Altaf Hamid Rao,
MIRPUR (AJK): Veteran Kashmiri intellectual, former Information minister and ambassador of Pakistan and former senior advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations Mohammad Yusuf Buch, will be laid to rest in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Azad Jammu & Kashmir, with full state honour, it was officially said.
The body of Buch, eminent Ambassador of Pakistan and the Kashmiris birth right of self determination is being flown to Pakistan for onward burial in Muzaffarabad at the compound of the Mausoleum of Mir Waiz Muhammad Yousaf Shah, according to his will.
He had passed away in the US on Friday evening at his home in New York at the age of 98.
AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan announced on Saturday that the great departed ambassador of the Kashmir cause will be laid to rest at the compound of the mausoleums of Mir Waiz Muhammad Yousaf Shah and K H Khursheed, the former Presidents of Azad Jammu & Kashmir in Muzaffarabad according to the will of the world-fame late Kashmiri intellectual and ambassador.
The Prime Minister of Azad Jammu & Kashmir Saturday has accorded formal approval for the burial of Yousaf Buch, a great son of the soil, with full state honour in the State’s capital town of Muzaffarabad, according to an official handout, issued by the AJK State Government’s Press Information Department on Saturday.
According to details, Yousuf Buch, a known Kashmir expert, former information minister of Pakistan Ambassador Buch, at the end of his scholastic career, passed a competitive examination to win a place in what was called the government’s superior service. But the radical overhaul which was the sequel to the liquidation of the colonial order affected him directly; from being a privileged government official, he became a political prisoner as he was vocally among the opponents of the Maharaja Hari Singh’s so-called accession to India and New Delhi’s invasion in Jammu and Kashmir. This led to his being exiled to Pakistan through a compulsory exchange of war and political prisoners in 1949.
Senior Hurriyat leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said in his condolence message that Buch dedicated his life for the Kashmir cause.
Reports said Buch passed away on May 24, 2019, at his home in New York. He was not keeping good health for a long time.
After the funeral prayers at Makkah Masjid in Brooklyn, New York, his dead body is being flown to Muzaffarabad for burial, a message reaching here Saturday said.
Ambassador Buch served as an adviser to the UN Secretary-General as well.
Born in Kalashpora Srinagar 1922, the Buch’s were three brothers: Yusuf, the KCS officer, Ghulam Naqashaband, who eventually became the Resident Commissioner in Delhi and Mohammad Amin Buch, who became the Chief Conservator of forests in Jammu and Kashmir and would also run Chenar newspaper. They were alumni of the Islamia High School who later graduated from the SP College.
Yusuf Buch, according to sources, topped a civil administration examination during Dogra rule and was appointed as Tehsildar somewhere around the early forties. He was posted in Baramulla for a few years.
Buch was one of the many persons who was exiled by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1949. Open sources information suggest that the staunch Muslim Conference supporter, Buch was arrested and driven to Suchetgrah in Jammu and sent to Pakistan. He was accompanied, in the same bus, by Agha Showkat Ali, Barrister Abdul Gani Rentoo, and Mahmood Hashmi.
This actually gave him his status. Buch was being considered as an encyclopaedia on Kashmir as he had witnessed almost every major development from a very closer quarter.
In 1953, he is reported to have won an International Essay Contest sponsored by the United Nations that brought him to the USA. There, he ran a Kashmir Centre in New York from 1957 to 1972.
Later he went to Pakistan. There, he joined the Pakistan government. Between 1972 and 1977, he worked for former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as his special adviser. Briefly, he was Pakistan’s Minister of Information as well. Later, he was appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland.
Later, Buch joined the United Nations as Assistant Secretary-General political until his retirement in 1991.
Interestingly, Buch remained a bachelor for most of his life. Sources said he married an American woman Amie but the relationship could not last beyond three years. They were divorced soon. Buchdied without anybody surviving him. However, most of his relations are in Kashmir including the families of his two brothers.
“M Yusuf Buch a scarcely known authoritative voice on Kashmir is no more,” Haseeb Drabu wrote on Twitter. “Civil servant, policy maker, political advisor and much more. A Kashmiri to the core, an intellectual with Graham Greene, Paul Sweezy, & Baran as friends. Would like to be remembered as Ambassador Buch. Rip.”