WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (APP): The Kashmiri-American community Sunday commemorated the 40th death anniversary of Mohammad Maqbool Butt, an eminent Kashmiri leader, with a renewed determination to achieve his foremost dream: the liberation of Jammu and Kashmir from India’s occupation.
At a large gathering in a Washington restaurant, speakers paid homage to Maqbool Butt, who was hanged in 1984, saying that he laid down his life for the cause of Kashmir’s freedom.
Leading the tributes to Butt’s epic struggle, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, chairman of the ‘World Forum for Peace & Justice’, said that he was a selfless and inspirational leader.
Dr Fai said before his hanging on trumped-up charges in New Delhi’s notorious Tihar jail, Maqbool Butt wrote his will, saying, ‘There will be many Maqbool Bhats that will come and go, but the freedom struggle in Kashmir should continue.”
“The whole nation of Kashmir is today following the footsteps of Maqbool Butt for the liberation of their motherland: Jammu & Kashmir.”
“Today,” Fai added, “Jammu and Kashmir Liberation (JKLF) chief Mohammad Yasin Malik, who is languishing in Tihar jail, embodies the legacy of Maqbool Butt.
he added, “His (Malik’s) commitment to democratic principles in his fight for Kashmir’s freedom has garnered widespread support from the Western world. Embracing a path of nonviolence, Malik demonstrated immense courage and resilience in advocating for the rights of the Kashmiri people through peaceful means.”
Dr. Imtiaz Khan, a professor at George Washington University Medical Center, said Maqbool Butt was a political warrior who had the sagacity to discern the evil intentions of Indian establishment towards Kashmir and was cognizant of the fact that commitments made by India to the UN or other international organizations were nothing but a ruse.
While India was able to hoodwink some of the so-called Kashmiri leaders on the issue of self-determination, he said Maqbool Butt saw through their Machiavellian mind. “It was due to his unwavering devotion to the cause, much to the chagrin of Indian occupation forces, that the flame of freedom has not extinguished.”
Martyrdom of Maqbool Butt, Dr Imtiaz Khan said, generated a wave of a new generation of freedom fighters like Ashfaq Majid, Abdul Hamid Bhat, Afzal Guru and Yasin Malik.
“Majority of them took the forces of occupation head on and in the footsteps of Maqbool Butt sacrificed their lives in the process of struggle.”
Sardar Zarif Khan, Advisor to the President of Azad Kashmir, said that Maqbool Butt’s vision of a free and fair Kashmiri self-determination did not die with his passing.
“He gave his life for the cause because he believed in it with all sincerity and honesty,” Zarid Khan said.
Sardar Zubair Khan, leader of Kashmiri-American Welfare Association (KAWA) said Maqbool Butt was an inspiration to millions of Kashmiris and those striving for human rights and dignity, noting that the people of Kashmir, despite all the odds, have never lost hope in the right of self-determination.
Hamid Malik, a well-known community leader, and two other Kashmiri activists — Sardar Mohammad Shaheen and Sardar Shakeel Anjum — also joined in paying tributes to Maqbool Butt, calling him an exemplary leader.