By Syed Qaiser Sheraz Kazmi
During the annual meeting of All Jammu & Kashmir Muslim conference in Sri Nagar in 1944, Quaid-e-Azam spotted a person whose eyes reflected wisdom and whose face was confident. When that person took the dais, he started speaking fluently. He was delivering his speech in English eloquently and quoting the Quranic inunctions in between. The passion for independence had made that man a volcano. After the conclusion of the meeting, the great leader M.A Jinnah fervently had a conversation with him. This hidden pearl who cast a spell on the Quaid was not other than Syed Ali Ahmad Shah. Later on, he held the officers of Defense Minister and the President of AJK.
Syed Ali Ahmad Shah was born in Sadaat Kazmi Clan-in July 1901 at Sher Garhi, Sri Nagar. His father was an A.D.C to Maha Raja Partab Singh. He was a major in Army. His ancestors had made Sher Garhi their abode before the era of Gulab Singh. The family had plenty of agricultural land. Most of the members of the tribe kept on serving in the army and in the Punjab. Syed Ali Ahmad Shah received his early education at Mission School, Sri Nagar. After the completion of education in July 18, 1923, he was made lieutenant in the Jammu and Kashmir Army. He discharged his services at different parts of Gilgit and KPK by remaining a part of infantry and Artillery. He joined politics in 1942 at the time when the political environment of the state was in dire need of a true and candid politician. He left his army service and started his struggle from the platform of All Jammu and Kashmir Muslim conference which was the party of 3.2 million Muslims. By utilizing all his potentials, he presented a resolution in the presence of the Quaid which explained that the Kashmiri Muslims would spend their lives according to their social , economic and teaching of the Holy Quran and Sunnah. He was chosen Chariman of the central Parliamentary Board of All JKMC in June 1946. That was time when the historical resolution of Azad Kashmir was presented and when Ch. Ghulam Abbas and other leaders were arrested. At this critical juncture it was Syed Ali Ahmad Shah due to whose efforts, Muslim conference participated in the Legislative Assembly and won the election in a large majority. He was also present at the residence of Ghazi-e-Millat Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim in Sri Nagar when the resolution to accede to Pakistan was presented to the Maha Raja to accept Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan.
Shah Sahib sent a detailed letter about the situation of Kashmir to the Quaid in September 12,1947. This letter was later on published in a Pamphlet under the caption “The political Scenario of Kashmir Liberation Movement” that letter was written at a time when the MahaRaja had sent his military brigade to Poonch to crush the Muslims after the proclamation of independence in August 14,1947, When Sikhs started Muslim genocide in the valley, Shah Sahib visited Pakistan in September 18,1947. On arriving at Pakistan, he started assembling Mujahideens for the Kashmir Liberation Movement and with help of companions got liberated Mirpur, Dadyal and Bhimber.
He was included as Minister of Defence in the Government which was formed in October 24, 1941 under the presidentship of Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim. During the process under Resolution #306, both he and Sardar Ibrahim were given the title of Ghazi-e-Milat. On the eve of re-shuffling in cabinet, his name was also brought under consideration for the new AJK president. Liaqat Ali khan and the members of the cabinet were informed that Syed Ali Ahmad Shad was an extremely honest person and his honesty was above board. Late Ghulam Muhammad amused all the participants with an interesting analysis at that occasion. Late “Ghulam Muhammad Quotes that the person who is being chosen as a president of AJK has all the qualities mentioned by Liaqat Ali Khan.It is a pleasant coincidence that Syed Ali Ahmad Shah is the defense minister of AJK Government. Our P.M (Liaqat Ali Khan) also held the portfolio of the Defense Minister. Liaqat Ali Khan is simultaneously holds two part folios Prime Minister and a Defense Minister. Smilarly, Syed Ali Ahmad Shah will be president and defense Minister at the same time.” Liaqat Ali Khan smiled at that analysis of Late Ghulam Muhammad and the meeting was concluded. Ch. Ghulam Abbas who was the president of M.C and the supreme Head of AJK Government was also consulted for the President-ship of AJK. It was due to his advice that the Pakistani. P.M Liaqat Ali Khan nominated Ghazi-e-Millat Syed Ali Ahmad Shah for the president of AJK.
After becoming president, Syed Ali Ahmad Shah left no stone unturned for the liberation of Kashmir and the development of Azad Kashmir. He took momentous decision during his tenure as the president. Efforts were launched to mould the system of government according to Islamic injunctions. Ministry of religious affairs was founded in AJK. The laws were enforced according to injunctions of Quran and Sunnah. Muftis were appointed in the courts and the Islamic law was promulgated. During his tenure as President, he established a regular Army or AJK. Under an order 392, he was given an honorary post of Captain General In October12,1950 in this regard. His services had been matchless for the M.C, people of AJK and Particularly for the Muslims. He had obtained comprehensive information about all the branches of AJK administration and in Particular the army. Druing his twenty seven years of services, he made a deep study not only in the army affairs of Pakistan and India but also of Britain. He had a full command over a vast knowledge of democratic principles and international affairs. He was much interested in the comparative studies of religions. That’s why he was well versed in the Islamic teachings and the knowledge of the principles of Philosophy. Besides the AJK Government benefited from his experience in Economics. He penned down many booklets to highlight the aims and successors of the Kashmir Movement to the world among them two booklets proved useful and effective. During his rule, these were published in the form of pamphlets. He kept on raising his voice on every platform of the world about the atrocities and cruelties committed against the Kashmir Muslims and the Muslims of the rest of the world. He wrote a number of letters to the president of UNO, secretary General, Pope John Paul, international court of Justice, leaders, of the world and the president and P.M of Pakistan in this regard. Moreover, he kept on urging the leaders of AJK for the liberation of Kashmir.
Syed Ahmad Ali Shah was a candid, simple and honest person. Everybody bears out his gentleness, honesty and truthfulness. Even today people miss his reign. He believed in action rather than in rhetorics. He was open-minded and humanitarian. To him the situation of Kashmir was hidden in giving a right of self determination to four million Kashmir is. According to him it was only possible through fair, independent and unbiased polling under the auspices of UN otherwise Jihad became unavoidable. Syed Ali Ahmad Shah was blessed with only one son who passed away. In spite of the loss of that only support, shah Sahib kept on fighting for the independence of Kashmir and the Muslims. At last, this great leader passed away on 21, March 1990 and was buried at the rear Cemetery of MUST University. Even today his golden period in AJK echoes. Whenever the names of the martyrs are mentioned, Syed Ali Ahmad Shah is remembered in excellent words.
He was the proponent of unity and harmony among different Muslim factions. Owing to his efforts a Quranic Society was set-up in Mirpur Degree College which had scholars of all religious sects. Regular sessions of that society were held. Scholars of every school of thought delivered speeches there, but nobody touched any controversial issue. This practice developed a lot of harmony among sects. In the beginning he was its member and then he remained its President. The other members included Mufti Abdul Hakim, Syed Akbar Ali Shah, Abdul Aziz Sulehria Principal, Mauli Muhammad Ayub and Sardar Muhammad Ayub Session Judge. Professor Ch. Muhammad Yousaf was its secretary. Among students Ali Asghar Shah, Lala Ikram and Khalil Nizami were its active members.