Statement of Advocate Abdul Khaliq Ansari BEFORE ‘AZAD KASHMIR” HIGH COURT IN 1971.


Ansari was not just an individual but an epitome of Kashmir’s freedom and independence. He was the guardian of the rights of the people of Kashmir. His entire life was spent in fighting for the fundamental rights of people. He fought this battle not only in the courts of law but on the streets as well by mingling with the people. He was a lighthouse for the people for their courage and struggle for freedom. Pakistani rulers systematically framed false cases against him and put him behind the bars in different prisons of Pakistan. He was affectionate to the freedom fighters, fed them with his hand and bestowed upon them his benefactions, love and care. Jammu personalities, Ved Bhasin and Balraj Puri were his classmates and close friends. He was also among close colleagues of Sheikh Abdullah.
In connection with the hijacking of Ganga, Abdul Khaliq Ansari and hundreds of activists of Plebiscite Front and NLF were arrested. Ansari was the moving spirit behind these freedom fighters. How could he be spared? He was arrested and interned in Dulai Camp interrogation centre, in Muzaffarabad, which is a prototype of Lahore Shahi Qila in perpetrating brutal torture of prisoners. This interrogation was known for manufacturing “spies” and “traitors” like Shahi Qila. His statement in the High Court of “Azad Kashmir” later on appeared under the title Qaul-e-Faisal in the form of a pamphlet. Here we give excerpts from this document.
“What have pained me most in the course of my intermittent arrests are the foulest and most dirty accusations brought against me. Every time when arrested, I have been forced to depose that in respect of Kashmiris of different walks of life, they are the agents of India and are receiving funds from Indians. The persons who they wanted me to indict included political workers and leaders, high and ordinary government officials, judges of the courts, lawyers, traders and many others.
I cannot forget the torture to which I was subjected after arresting me in 1960. I was left without food and water for days at end. Leave aside sleeping, I was not allowed even to sit or lie down. My tormentors used new and fresh methods of torture every time. I was left to myself when I became unconscious. And when I came to senses, I was ordered to raise my hands upwards and made to stand till I fell down and became unconscious. On asking the leader of the torturing team what they wanted me to say, his reply convinced me that as long as the ugly line of cease fire existed, Kashmiris would continue to be the targets of oppression and victimization. I said to him that I would confess receiving money from Bharat. When this news reached the AIG of CIA, he was happy. A list of some persons was shown to me saying that this is the list of Indian agents who receive money from Bharat. He added that these people spread over from Bhimber to Keran distribute posters and convey information to the enemy. I “confessed receiving money from Bharat”. When he asked me the channel through which money would come, I said that money if sent through money order would be confiscated by you and borders have been sealed. This leaves only one option of receiving money and that is that the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru lands in his helicopter on the roof of my house top and after handing over to me the bundles of Indian notes and then takes off in his helicopter. AIG ran into rage. Abusing the interrogation officer told him that he had disclosed the whole matter.
In 1964, a senior officer of the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs ordered Mirpur administration to send a prostitute to my room and then frame a case of adultery against me. Mirpur administration was run by the locals. They all knew me very well and declined to carry out the orders. In another bid of indicting me the authorities framed a false case against me. I was accused of receiving a bribe of five thousand rupees from a person for providing him a passport. But neither the passport was made nor was his money returned. The interesting thing is that it was the petitioner who himself disclosed the story. He presented himself in the court and provided the proof of police forcing him to make a false petition and also proving my innocence. I was shocked to know to what depths Pakistani rulers could sink. I like to tell my Kashmiri nation that if we mean to escape the allegations of being spies of India or Pakistan, they should join NLF.
It is a historical fact that many big injustices in the world have been ultimately resolved in courts of law after fighting wars. Let us no go far away. At one point of time in Pakistan, democracy was butchered and the legislative was dissolved illegally. This horrendous act was declared legitimate by the Chief Justice of Pakistan. (Justice Munir, the then Chief Justice of Pakistan, had declared dissolving of the National Assembly as legal. During the Martial Law era of Zia and Musharraf, dissolving of assemblies was declared right under the provision of ’Necessity.)
During past twenty-four years, in this part of my motherland “Azad Kashmir” people from the custodian of a hermitage to the pontificator on the mosque pulpit, from the ordinary revenue scribe to Financial Commissioner, from official prosecutor to Chief Justice, from Hawaldar clerk to a General, from a kiln contractor to Forest Range officer, from Recruiting Officer to Brigadier, from an illiterate person to a professor, from a sorcerer to a medical doctor, from a peasant to a landlord, from a wayward drunkard to an ardent penitent, all have graced the ministries and presidencies. However, poverty and ignorance continued tightening their grip on the people. Diseases went on multiplying. Unemployment and destitution did not relent. In the process, farm lands got submerged under water, forests depleted, habitats turned into desolate sites and towns turned into ruins. Instead of national freedom and progress, clouds of political, economic and social deprivations loomed large on the nation. People’s rights continued to be trampled and court conspiracies became the cherished game of political heavyweights.
According to standards established by the bureaucracy, only those people are the friends and loyalists of Pakistan who:
a) Make rounds of Shahzada Kothi (official site of Kashmir Affairs Ministry) to obtain state doles, residences, permits, import licenses, false claims and other concessions
b) Raise dubious slogans like “Pakistan is our faith, our belief, our object of worship and our holy book” and thereby grab various concessions.
c) Distribute the memoranda prepared by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs like runners when some foreign personality is on visit to Pakistan.
d) Proceed on pleasure trip to Washington, New York, London and other places on state expenses. Perform pilgrimage of Hajj and Umrah on by spending from state exchequer and distribute booklets produced by the Kashmir Affairs Ministry,
e) Obtain cash doles from the intelligence establishment in return of submitting false reports against nationalists.
f) Who label the agitation of unregistered employees as a conspiracy of foreign country and welcome appointment of Pakistani officers on all key posts
g) Call those people traitors and foreign agents who subject the government to criticism for adopting fold feet on political and economic problems of the people or who call them anti-national and foreign agents who demand restoration of their democratic rights.
Ansari continues: On 30 January 1971, two freedom fighters of Plebiscite Front’s Armed Wing, NLF, namely Hashim Qureshi and Ashraf Qureshi performed the heroic and proud act of hijacking an Indian airplane Ganga. This enterprise was taken by the exploitative elements as a defeat of their nefarious designs. But it infused new spirit and energy among the people. Now people began demanding that slogan mongers give account of donations they had collected. In retaliation, these elements forged new chain of conspiracies against NLF. If both of these two NLF youth were not courageous we would never have owned them. That is why we demand that if the government has some tangible proof against Maqbul Bhat, Hashim Qureshi, Ashraf Qureshi and their colleagues interned in different prisons of Pakistan, then they be prosecuted in normal courts in open hearing. But prosecuting them in closed room court during martial law regime without witness and under unusual conditions does not speak for doing justice to them.
I must tell the court that in January 1971, after Ganga was hijacked, atmosphere against Sardar Qayyum Khan, President of Azad Kashmir had considerably deteriorated. He had collected hundreds of thousands of rupees by way of donation to al Mujahid by the people of Pakistan. People raised the question where that al-Mujahid force was.
I along with many of my co-workers were arrested and taken to Dulai Camp, Muzaffarabad for interrogation. Physical torture of our people began in Dulai Camp with Ghulam Mustafa Alvi. He was subjected to torture for day and night. During his torture, the door of my room was locked so that I would not see him. There was a key hole in my door and through that I could see his pitiable condition. On his return, his agonized cries pierced my ears. Once I was passing by his room to the toilet. He made a will that his dead body should be buried in Mirpur. At that time he was half-dead. All brutal and barbaric methods of torture were employed to force Alvi Sahib to depose against our leader Maqbul Bhat and our brave young freedom fighters Hashim Qureshi and Ashraf Qureshi.
Our jailors put to practice all those methods of torture they commonly use against me. Like the Nazi torture cell and Shahi Qila of Lahore and Satwari Camp in IHK and Bag-i-Mahtab in Srinagar, Dulai Camp of Muzaffarabad too had become widely notorious. It has many trees but because of perpetrating horrible torture on the prisoners in the Camp, not a single bird was to be found on the trees. It was infested with snakes. Though many of them were killed but owing to their large numbers we could never stay or sleep without tension. We were put in solitary confinement. There is no form of torture in the world to which we were not subjected.
My family had submitted an application of my illegal confinement without asking me. I knew that for taking revenge, one is implicated in someother case and arrested even if the court would order his release. I remember I had pleaded a case of a culprit in the jail. The court ordered his release but he continued to be behind the bars. On the application of illegal confinement, when the court released a prisoner, the police re-arrested him and handed him over to Pakistan police. They would tell the court that the prisoner was set free. When an application of illegal confinement was submitted in a Pakistani court, the prisoner would be passed in the h ands of Azad Kashmir police and in this way the drama continued.
Nazir Anjum, a Kashmiri nationalist poet had composed some verses about the torture stories of Dlai Camp. I record some couplets here:
Yeh wuh zindan hai jahan sach ke parastaron ko/ manizil-e shauq ke bebaak talabgaron ko/kulfaten sahne peh majboor kiya jata hai/ yeh wuh zindanhai jahan qaum ke gamkharaon ko/ amir-e waqt ki taeed o himayat ka sabab/ tauq o zanjeer ki soorat main diya jata hai/ yahin insane ke huntun ko siya jata hai “