I first met Maqbool Butt in March 1969 when he was released from
custody in Muzaffarabad Qilla. He had just escaped from Srinagar jail
and managed to cross over to Muzafarabad where he was arrested again.
He still had frost-bite in his feet. Mir Abdul Qayyum was with me then.
Since that day till May 1976 Maqbool Butt stayed with me in Rawalpindi.
He was so much committed to the freedom movement that he had very
little time to go home. He had very busy schedule of our work
recruiting more members. He was a tireless man with a very strong
conviction for freedom. He worked day and night.
I remember when Maqbool Butt, Javed Saghar and myself traveled day and
night for 72 hours to supply goods to our underground activists in
Jammu for an emergency. When we came back to my house after making safe
delivery I could not control myself and immediately fell asleep. At
about 4 a.m. when I suddenly woke up I found Maqbool Butt still having
discussions with Ayub Khan's group who had arrived to discuss
operational matters in the Neelam Sector. Maqbool Butt had another
excellent quality, which I never saw in anyone else. He tackled very
complicated problems in such a simple way that he bewildered me.
He enjoyed children's company. He was at his happiest with children.
Whenever we had to look for him we looked for children's gathering and
found him either playing with them or teaching them about the meaning
and benefits of true freedom. I still remember his answer to one child
who asked him how to be free. Maqbool Butt told him "when you can make
yourself believe that you are free, YOU ARE FREE".
He was staunch believer in national and individual freedom. He wanted
his nation to be a proud and free nation. His ambition was for an
independent homeland where all would be free from evils of the past and
of the prevailing era.
It is beyond any doubt that he loved liberty for his people and I can
confirm with my hand on my heart that Maqbool Butt believed Azadi was
worth having at whatever cost.

Dr Farooque Haider