Quayyum Raja’s Unfolding Life : Chapter 5 : "GERMANY & KASHMIR"
There are many similarities between Germany and Jammu Kashmir, except that Germany was much bigger and stronger than Jammu Kashmir. Germany had been occupied by four Second World War Allies. The United States and USSR didn’t like each other but both of them were united to occupy and divide Germany. Britain and France didn’t like each other either but agreed to keep Germany divided. Similarly, India, Pakistan and China are big powers of the region. They don’t get on well with each other, but they are united to keep Jammu Kashmir divided. Britain used to say that she ruled the world through persuasion, yet killed millions of innocent people. India and Pakistan say the same thing about Jammu Kashmir but neither India nor Pakistan allow any candidate to field elections who demands reunification and independence of Jammu Kashmir. Germany was wise enough to reunite itself. We yet await that sort of wisdom and diplomacy.
Misperception of Germany
Whenever I wrote of my positive experiences and observations of Germany, someone from somewhere wrote to me of their misperception of Germany, which they said had been corrected by my writings. Neelam Feroz Raja, a former District Education Officer of Azad Kashmir, who now resides in the USA, made similar comments on my previous chapter in which I discussed Germany. Most people judge Germany in the light of British propaganda against Adolf Hitler. The British history is not any better either than that referenced to Hitler’s Germany by Britain . Britain, America, Russia and other imperialists are responsible of most of the political conflicts in the world, including the ongoing conflicts such as Vietnam, Palestine, Jammu Kashmir, Iraq, Afghanistan and now Ukraine. Millions of innocent died as a result of these conflicts. The only purpose was to exploit people around the world. Britain and France wanted to hegemonies Europe and Germany was an obstacle. The Versailles Treaty imposed fine on Germany as a war crime and cede territories to France in the First World War. The Germans saw it unfair and they wanted a leader who would challenge this unfairness. Hitler cashed the moment in and Britain, France and Soviet Union felt threatened by the emerging power of Germany under Hitler. This was the main cause of the Second World War.
After the Second World War, Germany remarkably redeveloped itself. Germany was realistic and didn’t challenge any of the occupiers militarily. She concentrated on its economy and diplomacy. It began under the humble and competent leadership of the then Chancellor Konard Adenauer. By the time I went to Germany in late 1979, Germany was a successful economy and an attractive society which even the Americans aspired to live in. The Americans I met with in Germany said, America was not a welfare state like Germany.
By 1981, as a very young man, I was well-settled in Germany. I had a flat with the help of my German boss. I had learnt German well up to the level of my intended university degree. I had a good network of German friends, but fate was to take me somewhere else. When I went to France to set up the French branch of the JKLF, the French government announced that anyone who entered France more than a year ago, could apply for a residency. The French branch of the JKLF suggested I should apply for a French Residency in order to make the travel between France and Germany easier. I did that. During this, I coincidentally met with a French Professor named Boris Franklin. I was conversing with someone in German when he was standing by. He smiled and said “it is very interesting. You are an Asian in France, but talk in German.” He was a socialogist and very politically motivated, considerate and charitable. He invited me to a conference of intellectuals in Paris University. He asked me to write briefly on Kashmir Tragedy. I did that. He said I had journalistic skills and suggested a proper course in journalism. I regretted that my French was not up to the level of a degree course in journalism. He said that was not an issue. He took me to the Chief Editor of the leading French daily Le Monde. Professor Boris Franklin and the above editor were friends. They arranged my admission to a university to learn proper French before starting journalism. I occasionally used to go to England where there was a much larger Kashmiri Community. The head office of the JKLF was also in England. I had to go to attend meetings there. I had a British visa too. The JKLF UK invited me over the 1983 Christmas. The banks were closed until after the New Year break. I didn’t have a credit card. Professor Franklin was so kind that he asked me how much did I need. I said 1000 Frank was enough. Euro might have been only someone’s dream at that time.
I took a train from Paris to London on 26 of December 1983. I had no idea what lay ahead of me. The JKLF chairman Amanullah Khan told the young members of the party that the Father of the Independence Movement, Muhammad Maqbool Butt was going to be secretly hanged by India. A group of young British KASHMIRIS kidnapped an Indian diplomat and demanded the release of Maqbool Butt. I was requested to talk to the diplomat and ask him to appeal to the then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi to release Maqbool Butt. I negotiated with the diplomat and got the intended letter from him, but the Principal kidnapper who went out for a short while, didn’t return for three days. As a result, a fellow Kashmiri Mohammad Riaz looking after the diplomat in the house, went to buy a bandage from the nearby pharmacy, because the diplomat was injured. Riaz had the knowledge of first aid treatment. He cleaned the wounded head of the diplomat and dressed the bandage on.
DIALOGUE WITH THE DIPLOMAT
After the first aid treatment, I asked the diplomat of his choice of diet. He was a Hindu and I knew the practicing Hindus would not eat meat. He said he would eat whatever we cooked for ourselves. It was very cold February. We cooked beef, rice and chappatis. Diplomat was served with tea whenever he asked. I didn’t want him to recognize me, so I covered my face. He got very relaxed with me and said he would invite me for a dinner with his family after his release. I said I was not sure, but let us get down to the real business. I asked him if he had any idea who kidnapped him. He denied any knowledge. I told him the Kashmir Liberation Army captured him. I added I was not a member of the Kashmir Liberation Army, but mediating with him on behalf of KLA. He asked me of my name, but I told him that was not necessary for him to know. I asked him the following questions at the outset:
1. Do you know of Maqbool Butt? He said he heard of him.
2. Do you know how your government treat the people of Jammu Kashmir? He said he was just doing his job as a diplomat.
3. I said, “yes, but you are a part of the Government and your government mistreat us. You promised to withdraw your troops after a referendum, but now you even deny this promise.” He admitted he was not in a position to change his government’s policy.
4. “Do you feel sorry for the suffering of our people?” He said he did.
I finally, instructed him a letter to his Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. I dictated him to appeal to his Prime Minister to release Maqbool Butt so that he could return to his family. He did that on an A4 size white sheet I provided him with a pen. He used his own pen.
The 48 years old Ravinder Mhatre behaved like a professional diplomat. He passed his Public Service Commission exam and joined the Diplomatic Service in 1976. His first appointment was in Bangladesh, then Tehran and at the time of his capture by the Kashmir Liberation Army, he was Deputy Commissioner.
BAD DECISION BY KIDNAPPERS:
The Principal kidnapper told me the party chairman was not consulted about the plan, but later he admitted he lied to me. He went straight to Amanullah Khan, the chairman of the JKLF. Amanullah denied all his life his involvement in the kidnapping but, I gathered soon after my arrest that he was fully involved. He was also responsible for my arrest. Yet, I protected him to protect the party.
The Principal kidnapper, who was living with Amanullah, confirmed the involvement of Amanullah Khan after my release from prison that it was actually Amanullah Khan’s plan and that the diplomat was killed at his instruction. “Why did you obey his order?” I asked the gun man. He replied he was too young and inexperienced. He added he was badly under Amanullah Khan’s influence at that time and didn’t realize his mistake until a year later and therefore he left the JKLF for ever.
Hashim Qureshi, the chairman of Azad Kashmir chapter of the JKLF, who happened to be with Amanullah Khan on his tour to the UK, supported the allegations made against Amanullah Khan by the Principal kidnapper. Qureshi said he tried to stop Amanullah, but the killer left as soon bas he received his instructions. I was very annoyed with the killer but it was too late. I was now in real trouble myself. The big question for me was whether I should defend myself or the party. I defended the party as my first priority.
WHY I FELL OUT WITH JKLF CHAIRMAN?
All young members of the JKLF including myself, respected Amanullah Khan as the party chairman. He disappointed us all, except one of the kidnappers Aslam Mirza, who defended Amanullah Khan throughout his life, simply because they were both responsible for this pathetic operation and its consequences. Aslam Mirza always tries to portray himself as a trained commander, but he left the diplomat in the house and escaped to Pakistan. He is one of the most thankless persons, who instead of supporting his colleagues, who defended him, he maligned them and lied about them. I was still in prison when he was arrested in America 20 years later. The European Court of Human Rights quashed the politically sentence imposed on me and ordered my release, but the British police requested the government to keep me until after the trial of Aslam Mirza. The police paid me several visits in High Point prison and forced me to give a witness statement in the court, but I refused. The police stopped it only after I threatened them that I would complain to the European Court. I issued a press statement from prison that I had nothing to add to the police and if I was not released according to the decision of the European Court, I would take the British Government to the court again. As a result of this fuss, I was kept in prison three months longer. So much so for Aslam Mirza, but this odd and thankless man had no regrard. He claims he and Amanullah were the only wise creatures and everyone else was responsible of their own I’ll fate.
The gun-man on the other hand, accepted his mistake and apologized. He said he was pressurized by Amanullah Khan to get rid of the diplomat and leave the UK. He added he was young and inexperienced and failed to realize the consequences of Amanullah Khan’s decision.
Amanullah didn’t act as a leader but as a callous person with no regard for any of the young members who trusted and respected him or the fate of Maqbool Butt, whose life in prison was at risk. He lied to us all. It just didn’t make any sense to kidnap a diplomat to demand the release of a national hero and then kill the diplomat even before the start of the negotiation. I was arrested. I protected Amanullah Khan in my statement to the police just for the sake of the party and the national integrity.
However, I demanded an inquiry within party as to why the diplomat was killed. Amanullah Khan was first expelled from the party but then he managed to survive as he was free and I was in prison. Some party colleagues didn’t want me to demand an inquiry and some of them still don’t want me to repeat things but i think it is also a crime to hide the truth from the nation. A nation lacking the true knowledge can never make the right decision and those ignoring the dishonesty of their leadership can never enjoy success and progress. Amanullah Khan should not have acted the way he did. Those who defended him during my requested inquiry, turned against him a few years later and approached me to reopen the case against Amanullah, but I told them they were not doing it now for the sake of national but their personal interests and grudges. They had a chance to make the right decision at the right time against the wrong person, but lost it.
Why Britain Deported Amanullah Khan?
A few months after our trial in 1985, two of the British Police officers who arrested me turned up in Frankland prison to see me. First, I decided to refuse to accept the visit but then I thought let us see what they are up to. Chief Inspector John Ron Brown of the Special Crime Squad, who was very friendly this time for obvious reasons, tried to chat me up. He appeared concerned about my ongoing dispute with Amanullah and the inquiry I demanded within the party as to why the diplomat was killed if the purpose was to protect Maqbool Butt hanged in India. To cut the long story short, a number of British police officers from Special Crime Squad regarded later by the press as a legal gang, had already been found guilty of conspiring to frame some innocent Irish people released two or so decades later. The British police had also blackmailed some people to build the case against me and Riaz, because the kidnappers and killers had escaped. The police forced young Majid Ansari and Jhangir Mirza that they cleaned the house of Siddique Bhatti in which the diplomat was kept and destroyed the evidence which could have been used against me.
How and Why Riaz and Siddique were arrested?
Riaz and Siddique suspected first that my arrest gave police clue of their involvement, but it was too late when they discovered that I didn’t mention them in my statement to the police. It was rather their admission and guilty plea that damaged me, because the trial judge Sir Bristow told the jury that “Mr. Raja prevaricated and wasted police time. He lied to defend his colleagues, who pleaded guilty. A man who lied to defend his friends must be lying to defend himself as well.” This was the theory on which I was found guilty.
Read Also: Quayyum Raja’s Unfolding Life : Chapter 01 : “Early Life” Read Also: Quayyum Raja’s Unfolding Life : Chapter 2 : “FIRST JOURNEY ABROAD” Read Also: Quayyum Raja’s Unfolding Life : Chapter 3: “SECOND JOURNEY ABROAD” Read Also: Quayyum Raja’s Unfolding Life : Chapter 4: “Turning Point in My Life”
Riaz and Siddique were under suspicion well before my arrest on 22 of February 1985. The police found out that Riaz’s elder brother Azhar had escaped together with Aslam Mirza and therefore, the police was following all members of his family. The police located Siddique’s house used as diplomat’s prison well before my arrest. As mentioned before, Majeed and Jhangir were arrested to my utter amazement, for cleaning up Siddique’s house and charged for destroying evidence. Siddique was re-arrested and tricked by the police. He wrongly trusted the police that I mentioned him in my statement to the police but he was embarrassed when he discovered that I denied any knowledge of him. He later apologized to me. As Riaz mentioned in his own book, I referred to him as “Muhammad” in my statement to the police just to protect him, while I could have said Riaz since I knew he was Riaz. Riaz and Siddique didn’t realize that when I was arrested and taken to Siddique’s house identified by others, the police were asking me who else was with me in that house. In order to protect Riaz, I said Muhammad, because almost every third Muslim uses Muhammad with their names. Riaz still made assumptions in his book released recently by Amazon. He is also incorrect about the following:
1. Riaz said I blamed Hashim for telling me to go via Hollyhead, while everyone knows I blamed Amanullah all along that he advised me to go to France via Hollyhead, where the police was waiting for me. Hashim was just a visitor and I think he didn’t know even the name of the place Hollyhead .
2. Riaz said I was going to Ireland intending to get political stay, while I was going back to France, where I was living.
3.My passport was in Home Office and he says it was in Pakistani embassy.
4.The prison authorities would not let me go with Riaz and Siddique for exercise, because the police told the prison I would tell the other two what to say in the court, while he says it was because Siddique had bad feelings for me. I didn’t confess, while they all confessed at the advice of Amanullah Khan.
My Disagreement with Amanullah Khan:
Amanullah Khan visited me in Winsongreen Prison a few weeks after my arrest in 1984. He said Riaz and Siddique confessed and I should do the same. He added it would soften the judge and he would give shorter sentences. I couldn’t help rebuking and rebuffing this self-styled leader. I told him Riaz and I had been accused of being involved in the killing of the diplomat and there was only one sentence for the murder: “LIFE.” Amanullah Khan raised his head, looked up on me in amazement. That was the last visit he paid me until after the trial when I demanded an inquiry of the kidnap plan within the JKLF. He wanted me to withdrawal my demand of inquiry, but I refused.
Britain requested Pakistan to extradite three men, , but Pakistan said the accused Kadhmiris couldn’t be located. As a result, the British police wanted to prevent a risk of another inquiry against them. The Police thought my demand of an inquiry within the JKLF may later raise questions why they spared Amanullah Khan, who made phone calls to the Indian High Commission and the Police to accept his offer of mediation. They arrested Amanullah Khan on flimsy charges and deported him to Pakistan.
PAKISTAN’s FAILED DIPLOMACY:
While we were still in prison, the JKLF was promised support by Pakistan to launch an armed struggle against India. The JKLF brought India to its knees, but then Pakistan didn’t want Jammu Kashmir to be reunited but affiliate with Pakistan. Several Pakistani generals admitted this publically claiming the credit. The result is that India has used the given time to consolidate its position in Jammu Kashmir, banned the JKLF and revoked its autonomic status. Pakistan in comparison, stands confused, internationally isolated on the issue of Jammu Kashmir and lost trust of the Kadhmiris.
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