MIRPUR (AJK) - Veteran Kashmir freedom struggle leader, intellectual and former Information minister of Pakistan Ambassador Mohammad Yusuf Buch was laid to rest in Muzaffarabad Wednesday evening with full state honour in presence of a mammoth crowd of mourners.

The body of Buch, also former senior adviser to the UN Secretary General and ambassador of Pakistan, was brought to Pakistan for burial in Muzaffarabad, according to his will, at the compound of the Mausoleum of Mirwaiz Muhammad Yousaf Shah. He had passed away in the US on Friday evening at his residence in New York at the age of 98.

Renowned Hurriyat leader Ghulam Muhammad Safi led the funeral prayer offered at KH Khursheed Ground of AJK University. A full-dressed AJK police contingent presented salute to the departed soul in acknowledgement of his life time meritorious services to the national Kashmir cause.

Besides AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan and several of his cabinet colleagues, leading personalities from Pakistan and AJK attended the funeral prayer. Prominent among those included Chairman Parliamentary Kashmir Committee in the National Assembly of Pakistan Syed Fakher Imam, Senator Mushahid Hussain, President PPP AJK Ch Latif Akber, Sr Vice President PTI AJK and former minister Khawaja Farooq Ahmed, Senior Hurriyat leader Syed Yousaf Nasim, New York-based veteran Kashmiri leader Sardar Muhammad Sawar Khan, Engr Akhter Hussain, Dr Minhajul Yaqoob, JI AJK leader Sheikh Aqeelur Rehman, high ranking serving and retired civil and military officials, eminent icons from diverse segments of the civil society including lawyers, journalists, members of the business fraternity, social and political activists and others.

Paying rich tributes to the departed soul, AJK Prime Minister Raja Farooq Haider Khan, Chairman Parliamentary Kashmir Committee Syed Fakher Imam, Senator Mushahid Hussain, and others said that Buch dedicated his entire life for the Kashmir cause.

AJK PM, Syed Fakhter Imam, Senator Mushahid Hussain, others pay rich tribute to ex-Info minister and ambassador

He said that his lifelong services for the achievement of birth right to self-determination Kashmiris will always be remembered for ever.  He prayed for the rest of the departed soul in eternal peace and grant of fortitude to the bereaved family and the people of Pakistan and Kashmir to bear the loss with courage.

Yousuf Buch, a known Kashmir expert, former information minister and ambassador of Pakistan, at the end of his scholastic career, passed a competitive examination to win a place in what was called the government’s superior service. But the radical overhaul which was the sequel to the liquidation of the colonial order affected him directly; from being a privileged government official, he became a political prisoner as he was vocally among the opponents of the Maharaja Hari Singh’s so-called accession to India and New Delhi’s invasion in Jammu and Kashmir. This led to his being exiled to Pakistan through a compulsory exchange of war and political prisoners in 1949.

Ambassador Buch served as an adviser to the UN Secretary-General as well.

Born in Kalashpora Srinagar 1922, the Buch’s were three brothers: Yusuf, the KCS officer, Ghulam Naqashaband, who eventually became the Resident Commissioner in Delhi and Mohammad Amin Buch, who became the Chief Conservator of forests in Jammu and Kashmir and would also run Chenar newspaper.

 They were alumni of the Islamia High School who later graduated from the SP College.

Yusuf Buch, according to sources, topped a civil administration examination during Dogra rule and was appointed as Tehsildar somewhere around the early forties. He was posted in Baramulla for a few years.

Buch was one of the many persons who was exiled by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1949. Open sources information suggest that the staunch Muslim Conference supporter, Buch was arrested and driven to Suchetgrah in Jammu and sent to Pakistan. He was accompanied, in the same bus, by Agha Showkat Ali, Barrister Abdul Gani Rentoo, and Mahmood Hashmi.

This actually gave him his status. Buch was being considered as an encyclopaedia on Kashmir as he had witnessed almost every major development from a very closer quarter.

In 1953, he is reported to have won an International Essay Contest sponsored by the United Nations that brought him to the USA. There, he ran a Kashmir Centre in New York from 1957 to 1972.

Later he went to Pakistan. There, he joined the Pakistan government. Between 1972 and 1977, he worked for former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as his special adviser. Briefly, he was Pakistan’s Minister of Information as well. Later, he was appointed as Pakistan’s ambassador to Switzerland.

Later, Buch joined the United Nations as Assistant Secretary-General political until his retirement in 1991.

Interestingly, Buch remained a bachelor for most of his life. Sources said he married an American woman Amie but the relationship could not last beyond three years. They were divorced soon. Buch died without anybody surviving him. However, most of his relations are in Kashmir including the families of his two brothers.