WASHINGTON - Glowing tribute were paid to Amanullah Khan, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, who passed away in Rawalpindi last week, at a meeting of the Kashmiri-American community in Washington metropolitan area Sunday.

“Amanullah Khan Sahib, an iconic and charismatic leader was a symbol of sacrifice, humility and decency who struggled tirelessly for the right of self-determination of the people of Jammu& Kashmir”, Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, secretary-general of the World Kashmir Awareness, said.

Amanullah's message to the Kashmiri diaspora was to disconnect themselves from Kashmiri political parties and become Kashmiris and Kashmiris alone to gain their right of self-determination, Fai said, adding that his demise was a colossal loss.

“Pakistan has more right over Kashmir than India under the principles governing division of the sub-continent, but the will of the people of Kashmir must prevail,” Fai quoted from the letter which he received from Amanullah Khan.  Ishaq Sharif of JKLF said that Amanullah had always tried to highlight the international dimension of the Kashmir issue by writing to the head of the states of various countries and reminding them that the Kashmir issue was the bone of contention between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

Amanullah had made it clear to the government of Pakistan that the recent moves to integrate Gilgat-Baltistian with Pakistan would have serious political implications and undermine the peaceful struggle of the people for their right to self-determination, he added.

Sardar Imtiaz Khan, a Kashmiri activist from New Jersey, said the departed leader had always stressed that the resolution of Kashmir was not only in the best interest of the people of Kashmir but also in the interest of both India and Pakistan who were spending billions of dollars on their militaries. Imtiaz said Amanullah stood for demilitarisation of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, a ceasefire by all parties, reunification of the whole State, formation of an independent form of government and a referendum, supervised by the United Nations, to settle the dispute. Sahibzada Imtiaz Zafar stressed that the people of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the control line should be given the choice whether they want to join India or Pakistan or remain independent.

The verdict of the people should be acceptable to all parties concerned - India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir, he added.

Sardar Zulfiqar Roshan Khan said Amanullah Khan had proposed an eleven member “International Kashmir committee” including five permanent members of the Security Council, who would explore the different options to solve the Kashmir dispute.  Professor Irshad said that Aman has always emphasised the involvement of Kashmiris in any talks on the Kashmir dispute.

Sardar Zarif Khan said there will be no peace between India and Pakistan without resolving the dispute. Sardar Zubair Khan said that Amanullah had always rejected the status quo as an option.

Among others who expressed their grief and sorrow on the occasion included: Dr. Atif Malik, M Akbar, Junaid Bashir, Malik Hamid, Zahid Hamidi, Akram Butt, Saeed Khan, SardarZahid Khan, Sardar Asghar Khan, Ashraf Gulshan, New Jersey, Sardar Sabir, NewJersey. The event concluded with prayers for the eternal peace of the departed soul.