MIRPUR (AJK)-AJK President Sardar Masood Khan has said that Shah-e-Hamdan Ameer Kabeer Syed Ali Hamdani was a great Sufi, Islamic scholar, poet and reformer.

With a passion for public welfare and uplift, Shah-e-Hamdan changed the socio-economic destiny of Kashmir, he said. The AJK President said that Shah-e-Hamdan not only converted hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris to Islam but also made them wealthy and financially stable by teaching them new skills and enhancing their competence.

Masood Khan expressed his views while addressing the Shah-e-Hamdan Conference organized by the International Shah-e-Hamdan Association and Archaeological & Historical Association of Pakistan.

Dr Ghazanfar Mehdi, the chairman of Archaeological and Historical Association of Pakistan; Sahibzada Wahid Gul, chairman of International Shah-e-Hamdan Association, and Prof Dr Abdul Basit, Chancellor of Preston University, also addressed the conference by glorious tributes to the mystic scholar, intellectual and reformer.

President Masood said that Shah-e-Hamdan not only taught the true teachings of Islam in Kashmir but spread the universal message of peace, spirituality, Sufism, global brotherhood, equality and social justice throughout Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and the central Asian states.

He said in his speech that at the age of 24 when Hazrat Shah-e-Hamdan came to Kashmir; Central Asia was ruled by the Tartars and the Sub-Continent was ruled by the Tughlaqs, and the whole region was stricken by poverty and ignorance while corruption was rampant.

"The people were engulfed in a strict caste system. Kashmiris were subjugated under the strict control of Monks and Priests in this era. In 1372 AD, Shah-e-Hamdan came to what we now know as Jammu and Kashmir as a reformer and preacher. He made scholarly discussions with local clerics and intellectuals of the Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist religion in Kashmir and led them to the path of spiritualism. He illuminated the people with the correct teachings of Islam and millions of people embraced Islam," he said.

President Masood said that when Shah Hamdan came to Kashmir for the second time in 1378 AD, he brought with him, 700 skilled artisans. They included technical experts, engineers and experienced masons, which he brought from Iraq, Egypt, Syria and Russia. He said that these professionals taught the people of Kashmir architecture, agriculture, engineering and craftsmanship resulting in them becoming skilled artisans and making them renowned all over the world for their needlework, shawl making, carpentry, horticulture and unique architectural style.

He said that Shah-e-Hamdan was not only a religious and spiritual leader but also a social reformer. He rejected the social caste system and highlighted the principles of equality, global brotherhood and social justice, he said.

He said that Syed Hamdan was also a great traveler who traveled to many countries around the world, including China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Northern India. He also travelled parts of Kashmir including Ladakh, Sukkur and Gilgit. Wherever he went, he established mosques, libraries, handicraft and skill centres, he said.

He said that Shah-Hamdan was also a great intellectual who wrote almost 172 books in Arabic and Persian. He added that his writings revolutionised the thinking of his contemporaries and all those who followed his golden era. He said today the people of Indian Occupied Kashmir have been deprived of their right to self-determination as guaranteed to them by the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Indian forces, he said, are committing massive human rights violations in the region, where the innocent Kashmiris are subjected to unimaginable torture, womenfolk are dishonoured and under the guise of search operation young Kashmiris are illegally arrested and their houses ransacked. He added that Hurriyat leaders are arrested on trumped-up charges and transferred to jails all over India.

He said that the recent UN report on IOK has also exposed all such violations and the global community should now play its role in resolving the Kashmir issue. He said that India must repeal its black laws -Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Public Safety Act -and allow international fact-finding missions as recommended by the report.

He said that despite India's armed, political and constitutional manoeuvring; the people of Kashmir have continued their freedom struggle with utmost zeal and commitment. He said that soon all of Kashmir will be free of Indian oppression and will be a part of Pakistan.