Washington, DC. Kashmiri American community in Washington metropolitan area commemorated the 35th anniversary of the martyrdom of Kashmiri icon Mohammad Maqbool Butt with a renewed commitment to achieve the hero’s dream: Kashmiri self-determination as agreed upon both India and Pakistan.
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary-General, World Kashmir Awareness Forum explained that Maqbool Butt was hanged by India’s authorities for protesting their illegal and iron-fisted occupation of Kashmir since 1947. He had previously been tortured and inhumanely imprisoned in the disputed territory of Kashmir. His courage, however, demonstrated such savagery would backfire, and intensify the Kashmiri resistance.
Dr. Fai added since his execution, February 11 has been observed by all Kashmiris as a black day of mourning for the martyr of a brave Kashmiri statesman. 11 February is a somber day but at the same time a day of remembrance and a day to revitalize our resolve to be true to the mission of Martyr Maqbool Bhat. This year, the observance featured seminars, debates, and prayer meetings around the world to advance the Kashmiri cause of freedom and justice.
“Maqbool Bhat’s life has inspired countless Kashmiris to persist in the struggle for self‑determination. His vision of a free and fair Kashmiri self‑ determination on its sovereign destiny did not die with his death. He gave his life for the cause because he believed in it with all sincerity and honesty. He gave a lesson to the generations to come that it is very hard but only choice to accept martyrdom instead of slavery. While we must pay rich tributes to the memory of this great martyr, our true tribute will be emancipation of the Kashmiri people from under the Indian brutal occupation and senseless subjugation” Fai emphasized.
Fai however underscored that “Indian authorities could jail Maqbool Bhat and silence him by execution but they could not silence his ultimate desire ‑ the struggle for the people of Kashmir. The spirit of Maqbool Bhat is alive. Today, he is an inspiration to millions of Kashmiris and those striving for human rights and human dignity.”
Sahibzada Imtiaz Zafar, the emcee of the event said Maqbool Butt was undoubtedly, a selfless leader and we, the people of Kashmir miss him dearly. While paying tribute to Shaheed Maqbool Bhat, Imtiaz said that worldly luxuries meant nothing to Maqbool Bhat. He always preferred a day of freedom to a life of luxuries without any freedom.
Ishaq Sharif who knew Maqbool Bhat personally quoted him saying, “We faced every form of torture with the belief that this (new) challenge we are facing will ultimately bring revolution to our thinking.” Ishaq said thatMaqbool Butt was certainly a charismatic leader who gave his today for the betterment of tomorrow. His dastardly death will inspire living Kashmiris for the ages.
Dr. Ikhlas Barlas, a well-known community leader urged everybody to take a leaf from the long history of Kashmir which is full of trials and tribulations. Those who contemplate on the past will ultimately come closer to achieve their objective – the freedom for the people of the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan said that the sacrifice of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat will never be wasted. The blood of Kashmiri martyrs brings the goal for freedom and justice nearer.
Sardar Zarif Khan, the main organizer of the event quoted Maqbool Bhat Shaheed saying, “The children of oppressors are provided with all the luxuries and comfort of the world, but the children of resistance leaders are not attracted to these kinds of luxuries and comfort. They get satisfaction from struggling against the system of oppression.”
Sardar Zubair Khan said that the lesson of the martyrdom of Bhat Sahib is that we should be consciously ready to give sacrifices for the cause as was demonstrated by our leader.
Sardar Aftab Roshan Khan said that Maqbool Bhat Shaheed taught us that the partition was not the beginning of an end of sacrifices of our nation but it still continues. Maqbool Bhat has given us an important message that we may have to give more sacrifices till the whole nation is liberated.
At the conclusion of the event, it was demanded that the Government of India return the mortal remains of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat and Shaheed Afzal Guru to their relatives in Kashmir. It has been a sacrilege to have kept it in India for thirty-five and six callous years respectively.
Other speakers included: Sardar Shoaib Irshad; Sardar Kabir Khan; Shakeel Anjum; Sheikh Lateef; Khursheed Shaheen; Mohammad Farooq Khan; Professor Saeed Khan; Hafeez Shah; Sardar Tariq Khan and others.
Dr. Fai can be reached at: 1-202-607-6435 or firstname.lastname@example.org