Kashmir was part of British India and the rules of partition, therefore, must apply to Kashmir. If Kashmir dispute is settled, India and Pakistan shall come closer and live like good neighbours
Ghulam Rasool Wani of Tarabal, Nawakadal, was an important member of the Political Conference. He was a dynamic person with pleasing personality. Popularly known as Leader Sahib, Wani worked hard for his organisation. Wani’s dedication earned him the post of Chief organiser of the pro-Pakistan Political Conference.
In the capacity of Chief organiser, he had to travel a lot to hold the organisation together. He was always on the move, but, some how, managed to find time to keep an eye on the office housed in the Ismaiel Building, Lal Chowk.
In connection with a party programme, Ghulam Rasool Wani and Peer Hafizullah Makhdoomi went to Sopore to talk to a group of leaders headed by Abdul Gani Lone. Wani and Makhdoomi talked to the students in an orchard at Arampora. The students took oath and dedicated themselves to the freedom movement.
The meeting was reported to the police and a case was registered against Wani and Makhdoomi in police station, Sopore. Sensing the danger, Wani and Makhdoomi left for Handwara and stayed in Majid Banday’s house. Majid Banday’s father, Muhammad Abdullah Bandy, took them into a tonga and dropped them at Baramulla. The duo reached Srinagar and managed to evade arrest for some time. Wani worked with zeal and was instrumental in making Political Conference a popular organisation. The police finally swung into action and arrested Wani and Makhdoomi in 1957 in connection with the case registered in police station Sopore in 1953. Peer Ghulam Hasan Shah (who later became the Director General of Police) led the arrest party.
Makhdoomi was released after some time, but Wani, considered a threat by the authorities, was detained. On his release, Wani again became active. According to Abdul Khaliq of Baramulla town (who was also exiled along with Wani and came back in 1964), “A meeting of the Political Conference was scheduled to be held at Lal Chowk on January 25, 1957. Unfortunately, it snowed heavily and we had to stay in the office for the whole night. Ghulam Rasool Wani was with us. In the dead of night, the police raided the office and arrested Wani, myself, Syed Ghulam Nabi Geelani of Ashum (then acting Vice-President of Political Conference). We were taken to the Special Staff headquarters at Kothi Bagh police station. Ghulam Qadir Ganderbali called us Pakistani dogs. Same night we were sent to Uri. On January 26, we were pushed inside Pakistani held territory.”
“We were received by the Pakistani army and handed over to the local CID. Finally, we were taken to a hotel (Muslim Grand Hotel) at Rosalinda where lot of Kashmiris came to meet us. They asked questions about Kashmir, their relatives, the political situation and even weather,” Khaliq added.
The acting president of Political Conference, Syed Ghulam Mohiud- Din Geelani, Ghulam Rasool Wani (organiser) and Abdul Khaliq Mir submitted a memorandum to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Guzvi Jaring, on March 18, 1957 on his visit to India and Pakistan.
The memorandum, seeking implementation of UN Resolutions on Kashmir, read: “Your Excellency – After being externed recently from Indian administered Kashmir, we submit this memorandum on behalf of our organisation to welcome you in Pakistan.
The Political Conference thanks the member countries who introduced and voted in favour of resolutions of January 24 and February 21, 1957, which confer a right on the people of Kashmir to chose between India and Pakistan. The government of India has been criticised for refusing to facilitate implementation of the said resolutions. No body can be a judge in his own cause. This principle applies to India as well.
The reluctance of the Government of India has tarnished its image at the international level. This attitude is going to kill movements against colonialism in various parts of the world.
India preaches and advocates democracy, but holds Kashmir at gunpoint against the wishes of the people. India has been ignoring the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and pursues a policy of repression in Kashmir.
The people of Kashmir want accession of their homeland with Pakistan for geographic, cultural and economic reasons. India has institutionalised corruption in Kashmir. The commoner is suffering. Political activists are being externed and held in jails without trial.
An amicable settlement of Kashmir dispute is necessary for India and Pakistan. Kashmiris cannot be suppressed for long. If other states of undivided India were given an opportunity to decide their destiny why Kashmiris should be ignored? Kashmir was part of British India and the rules of partition, therefore, must apply to Kashmir. If Kashmir dispute is settled, India and Pakistan shall come closer and live like good neighbours.
India can improve its image by allowing Kashmiris exercise their right to self determination. Shall we take the opportunity to impress upon the Government of India to hold a referendum in Kashmir under UN supervision?
We hope your good self will visit Kashmir shortly to have an on the- spot-assessment of the situation.” Wani, and his associates, were shocked to see the attitude of Kashmiri leaders towards the movement. “Wani would go everywhere to awaken people, but he failed. In the coming year, Ayoub Khan stopped our honorarium and we lived from hand to mouth,” said Khaliq.
The indifferent attitude of the leaders shocked Wani and he became home sick. He had not seen his wife and children for one year. He retired from politics and started his business. Wani became one of the most popular persons of Azad Kashmir.
Wani saw his youngest son, Riyaz Ahmad Wani, for the first time in 1981 when he somehow managed to procure a passport. Wani gifted a watch to Riyaz, which he proudly showed to his friends in Government Degree College Bemina on his return from Pakistan. For a few days Riyaz could not set the time right in the watch. It ran half an hour late. However, soon he realised that the revered watch showed Pakistani time. In a jiffy, the error was rectified.
Wani’s elder sons played their part in the freedom struggle. Nazir Ahmad Wani had to leave the Valley for his political activities. He now lives in Saudi Arabia. Farooq Ahmad worked as General Secretary of a faction of People’s League and was arrested in early-1990s.
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