Khawaja Abdul Ghaffar

Khawaja-Abdul-GhaffarAn old ideologue of Muslim Conference, an ardent admirer of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and a veteran Kashmiri leader, Khawaja Abdul Ghaffar passed away Monday at his residence in Rawalpindi’s Satellite Town. He was 88.

A native of Old City’s Wazapora, the deceased had migrated to PaK in 1948 along with the late Moulvi Muhammad Yousuf Shah. From Pakistan, Ghaffar worked for the freedom struggle of Kashmir. Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in his condolence message described the late leader as a “great supporter of Kashmir’s freedom movement”.

Khawaja Ghaffar was pursuing graduation in Humanities from Srinagar’s SP College when he migrated to PaK. In his youth he was actively involved in Muslim Students Union, which made him vulnerable.

Rated as one of the reckoned and influential Kashmiri leaders in PaK, the deceased was known for his political acumen and personal rapport with leading Pakistani politicians. He was in close touch with Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, KH Khurshid and other notables of the time. An ardent lover of KH Khurshid, Khawaja Ghaffar was also a devoted disciple of Muhammad Ali Jinnah whom he met in Srinagar in 1944 as a student.

Sardar Khalid Ibraheem Khan, the erstwhile Prime Minister of PaK described the late Kashmiri leader as one of the few senior politicians who played crucial role in politics over the years.

Emerged as a kingmaker in the political set-up of PaK, it is said that Khawaja Ghaffar distanced himself from power politics. Over his demise, JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik expressed ‘grief and sorrow’. Malik, while recalling his close association with the deceased leader termed him ‘a loving personality’.

After migration, he was offered the position of Information Officer in Pakistan government in September 1948. And later, as a lecturer along with stalwarts like Mohammad Yousuf Saraf, Pir Ziauddin Ahmad, Ghulam Ahmad Trali and others. However, after working in the government for three years, he switched over to business.

Khawaja, who visited Srinagar many times since migration, was known for his vast knowledge of Kashmir’s history and politics. He was known for his hospitality and great love for Kashmir and Kashmiris. His house in Rawalpindi was the first stop for any Kashmiri visiting Pakistan.

His funeral prayers were attended by former bureaucrats, government officials and political and religious leaders from both sides of the Line of Control. Among those who attended the funeral prayers included Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan (former PaK PM), JKLF supreme head Amanullah Khan, Mehmood Ahmed Saghar and others.

– Bilal Handoo

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