RIP, Khalid Ibraheem Khan,
Daily Parliament Times,
Sardar Khalid Ibraheem Khan, the renowned politician of Azad Jammu and Kashmir is no more with us. He has left for his heavenly abode, May Allah SWT bless his soul and grant him highest place in Janat-ul-Firdous and give his family the fortitude and courage to bear this irreparable loss.
Known for his unique style of politics, the widely revered politician with strength of character was hailed in the region as a man of honesty and integrity. A daring and upright parliamentarian who would always stand firmly to his principles to defend people’s rights in the legislature had the audacity to speak his conscience with absolute clarity of mind; he was a staunch proponent of Kashmiris’ right to self-determination. Calling spade a spade had been hall mark of his simple but sober personality. His death has left a great void in the politics of Azad Kashmir. He had a long & distinguished political career. His loss will be deeply felt in the political arena of Azad Kashmir and across the country.
As a principled politician, he was an upright and honest one, who redefined politics as a tool to serve the marginal and economically downtrodden strata of the society. He was the son of “Ghazi-e-Millat” Sardar Muhammad Ibraheem Khan, the founding president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Born on 5 November 1947 at Huna Mera village in the scenic Rawalakot valley of Azad Kashmir, Khan received early education from Rawalpindi and accomplished his Bachelor’s degree from Government College Lahore, the oldest educational institute of the subcontinent that was established in 1864. In 1976, he was married to daughter of General Abdul Rehman. He actively participated in political and human rights movements in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir and endured incarcerations several times. Participated in various international Conferences on India Pakistan relations and conflict resolutions especially on Jammu & Kashmir problem. Being a member of Pugwash international, he took part in various international and Kashmir-centric discourses within and abroad.
As a student he has been a part of restoration of democracy movement that was launched against Field Marshal Ayoub Khan in 67-68. In 1977, during General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime, he formally joined Pakistan Peoples Party led by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Having been striving for the restoration of democracy Khan had to face the wrath of the establishment. For his unflinching commitment towards democracy he was put behind the bars for several times.
As a member of Pakistan Peoples Party, he stepped in practical politics thereby contesting general elections held in 1990 and became member of the Legislative Assembly of Azad Kashmir. Later on he was simultaneously elected as Member AJK Legislative Assembly in 91, 96 and 2006 and 2009, 2016 on Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party (JKPPP) ticket. He was elected, member of Azad Jammu & Kashmir legislative Assembly five times and resigned twice on principles from membership of AJK legislative Assembly.
About Jammu Kashmir Peoples Party
The party (JKPP) was established by the founding president of Azad Kashmir Sardar Muhammad Ibraheem Khan in July 1990. Owing to some differences with party leadership at centre, Sardar M Ibraheem Khan decided to launch his own party when former Prime Minister of Pakistan and the then PPP chairperson Shaheed Benazir Bhutto failed to redress the reservations expressed by Khan regarding some party issues. Notwithstanding the demands put forth by the senior leader, Ms Bhutto nominated Mumtaz Hussain Rathore as prime minister of Azad Kashmir. Khan opposed this decision terming it as undemocratic and protested against this non-parliamentary approach by the party leader and said that rather nominating the PM the decision in this regard should be made by the party (Pakistan Peoples Party AJK) through democratic ways and means.
Khan popularly known as Ghazi-e-Millat is believed to be one among the first few Kashmiris who got Barrister Degree from London. 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.
Later on when Ghaz-e-Milat renounced his political activities Sardar Khalid Ibraheem Khan, a founder member of JKPP, formally took reins of the party to carry forward the legacy of his father. 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. Calling spade a spade had been hall mark of his simple but somber personality. His death has left a great void in the politics of Azad Kashmir. He had a long & distinguished political career. His loss will be deeply felt in the political arena of Azad Kashmir and across the country. Khalid left behind two sons, two daughters and a wife
In an exclusive interview with this scribe a few years back Khan spoke on a number issues with special reference to the Kashmir dispute. Now that he is no longer with us we will like to share his views on the subject with our esteemed readers.
Having a strong faith in democracy Khan believed that Kashmir issue can be resolved amicably provided that the people of the state were given their democratic right to choose their political destiny. He said, “Despite Indian claims that UN resolutions on Kashmir have become obsolete or invalid, the presence of UN military observers group in the territory is clear evidence that Kashmir still lies as an unresolved dispute on UN agenda and that is why the observer groups are stationed in Srinagar and Muzaffarabad.”
What about Kashmiris’ ongoing liberation struggle and the role of international community
KI: Kashmiris resistance movement is neither a religious nor a radical movement; in fact it is purely an indigenous movement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who have been engaged in the struggle for last several decades. I feel the people abroad have basically failed to understand the dynamics of the problem. Had it been a racial movement it would have been perished? This is a problem of international magnitude and unfortunately India has been trying to change its international posture by terming Kashmir as bilateral issue and sometimes its internal problem. Gradually, the world community in general and the peace loving people in particular are painstakingly working on the issue and they do acknowledge the fact that Kashmiris’ rights movement is a democratic movement. However, the people should not get disappointed as democratic movement usually takes a long-time to reach its logical end while contemplating on the contemporary history we see a democratic movement continued almost one and a half century in the subcontinent as a result of which the two nations Pakistan and India emerged as the two sovereign states on the world map. On the same pattern Pakistan supports the legitimate rights movement of Kashmiri people and having a very clear stance over the issue Pakistan openly supports Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, which is their democratic right.
Although people do believe that following the 9/11 the world scenario has entirely changed but since then I personally feel that much emphasise is being laid on democracy and democratic values all over the world.
How to sustain freedom struggle?
KI: At a certain stage, the ongoing freedom struggle was at a very high-pitch but ups and downs being part and parcel of every movement, it is not possible to continue it with same tempo. I feel that besides maintaining its level it is essential to sustain the democratic and more importantly the indigenous character of the movement. For that the political leadership has to be confident enough to fill the vacuum. So for as we have seen that there are two main factors that played key role in highlighting the Kashmir issue at international level (1) Indo-Pak nuclear capability (2) the armed struggle.
Since the two nations become nuclear powers, the world community became more pro-active and concerned with the issue and wants the two nations should resolve all disputes including Kashmir dispute through meaningful and result-oriented talks. Let me tell you this is the only dispute between two nuclear states because of this fact the world has focused its whole attention to get the issue resolved in order to avoid nuclear confrontation in the region.
The resistance movement that equally contributed in bringing the Kashmir issue at limelight at international level can not be just ignored but it has to be taken into consideration that it might not runoff the proportions that may probably be counterproductive for the rights movement. Therefore, there is a dire need that political leadership across the state should demonstrate the wisdom and political acumen so as to meet the challenges ahead. I personally feel that to meet such challenges in a coherent manner and unity within the pro-freedom leadership is essential to take the movement to its logical end. However, this is high time that the basic complexion of the movement should be restored; once we succeed in revamping our movement into a broad based political movement we will certainly be able to achieve the sympathies of the entire world.
Secondly the political leadership should stick to its historical and principled stance on Kashmir and there should be no compromise whatsoever on the basic principles. The two governments can have problems, they can change their stand but Kashmiri leadership can not afford any kind of seesawing policy so for as the final settlement of Kashmir dispute is concerned, it has to be determined and clear in its approach. In this regard the Kashmiri leadership on both sides of line of control should get in touch with each other.
About UN resolutions
KI: This is an undeniable fact that the United Nations Resolutions on Kashmir and the UN charter itself are the guiding principles to resolve the dispute.
Have you ever visited India or Indian occupied Kashmir?
KI: No. I did not. Actually I have different point of view that is so long as Indian forces are in Kashmir I will never visit the territory and till the Indians accept Kashmiris genuine and democratic rights I will never visit India although I was invited many times by various NGOs to visit the country but I refused owing to the said reasons.
What About Composite dialogue?
KI: Dialogue is the only civilized way to seek solution of disputes, so one should not shy away from holding talks. But the main thing is that we should not loose sight of the basic aim that is the Kashmiris as a nation have the right to choose their political destiny. So for as the ongoing dialogue process between India and Pakistan is concerned no doubt some political parties have shown their reservations but it has at least helped a lot to diminishing the prevailing hostility between the two arch rivals of the south Asia. However, there is a need to institutionalize the process to make it sustainable. The talks process must continue so that the issues confronting the two nations could be discussed threadbare.
What About CBMs?
KI: We support the Kashmir centric CBMs particularly the enhancement of people to people contacts, however, I am not in favour of any trade along the ceasefire line. Commerce and trade related activities are normally carried out in an area where there is peace and harmony. So in a scary situation in the conflict zone how can you ensure a smooth trade along the divided parts of the state? I have made it clear during the recent Pagwash conference that we will accept all CBMs relating to people to people contact but trade along the LOC is unacceptable to us, this is our party stance.
About HR situation in Indian occupied Kashmir
KI: The world community at large is highly concerned with the bloodshed and the killings of innocent people in Indian occupied Kashmir and wants the violence should be stopped immediately without further loss of life.
Do you feel that Kashmiri leadership should be associated with talks?
KI: Unlike other Kashmiri leaders I have entirely different opinion in this regard; I feel there is no need to involve Kashmiri leadership in the Indo-Pak talks at this stage, in fact the dialogue process was initiated by the two governments to explore and evolve a mechanism or methodology as how to address the core issue. So unless the two nations come up with a comprehensive mechanism there is no need to be part of the dialogue. The people who have been holding talks at official are just to explore the ways and means and to set a modus operandi regarding the conflict resolution. They do not have the mandate to thrust any solution; ultimately the Kashmiris as a nation have the right to make a final decision regarding their future.
The two countries can not take any decision bilaterally, as they have been holding talks for last 60 years, despite signing agreements the problem still persists there. Had Kashmiris been part of these negotiations our position would have been quite different? We would have then lost our legitimacy and claim over the issue.
Morally and legally our demand is genuine and justified, because Kashmiris have never been part of the negotiations, so there is no hurry let the two countries to devise a mechanism, finally they will have to take Kashmiris on board and a stage will come when Kashmiri will be masters of their destiny but this is possible only if we Kashmiris as a nation stand united and consolidate ourselves politically. And this is very clear that the Kashmiris being the principal party to the dispute can not be ignored so for as the final settlement of the issue is concerned.
Do you think bilateral approach can yield positive results?
KI: So for bilateralism has failed to yield positive results but I think the two countries can evolve a mechanism through this process but can not be able to thrash out a solution of Kashmir problem as history bears witness to the fact that having been engaged in talks for last 60 years Kashmir problem still hangs around.
This is basically an international issue; India itself took the issue to the United Nations to seek the world body’s role to get the problem resolved. As in the case of Indus Water Treaty, the World Bank played key role to facilitate both the countries India and Pakistan to sign the agreement, I feel on the same pattern third party involvement (as a mediator) will be required to bring about a durable solution of the dispute.
Which country do you think can play effective role as a mediator?
KI: There is not just one country but at present I feel the European Union being the most credible can play vital role to bring about a solution of the Kashmir imbroglio.
What do you think is the most applicable solution of Kashmir Dispute?
KI: Give and take, status quo or further bifurcation is no solution to Kashmir dispute. Democratic solution is the only viable solution to the dispute. The issue being a political one should be resolved through democratic means. So if you want a viable and lasting solution to the dispute that has to be democratic one. As force or any sort of military adventurism can just highlight the issue but can never be helpful in resolving the dispute.