Maqbool Bhat’s famous 1969 speech at Muzaffarabad

Maqbool Bhat delivering a speech

Maqbool Bhat delivered this famous speech during the 1969 Muzaffarabad Convention of the Plebiscite Front. Muhammad Tahir translated this speech into English for Wande special issue on Maqbool Bhat. The speech is featured in JKLF publication Roshni Ka Shaheed Awal (First Martyr of the Light).

Our basic philosophy, our basic stance, is that whether anyone permits us or not, we will have to fight our war of independence by ourselves. Whether anyone allows us or not. You bear it in your minds because we have taken upon ourselves a huge responsibility. I think it is our duty that we fight our war of independence ourselves. For this, we do not need to seek anybody’s permission.  It is possible that the Government of Pakistan may not allow us, but I understand that when in the field we prove that we do possess that capacity, that ability, that we people have the capability that we can fight the war for the independence of our nation ourselves, and to fight this war we have completely and determinedly resolved, I don’t think that the government of Pakistan would be as foolish that it will become a barrier in our way. The government of Pakistan to you…it is  generally complained that the government of Pakistan does not trust you. I believe that while the reason for it is that Pakistan government is not sincere about the issue of Kashmir, however, there is also this big reason for it that Kashmiris, from the point of view of a nation, from the point of view of a group, as a party has not shown its capabilities. They have not shown yet that to fight their war of independence themselves they are ready to die and give sacrifices on the field.

In this regard, I will give you three examples.

When the war of independence started in Algeria there was opposition to it in all the Arab countries. Because this kind of war is such a process, it is such an action, that one who has lost his house is the only one prepared for a war. The one whose house is in a peaceful state will never like that unrest is created in his house. It is a general observation. That is why when the war of Algeria started the very Arab countries did not support them. The Arab countries not only opposed them but there we some Arab countries who supported France against Algeria. But when Algerians jumped into action they didn’t care that if Iraq will help them or not, they didn’t care whether the government of Marrakesh give them refuge or not. They said we have come to do or die. Whether you shot us, become our enemy, or help us. When they enter the field the same Arab who used to oppose them were forced to pay homage to them, support them, and earmark funds for them from their budget.

After this, the latest example before you are that of Al-Fatah, of Palestinians. Do you know when Al-Fatah started their movement, all the Arab countries opposed them. President of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, opposed them. The King of Jordan, Shah Hussain, opposed them. Lebanon opposed them. There was a time when only one Al-Fatah soldier was in an Israeli prison and in return four hundred of their warriors, their four hundred Mujahid were in Jordan—in Amman—in jails. But when nations rise these governments cannot become a barrier in the way, provided a nation resolves to pursue its longing, its war of independence by itself, and for that jump into the field. If you jump into the field, it is likely that today you will be kept in jail. Today, two people will be kept in jail, tomorrow ten people, and the day after thirty people will be kept in jail. Then there will be hundreds, and then two hundred.  Despite two hundred people being kept in jail if ten new people are ready to jump into the field then the government of Pakistan will be compelled, to help us at that time. Therefore, we will have proved our worth, our competence, our capability, and our potentiality. I will request you, I will tell you this with confidence that when in the field we will prove our ability, not of stages, not with speeches, not by the passing of resolutions—you are mistaken that by passing resolutions someone will believe in you. When we will prove this in the field that yes, we are capable to prolong our war of independence, I don’t have any doubt that the government of Pakistan, even when it is reluctant, will be compelled, under the pressure of the world, of the morality, and of the people of Pakistan, to help and support us. I will request you and clearly request you that to motivate some country to help you in your war, you cannot do that through merely by talking, by requesting, by asking for permission, by begging. Until you don’t jump into the battlefield. Bear this clearly in mind that it is the principle of nations. It is an obvious thing. If this is my house, if I don’t have the aim to occupy this house myself, my neighbour will never help me in occupying it. Until I am not ready and standing on my own feet. You ask Sir how that will happen? You throw yourself into the field. You come into the field of action and then see if someone will help you or not. And this identity, for it dealing is required. When our nation unitedly will enter the battlefield, not only Pakistan even all those countries who have respect for the freedom of nations will be ready for your help. 

Question: I want to ask you that to fight Kashmir’s war of independence there will be a need for money. Where and from whom will you get this money. Please shine some light on it?

Answer: A question has been asked about money. I already said that the war of independence is not fought by people who beg, who request for help. Those who fight the war of independence are those who have the character of a momin (faithful). They must be a momin in a true sense. Their standard must be exactly like that of a momin. And, one who is momin never goes with a begging bowl before anybody. We must create our own resources. I will clearly tell you: If you think that Kashmir’s war of independence can be fought on Pakistani resources, then you people are in error. It is your big misconception. Kashmir’s war of independence is the war of honour of Kashmiris, and the money used for it must be Kashmiris’ own money. That should be Kashmiris’ own money. Until you will not provide your own resources, you cannot fight the war of independence on the resources of others. Because money is the lifeline of any political movement. When your lifeline is in someone else’s hands whenever he wishes he can cut that lifeline, and you will be paralyzed in the field. As you saw in 1965, Pakistan fought a war. If Pakistan was not dependent on other countries at that time, perhaps the war could have prolonged. But, a war machine whose lifeline is in the hands of someone else can never succeed in war. Whatever things are needed, whatever assets, whatever goods, that we must provide ourselves. With our own hands. And until we are not ready for this, we cannot fight the war of independence. The idea of freedom then has no purpose to us, its useless, I think. And, I say we will make our nation stand on its own feet. We will create in them that character of Muslims, of momins (faithful). When a mujahid leaves for the field he does not care if there is anyone to provide him money or not, if there is anyone to look after his family and his business. The purpose for which he comes to the field he keeps engaging in the struggle till that purpose is not accomplished. I have explained everything, and all questions have been answered.

Question: The youth of Kashmir want to join Kashmir’s war of independence. To where they should consult? To whom they should go? To whom they should talk? What is the process?

Answer: You know that our current platform is the Plebiscite Front. The Plebiscite is actually our political movement. It is our back. By joining the Plebiscite Front you can take this movement forward. As I have already told you that to run this kind of movement there are two-three stages to be crossed. The first stage is that people try to understand the movement, that they understand its advantages and disadvantages. Understand its facts, its necessities. For this, you have the Plebiscite Front. Join the Plebiscite Front. Once you join the Plebiscite Front, you move to keep moving forward from there. Then you will find ways yourself. I have already told you that I will not come again and again from Peshawar to create enthusiasm and passion in you for the Front. Because I am not some career politician, and nor do I have some expectation of votes from such people that I can become a minister tomorrow, so I will not chase you every day again and again. Just forget it. The Front is a volunteer organization. Only that person will join it in whose mind, in whose heart, pulsates a deep longing for nation’ freedom! ♦

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