Written by ; Javed Iqbal
Today, 31 July, marks the death anniversary veteran Kashmiri leader Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan also known as Ghaz-e-Millat. He was the founder and first President of Azad Kashmir. He played a pivotal role in kashmir’s liberation struggle. In British India of 1946, he won the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly election as a member of the Muslim Conference party and became a member of the Praja Sabha under Maharajah Hari Singh.
In 1947, he organised the Poonch rebellion, against the Dogra Maharaja. Hailing from an influential Sudhan tribe, Ghazi-e-Millat was born on 10 April 1915 in Kot Mattay Khan, a village in the Poonch District of Kashmir. He received his primary education in his village. He attended college and received a Bachelors of Arts degree in 1935 at Islamia College (Lahore) and sought higher education abroad in 1938. He obtained his LLB degree from the University of London in 1943. Khan then obtained a law degree from Lincoln’s Inn, and started practicing law at Srinagar, Kashmir.
He served as the public prosecutor and assistant advocate general in Dogra regime, later he resigned from the post to contest elections for Praja Saba on Muslim Conference ticket and returned as winning candidate.
On 19 July 1947, Khan hosted an important meeting at his residence in Abiguzar Srinagar where historic resolution generally known as Accession to Pakistan was unanimously passed. Later on Khan along with several like minded fellow Kashmiris, launched an armed struggle against the Maharaja. On 24 October 1947, he and his associates established an independent government in the liberated territory called Azad Kashmir. Khan had the honour and privilege to be the first President of the state of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. He represented Kashmir in different capacities at the United Nations from 1948 to 1971.
Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan also wrote a book named The Kashmir Saga on government and politics of Azad Kashmir and history and philosophy of freedom struggle.
Ghaz-e-Millat would be remembered for a long time in the annals of Kashmir history owing to his indomitable role and peerless contribution in Kashmir’s liberation struggle. He left behind a legacy of clean and honest politics that will continue to be a source of inspiration for the coming generations.
Being a straightforward person, he had the audacity to speak his conscience with absolute clarity of mind; he was a staunch proponent of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. He had a long & distinguished political career. His loss will be deeply felt in the political arena of Azad Kashmir