Ghulam Nabi Gilkar, one of the pioneers of the freedom struggle was known for his boldness and sincerity. It was Gilkar who persuaded Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to join the freedom struggle. Dismayed by the Conversion of Muslim Conference into National Conference, Gilkar strived hard for revival of Muslim Conference in 40s. And in the eventful year of 1947, Gilkar did what others were scared to do. On October 4, he founded Azad Kashmir government. However, it had to be re-founded on October 24 by Sardar Ibrahiem Khan because Gilkar came to Srinagar on October 6 to `woo’ Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah and got arrested.After the ouster of Nawab of Junagarh by government of India, the Pakistan government approached Mirza Bashir-ud-Din of Qadiyan and authorized him to take appropriate measures with regard to Kashmir. Mirza called GN Gilkar to Lahore. Several rallies were held at Rattan Bagh. Besides Gilkar, these rallies were attended by Mufti Zia-ud-Din Poonchi, Chowdhury Rahim Dad Advocate, Master Mir Alam Kotli, Ammanullah Khan of Khor Pattan, Professor Muhammad Ishaq Qureshi, and Syed Muhammad Abdullah Qadri. The idea of forming the Azad Kashmir government was put forth in these rallies. Mufti Zia-ud-Din was asked to announce the government but he refused. Syed Muhammad Abdullah Qadri also refused. Finally GN Gilkar came forward and took the bold step. Gilkar thus became the first president of Azad Kashmir. However, he chose to be known as Anwar in his new capacity.
In his first presidential address, Gilkar urged the Kashmiris to defy the Maharaja. The address reads: “With the end of British rule, Maharaja Hari Singh’s claim to rule the state by virtue of the Sale Deed of Amritsar has also come to an end. Kashmir was sold to Hari Singh’s grandfather, Gulab Singh for 7.5 million Nanak Shahi Sikay. Now the people have formed an adhoc government with its headquarters at Tradkhel. From October 4, if Hari Singh or any other person claims to govern the state, he shall be punished in accordance with the laws framed by the adhoc government. The people should follow the rules framed by the adhoc government from now onwards.” The presidential address was carried by all the newspapers of Pakistan on October 5, 1947.
Being a dedicated worker, Gilkar rushed to Srinagar on October 6. He had an exclusive meeting with Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah. The meeting lasted three hours. Soon after, Gilkar got arrested and could not lead his government. “The vacuum created at Tradkhel by Gilkar’s arrest was filled by Sardar Ibrahiem Khan on October 24”. A question arises. When the government had been founded on October 4, what was the need of re-founding it on October 24? If a vacuum was created at Tradkhel, it could have been filled by appointing a new president!
Gilkar was released after 13 months on January 13, 1949 and was pushed back into Pakistan in exchange for Brigadier Gansara Singh.
Courtesy Rising Kashmir