Khurshid-e-Millat

I have created Pakistan with the help of my secretary and his typewriter. This is how Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah acknowledged the role of K H Khurshid in achieving his cherished goal

Taking dictation from Quaid-e-Azam was not an easy job for a boy who had just come out of the college. But Khurshid showed his skill on the typewriter that played a significant role in the creation of Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam was generous enough to acknowledge his hard work and the efficiency of his typewriter as well. He said: “I have created Pakistan with the help of my secretary and his typewriter.

” The first order that Quaid-e-Azam issued in his capacity as the Governor General of Pakistan was KH Khurshid’s appointment order as his private secretary.

Khurshid’s association with Quaid-e-Azam dates back to 1944 when he visited the Valley for the third time. A Pakistani journalist, Ameera Javeria explains the event in an article for Dawn immediately after Khurshid’s death on March 11, 1988. “When Quaid came to Kashmir for the third time, Khurshid saw them as a representative of Orient Press of India. At 19, he took his bachelor’s examination from Amar Singh College, Srinagar in mathematics and economics. Sensing that Mr Lobo, Jinnah’s private secretary was having trouble with the translations of Jinnah’s English speeches into Urdu, Khurshid offered help. Quaid appreciated his dedication and gave him his first assignment. Quaid took him along and Khurshid did not disappoint the great leader.”

During Jinnah’s stay in Srinagar, Khurshid interacted regularly with the Quaid with the result that the latter made a great and deep impression upon him. Khurshid learnt to be brutally frank from his mentor. He never minced his words. “When I gave him news of the death of Bahadar Yar Jang, he said that he would not believe it until he had verified it himself. I insisted ‘Mr Jinnah, I heard it on All India Radio’. And he said, ‘Yes, they once aired such news about me too,” Khurshid records in his diary.

Khurshid worked very hard during those eventful years and helped the Quaid make Pakistan a reality and won the confidence of the great leader. Jinnah trusted him so much that he sent him to Srinagar to meet Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in the post partition era. Khurshid was arrested. The news of his arrested upset Jinnah so much that he wrote to Nehru. “My work is suffering greatly and I want Khurshid back.” (My leader by Jinnah’s biographer, N A Husain).
Khurshid was released after 13 months in exchange of a soldier, Ghansara Singh but not before his leader had breathed his last.

Khurshid became the first elected president of Pakistan administered Kashmir during Ayoub Khan’s rule and abolished the Jagardari system. He gave the right of vote to the people who started calling him Khurshid-e-Millat. Being a man of principles, he opposed Ayoub Khan’s Operation Jibraltor. He said: “I firmly believe that Ayoub Khan was not fully aware of the reasons for the war of 1965. Foreign office, home ministry and some persons including ZA Bhutto prevailed upon him and convinced him that it would not result in a full scale war.” Khurshid was imprisoned.
Ayub Khan who offered India ‘joint defence’ would not have agreed to a full scale war with India… These men wanted to weaken Ayub’s hold on the government, and this is the real reason why he was so angry with them after the war.”

The Kashmir issue was consigned to cold chambers after the Simla Accord. The accord, however, did not deter Khurshid from raising the Kashmir issue time and again. He would say that the youth from the Indian administrated Kashmir (IAK) would rise for the liberation of the state one day and it would be then that the AJK government would play its role. It was really unfortunate that when this predicted time arrived he was not there to provide the visionary guidelines to the freedom fighters.

In 1986 Khurshid was invited to attend the Non Aligned Movement Summit at Harare. Khurshid dodged the Pakistani authorities and suddenly appeared in the moot. He handed over a memorandum to Rajiv Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India who threw it on the floor. Pakistan President, Zia-ul-Haq was surprised to see him in the moot.
Born in Srinagar in 1924, Khurshid died in a road accident near Lahore on March 11, 1988. He had Rs 30 in his pocket.  “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” These lines from the New Testament were found scribbled in his diary.

Khalid Hassan while remembering Khurshid wrote in Dawn, dated October 8, 2001: “Khurshid died travelling in a public bus to Lahore on a rainy night in 1988. What surprised everyone was not the accident that had killed him at a crucial point in Kashmir struggle for dignity and recognition but that the man who had been the Quaid-i-Azam’s handpicked private secretary through the history-making years 1944 to 1947 was travelling, not in a black chauffeured limousine but in an ordinary bus with the same ordinary people who had made Pakistan possible.”

(This article has been taken from the book Bouquet: A tribute to unsung heroes of Kashmir. For various reasons it could not be published on Khurshid’s death anniversary)

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