they okayed the plan for military invasion of Kashmir? The invasion date had already been extended twice. How insincere they were to their close friend, Abdullah is clearly established by facts.

Mian Iftikharuddin had once been a member of Indian National Congress Working Committee and spent two years in Jail in 'Quit India' agitation. Now he was a Muslim Leaguer, who wanted to annex Kashmir by hook or crook to vindicate the two-nation theory. From his Congress days he had developed a special relationship with Sheikh Abdullah. He came from Lahore by car at the beginning of October (1947). Iftikharuddin had visited Kashmir alongwith Faiz Ahmed Faiz in August-September (1947) when Sheikh Abdullah was in jail. The duo had met National Conference and Muslim Conference leaders to influence them to facilitiate Kashmir's accession to Pakistan.

The Driver, Khizar had been in service of Mian Iftikharuddin for over thirty years. As per the Driver's testimony he drove Mian Iftikharuddin in his own car soon after Dr. Taseer visited Srinagar in the first week of October, 1947. They left Lahore early in the morning and reached Srinagar the same evening. Mian met Abdullah at his house at Soura and stayed for about two hours. Mian and his driver stayed at Nedous Hotel for the night. The next morning Sheikh Abdullah himself came to the hotel. All the three left for Lahore by Car via 'the Pindi' route.

Sheikh Abdullah spent two nights in Mian Iftikhar's house in Aikman Road, while Mian tried to persuade Jinnah then in Karachi on the phone to meet him. As per Begum Iftikharuddin Jinnah got excited and replied, 'I don't need to meet this man. Kashmir is in my pocket'. According to Sheikh Abdullah Jinnah's reply was 'who is Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah? I am prepared to discuss Kashmir only with the Maharaja or a senior government official from Kashmir". Sheikh Abdullah as per Bliquees Taseer, had told Suhail Iftikharuddin (Mian's son) and his lawyer friend in New Delhi in 1964 that he had made lightening trip to Lahore soon after his release at Mian's insistence who had already contacted Jinnah on the phone in Karachi, with a request that he would meet Sheikh Abdullah if he brought him to Karachi. Why did Jinnah first agree to meet Abdullah and then suddenly backtracked? To humiliate Sheikh Abdullah?

The now defunct "Civil and Military Gazette' of Lahore had reported this visit of Sheikh Abdullah to Lahore. According to Habib Kaifi, one-time secretary of J&K Muslim Conference people in Srinagar knew about Sheikh's visit to Lahore. Begum Zafar Ali, a MLA of J&K Assembly (1975-82) too confirmed the visit by Sheikh Abdullah to Lahore. Sheikh Abdullah left on the third morning, reaching Srinagar at 10 PM. It was Khizar who dropped Kashmiri leader at Srinagar.

The question arises if so many people knew in Srinagar knew about Sheikh's trip to Lahore how was Karra ignorant about it and did not about it know even four decades later. Was the entire NC leadership kept in dark by Sheikh Abdullah and only the Muslim Conference leadership was privy to it? Shri Omar Abdullah who visited Pakistani recently said there that his grandfather committed serious mistakes. Did he have repeated humiliation of his grandfather by Pakistani leaders in mind? The people are keen to know.

Copyrights � 2006 Kashmir News Network (KNN) and Kashmir Sentinel duly acknowledged.

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