Monday, 2 June 2008

A brief history of JKLF

A brief history of JKLF
Written for benefit of some non Kashmiris who wanted to know about JKLF in 2004, but initially it was written for Ghulam Rasool Dar.

This I wrote this some years ago for benefit of Secretary General of JKLF in J&K. There have been more problems since. Yasin Malik had 2 splits in the Valley one led by Javed Mir who was Commander in Chief of JKLF militancy at one time and Vice Chair He formed JKL Forum (still JKLF); another by Saleem Nanaji and Iqbal Gandroo, they are also using JKLF name. Amanullah Khan has a very small group there, in fact just a few names. There are other independent groups of JKLF operating in Europe and AK as well. We can discuss reasons behind all these splits if that is what you and….. want to discuss.

I am sending you other materials on JKLF, and my articles which could help you and Peter to understand some of the problems.

Dear Dar Sahib Aslamo Alaykam

I don’t know why you need full history of JKL, it is not possible to write full history as it could take many months and could become a book of many hundred pages. However brief details are as follows:

Situation before JKLF

In Azad Kashmir there was JK Plebiscite Front, which believed in nationalist politics, but was badly oppressed and shattered after the Ganga Hijacking case. Also because of very strong propaganda of Pakistan it was considered as pro Indian with Indian agents in it. Another problem was that it was considered as party of ‘Ansari Family’.
All other political parties and other groups were first Pakistanis and considered Kashmir to be already part of Pakistan.
Situation in UK was also similar. In Britain there was Pakistan Peoples Party and other Pakistani political and community based parties like Pakistan welfare associations.
There were some individuals of Plebiscite Front but with no network of any kind.
There were around 4-5 lakh Kashmiris from Azad Kashmiri, but nearly all of them considered them as Pakistanis, and it was at this time (late 1972-73) I and a few of my colleagues from Panjeri area of Mirpur district started writing article in favour of united and independent Kashmir. Of course, apart from Indian held Kashmir I started writing and talking about situation in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit and Baltistan as well.
As I was a regular contributor in papers and very focal in my writings I was called an Indian agent in 1973. My other senior colleagues were also labelled. Pakistani people were still trying to recover from the shock of fall of Dahaka. Unfortunately they blamed Ganga hijacking and the Kashmiris for their fate in Bangladesh, and for them talk of an independent Kashmir meant Indian agents trying to weaken Pakistan.
It was under this environment Ch Abdul Rehman, Malik Latif, Sultan Zumard and I organised Kashmir Youth Movement with some kind of networking. We were encouraged and motivated by trials of Ganga hijacking case and statements of people like Maqbool Butt.
We went to Azad Kashmir in 1974, Malik Latif and Ch Abdul Rehman met Maqbool Butt and other leaders in Mirpur (I was unable to attend although I was supposed to be there as well).
We continued our work in UK under the banner of Kashmir Youth Movement, there were other individuals like Afzal Jatalvi who were working on the nationalist agenda, and there was Kashmiri Workers Association in Birmingham, which also pursued the same cause.
Later on in 1975 Khaliq Ansari came to UK to organise Kashmiris in UK, and he was followed by Amanullah Khan in 1976. They had meetings in many parts of UK to organise Kashmiris. They also came to my house in Halifax and asked us not to have separate small groups and set up a national organisation.
Of course Amanullah Khan and Khaliq Asnsari were big leaders and we were kids compared to them, and we agreed to work together, and learn from their experience.
There were many others who wanted to work for the nationalist cause but not under the name of Plebiscite Front; whereas Khaliq Ansari and his close associates insisted that we work on the platform of Plebiscite Front It was later decided that in Britain we will work under new name and in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan under the Plebiscite Front.

Formation of JKLF

So in 1977, we formed the JKLF in Birmingham. Mr Jabbar Butt was elected its first President and Nazir Nazish General Secretary. For technical reasons Amanullah Khan did not take any official position, although he was the main driving force. Afzal Jatalvi was elected Vice President, my name was proposed for Assistant General Secretary, but I withdrew my name. Including me, four members of Kashmir Youth Movement were elected to the Executive Committee.
We all worked here together under very challenging conditions. Amanullah Khan realised that there are problems - world community wanted to know if JKLF had any roots on the soil of Kashmir.

First split

To overcome this problem, Amanullah Khan travelled to AK and in 1982 JKLF was set up in Azad Kashmir. This was seen as a clear breach of agreement by leaders of Plebiscite Front, and since their relatives and friends had important positions in the JKLF in Britain (main body), it was easy to have a revolt.
The break away group was later renamed as JKNLF, which still exists in Britain and in AK. JKNLF had rebels of JKLF and some rebels from Plebiscite Front.
It is important to note here that Maqbool Butt was never a member of JKLF. He was member and later President of Plebiscite Front. In 1967, he formed JKNLF within Plebiscite Front to have armed actions. He was arrested and sentenced in IHK. He managed to escape to AK, got arrested and sentenced. He was also arrested at the time of Ganga Hijacking, but released by Supreme Court of Pakistan. He crossed border to IHK again in 1976, and got arrested, and hanged in 1984.
People like Hashim Qureshi, Dr Farooq Haider, Rashid Hasrat, Raja Muzaffar Nazir Gilani etc worked very hard for the JKLF in AK Pakistan. They had opposition from many groups and officials.

Second split

With the JKLF Ansari family was also split, some supported Amanullah Khan and others opposed him. In 1984 there was a kidnapping and killing of Rawindera Mahatare, Indian diplomat in Birmingham. It was half cooked plan which had very serious consequences for JKLF and its members and the movement.
Butt Sahib was hanged as a direct result of this. In UK people were arrested and harassed by the police, some members who were a part of this plan being arrested and sentenced. Some of these members accused Amanullah Khan for treason, as they believe it was he who informed British police about them and got them arrested.
It was against this depressed and bleak situation I was elected General Secretary in 1985. Afzal Jatalvi Sahib was elected President. We worked extremely hard under very difficult situation and kept the morale of members high. Demands were made to investigate accusations against Amanullah Khan. We said it is not appropriate time as he was in prison and his trial was about to start, and accusers were also in jails, and party was in crises.
Also there were complaints against Amanullah Khan from senior and dedicated members of JKLF. They were not happy the way he managed the JKLF. Amanullah Khan manoeuvred everything to make it appear as a communist plot against him. As a result of these reasons there was another split and Jatalvi Sahib and I were accused of protecting Amanullah Khan. We lost some very dedicated and intelligent people.
Amanullah Khan was later deported to AK and Pakistan by Britain, the morale of colleagues here was very low, but we continued and established the JKLF on firm grounds. It was the biggest and most organised party of Pakistanis and Azad Kashmiris with strong diplomatic and political base.

Third split

At the height of the movement, in June 1990, Amanullah Khan without taking the party in to confidence announced ‘provisional government of Kashmir’, even though there is an Azad Kashmir government. This caused serious problems in the party and party was split in two with very negative impact on the party and the movement.
Attempts were made to influence the JKLF Britain; we sent a delegation from here to get a compromise, but failed. However we managed to keep unity here.

Fourth split

Jatalvi and I got elected again in 1988 and continued till 1992. We decided not to contest in the elections of 1992, but Jatalvi Sahib was later persuaded by Zafar Khan and Amanullah Khan to contest the elections. Earlier Jatalvi Sahib agreed that his candidate was Younis Sahib, and his U turn on the elections caused resentment and conflict in the party.
In the election Younis Sahib won as a President by 4 votes from Jatalvi Sahib, and Zafar Khan became General Secretary. On advice of Zafar Khan, Jatalvi Sahib and Malik Latif, Amanullah Khan unconstitutionally disbanded the organisation with its 7 institutions.
This decision was opposed by 24 branches out of 31, and even those who decided to supported Amanllah Khan agreed that it was illegal and wrong decision which was taken at a time when we needed unity and movement was at its peak.
A compromise was worked out between the both groups in Choudhry Quban played an important role. This written agreement signed by both parties was later rejected by Central Committee. Important thing to note is that agreement which united the party was rejected that split could be engineered. CC decided by not allowing us to put forward our point of view. It is believed that Amanullah knew the outcome if we had an opportunity to appear before the CC, so he prevailed on them to take a decision.
JKLF was at its peak but after this split there was a gradual decline. We operated under two different names, Amanullah Khan’s group is known as JKLF Britain and we are known as JKLF UK and Europe.
A lot of effort was spent opposing each other rather than fighting the cause, and other parties took advantage of it.

Fifth split

In 1994 Abid Shaheen and his colleagues in Azad Kashmir and some individuals in Europe, broke away from JKLF Amanullah Khan, and formed Abid Shaheen Group. Already in AK there were two groups, with Amanullah Khan’s group being the biggest one.

Sixth split

In 1995-6, after Yasin Malik came out of prison, there were problems between Valley JKLF and the Centre and that led to another split, and you people know it very well.

Seventh split

This split had its impact in UK as well, and another group in the name of JKLF United is operating here with very little support.
JKLF and its history on that side of the LOC is best known to you people.

The rest you know, but if there are any specific questions then ask me, I’ll answer to best of my ability.

Shabir Choudhry

1 comment:

cute said...

u havent write anything about Sardar Rashees Hasrat Khan although dere is one Group That is HAsrat Group in Azad KAshmir