JKLF founder Amanullah Khan passes away

Srinagar: Prominent Kashmiri leader and the founder member of the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, Amanullah Khan, died in Rawalpindi after prolonged illness.

Amanullah Khan breathed his last early Tuesdaymorning at a hospital after fighting a year-long battle against chronic lung disease.

Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Vice Chairman, Saleem Haroon, talking to media men confirmed the death of Amanullah Khan.

A JKLF spokesman said that the funeral prayers of the deceased would be held at Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi,tomorrow at 11:00 a.m.

Amanullah Khan was born in the Astore area of Gilgit on August 24, 1934. In 1940, he went to Srinagar in pursuit of educational opportunities. He passed his Matric Exam from Kashmir University in 1950 obtaining a place in the merit list (by standing 1st amongst all Muslim Students in the state). He then joined S.P. College and later Amar Singh College Srinagar and migrated to Pakistan in 1952. There he joined S.M. College Karachi graduated in 1957 and obtained a Degree in Law in 1962, all this as a self-supporting student.

He was the co-founder of the Kashmir Independent Committee in 1963, and was elected Secretary General of JK Plebiscite Front (PF) in 1965.

In 1976 Mr. Khan went to England where in May 1977 he formed JKLF by renaming the England branches of JKNLF. He was arrested in England in September 1985 and acquitted but deported in December 1986.

Amanullah Khan is survived by one child, a daughter named Asma who is married to separatist turned pro-India politician Sajad Gani Lone. Mr. Khan wrote two books, Free Kashmir (English) and my autobiography (in Urdu), and about 3 dozen booklets and pamphlets in English and Urdu about different aspects of the Kashmir issue and the freedom movement. He visited over 20 countries to lobby for the Kashmir cause including attending the UN General Assembly and held many press conferences to highlight Kashmir issue.

Meanwhile Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front in a statement to CNS expressed sorrow over the demise of Amanullah Khan. The statement reads that in 1962 Amanullah Khan, when still a student of LL.B., started monthly the “Voice of Kashmir” which strongly preached the ideology of independent Kashmir. Before its closure under government pressure several years later, Mr. Amanullah Khan had spent on the magazine most of what he had earned from his schools. He re-started the magazine in England in 1976 and continued projection of his independence ideology for several years. Its editorials and articles preached independence of Kashmir directly as well as indirectly.

Khan with late G.M. Lone , then a member of Azad Kashmir State Council, played key role in establishment in 1963 of Kashmir Independence Committee, almost the first pro-independence Kashmiri organization and worked as its  first de-facto secretary before it was de-organized  couple of years later for many reasons.

As co-founder and Secretary General of Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front (for Azad Kashmir and Pakistan) formed in April 1965 and of is two wings JKNLF and Kashmir Committee for Afro-Asian Peoples Solidarity, Mr. Amanullah Khan and JKPF contributed a lot through literature, rallies, press conferences, demonstrations etc. towards projection and expansion of independence ideology up to 1977.

As two very close friends for almost 24 years, and two of the co-founders of Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front (JKPF) and Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Front (JKNLF),  Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Amanullah Khan played a pivotal role in promoting the ideology for reunification and complete independence of Jammu Kashmir State as it stood on August 14, 1947 and of the concept of armed freedom struggle for Kashmir. Maqbool Butt was sent to gallows by India after keeping him behind the bars for over 10 years whereas he remained in Pakistans prisons for over two years. In both cases his ‘crime’ was his struggle for his national emancipation.

Amanullah Khan has written, in both Urdu and English, about different aspects of Kashmir Issue, three books, over 60 booklets, brochures and pamphlets, over 100 leaflets, over 100 articles (most of them published in leading newspapers and periodicals of India, Pakistan, Kashmir, Europe, USA and of Arab countries) and has been interviewed by the print and electronic, national and international media on different aspects of Kashmir Issue and independence ideology.

Amanullah Khan addressed three press conferences at the UN headquarter in New York, one at National Press Club in Washington(as guest speaker) about half a dozen in London and one or more each in important capitals of Europe before India and Pakistan put restrictions on his visits to countries outside Pakistan. This is besides scores of press conference addressed by him in Pakistan, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan. He has also addressed rallies and press conferences, held outside Pakistan, on telephone.

Amanullah Khan is the only Kashmiri who has been imprisoned abroad (England 16 months, Belgium 72 days and New York (UN Lockup for one day) as well as in Kashmir and Pakistan (Handwara, Gilgit, Azad Kashmir, Rawalpindi, Karachi and Lahore (in the torture centre called Shahi Qilla Lahore) for his activities related to liberation of Kashmir and often subjected to unbearable mental and physical torture during detention.

Amanullah Khan is the only Kashmiri political figure against whom India has got International Warrants of Arrest (Red Notice) issued by Interpol and Pakistan has confiscated his passport, both doing so in order to keep him from political activities abroad to project his independence ideology. As far back as in 1973, Mr Amanullah Khan was offered Presidentship of Pakistan People’s Party in Gilgit Baltistan which would entitle him to become areas first Chief Minister but he flatly refused saying that, that was against his political ideology.

Amanullah Khan has played key role in matters concerning formation of the ideology, policies and strategy of JKLF and in their implementation.

He is usually termed as the ‘common political property’ of all the three parts of Jammu Kashmir State i.e. of Gilgit Baltistan (his birth place and for whose people’s political, constitutional rights he spent over 15 months in prison in 1970-72 besides being expelled from the area three times), of Indian controlled part (where he spent 12 years and got attached to the freedom movement) and of Azad Kashmir (where his ideology matured and flourished) and also because his JKLF functions in all the three parts and works for their reunification and independence.(CNS)


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