Recently Saeed Asad, an AJK based writer and director of the National Institute of Kashmir Studies, Mirpur made an "off the record" interview  with Ghazi-e-Millat Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim public. In this interview, he attributed many controversial things to him to malign his character. As a common citizen of AJ&K, I took it upon myself to come forward in the defense of the founder of AJ&K and refute such unscrupulous and defamatory allegations.
Before I discuss that interview, let me introduce the interviewer. Saeed Asad had been affiliated with the department of Kashmir Studies in Punjab University and has authored or compiled more than a dozen books and booklets relating to Kashmir which includes the famous "Shaur-e-Farda", a compilation of letters of Maqbool Bhat. He calls himself a nationalist struggling for independent Kashmir and is known for spreading lies in his books and often writes full-page articles in newspapers in the praise of Dogra Raj. Though I am not here to discuss the books or articles authored by him as my subject is limited to that interview only, but I would say that it is the duty of the academicians of AJ&K to come forward and do justice to history by writing refutation to his publications.
The author writes that he along with Raja Muzaffar (the then Vice-Chairman of JKLF in AJ&K) met Sardar Ibrahim Khan to invite him as a chief guest in the book releasing ceremony of his compilation "Shaur-e-Farda" on Maqbool Bhat. The meeting had taken place in the President's Office, Muzaffarabad on 23rd May, 1998. The author narrates that when he met Sardar Ibrahim, the latter inquired Raja Muzaffar about him that who was he? This means that both had met for the first time and Sardar Ibrahim didn't know him before. Anyways, the author further writes that when he was introduced, Sardar Ibrahim became happy and praised him for his literary work. Then, Sardar Ibrahim Khan asked the writer to lock the door from inside. The author complied. Then, according to the writer, Sardar Ibrahim said the reason behind locking the door was that "the purpose for which you people had come, I want to discuss few things openly with you people."
Here one may ask, the purpose of their visit was to invite Sardar Ibrahim to the book releasing ceremony, it was not to conduct any kind of interview. Why would Sardar Ibrahim discuss things with them, that too in secret, when this wasn't the purpose of their visit?
Anyways, the author goes on writing;
"He laughed and said, "I swear to the God that whatever I am going to tell you is true. I'll not tell a lie. Don't tell anyone outside that Ibrahim Khan told you this."
Then he pointed towards me and said, "Son, promise me that you won't tell anyone what I am going to tell you."
I assured him, "Sir, I promise, I won't tell anyone."
He smiled and said, "There are few things which are in fact real truths but we can't bring them on the record because they are off the record. Therefore, my today's discussion would also be off the record."
I asked, "Sir, the facts you're going to tell us, is it that we can't write them or tell others about them?"
He replied, "No, at least not during my life. I am waiting for my death. You can tell or write after my death but as long as I am alive and on this seat, you can't. (With a smile on his face.)"
Further, Saeed Asad says that Sardar Ibrahim told him that Kashmir is a golden bird that is why it has been occupied by both India and Pakistan. Had Kashmir been an independent country, it would've been much developed. He knew this fact but he couldn't admit publically in the last stage of his life. He and Qayyum Khan kept raising the slogan of Pakistan to remain in good-books of the Pakistani establishment. In short, he attributed everything to Sardar Ibrahim that Saeed Asad and his like-minded people used to write in their party literature.
But while attributing things to Sardar Ibrahim, Saeed Asad has done several mistakes which are enough to prove all these allegations on Sardar Ibrahim as baseless.
For instance, in an attempt to further discredit the founder of AJK, the author writes that Sardar Ibrahim accepted that Maqbool Bhat was far more educated and able person than him. This claim, itself is absurd as Sardar Ibrahim was a graduate of Lincoln's Inn, London while the latter was of Peshawar University.
He goes on writing; "Our entire politics revolves around this seat. On the other side of Kashmir, the total struggle by Sheikh Abdullah was also for the seat. He also paved a way for his generation to enter into politics and today his grandson Omar Abdullah is Chief Minister there." While peddling this lie, the good author even forgot that the grandson of Sheikh Abdullah, Omar Abdullah wasn't a Chief Minister at that time. The interview as per the author had taken place in May, 1998 and, at that time Farooq Abdullah was the Chief Minister of Indian Occupied J&K. His son, Omar Abdullah became the Chief Minister in 2009, that too quite unexpectedly.
The author further writes while quoting Ibrahim Khan, "If someone has struggled for Kashmir, it is only two people namely K.H. Khurshid and Maqbool Bhat. One was hanged by India inside Tihar Jail, while the other was killed by Pakistan in a road accident in Gujranwala." Again, this allegation is entirely baseless which couldn't be supported by any evidence. Neither did the close relatives of K.H. Khurshid call it as an "assassination" by the state, nor did his own partymen or even the people like Amanullah Khan ever mention anything like this. The only evidence which author could present here was that "Pakistan was afraid that K.H. Khurshid could make Kashmir a country, that is why he was killed." This is again absurd. Firstly, K.H. Khurshid never stood for Kashmiri nationalism. He was pro-Pakistan to the core. Even if, for the sake of argument, we accept his theory that he stood for an independent Kashmir, there was no reason for Pakistan to kill him since it is a well-established fact that the Pakistani government at the time of his death (1988) was fully supporting JKLF in launching an armed struggle in occupied Kashmir.
This is not all. The author further quotes Sardar Ibrahim that he pointed towards Shaheed Sheikh Abdul Aziz and said that unlike Sardar Ibrahim and Sardar Qayyum, who only gave statements in favor of Pakistan, leaders from younger generation even kissed the soil of Pakistan. Explaining this point, the author writes, "In those days, a member of APHC from Srinagar, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, had come to Pakistan. Wherever he went, he kissed the soil and went into Sajda after stepping down from the airplane or the vehicle." Here, it should be remembered that Sheikh Abdul Aziz Shaheed never visited Pakistan in those days. At the time when this meeting between Sardar Ibrahim and Saeed Asad took place (May, 1998), Sheikh Abdul Aziz was in jail. He was released two years later for some time when he visited Pakistan in September, 2000 and kissed the Pakistani soil immediately after stepping out of the airplane.  So, where did all this information come from? Obviously, Saeed Asad produced this by his own self.
The author did not stop here. He went on writing that Sardar Ibrahim confessed in front of him that he never signed the Karachi Agreement. He writes while quoting him, "Some clerk or section officer had signed on the part of the document where my name was typed. My signatures are not very difficult. I write Ibrahim Khan in Urdu. Any literate man can copy my signatures after practicing them for four or five times." Once more our good author forgot something big, the original document of Karachi Agreement was signed by Sardar Ibrahim in English, not in Urdu. For the sake of readers, the last page from the original document of the Karachi Agreement has been reproduced below.
At another instance, the author quotes him saying, "Today's generation doesn't subscribe to mine and Qayyum Khan's ideology. In our Rawalakot, people who believe in Maqbool Bhat's independent Kashmir are in the majority." This is not true again. On 19th July, 2016, his son Khalid Ibrahim during his election campaign declared that he and his party completely owns the resolution of 19th July, 1947 and Karachi Agreement of 28th April, 1949, and was going to contest elections from Rawalakot constituency on the basis of that resolution of 19th July.  Eventually on the day of polling, the people gave their verdict in the favour of the philosophy of Sardar Muhammad Ibrahim Khan, and Khalid Ibrahim had won from Rawalakot constituency with a big margin. It is worthwhile to mention that Liauqat Hayat, the Chairman of the National Awami Party, a nationalist party demanding independent Kashmir, was also taking part in elections. He could not manage to get more than 2,500 votes.  Readers should note that Liauqat Hayat's organization is considered as the strongest nationalist organization in Rawalakot. It enjoys greater public support in the city than JKLF. According to the nationalists themselves, their support has only increased with each passing day. I fail to understand, how did the majority belong to independent Kashmir's ideology two decades ago when even today they can't even manage a single seat in whole AJK?
While peddling lies, the author even writes that Sardar Ibrahim told him that "Hari Singh wasn't a bad person. He was an educated and decent person and wanted Kashmir to stay independent and united." Now, can Sardar Ibrahim, who literally fought against Hari Singh, betray the blood of the martyrs of Poonch and Jammu and say anything like this? Leave aside Sardar Ibrahim, can a sane person use this word for a man who has the blood of more than two hundred thousand Muslims in his hands? I leave that for my readers to decide.
At last but not the least, Saeed Asad also writes that Ibrahim Khan told him that "ye iqtedar ki jo Kursi hai, is ka apna hi maza hota hai". (The pleasure relating to this seat of power is indescribable.) Now, this is something that a person can't even say to one of his best friends, but Sardar Ibrahim had shared it with a person who was stranger to him a few moments ago that too on the first meeting!
The fact that it was the first meeting that took place between the two is enough to refute everything that Saeed Asad has written for Sardar Ibrahim Khan. The meeting might have taken place but his claims like Maqbool Bhat was more educated than Sardar Ibrahim, Sardar Ibrahim held the state responsible for the death of K.H. Khurshid, the grandson of Sheikh Abdullah was the Chief Minister and Shaheed Sheikh Abdul Aziz had visited Pakistan at that time, Sardar Ibrahim's signatures were faked by some clerk, Sardar Ibrahim accepted that majority in Rawalakot was a supporter of independent Kashmir, and that he called Hari Singh a "decent person", prove that every single word in this "off the record" interview is absolutely false.
I wonder how can a person stoop so low to defame someone who is already dead? What percentage of truth can one expect in the books authored by him? I am leaving it for you to decide.
1. Full text of that "off the record" interview is available here. It has also been published in AJK based daily Sadaa-e-Chinar on 12 June, 2020.
2. "A prominent separatist leader, Sheikh Abdul Aziz, has been arrested in Indian-administered Kashmir -- just three days after he was released from five years detention.", BBC June 10, 1998
3. Azam Inquilabi, Sheikh Aziz: Traumatized but Poised, also, Murtaza Shibli, Sheikh Abdul Aziz (1952-2008)
4. Daily Jang Urdu, 20 July, 2016. His full speech is available here.
5. LA 19 Poonch AJK Election 2016 Results available here.
Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the editor of the Kashmir Discourse.
Author is a resident of AJK, Pakistan and can be reached at email@example.com