November 3, 2019 at 3:18 pm
By: Liaquat Ali Dolomuch Chitral
Moharaja Kashmir Hari Singh wanted accession of Kashmir (Present Indian occupied Kashmir, Azad Kashmir & Gilgit Baltistan) to India when people of Kashmir wanted to accede to newly created (1947) Pakistan. Hence war in Kashmir was in full swing in 1948. Gilgit and Bonji were liberated in November 1948 arresting Moharaja Governor Gilgit Ghansara Singh on 1st November 1948 by Gilgit Scout under the command of freedom fighters like Col Hassan Khan, Major Baber Khan, Major Muhammad Khan, Capt. Saeed Durani, Subedar Safiullah Baig and many others. Dogra Raj in Skardu was under siege and attack by Gilgit Scout. Moharaja Hari Singh wanted to move towards Gilgit to recapture Gilgit and Bonji after capturing Skardu. Chitral Scout & Mujahidin under the command of Shahzada Burhanuddin Dolomus were also fighting in Neelum Valley in August 1948 when Frontier constabulary and Additional Police were already there but with poor result and locals were not happy with them.
When this news of Kashmir accession to India by Moharaja Hari Singh and Skardu occupation by Dogra Force and their movement for recapturing Gilgit& Bonjireached Chitral, Mehtar Chitral Muhammad Muzafarul Mulk decided to send 400 Mujahideens to Skardu under the command of Col. Mataul Mulk in May 15, 1948. This group of Mujahidin of Chitral put pressure and did excellent job forcing Dogra Force surrender and making Skardu liberate.
Mujahid Rakin Gul of village Brep, was one of the youngest Mujahidof Chitral participated in the holy war for liberation of Skardu from Dogra Raj in 1948. Ghazi Rakin Gul recorded all that happened to Chitral Mujahidin from Chitral to Skardu. Ghazi Rakin Gul was born in 1926 in Brep. Spending overflowing life as Ghazi, famous in target firing, hunter and Chitral Muslim League worker, departed in September 2012. Mr. Liaquat Ali elder son writes his memoires with all that he said about holy war for liberation of Skardu in August 1948.
Our group of 400 Mujahidin moved from Chitral on May 15, 1948 on foot and was sent off by Mehtar Chitral, elders of Chitral, relatives and family members. On the way from Chitral at every village and point we were given warm reception and send off with prayers by the people of Chitral for safe journey and return with success and good name for Chitral. Col. Mataulmulk continued training Mujahidinall the way from Chitral to Gilgit in field firing, targeting and other required techniques using guns provided. I checked the condition of my gun after 3 to 4 firing at target and set its pointing that made me good pointer in the eyes of all and specially in front of Commander. I was also famous in making loud voice that was also required there and then. Looking at these qualities I was made Haveldar while crossing Shandur. Reaching Pingarh (now district Ghizer) Commander prized me a large sized goat. Lt. Abdul Jahan Khan exchanged it with sheep. I ate it with my group. Lt.Abdul Jahan Khan (commander of Yarkhun Mujahidin) was very much pleased with my performance and gave Shabashi to me. I was very much encouraged with this prize and shabashi and continued performing well.
In Gupis Col. Mataul Mulk had a meeting with Col Jillaniprobably the garrison chief, that made him quite un- happy. Here Col. Mataul Mulk gave a speech that raised our courage& made our sentiments very high. Before reaching Gilgit Commander called me and advised Lt. Abdul Jahan Khan to make me Jamadar of the group but he waited for time to give me even better position.
Spending nights in villages of Chitral & District Ghizer and Gilgit with top level reception and warm send off, reached Alam Pir pass (18000 ft) on 14 June 1948 and spent night in snow. During our stay in Chilm choki we were informed that attack on Skardu by Azad Force under the command of Major Ahsan Ali, Major Muhammad Khanhas not been successful but siege of Skardu is continued. From Alam Pir pass drove down and arrived Kachora and therefrom to Skardu on 17 June where we were received by Raja Skardu and were given good reception.
Reaching Skardu Col. Mataul Mulk deployed us at different posts when watching and siege of Skardu fort was made more tightened. Enemy attack from inside fort, Gurdwara and School continued fiercely. Col. Mataulmulk himself was leading Mujahidin in the field shifting his Head Quarter from Sandus to nearby village constructing dummy trenches on Deosai field that stopped enemy aid and led enemy air attack on it. Mujahidin attack on Dogra Force inside fort, Gurdwara and School were continued and aid supply lines from Srinagar was made discontinue. Freedom fighters had occupied Dras and Kargil. In Skardu Mujahidin were known as Adamkhor and Col.Mataulmulk was known as Malikulmouth. This propaganda spread out by locals in Skardu made Dogra Force much De-moraleand fearful that led to surrender.
I was waiting for Jamadar position but posted me as Haveldar (Incharge of a small group) at Nobra Post that was under fierce attack of enemy.Group of Mujahidin were successfully responding enemy attack from behind the water channel full of grass giving us shelter and firing on enemy aid plane were successful from this top. I was doing my best in firing at enemy target here in Nobra. Meanwhile one of our Mujahid namely Subi Ali of village Dizg Yarkhun came under enemy fire and martyred with body fallen on enemy side. No way to bring his body back to our own side. I made rope of grass, hiding myself inside water channel reached dead body of Subi Ali, tightened his legs with grass rope and pulled his body towards our side. There were firing from enemy side, but we were safe. We performed all the required ceremonies and buried his body there. Next day I was informed and called to Kharphecho to take care of my nephew Maina Khan who was seriously ill laying in trench unattended.
I reached Kharphecho and attended my nephew with some available powder medicine.News came that Dogra force inside fort, gurdwara and school surrendered to Mujahidin. Looking at my bravery and courage a man from commander came to me with flag and advised to go and enter fort and hoist it on the roof of Kharphechu fort.I stood up and moved towards the gate of fort with my gun in hand. Hit the gate with full force with back (But) of my gun. Heavy gate was drawn inside, and it was opened. 3 Dogra sepoys from inside fort saluted saying SALAM SAB. I entered and disarmed them first and advised my nephew to occupy koth that was with a few guns. Saw large number of Baltis sitting on the ground with their hands tightened behind with rope. My nephew Maina Khan also followed me and we made these Baltis freed. I then immediately climbed up the roof through stairs and hoisted the flag on the roof on 16 August 1948. This was the flag of Pakistan. Col. Mataul Mulk called me and putting his hand on my shoulder gave shabashi to me. I am proud to say and honored to have been the Mujahid from Chitral to hoist the National Flag of Pakistan in Skardu. We the people of Chitral in general and 400 Mujahidin under the command of Col. Mataulmulkwere fortunate, honored and proud to have been able to liberate Skardu from Dogra Raj.
At the end Skardu was liberated on August 16, 1948. Lt.Col. Thapa, 2 captains including Ganga Singh, 3 Lieutenants and 116 Dogra sepoys surrendered to Mujahidin when 70 Dogra sepoys were arrested and 40 killed by our Mujahid Lt. Sardar Aman Shahwhile fleeing through Gorki Nullah field after surrender.
Since Dogra Force during occupation had done very bad with locals of Skardu, killing Baltis and insulting women inside mosques, hence large number of uncontrolled locals gathered, took out and killed many of them including Capt. Ganga Singh. We Mujahidin under the command of Col.Mataul Mulk were unable to save those surrendered. This incidence sent and spread very bad message about Mujahidin amongst the high ups in Gilgit, Chitral and in province.
Though Skardu was liberated and Pakistan Flag hoisted on fort of Skardu by Chitral Mujahidin and control given under Gilgit Scout, butthe result was seen much beyond and far from our expectations. Col. Mataulmulk was advised by Major Tufail Commandant Gilgit Scout to report to Peshawar and there he was arrested 12 September 1948 on the order of Minister Defence Sikandar Mirza, when Mujahidin were disarmed, and goods collected from Dogra force were taken backfrom them and leftwithout command and scattered. No way butto go back to Chitral with nothing in hand to eat and wear. We Mujahidins used our own cloth when one pair of old uniform provided in Chitral were torn off and not useable more. Our relatives in Gilgit, Ghizer and family members from Chitral came to receive us with cloth and something to eat. Myself,my brother Kroi Khan, my cousin Nabat Ali and my nephew Maina Khan returned safely in September 1948. My cousin Nabat Alihad some injuries on his leg. I (Liaquat Ali) remember the return of my father but do not remember his leaving home for Skardu.
On the other side Shahzada Burhanuddin Dolomuch and Shahzada Muhiyuddin Mizhigram Arkari with a group of Mujahidin from Chitral were fighting enemy in Tetwal Sector. Shahzada Burhanuddin (Dolomuch) used to say that people from nearby villages of Tetwal sector looking at my beard used to come to me for Dam Dua for themselves and more for their children. With fall of Skardu to Mujahidin but with arrest of Col. Mataulmulk, Mujahidin dispersed returning to Gilgit for Chitral. With this happening with Mujahidin Skardu, force retreated leaving Ladakh and Kargilback to enemy and Mujahidin returned from Nelum valley.
Ref: Qaraqurum Hindukush by Manzum Ali Degree College Gilgit September 1985.