Ambassador Yusuf Buch Is No More

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SRINAGAR: Mohammad Yusuf Buch, one of Kashmir earliest exiled intellectuals, who eventually became a Pakistani ambassador, is no more. He died at his New York home at the age of 98.

Mohammad Yusuf Buch (1922-2019)

Reports said Buch passed away on May 24, 2019, at his home in New York. He was not keeping good health for a long time.

After the funeral prayers at Makkah Masjid in Brooklyn, New York, his dead body is likely to be flown to Muzaffarabad for the burial.

Ambassador Buch served as an adviser to the UN Secretary-General as well.

Born in Kalashpora Srinagar 1922, the Buch’s were three brothers: Yusuf, the KCS officer, Ghulam Naqashaband, who eventually became the Resident Commissioner in Delhi and Mohammad Amin Buch, who became the Chief Conservator of forests in Jammu and Kashmir and would also run Chenar newspaper. They were alumni of the Islamia High School who later graduated from the SP College.

Yusuf Buch, according to sources, topped a civil administration examination during Dogra rule and was appointed as Tehsildar somewhere around the early forties. He was posted in Baramulla for a few years.

Buch was one of the many persons who was exiled by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1949. Open sources information suggest that the staunch Muslim Conference supporter, Buch was arrested and driven to Suchetgrah in Jammu and sent to Pakistan. He was accompanied, in the same bus, by Agha Showkat Ali, Barrister Abdul Gani Rentoo, and Mahmood Hashmi.

This actually gave him his status. Buch was being considered as an encyclopaedia on Kashmir as he had witnessed almost every major development from a very closer quarter.

In 1953, he is reported to have won an International Essay Contest sponsored by the United Nations that brought him to the USA. There, he ran a Kashmir Centre in New York from 1957 to 1972.

Later he went to Pakistan. There, he joined the Pakistan government. Between 1972 and 1977, he worked for former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as his special adviser. Briefly, he was Pakistan’s Minister of Information as well. Later, he was appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland.

Later, Buch joined the United Nations as Assistant Secretary-General political until his retirement in 1991.

Interestingly, Buch remained a bachelor for most of his life. Sources said he married an American woman Amie but the relationship could not last beyond three years. They were divorced soon. Buchdied without anybody surviving him. However, most of his relations are in Kashmir including the families of his two brothers.

“M Yusuf Buch a scarcely known authoritative voice on Kashmir is no more,” Haseeb Drabu wrote on Twitter. “Civil servant, policy maker, political advisor and much more. A Kashmiri to the core, an intellectual with Graham Greene, Paul Sweezy, & Baran as friends. Would like to be remembered as Ambassador Buch. Rip.”

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