Written By: Dr Shabir Choudhry
An old man, probably around 90 years old, Khan Bahadar Khan, from Pakistani Occupied Jammu and Kashmir called Maqbool Butt ‘Daku’ meaning a robber or a dacoit. I, for one, strongly disagree with what he said. However, does that give me a right to insult this man, as old as my father, and call him a ‘dog’, ‘snake; and every abuse one can think of?
Before you hurl abuses on me I request you to read what I have to say. If you still disagree with my plea, I will welcome positive criticism; and like any other human being, I also detest abuses and sometimes I also react.
Before we go any further, let me explain a few things. Maqbool Butt, May Allah grant him highest position in Heaven, was a human being. No human being is infallible. We all make mistakes and our actions, policies and political and social views are subject to criticism and disagreements.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir consists of the Valley of Kashmir, Jammu, Ladakh, Gilgit Baltistan and so called Azad Kashmir. Our State is multi religious and multi ethnic where people differ with each other on many aspects of our beliefs and customs. What that means is we have to be tolerant and learn to live with those who do not concur with our religion, politics and customs and not abuse them and intimidate them.
When Maqbool Butt was alive, even then people disagreed with him and insulted him. Was our beloved Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) not opposed and insulted even when he was alive?
How many people followed Maqbool Butt’s politics and ideology when he was even President of Jammu and Kashmir Plebiscite Front? Of course, he had nothing to do with JKLF which was established when he was in Prison in New Delhi. How many people protested when he was hanged in February 1984? Did anyone protest in Jammu? Did anyone protest in Ladakh? Did anyone protest in Gilgit Baltistan? Not many people protested in the Valley of Kashmir. Mainly the protests were arranged by people Azad Kashmiri Diaspora and people of Azad Kashmir.
Even yesterday, 11 February 2017, I did not see any reports where people of Jammu, Ladakh and Gilgit Baltistan had any demonstrations in support of Maqbool Butt or his ideology. So what do we do to these people?
Despite 33 years of preaching, books, booklets, seminars, conferences, TV shows and demonstrations we still have not been able to win the majority of people of Jammu and Kashmir State to follow Maqbool Butt. Does it mean there is something wrong with the ideology or something wrong in our presentation?
There are around 1 million people of Jammu and Kashmir State living in Britain. There is no restriction on them to attend our public meetings, seminars or demonstrations. How many people we manage to get in our public meetings? How many people were present in the static demonstration held outside the Indian High Commission in London yesterday?
Is it not time to step back and rationally and impartially analyse what mistakes we are making. Do we need to change our strategy or continue with what we have been doing since 1984?
A political leader or a religious leader – a Pir is best known by the behaviour of his followers. By using abusive language against an old man of around 90 years old, who may not be in his full senses, what message are we sending to the people? Doesn’t this show that we are also intolerant and abusive; and some may call us extremists?
Is this helping to promote image of Maqbool Butt and his ideology, or are we inadvertently damaging it? There are those who under the camouflage of ‘Maqbool Butt lovers’ are putting Afzal Guru at par with Maqbool Butt. I wonder if that is helping the ideology of Maqbool Butt or confusing it. I agree Afzal Guru was also a victim of ‘judicial murder’, but his struggle and ideology was different.
I pray for both Maqbool Butt and Afzal Guru, may Allah SWT grant them highest place in Heave. I am sure Maqbool Butt, in Heaven, won’t be impressed or happy that his followers have become so intolerant and abusive that they are even not sparing an old man.
May Allah SWT give us strength of character, keep us on the right path; and give us courage to speak out about the wrong doings.
Writer is a political analyst, TV anchor and author of many books and booklets. Also he is Chairman South Asia Watch and Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs. Email:email@example.com