Kashmir - Remembering the Assassinated

One of the biggest lies has to do with the assassination of two key Kashmiri figures - Maulvi Mirwaiz Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone.

20 May 2021

Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels had maintained that if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth. This technique has been used time and again to great effect by Pakistan and its agents in Kashmir.

In their quest to dominate and shape the Kashmir struggle, Pakistani strategists and their agents in Kashmir have from time-to-time assassinated Kashmiri leaders who voiced moderate ideas or were opposed to Pakistani domination. Hundreds if not thousands of outstanding Kashmiris were eliminated during the thirty-year struggle by these forces.

All these killings and assassinations were blamed on Indian security forces and their agents. The lie was repeated continually. Mass movements and protests were organised around these lies. Today, most Kashmiris believe many of the lies manufactured by Pakistan and its agents.

One of the biggest lies has to do with the assassination of two key Kashmiri figures - Maulvi Mirwaiz Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone. The pro-Pakistan lobby have projected these killings as the work of Indian agencies and commemorate their death anniversaries by organising anti-India rallies and calls for Kashmir's accession to Pakistan.

The two assassinated Kashmiri leaders - each a towering personality in his own right - would be better remembered as they actually were: two independent minded individuals who paid the price for not toeing the line set by Pakistan and its proxies in the Kashmir Valley.

The senior leaders in Kashmir are all well aware of that the propaganda that these two leaders were killed by Indian agencies is a big lie. They know who were behind the killings and why. But most choose to maintain silence over the fact for political and security reasons. There is an ever-present threat of execution in the hands of pro-Pakistani assassins.

Mirwaiz Maulvi Muhammad Farooq was the Mirwaiz or hereditary head priest of Kashmir's Sunni Muslim community. Hr commanded an enormous following and was held in great reverence by all Kashmiris. He was very independence minded and had opposed Sheikh Abdullah's accord with Mrs Indira Gandhi.

However, he was not pro-Pakistan either. When the armed struggle erupted and pro-Pakistan elements tried to wrest control of the movement, the Maulvi spoke for unity amongst Kashmiris on both sides of the de facto border (the Line of Control). He wanted Kashmiris to sit together and decide their future and not India or Pakistan.

This view was not acceptable to either Pakistan or the powerful Jamaat e Islam that was working closely with the Pakistan Army to create an army of pro-Pakistan fighters in the Kashmir Valley. This was the time when the pro-Pakistan Hizbul Mujahideen was been promoted at the cost of the original pro-independence group the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). In time, the JKLF would be completely liquidated and the Hizbul Mujahideen and Jamaat would rule.

Maulvi Farooq detested the fundamentalist Jamaat e Islami which was spreading ideas at variance with Kashmir's Islamic ethos. This anti-Jamaat and pro-Kashmiriyat attitude inflamed the fundamentalists and their mentors in Pakistan. Maulvi Muhammad Farooq thus became a fly in the ointment and had to be eliminated. On 21 May 1990, three terrorists entered his Nageen Lake residence and shot him dead in his office. The killing was blamed on Indian agencies but eventually the truth came out.

In September that year, Indian law enforcement officers arrested Abdul Rehman Shingan, alias Inayat, who admitted that he was part of a three-man hit squad which had carried out the assassination. His other two accomplices were Mohammad Ayub Dar and Zahoor Ahmed. Shingan died during the trial; Mohammad Ayub Dar was caught while the third man got away. After a protracted trial, the Supreme Court in 2020 awarded Dar life imprisonment for the killing.

Abdul Ghani Lone was initially a part of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) floated at Pakistan's behest but had later decided to strike out on his own. As the armed struggle gradually came under the complete dominance of pro-Pakistan forces, he began to promote his own party, the Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference as well as an independent line on Kashmir.

This once again ran counter to Pakistan's wishes and Lone had to be eliminated. On 21 May 2002, while he was returning from the Eidgah, a group of armed men attacked and shot him dead on the street. According to bystanders the assassins shouted pro-Pakistan slogans before killing him.

Lone's son Sajjad initially blamed the Pakistan spy agency ISI for the assassination but later retracted due to family pressure. Former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah also held Pakistan responsible for the episode.

Years later, the only Kashmiri separatist to speak up was former Hurriyat chairman Prof. Abdul Gani Bhat, who admitted in a public function that both the killings were an “inside job”. Speaking at a seminar in 2011 in the presence of other separatist leaders, Bhat said: “Lone sahib, Mirwaiz Farooq and Prof. Wani were not killed by the army or the police. They were targeted by our own people. The story is a long one, but we have to tell the truth.”

The Hurriyat leader said he was determined to speak the truth irrespective of whether others do so or not. "I have said what I have said and I stand by it," he said.

Thus, even though Kashmiri leaders know the truth, the lies and propaganda continue. The pro-Pakistan forces within and outside Kashmir must keep beating the drums of accession to Pakistan. For that they are ready to sacrifice everything and everybody.

Significantly, while the Kashmir wing of the All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has decided to drop this year's ceremonies on account of the devastating Covid-19 pandemic, its Pakistani counterpart is hell bent on carrying it through and has instructed its minions in the Valley to ensure that symbolic rallies and protests are carried out.

The shameless agencies in Pakistan are pretending that this year's rallies and protests have been ordered by Maulvi Umar Farooq, sone of assassinated Maulvi Mohammad Farooq. The fact is that the Mirwaiz has in fact cancelled the annual 'Hafta-e-Shahaadat' (Week of Martyrdom) owing to the prevailing Covid-19 situation.

But Pakistan's lies have no beginning or end. They never did.

“Verily we belong to Allah, and truly to Him shall we return”

Md. Sadiq

20 May 2021