Kashmiri leader K.H. Khurshid remembered

Published March 12, 2024
AJK Legislative Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Latif Akbar speaks at the 36th death anniversary function of renowned Kashmiri leader K H Khurshid in Muzaffarabad on Monday. — Photo by author
AJK Legislative Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Latif Akbar speaks at the 36th death anniversary function of renowned Kashmiri leader K H Khurshid in Muzaffarabad on Monday. — Photo by author

MUZAFFARABAD: Senior and young political leaders from different schools of thought paid glowing tributes to the towering Kashmiri leader Khurshid Hassan Khurshid, commonly known as K.H. Khurshid, on the occasion of his 36thdeath anniversary on Monday, acknowledging that his ideology was the only way forward for the long overdue liberation of Jammu and Kashmir from Indian subjugation.

The death anniversary function was held in the Municipal Corporation Hall, yards away from the late leader’s tomb, which is a replica of the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who Mr Khurshid had served as private secretary from 1944 to late 1947.

In October 1947, the Quaid sent him to Srinagar reportedly with a task but there he was arrested and jailed by the Indian forces. He was finally repatriated in a prisoner exchange in 1949.

On May 1, 1959, Mr Khurshid was appointed as AJK president in accordance with the procedure in vogue at that time. He accepted this office on the insistence of Fatima Jinnah who treated him as her son and had also persuaded him to earn the bar-at-law degree from Lincoln’s Inn UK.

Two years after assuming the president’s office, Mr Khurshid conducted the first ever elections underbasic democracy system in Azad Kashmir and alsobecame the liberated territory’s first elected president.

In 1962, he founded a political party by the name of Jammu Kashmir Liberation League (JKLL)to ensure an all-out and focused struggle forliberation of Indiaoccupied Jammu and Kashmir.

The JKLL ideology called for recognition of the AJK government by Pakistan and other nations as a ‘revolutionary provisional successor government’ of the deposed Dogra ruler of the erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, so that it could take the freedom movement to its logical end with a free hand.

An icon of integrity, honesty, intelligence and sincerity, Mr Khurshid died in a road accident on G.T. Road while travelling in public transport on March 11, 1988. At the time of his death, people found only Rs37 in his pocket.

“Khurshid sahib wasa matchless leader who used his incredible leadership skills and acumen to lead the Kashmiri nation towards the true and practicable path to their freedom. Leaders like him are born in centuries,” said AJK Legislative Assembly Speaker and senior PPP leader Chaudhry Latif Akbar in his address as chief guest at the death anniversary function.

“The honesty, integrity, principles, ideals, courage, bravery make him a role model for every Kashmiri, regardless of his faith, caste, creed and political affiliation,” he added.

Mr Akbar maintained that the usefulness of Mr Khurshid’s ideology was now being acknowledged even by the people who had religiously opposed it tooth and nail for years together.

“If we have to break the status quo, we will have to take bold decisions because we can no longer afford more bloodbath across the bloody divide,” he said.

Mr Akbar reiterated his suggestion to the new government in Islamabad to host a national Kashmir conference to devise a workable strategy in the wake of India’s arbitrary steps and machinations with regard to the occupied territory.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2024

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