BRIEF STORY ON VISIT TO HARARE BY MR K H KHURSHID

It was a cold evening of December 1987 when I was a practicing physician in Rawalpindi Pakistan with no connection to politics. I got a message from my aunty living on the Peshawar Road Rawalpindi to have evening meal at her place with my uncle Iqbal Shahmiri on a visit from Srinagar. When I reached the place I found Mr K H Khurshid present there as well who was on his way to Muzaffarabad and was staying overnight in Rawalpindi. He was leading a protest campaign against the alleged rigged local elections by the government of Sardar Sikander Hayat of Muslim Conference who was the prime minister of Muzaffarabad government.

After having food three of us sat having tea and suddenly Mr Shahmiri asked a question from Mr Khurshid about his visit to Harare, at that time I was not involved in any political activities as I was only focused on establishing my clinical work as GP. Then for the next hour or so I listened to a story directly from Mr Khurshid (the only occasion I ever witnessed him talking about a topic). He was so passionately describing his experiences of the journey that every word stuck to my mind and I am just reproducing it for those who may be interested in future.

Mr Khurshid was in contact with many world leaders involved in their freedom in respective countries like Yasser Arafat of Palestine, Bin Bela of Algeria Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. In 1986 there was a summit of the Non-Aligned movement countries in Harare being chaired by Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. He was invited there to attend the conference as an observer. On the evening of his departure from Pakistan he met with Mr Manzoor-ul-Haq Dar senior vice president of his party Jammu Kashmir Liberation League and secretly informed him of his over seas visit and told him that he would be the acting president of JKLL during his absence from the country he also told him not to announce it till Mr Khurshid left the country as he had apprehensions the

Zia ul Haq government wouldn’t let him to travel to Zimbabwe if they knew his intentions.

After reaching England he was booked on a flight to Harare the capital of Zimbabwe where the NAM meeting was being held. The only issue that I remember about his flight to Harare he said it was a long flight with many stops on its way as it was a cheaper flight. After reaching the venue he went to the place where the secretaries were working. He had excellent typing skills that he developed while working for creation of Pakistan.

He typed this memorandum himself and then he had to get photocopies for more than one hundred heads of the states that included Indian Prime Minister Mr Rajiv Gandhi. He said he made the photocopies and placed whatever coins in change he had to the secretary as he did not have enough funds.

He went to meet the heads of the states or their representatives during the next two days, he presented his memorandum to more than one hundred heads of the States or their representatives. He described one meeting in particular.

Meeting with Rajiv Gandhi Mr Khurshid stated as he entered the room of Rajiv Gandhi then Prime Minister of India and introduced himself as representative of people of Jammu Kashmir while he handed over the memorandum Rajiv got infuriated and threw the papers back onto Mr Khurshid and asked him to leave. Later on the All India Radio started a bulleting accusing Pakistan of organizing this visit this continued for three days till their investigations revealed that Mr Khurshid was not sponsored or facilitated by the Government of Pakistan.

Another matter that he was very unhappy about he said India accused Pakistan throught the duration of the conference of interfering into internal affairs of Afghanistan but the Foreign Minister of Pakistan at thst time Sahibzada Yaqub Khan a retired army general never uttered a single word against India on its illegal occupation of Jammu Kashmir.

Another matter he mentioned was that as Mr Khurshid entered the conference hall he did not know anyone there only when he located the Pakistan delegation led by Gen Zia ul Haq with him sat Mr Sahrif-ud-din Peerzada who was friend of Mr Khurshid he went and joined him. As Gen Zia spotted Mr Khurshid he said to him in Urdu “Khurshid sb aap nein aana tha tau hamain bataya hota hum intezam kar daitey” (if you wanted to come you could have informed us we would have arranged for you to come over), Mr Khurshid said I thought if you had known you would never have let me come out of Pakistan for the purpose.

The main thing that touched me while he described his story was his passion about the entire episode I felt mesmerized and he spoke for an hour without a break and we two audience sat quietly listening and just looking at him spell bound. As I reflect today and the way the people of Kashmir are subjected to state oppression on either sides of the line of divide my heart bleeds with sorrow how the innocents have been betrayed from one side and how extremes of torture use of excessive force and unlawful manipulations have extremely damaged peace loving people.

Dr Misfar Hassan