Executive Director, Kashmiri American Council11 February 2001Washington, D.C. February 11, 2001. Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, ExecutiveDirector of the Kashmiri American Council, today commemorated the 14th
anniversary of the martyrdom of Kashmiri icon Maqbool Butt with a renewed
commitment to achieve the hero's dream: Kashmiri self-determination as
prescribed by the United Nations, international law, and moral justice.

Maqbool Butt was hanged by India's authorities for protesting their illegal
and iron-fisted occupation of Kashmir since 1947. He had previously been
tortured and inhumanely imprisoned as part of India's state sponsored
terrorism in the disputed territory of Kashmir. His courage, however,
demonstrated such savagery would backfire, and intensify the Kashmir

Since his execution, February 11 has been observed by all Kashmiris as a
black day of mourning for the martyr of a brave Kashmiri statesman. 11
February is a somber day but at the same time a day of remembrance and a day
to revitalize our resolve to be true to the mission of Martyr Maqbool Bhat.
This year, the observance featured seminars, debates, and prayer meetings
around the world to advance the Kashmiri cause of self?determination
mandated by international law, and the principles of simple justice.

Maqbool Bhat's life has inspired countless Kashmiris to persist in the
struggle for self?determination against India's intransigence. His vision
of a free and fair Kashmiri self? determination on its sovereign destiny did
not die with his death. He gave his life for the cause because he
believed in it with all sincerity and honesty. He gave a lesson to the
generations to come that it is a very hard but only choice to accept
martyrdom instead of slavery. While we must pay rich tributes to the memory
of this great martyr, our true tribute will be emancipation of the Kashmiri
people from under the Indian brutal occupation and senseless subjugation.

Indian authorities could jail Maqbool Bhat and silence him by execution but
they could not silence his ultimate desire ? the struggle for the people of
Kashmir. The spirit of Maqbool Bhat is alive. Today, he is an inspiration
to millions of Kashmiris and those striving for human rights and human

Maqbool Butt was undoubtedly, a selfless leader and we, the people of
Kashmir miss him dearly. His dastardly death will inspire living Kashmiris
for the ages, just as Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination will
do in the United States.