KASHMIR’S UNSUNG HEROES: Khwaja SanaullahShamim

Sanaullah Shamim was born when Kashmiris were fighting Dogra rule.

Coming from a well-off Sopore family that gave education high priority, he studied law after finishing college, but before his legal career could take off, stunned his family by joining the Muslim Conference, becoming its secretary for his native town.

Driven to the struggle by the condition of the Kashmiri people, Shamim soon found himself on the government’s “most wanted” list because of his political activities, and went into hiding to evade arrest.

Too restless and bold to stay out of sight for long, he surfaced again, and resumed work, alarming his friends and relatives who feared for him.

Shamim gave them another surprise, shock rather, by suddenly making a dash for Pak-administered-Kashmir to continue his activities.

His sincerity, hard work and commitment to the Kashmir cause won him a berth in the Azad Kashmir ministry, a capacity he served in for several years.

Shamim continued to work for the freedom of Kashmir, and after his term as minister ended, he would also attend court to help fellow Kashmiris in their legal affairs.

Unfortunately, after staying strongly united for the initial years of their migration, Kashmiris across the line began to get divided.

This disappointed Shamim deeply, and he tried his best to unite them on a single platform, but could not succeed.

When Hashim Qureshi was accorded a hero’s welcome after he hijacked an Indian plane from Srinagar and set it ablaze on Pakistani soil, all Kashmiris were invited to the reception hosted for him.

Addressing fellow-Kashmiris, Shamim said: This is a rare occasion. For the first time in several years, all Kashmiris have assembled under a single roof. The credit for this goes to Hashim Qureshi. Had he not hijacked the plane, we would have never met.”

But his dream of uniting Kashmiris did not come true during his lifetime.