Rising Kashmir NewsSrinagar, April 26:
Amanullah Khan, 82, the co-founder of the pro-freedom Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), passed away in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
He was hospitalised about three weeks ago after suffering health complications linked to a lung disease.
His Nimaz-e-Jinazah would be offered at Liyaqat Bagh at 11 am Pakistan Standard Time (PST) and then shifted to Gilgit in Pakistan-administered Kashmir as per his will.
Another Nimaz-e-Jinazah of Khan would be offered at Gilgit where he would be finally laid to rest.
Khan is survived by his only daughter Asma, who is married to separatist-turned mainstream politician and minister in PDP-BJP coalition government, Sajad Gani Lone.
Khan, one of the architects of Kashmir’s armed movement, was born in Astore Gilgit on August 24, 1934.
He studied in Kashmir valley and did his matriculation from University of Kashmir in 1950 and topped among the Muslims students in the State.
He later studied at S P College and Amar Singh College in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu Kashmir.
Khan migrated to Pakistan in 1952 where he joined S M College, Karachi where he graduated in 1957 and later did his degree in law in 1962.
Khan co-founded the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front (NLF) with Muhammad Maqbool Bhat.
He was also the co-founder of Kashmir Independent Committee in 1963.
Khan was also elected Secretary General of Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front in 1965.
Interestingly, Khan was accused of being an Indian agent as well as a Pakistani agent during his lifetime.
He was detained in Gilgit in Pakistan-administered Kashmir for a year and three months in 1970-72 and later accused of being a Pakistani agent and tried in absentia in Srinagar.
In 1976, Khan went to England where in May 1977 he formed Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front by renaming the England branches of JKNLF.
In England, he was arrested in September 1985 and acquitted but deported in December 1986.
Back in Pakistan, he was at the forefront of the Kashmir’s armed movement and instrumental in recruiting Kashmiri youth for JKLF.
By 1988, he would administer oath to the JKLF recruits in Muzaffarabad.
One of his recruits, Javed Ahmad Mir, told Rising Kashmir he still remembers the day he took oath as a JKLF recruit from Khan in Athmuqam just across the Line of Control (LoC).
He said Khan administered the oath to us by placing the holy Quran over our heads although he did not give us arms training in 1988 when he was the JKLF Chairman.
“I along with Sheikh Hameed, Ashfaq Majeed and Yasin Malik crossed the LoC and we met him at Athmuqam,” Mir said. “Khan, who was then in his fifties was accompanied by Raja Muzaffar and Dr. Farooq Haider.”
He said Khan had dedicated his life to Kashmir cause and its freedom for which he raised the slogan of independence.
Mir, who met Khan five times between 1988 and 1993, said he was also one of the rare leaders who owned Kashmir’s armed struggle.
“He would devote 17-18 hours of his day for Kashmir, sometimes writing and sometimes planning things,” he said.
Mir said Khan did not own any property in Islamabad and would live on rent in Rawalpindi although he owned a school in Karachi where he helped underprivileged acquire education.
“He was just like Yasir Arafat, Fidel Castro, Omar Mukhtar and Nelson Mandela, who sacrificed his everything for Kashmiri nation,” he said. “I worked under him for around 15 years and I’m proud of being his student and follower.”
In 1970s, he staged a protest demonstration inside the United Nations General Assembly over Kashmir.
A US-based ?Kashmir lobbyist, Ghulam Nabi Fai termed Khan as an icon, who was no more.
“He was an icon who remained steadfast to his mission,” Fai said. “He was a symbol of sacrifice, modesty, and uprightness who remained undoubtedly true to the cause of Kashmir until the end of his life.”
Fai said Khan was a man of vision, a great leader, a prolific writer, and above all, a kind personal friend.
The Indian government had his US visa cancelled in 1990, got Interpol Warrants of Arrest issued against him and had him arrested in Belgium in October 1993 where he had been invited by the European Parliament to attend a seminar on Kashmir.
Noted Kashmiri journalist, Yusuf Jameel said Khan would write a permanent column 'Dekhta Challa Gaya' in his 'Voice of Kashmir' periodical.
“I imitated the title but the issues that would be discussed in my 'Dekhta Challa Gaya' column in Daily Aftab 1979 onwards were of different nature,” he said. “Khan would occasionally speak to Khawaja Sannaullah Bhat (Editor of the Aftab) on telephone from Luton to keep him posted on JKLF’s pro-independence activities.”
Khan has only one child, a daughter Asma Lone who married Sajjad Gani Lone, the Peoples Conference Chairman.
Khan wrote two books, ‘Free Kashmir’ and his autobiography in Urdu besides about 3 dozen booklets and pamphlets in English and Urdu about different aspects of the Kashmir issue and the Kashmir’s freedom movement.
He visited over 20 countries to lobby for his cause including attending the UN General Assembly and held many press conferences there.