Khursheed Hasan Khursheed, the man who was groomed under the leadership of Qaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had the honour to be part of the movement that culminated in the shape of Pakistan. He is the first Kashmiri who came across the events that took place during the Pakistan movement.
The gentleman had the privilege to be the private secretary of Pakistan’s founding father.
Born in a modest middle-class family of Srinagar in 1924, Khursheed received early education from his hometown and completed Bachelors Degree from Amar Singh College Srinagar. It was the time when entire Indian subcontinent was on the verge of war against British imperialism, demanding Britain to quit the subcontinent. Revolutionary by nature, young Khursheed during his college life established Kashmir Muslim Students’ Federation to educate people particularly the youth about the mass uprising against British rulers. The existing upheaval in the region was one of the basic reasons that led K H Khursheed to join All India Muslim League.
In 1942, being general secretary of the federation he and his accomplice, Ghulam Rasool, were chosen to go and see the Qaid in Jalandhar, where Jinnah handed over a flag of the party to him. And when Qaid-e-Azam visited Kashmir along with his sister Fatimah Jinnah, Khursheed was working with Orient Press of India and as a representative of the press he met the visiting leader in Srinagar. Khursheed had been frequently visiting the residence where Jinnah was staying. This regular interaction between the two culminated with an atmosphere of trust and understanding. In May 1944, Jinnah asked Khursheed if he would be willing to help Lobo, the Personal Assistant of Qaid-e-Azam, in translating news items from Urdu into English. Khursheed accepted the offer wholeheartedly and started preparing daily summaries for the Qaid. One day Jinnah called Khursheed and while appreciating his translation work asked, “Would you like to work for us? You don’t have to answer just now, think over it and let me know,” Qaid said.
Khursheed was surprised to hear the offer, he went straight away to consult his father Moulvi Muhammad Hasan who was a teacher. After consultations, Khursheed finally decided to join the services of the great leader.
This was a turning point of his life and at that very moment he had not even an inkling that he would play such a fabulous role in reshaping the destiny of Muslims of the subcontinent under the leadership of Qaid-e-Azam. And spending a few years with Jinnah completely changed the course of his life.
Although young, he achieved political maturity learning from the Qaid integrity, strong will and faith in the inevitability of the objectives. Khursheed was a young graduate, hardly 20 years old when he was picked up by the Qaid for such a sensitive job.
Khursheed accompanied the Qaid on his tour to Bombay, Punjab and even in 1946 he was along with Qaid when he visited London where Khursheed accompanied Pakistan’s founding father during several meetings with British leaders including Winston Churchill.
The commitment, dedication and untiring zeal of this Kashmiri youth impressed the great leader of Pakistan. He is believed to have said that Pakistan was made by him, his secretary and his stenographer. The secretary about whom he had referred to was K H Khursheed.
As the private secretary of the towering leader, Khursheed worked passionately. It was a matter of great satisfaction for him that Qaid loved him and treated him as more than his personal secretary.
After the birth of Pakistan, Khursheed escorted the Qaid to Karachi. Having been engaged in hectic political activities for several years he had not seen his parents and therefore with the permission of the Qaid he left for Kashmir to meet his family members and to carry out certain tasks given to him. As he entered the valley he was arrested and put behind the bars for many years. He heard the shocking news about the death of Muhammad Ali Jinnah while in prison in Srinagar.
Jinnah was highly concerned over the incarceration of his secretary and therefore wrote a letter to then Indian PM, asking him to felicitate the release of Khursheed. In exchange for an Indian General, Ghansara Singh, he was finally released in 1949. Shocked by the death of his leader, Khursheed quit politics straight away and decided to launch a weekly magazine.
Joining hands with Aziz Beg, a veteran journalist whom he had known while in Bombay, he started “Weekly Guardian” with its office in Lahore. Due to some reasons the magazine did not go well and he finally went to Karachi where he resumed his work with Fatima Jinnah. Miss Jinnah was very affectionate to him and it was she who persuaded him to become a Barrister. Inspired by the great leader, he too joined Lincolns’ inn and after completing his degree he returned to Pakistan in 1954. The Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Margaret Thatcher, the ex-Prime Minister of Britain were amongst his contemporaries.
In 1955 Khursheed got married with his cousin Sorraya, the daughter of Noor Hussain. In 1956 he was appointed as the Foreign Publicity Advisor by the government of Azad Jammu and Kashmir. In 1959, Khursheed was appointed as president of Pakistani administered Kashmir. During his tenure as the president of PaK, he established his own political party, Jammu Kashmir Liberation League. In 1964, after quitting the presidency, K H Khursheed started his political activities from the same platform. Besides projecting Kashmir cause he continued his struggle to strengthen democratic values. In the meantime, Khursheed and his wife Suraya shifted to Karachi where they alongside Miss Jinnah stayed for a couple of years in Flag Staff House.
In 1965, when Miss Jinnah decided to contest elections against Field Marshal Ayoub Khan, Khursheed as the key campaigner spearheaded the election campaign. Following the death of Miss Jinnah in 1967, Khursheed besides engaged in politics started practicing law in Lahore High Court.
Khursheed participated in the parliamentary elections in 1970 and 1985. He was an honest, upright and a matured politician. He had the honour to be the first elected president of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
He was the man who gave the right of vote to the people of Pakistani administered Kashmir and the Kashmiri refugees settled in Pakistan and established first ever Legislative Council, which was later on converted to Azad Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. He also constituted the Public Service Commission, Development Board and introduced Land Reforms in the territory thereby putting an end to feudalism.
He was a visionary who could see the future on account of his wisdom that is why he suggested a visionary political solution to Kashmir problem that still stands true and viable.
Introducing a vibrant Kashmir policy for achieving the collective cause of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Khursheed proposed that the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be fully authorised to project the cause of freedom by endorsing the all inclusive government of AJK including Gilgit and Baltistan at international level so as to garner support of the peace loving nations across the globe.
He never exploited his political stature for material ends. He was a straight forward person and real democrat who fought for the rights of the people and was never afraid of the rulers no matter how powerful they were.
When he died he was living in a rented house. He died on 11th March 1988 in a road accident while traveling in a public van from Gujrat (Pakistan) to Lahore.