Tag Archives: Quaid-e-Azam

The vision we lost

JinnahBy Mahir Ali

A COUPLE of months ago, it was reported that the ambulance conveying Nelson Mandela from Johannesburg to a hospital in Pretoria had broken down, entailing a 40-minute wait before he could be transferred to another ambulance amid the bitter chill.

The unfortunate event was inevitably reminiscent of a September afternoon many decades earlier when another founding father faced a similar predicament on the streets of Karachi. The weather was vastly different, though. And the consequences considerably more dire.

Pakistan was not yet even a year old when Mohammed Ali Jinnah lapsed into the fatal stage of his ailment, which remained something of a state secret unto the end. By the time Lieutenant-Colonel Ilahi Bakhsh, the principal of Lahore’s King Edward Medical College, was summoned to Jinnah’s bedside in Ziarat in late July 1948, it was already too late.

In a slim volume titled With the Quaid-e-Azam During His Last Days, based on a diary he kept during the time, Dr Ilahi Bakhsh says had a course of treatment been launched considerably earlier, the prognosis would likely have been notably better. Jinnah initially responded well to medication and an improved diet, but the will to live eventually seeped out of him.

He was reluctant to heed his doctors’ advice to move from Ziarat to Quetta on the eve of the first anniversary of Pakistan’s independence, but eventually gave in. The shift was predicated by Ziarat’s elevation, and the doctors felt Karachi would be even more conducive from the medical point of view, but Jinnah was extremely reluctant to return to the governor-general’s official residence as an invalid.

By the time he agreed, he was probably well aware that his hours were numbered. Minutes before he breathed his last, he responded to Dr Ilahi Bakhsh’s reassurance that “God willing, you are going to live” with a faint but seemingly unequivocal “No, I am not”.

In Quetta a couple of weeks earlier, he had shocked the good doctor by confiding in him: “You know, when you first came to Ziarat I wanted to live. Now, however, it does not matter whether I live or die.”

“I noticed,” Dr Ilahi Bakhsh writes, “tears in his eyes, and was startled by this manifestation of feeling in one generally looked upon as unemotional and unbending. I could not, moreover, account for his dejection at a time when he had been making excellent progress in all respects, and ventured to seek enlightenment from him.

“The explanation he offered was that he had completed his job, but I found it enigmatic and evasive. Was his job incomplete five weeks ago, and had he done something in the meanwhile which had given him a sense of fulfilment? I could not help feeling that something had happened which undermined his will to live.”

In his preface to the 2011 Oxford University Press edition of the treatise, the doctor’s son, Nasir Ilahi, notes that “based on information available” to his elder brother, Humayun, “there was an initial version of this book which the author had submitted to the Pakistan government for review … but which regrettably does not exist any longer.

“The author was required to delete certain passages from the book as they were considered to be politically inappropriate and sensitive. Essentially, these included, inter alia, information … which suggested that the patient was unhappy after some difficult meetings with his close political allies who he felt were departing from the cardinal concepts of the state of Pakistan that he had begun to visualise…

Continue reading The vision we lost

“INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

By Dr. Ali Gul Metlo

The linguistic issue has been haunting Pakistan since its very beginning. The grave error was made by none other than the founder of the country Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah himself by declaring Urdu as the national language before a very charged Bengali audience in Dhaka. Ignoring all the native languages over an alien language to the newly formed realm of Pakistan. He and the rulers after him failed to comprehend the very strong Bengali sentiment and other ethnicities sentiments for their mother tongues and their cultural affinities. The edifice which was built on wrong foundations only made further divisions with the time. Instead of heeding to the demands for rightful status of native languages, the biased and visionless rulers of the newborn country were aiming to appease the Indians who were considering Urdu to be just an alias of their Hindi language with a different script. With this background a sane voice was made aloud.

In 1999 UNESCO declared February 21 as International Mother Language Day.

On 9th February 1951, Sir Sultan Agha Khan while addressing a session of Motamer al-Alam-al-Islamiyya in Karachi, said ‘’Your choice in Pakistan of Urdu will in no way ameliorate or help your relations with your neighbour, nor will it help the Muslim minorities there in any conceivable way. Howsoever you may add Arabic and Persian words to Urdu, there is no denying the fact that the syntax, the form, the fundamentals of the language are derived from Hindi and not from Arabic.’’

He further argued: ‘’Is it a natural and national language of the present population of Pakistan? Is it the language of Bengal where the majority of Muslims live? Is it what you hear in the streets of Dacca or Chittagong? Is it the language of the North West Frontier? Is it the language of Sindh? Is it the language of the Punjab? Certainly after the fall of the Moghal Empire, the Muslims and Hindus of certain areas found in it a common bond. But now today other forms of bridges must be found for mutual understanding.’’

Pointing to its history Sir Agha Khan said: ‘’Who were the creators of Urdu? What are the origins of Urdu? Where did it come from? The camp followers, the vast Hindi-speaking population attached to the Imperial Court who adapted, as they went along, more Arabic and Persian words into the syntax of their own language just as in later days the English words such as glass and cup became part of a new form of Urdu called Hindustani. Are you going to make the language of the Camp, or of the Court, the national language of your new-born realm?’’

The Agha Khan’s advice fell on deaf ears and visionless rulers who were unable to take its notice. However the language movement in Bengal grew steadily. Instead of correcting the policy the government outlawed the protests and resorted to violence in Bengal. It was 21 February, 1952 when the peaceful protesters in Dhaka University were fired upon resulting in numerous killings. The sacrifices made by Dhaka University students became an icon not only for the Bengali language but also for the disadvantaged languages of the whole world with the passage of time. The February 21, was ultimately proclaimed to be as the International Mother Language Day in November 1999 by UN.

The day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism. Learning from the 21 February 1952 incident in Dhaka, the world made it a point to ameliorate the linguistic problems globally, whereas in Pakistan the situation went worse with the time and lead to disaster after disaster, the biggest one world witnessed was on 16 December 1971 in the breakup of the country.

In Sindh where Sindhi language was in very well advanced position as compared to other languages of West Pakistan suffered the most. Long before the partition, Sindhi was the official language and medium of education. Historically very rich and having literally dynamic traditions. These were the very reasons Sindhi was targeted ruthlessly as soon as Pakistan came to being. Its cities which were booming with cultural and economic activities were vacated through state sponsored violence and imposing black laws. City of Karachi was detached from Sindh. Capital of Sindh was shifted to Hyderabad.

Hundreds of Sindhi medium schools were closed, its use in offices and courts was banned, radio Pakistan stopped broadcasting Sindhi music and other programmes in Sindhi etc. Then came the one unit in 1955 when Sindhi was completely declared an outcaste. Sindhi literary activities and publications were declared anti state. Even postal letters bearing word Sindh were not delivered. Sindh striked back and reacted with extreme anger and full vigour in 1960s, by abruptly challenging the multiple socio-cultural, linguistic, political and economic blows and shocks of last two decades. Resulting in the birth and rapid rise of modern Sindhi patriotism.

The linguistic issue in Pakistan has been intricately knotted with the cultural, socio economic and democratic rights of the people. Languages bring people closer and bring about socio economic and political harmony. This natural cementing element was callously suppressed to serve and to further the vested interest of an insignificant alien minority. Without acknowledging linguistic rights economic, political and human rights are inconceivable. Under the cover of making Urdu as so called national language the jobs, politico-economic and cultural rights were usurped with a trickery and fraud by this well established and experienced clique. The struggle continued against these excesses by the deprived and excluded sections of masses. One Unit was undone. Bengalis achieved independence at the cost of massive human tragedy.

Continue reading “INTERNATIONAL MOTHER LANGUAGE DAY AND LINGUISTIC ISSUE IN PAKISTAN”

The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

By Haider Nizamani

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah happened to be on the Quetta-bound bus of Shia pilgrims on June 28, the self-proclaimed custodians of Islam would have killed him, along with 13 others. They would do so because Jinnah was a Shia and that would have been reason enough.

Jinnah, for most Pakistanis today, is the Quaid-e-Azam — the man above any sect in the Islamic Republic. As the Republic he founded increasingly becomes a place where minorities feel vulnerable, it would be remiss to forget that the founder of the country was a Shia. Born into an Ismaili family, he later converted to the Twelver (isna ashri) branch of Shia Islam. He died in 1948 and his sister, Miss Fatima Jinnah, filed an affidavit in the Sindh High Court stating that her brother was a “Shia Khoja Mohamedan”. Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, jointly signed the affidavit. Khaled Ahmed, in his book Sectarian War, documents in detail how the last rites of the Quaid were performed according to Shia stipulations. Jinnah’s Shia colleagues such as Yusuf Haroon and Hashim Raza attended the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) at the Governor General’s House, while prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan waited outside in the adjacent room. After the Shia funeral prayer, the nascent state took the body for Sunni last rites at the grounds where now stands the Quaid’s mausoleum in Karachi. Miss Fatima Jinnah passed away in 1967 and in her case, too, private last rites were performed according to Shia guidelines and the state-sponsored namaz-e-janaza followed it.

Sunni militant outfits portray Shias as lesser Muslims and thus, lesser Pakistanis. This commandeering of state discourse on Islam from the 1980s onward has emboldened the militants to take up arms against their coreligionists in select parts of Pakistan.

Continue reading The Quaid and the Quetta massacre

Separate the religion from the State – the Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) has been lanched in Sindh

FSP for a secular Pakistan

KARACHI: The Forum for Secular Pakistan (FSP) has been constituted by liberal progressive social activists and like-minded people to struggle for a secular Pakistan.

This was announced by FSP President Iqbal Haider at a press conference held at Karachi Press Club (KPC) here on Sunday.

Journalist Zubaida Mustafa, chief guest Sardar Sherbaz Khan Mazari, Vice President of forum Hasil Bizenjo, KPC President Tahir Hassan Khan and others were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the press conference, Iqbal Haider said that Pakistan’s critical situation was just because of us forgetting the principles laid down by Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

He said that FSP was a national forum being supported by people throughout the country. Secular system in Pakistan can change the situation of the country, he said adding that people from Sindh, Punjab, Azad Kashmir and other areas are being encouraged to join the forum.

Haider said, “Non-Muslims also gave us an opportunity by joining the forum,” adding that Pakistan came into being on secular basis where all were supposed to have equal rights. Hasil Bizenjo said that time was ripe for the people to consider secular system seriously. He said that secularism was a part of various parties’ manifestoes in 1970s, but eliminated later on, giving rise to extremism. People, who termed secular system as Kufr, favour it in India, he said. He further added that they would try to promote secular system through the forum. Earlier, Haider read the declaration of the forum in which he also quoted speeches of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20126\18\story_18-6-2012_pg7_18

Pakistan is showing its helplessness in the face of those who carry guns & bombs

Lal Masjid: rewarding an insurrection

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

The honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan says he is losing patience with the Capital Development Authority (CDA). In a court-initiated (suo motu) action, he wants a quick rebuilding of the Jamia Hafsa madrassa, flattened by bulldozers in 2007, after it became the centre of an insurgency. A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the CJ, is now dragging procrastinators over the coals by issuing notices to the CDA chairman, Islamabad’s chief commissioner and the interior secretary. The Court has also expressed its “displeasure” over the status of police cases against the Lal Masjid clerics and ordered the deputy attorney general to appear before it next week.

It is dangerous to comment on Pakistan’s highest level of judiciary. So let me solemnly declare that the highest wisdom must lie behind this extraordinary judicial activism. Nevertheless, I must confess my puzzlement because — as was seen by all — Lal Masjid and the adjoining Jamia Hafsa had engaged in a full-scale bloody insurrection against the Pakistani government, state, and public. Hundreds died. That those who led the insurrection should be gifted 20 kanals of the choicest land in sector H-11 of Islamabad is, I think, slightly odd.

Such thoughts crossed my mind last week when a flat tyre occasioned me to walk along the outer periphery of the freshly-painted and rebuilt Red Mosque. I momentarily stopped to read a large wind and rain-weathered monument which, placed on the government-owned land that Jamia Hafsa once stood upon, declares (in Urdu) that “The sacred Islamic worship place here was destroyed by a tyrannical ruler to prevent Sharia from becoming the law”.

The story of the insurrection and its tragic end is well-known. In early January 2007, the Lal Masjid had demanded the immediate rebuilding of eight illegally-constructed mosques that had been knocked down by the CDA. Days later, an immediate enforcement of the Sharia system in Islamabad was demanded. Thereafter, armed vigilante groups from this madrassa roamed the streets and bazaars. They kidnapped ordinary citizens and policemen, threatened shopkeepers, and repeated the demands of the Taliban and other tribal militants fighting the Pakistan Army.

At a meeting held in Lal Masjid on April 6, 2007, it was reported that 100 guest religious leaders from across the country pledged to die for the cause of Islam and Sharia. On April 12, in an FM broadcast, the clerics issued a threat to the government: “There will be suicide blasts in the nook and cranny of the country. We have weapons, grenades and we are expert in manufacturing bombs. We are not afraid of death….”

Lal Masjid was headed by two clerics, the brothers Maulana Abdul Aziz and Maulana Abdur Rashid Ghazi. They had attracted a core of militant organisations around them, including the pioneer of suicide bombings in the region, Jaish-e-Muhammad. Also on April 12 2007, Rashid Ghazi, a former student of my university, broadcast the following chilling message to our female students:

The government should abolish co-education. Quaid-e-Azam University has become a brothel. Its female professors and students roam in objectionable dresses. They will have to hide themselves in hijab otherwise they will be punished according to Islam…. Our female students have not issued the threat of throwing acid on the uncovered faces of women. However, such a threat could be used for creating the fear of Islam among sinful women. There is no harm in it. There are far more horrible punishments in the Hereafter for such women.”

For months, unhindered by General Musharraf’s government, the Lal Masjid operated a parallel government that was barely a mile or two away from the presidency and parliament. Its minions ran an unlicenced FM radio station, occupied a government building, set up a parallel system of justice, made bonfires out of seized cassettes and CDs, received the Saudi Arabian ambassador on the mosque premises, and negotiated with the Chinese ambassador for the release of his country’s kidnapped nationals. But for the subsequent outrage expressed by Pakistan’s all-weather ally, the status quo would have continued indefinitely.

Nevertheless, our courts say that they cannot find any evidence of wrongdoing during the entire six-month long saga. They say there are no witnesses or acceptable evidence. Abdul Aziz and Umme Hassan (his wife, who heads Jamia Hafsa), therefore, stand exonerated. Also lacking, they say, is proof that the Lal Masjid accused possessed heavy weaponry.

But Islamabad’s residents know better. When the showdown came in July 2007, machine guns chattered away as mortars and rocket launchers exchanged their deadly fire. Copious TV coverage shows armed madrassa students putting on gas masks to avoid the dense smoke. The final push left 10 of Pakistan’s crack SSG commandos dead, together with scores of defenders. A tidal wave of suicide attacks — as promised by the clerics — promptly followed.

Some speculate that the land gifted to Aziz and Hassan is actually the price for keeping hornets inside their nest. This is not impossible because suicide bomb attacks inside Pakistan’s major cities have decreased dramatically in the last two years. The authorities claim credit, saying the reason is better intelligence about violent groups and better policing. But anyone driving through Islamabad knows how trivially easy it is to conceal weapons and explosives; the security measures are certainly a nuisance to citizens but hopelessly ineffective otherwise. So, could the H-11 land offer be part of a much wider peace deal with various militant groups?

The temptation to make deals has grown after the battle for Lal Masjid. It is clear who won and who lost. Even as they fought tooth and nail against the Pakistan Army, the madrassa clerics were never dismissed and continued to receive their full government salaries. On the other hand, General Musharraf — who acted only after things went out of control — now sulks in exile. All madrassa curriculum reform plans are dead; the government does not talk about them anymore — let the clerics teach what they want.

Appeasement is the hallmark of a weak state and dithering leadership. Once again, Pakistan is showing its helplessness in the face of those who carry guns and bombs. For a country alleged to have the world’s fastest growing nuclear arsenal, this is surely ironical.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/381761/lal-masjid-rewarding-an-insurrection/

SALMAN TASEER’S BLOOD ON SOCIETY’S HANDS?

Governor Punjab Salman Taseer’s murder is a result of rising extremism and fanatisicm in the country. Shutting our eyes to problems of intolerance, extremism and fanaticism will not help the problem go away. In this episode of Reporter, Arshad Sharif tries to find out if the media, judiciary, lawyers and society at large also have a role in promoting extremist tendencies in Pakistan. The language of program is urdu/ Hindi.

Courtesy: DAWN NEWS TV (Reporter with Arshad Sharif)

Taseer — Champion of Secular Democracy

By Wajid Shamsul Hasan

The ghastly assassination of Governor of Punjab Salman Taseer is a great loss for the Pakistani nation, Pakistan People’s Party, President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and the government. He was brave, courageous and daring—a great man who spoke for the rights of the people including minorities. He was totally committed to the high democratic ideals and the egalitarian vision of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and martyred Benazir Bhutto.

Salman was held in highest esteem by the people who respected his boldness to proclaim loud and clear that he believed in liberal and secular politics. He was targeted for elimination for having defended the rights of minorities against the black and discriminatory laws introduced by dictator General Ziaul Haq to terrorise the people into submission to his totalitarian rule. …

Read more : PakMission-UK

Jinnah became irrelevant after objective resolution. This is religious extremists’ Pakistan!

“YOU MAY BELONG TO ANY RELIGION OR CASTE OR CREED THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BUSINESS OF THE STATE.” – JINNAH

Courtesy: Express TV (Front Line with Kamaran Shahid, 8th January 2011)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link

Peace rally against Governor Taseer’s brutal murder

Lahore : On 7th January, 2011 the vigil by civil society turned into a dharna. There was a massive presence of people. Could have been 1500. The mall road was blocked for an hour. Scores of young people were present. If these people really fight and struggle this can become a mass movement against the assassins of Governor Salman Taseer.

The next peace rally against Governor Taseer’s brutal murder at Quaid-e-Azam library Lawrence gardens 12 noon on Saturday January 8th, 2011. Please show solidarity and attend in large numbers.

Pakistan : Elimination of ‘ideological boundaries’

Dr. Manzur Ejaz

WASHINGTON DIARY: Elimination of ‘ideological boundaries’

—Dr Manzur Ejaz

Courtesy: WICHAAR, January 19th, 2010

For Quaid-e-Azam, Pakistan was just a creation of a nation where the majority of citizens would be Muslims like Algeria, Turkey or Egypt. After their independence none of these countries adopted theocratic rule

A few days back Prime Minister Gilani reiterated that the army is diligently defending Pakistan’s geographical and ideological boundaries. One would like to believe that Mr Gilani is just puttering the oft-repeated cliché of ‘ideological boundaries.’ However, a closer examination shows that the ruling elites, while trying to eliminate armed religious bands, are trying their best to cling to the ‘ideological boundaries’ defined by Ziaul Haq and his pro-theocracy allies led by Jamaat-e-Islami (JI).

Continue reading Pakistan : Elimination of ‘ideological boundaries’