HATS OFF FOR STANDING AGAINST ALL ODDS
70th Independence Day
By Dr Asim Hussain
Hats off to my fellow countrymen, who despite all odd and the adverse conditions prevailing in our society, are out there to celebrate their Independence Day in a befitting manner. Yes, celebration is in the air as today the nation is making its 69th Independence Day. Jubilation on the faces of my countrymen is worth-seeing and inspiring as it is a clear manifestation of their love and reverence for their beloved homeland. Like the English poet Wordsworth, I can recollect in my imagination from inside while in solitary confinement, the national flags flying on rooftops; streets are decorated with festive, colourful buntings; major buildings and markets are beautifully illuminated after sunset; youths and children are wearing national flag badges, armbands and caps, and cars, motorcycles and bicycles are adorned with flags and green and white stickers. Yes, it’s the day to articulate our feelings on being an independent nation. Whatever you see around are the colours of independence. Such a fervor and zeal on part of the Pakistanis make one wonder how deeply they love their homeland despite the pathetic state of affairs in the country. Their zeal and enthusiasm to celebrate the Jashne-e Azadi stands in stark contrast with the general doom and gloom and despair that prevails in our country on any common day in the wake of continued reign of lawlessness, militancy, intolerance, murder, and kidnappings for ransom, anarchy, nepotism, favoritism, absence of civic facilities like no water, no power, dilapidated roads, overflowing gutters and sense of fear and insecurity which overwhelms every now and then after the terrorists strike at their will across the country at short intervals . What prevails is an atmosphere of fear and despair, sheer injustice, flawed legal system and highhandedness of the rulers and misuse of power by those at the helm of affairs. At times one wonders is this the secure Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam and his team had envisaged. It is an irony that the challenges which the Founder of Pakistan had pointed out in his very first address like constitutional rule, law and order and corruption, still are unmet. It is our dilemma that soon after his death, we did contrary to what he wanted us to do. Militancy has made a niche for itself in our society. They are so strong despite a year of National Action Plan against the terrorists, the latter are still capable of striking at will. The recent Quetta carnage is a case in point. Around 30 thousand civilians have fallen prey to terrorists attack in recent years. Ethnic strife and sectarian hatred too is at peak, dividing the people further. ‘Might is Right’ is the only rule that rules the roost right in our society under the very nose of the so-called democratic forces who are at the helm of affairs of the central government using the state institution for their personal vendetta, whims and caprices. Letting the real culprits off the hook and putting hand on the innocent; lodging them in lock-ups and then what follows is known to everyone. The modus operandi is not limited to the police but this might-is-right approach is adopted by almost all state institutions, particularly the interior ministry. Though I have knack for alleviating the suffering of humanity since childhood, but from inside the confinement, I have become more conscious and sensitive to my countrymen’s plight as like my beloved countrymen, I too have fallen prey to the unexplained norms of this cruel unjust system where the innocent are sacrificed at the altar of personal vendetta and the mighty. Just imagine, it is more than two years that I have been lodged in custody for allegations which I have been denying time and again with no one to turn to. Today, it has been almost two years I have been in confinement in cells, hospitals, chained, blind folded, handcuffed, and threatened, media trial, videos made and confessions extracted under duress and coercion. I still can feel the pain when I recall, how agonizing experience it was when I was presented before the magistrate on 27th August 2015 and remanded to custody without any charge for 90 days. Forlorn I sit and tears roll down my eyes when I ponder the fate with which I met despite my utmost sincerity to the national interests and sheer contribution to the cause of society. There is no doubt that I am a politician which is not a crime but my citadel and focus have always been welfare, foremost being health and education sectors as I have a firm belief that health and education are key to progress. Throughout my life I have left no stone unturned to contribute to the welfare of the society. The only fault of mine is that instead of going abroad like majority of doctors who have settled abroad for secured future, I opted for my homeland to serve the Pakistan army and later my fellow countrymen. Those at the helm of affairs should know that there is only one medical practitioner available for every 1,971 people and one dental surgeon for every 21,420 people here in Pakistan. Most of the doctors prefer to get jobs in a foreign country due to the volatile law and order and unsecured future in their own country. Health and education have been my forte. That’s I made hospitals and a university dedicated to the memory of my grandfather late Dr Sir Ziauddin Ahmed, Ex Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, who spent his entire life for the cause of Muslims. Indeed, service to humanity is in my genes and I inherited this attribute from my parents, whose names are synonymous with the arena of health and education as these two fields were their citadel of services.
Continued from page 9 I wonder if financing the health and education projects is a crime. If so every sensible and patriotic Pakistani will love to commit this crime. The list my service is never ending. And in return, I am being treated as criminal. It is ironic that the people who did not know the whereabouts of Mullah Mansoor while he was roaming all over Pakistan accused me of treating terrorists in my hospitals. In fact terrorists are treated in hospital in Lahore but neither anyone is accused not any arrests were made. My fault is that I am their political foe and they are victimizing me for political reasons. My heart bleeds when I see that the government is acting against me with the help of its institution. To be very specific, there are two sets of laws in the country under the current government, one for Taliban and their sympathisers, which is relaxed whenever needed, and other for anti-Taliban forces, which is used to stifle the voice of political foe. The way I was arrested irked the entire society it was dumb-found because the charges against me were something which no sensible person could believe. Yes, in the beginning it was not the corruption charges as leveled by my opponents but I was charged with financing terror. My opponents should know that I hail from a party (PPP), which has always spoken against terrorism in unambiguous terms. Just imagine, all cases made against me are based on what they call ‘disclosures made during my custody’. And the irony is that no disclosures were made by me. Not only is the information extracted under conditions of torture is false, it exacerbates the brutalisation of our system and fuels further disenchantment and disillusionment. There are galore of politicians in our country, but you find very few are engaged in giving back to the society. These are real testing times for me, for my family members and my staff at my two hospitals and university. I am helpless right now, in their custody with no one to turn to but I have a firm belief in my Allah and only my Allah can take cognizance of their slander and the torture which they have unleashed upon me. My incarceration is to nobody’s advantage but an egoistic feeling of the mighty and powerful against a weak and helpless. All hope, however, is not lost. My oppressors should know that I am indomitable spirit, who has a firm belief in Almighty Allah and as such I will stand by my principles and will not budge aside from my position of righteousness and as a reverence to the people of Pakistan. Right now I am like the ‘dead leaf’ mentioned in PB Shelly’s Ode which is being kicked around by the ‘Wild Wind’ but I do hope that in the end it is the righteousness which emerge as the ultimate winners. There is always a sign of hope and though the challenges, agonies and problems are there, I, like my countrymen, have not lost hope. To conclude, I may quote Percy Bysshe Shelley’s famous lines, “O, wind, if winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Irrespective of what my oppressors do, still God bless all. Pakistan Zindabad…Patriotism Paindabad.
The Birth of Pakistan (August 14, 1947)
The British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act on July 18, 1947. The Act created two dominions, Indian Union and Pakistan. It also provided for the complete end of British control over Indian affairs from August 15, 1947. The Muslims of the Sub-continent had finally achieved their goal to have an independent state for themselves, but only after a long and relentless struggle under the single-minded guidance of the Quaid. The Muslims faced a gamut of problems immediately after independence. However, keeping true to their traditions, they overcame them after a while. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was appointed the first Governor General of Pakistan and Liaquat Ali Khan became its first Prime Minister. Pakistan became a dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations. The boundaries of Pakistan emerged on the map of the world in 1947. This was accomplished on the basis of the Two-Nation Theory. This theory held that there were two nations, Hindus and Muslims living in the territory of the Sub-continent. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was the first exponent of the Two-Nation Theory in the modern era. He believed that India was a continent and not a country, and that among the vast population of different races and different creeds, Hindus and Muslims were the two major nations on the basis of nationality, religion, way-of-life, customs, traditions, culture and historical conditions. The politicization of the Muslim community came about as a consequence of three developments: 1. Various efforts towards Islamic reform and revival during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. 2. The impact of Hindu-based nationalism. 3. The democratization of the government of British India. While the antecedents of Muslim nationalism in India go back to the early Islamic conquests of the Sub-continent, organizationally it stems from the demands presented by the Simla Deputation to Lord Minto, the Governor General of India, in October 1906, proposing separate electorates for the Indian Muslims. The principal reason behind this demand was the maintenance of a separate identity of the Muslim nationhood In the same year, the founding of the All India Muslim League, a separate political organization for Muslims, elucidated the fact that the Muslims of India had lost trust in the Hindu-dominated Indian National Congress. Besides being a Hindu-dominated body, the Congress leaders in order to win grass-root support for their political movements, used Hindu religious symbols and slogans, thereby arousing Muslim suspicions regarding the secular character of the Congress. Events like the Urdu-Hindi controversy (1867), the partition of Bengal (1905), and Hindu revivalism, set the two nations, the Hindus and the Muslims, further apart.
Re-annulment of the partition of Bengal in 1911 by the British government brought the Congress and the Muslim League on one platform. Starting with the constitutional cooperation in the Lucknow Pact (1916), they launched the Non-Cooperation and Khilafat Movements to press upon the British government the demand for constitutional reforms in India in the post-World War I era. But after the collapse of the Khilafat Movement, Hindu-Muslim antagonism was revived once again. The Muslim League rejected the proposals forwarded by the Nehru Report and they chose a separate path for themselves. The idea of a separate homeland for the Muslims of Northern India as proposed by Allama Iqbal in his famous Allahabad Address showed that the creation of two separate states for the Muslims and Hindus was the only solution. The idea was reiterated during the Sindh provincial meeting of the League, and finally adopted as the official League position in the Lahore Declaration of March 23, 1940. Thus these historical, cultural, religious and social differences between the two nations accelerated the pace of political developments, finally leading to the division of British India into two separate, independent states, Pakistan and India, on August 14 & 15, 1947, respectively.
The Pakistan Movement 1906-1947
National Courier Report
The Pakistan Movement did not start abruptly. It grew out of necessity, slowly and gradually. Muslims of India were surrounded by inimical alien rulers and well organized Hindus. The British had not forgotten the War of Independence waged by the Muslims against them. The Hindus had never forgiven the Muslims for having ruled India for centuries. Therefore, both the communities conspired against the Muslims to turn them into a poor, helpless and ineffective minority. The Hindus soon learnt the English language, adopted the western ways of living and occupied important government posts. Muslims were left far behind socially, educationally and economically. In the meantime, a deputation of Muslims known as ‘Simla Deputation’ led by Sir Agha Khan met Lord Minto, the then Viceroy of India on October 1,1906 and expressed the concern of the Muslims of India over the situation and also impressed upon him to look into the genuine demands of the Muslims. The Viceroy promised to sympathetically and judiciously consider the Muslim viewpoint. It was probably the result of these efforts that the Muslims were granted the right of separate electorate in the Minto-Morley Reforms of 1909. Indian National Congress was founded in 1885, which was an overwhelmingly Hindu body. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan advised the Indian Muslims to stay away from it. The Muslims of India had no political organization of their own; therefore in 1906 they decided to form a political party known as All India Muslim League. The objective of the All India Muslim League was to safeguard and promote interests of the Muslims of India and also strive for better understanding among different communities of India particularly the British. The partition of Bengal into East and West Bengal in 1905 had carved out a Muslim majority province. The introduction of Minto-Morley Reforms was another painful factor for the Hindus. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had started his political career by joining the Congress Party because Muslim League was not in existence then. In 1913 Quaid-e-Azam joined the Muslim League and did his best to bridge the gulf between the Hindus and the Muslims which won him the title of “Ambassador of Hindu-Muslim Unity Quaid-e-Azam continued his efforts to bring Hindus and Muslims closer. The British Government introduced constitutional reforms in India in 1919. All the leaders of Indo-Pakistan sub-continent were greatly disappointed because they felt that the reforms fell far short of their hopes and demands. The Muslims were already disgusted with what had been done to Turkey and now the conflagration was at the doorsteps. The general disappointment gave rise to a regular movement against the brutal rulers. One of the provisions of the Reforms of 1919 was that the Government would set up every ten years a commission to assess the political and social conditions of India. In pursuance of this provision, the British Government in 1927 sent a Commission known as ‘Simon Commission’ under John Simon. The Simon Commission was received everywhere with black flags.
It failed miserably. The British Secretary of India Lord Birkenhead got annoyed at failure of the Simon Commission and threw a challenge to*Indian leaders to produce an agreed Constitution for the consideration of the British Government. After this challenge all the political parties got together at Delhi under the chairmanship of Moti Lai Nehru. Meetings were frequently held among leaders and at the end. a report was produced, which is known as Nehru Report.The Report did not reflect the aspirations of the Muslims. Muslims were completely disappointed with the Report. The Report clearly indicated the inner mind of the Hindus (hat they wanted to bring Muslims under their control permanently. After the Nehru Report, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad AH Jinnah was disgusted and fully realized that the parting of ways of the two communities had come. To explain the viewpoint of the Muslims of the sub-continent, the Quaid gave his own scheme which has gone down in history as the famous ‘Fourteen Points of the Quaid. The annual meeting of the Muslim League which was held at Allahabad in 1930 was presided over by Allama Iqbai who in his Presidential address said that the N.W.F.P. Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan should be combined in one State. AJIama further said that there was no way out; it was destined to become an independent state because this was the only way by which Muslims could live an honourable life. The British Government called a series of Round Table Conferences in London to work out some solution to some of the problems that had disturbed the political atmosphere of the sub-continent. Representatives of all the important political parties of the sub-continent were invited to the meetings. The Congress boycotted the Conference and started ‘civil disobedience movement’ because the government did not agree to their unjust demands. When the British Government became convinced that the Hindus and Muslims could not offer an agreed formula they issued an ‘Award* themselves in 1932. The Congress won the elections, held under the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935, by an overwhelming majority. This era of Congress Rule proved very detriment to the Muslim cause. Urdu was replaced by Hindi. The doors of Government services were closed on Muslims and they were disgraced and humiliated in many ways. The Hindus even interfered in Muslim religious ceremonies. Their property was looted, houses set on fire and Muslims were massacred at many places. Thus, the ignoble behaviour of the Hindus forced the Muslims to rally round the Muslim League Flag to get their demands conceded. In 1939 when World War II started, the Viceroy of India also declared war against Germany. Since the Congress Ministries had not been consulted, they resigned in protest. At this, on the advice of the Quaid-i-Azam, the Muslims celebrated the “deliverance day”, as the Hindus had treated the Muslims cruelly and shamefully during their rule. In 1940, the annual meeting of the Muslim League was held at Lahore at the place in the Iqbal Park where today the Minar-e-Pakistan stands. Moulvi Fazle Haque, the famous leader from Bengal, moved the historic resolution in this meeting on March 23, 1940 which was unanimously passed. This resolution goes down in history by the name of Lahore Resolution or Pakistan Resolution. The Resolution demanded that Muslim States be set up in Eastern and North-Western parts of India where Muslims could live in peace, lead an independent life according to the principles of Islam and preserve their distinct civilization and culture. The Resolution proved a great boon. The Muslims of the subcontinent, under the dynamic leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam, became organized and solid like a rock. They forced the two enemies, the British and the Hindus, to accept the demand for an independent Pakistan. The World War was still on and Germany had won initial successes. The Indian sub-continent was showing signs of restlessness and concern. The British Government realized it and sent another mission, Cripps Mission under Sir Stafford Cripps with new proposals on the take it or leave it principle’. The Mission met the leaders of various important political parties. The Muslim League rejected the proposals in toto because no guarantee had been given that the rights of the Muslims would be safeguarded. In 1944 Lord Wavell was appointed Viceroy of India. In 1945 he prepared a plan and called a meeting of all important Ieaders at Simla. This Conference known as Simla Conference also failed because no decision could be arrived at regarding the appointment of Muslim Members to Viceroy’s Council. During the Simla Conference a demand for general elections was put forward from all quarters. At this the Viceroy announced general elections in the winter of 1945. In the Central Legislative Assembly all the Muslim seats were won by the Muslim League. In the Provincial elections held in the beginning of 1946, the Muslim League won about 90 per cent of the Muslim seats. This amply proved the claim of Muslim League to be the sole representative body of the Muslims of India. After the failure of Wavell Plan and the success of Muslim League, things started taking a new shape. The British Cabinet decided to send another Mission consisting of Lord Pathic Lawrence, Sir Stafford Cripps and A.V. Alexander. This mission known as Cabinet Mission, also could not make the leaders of different political parties arrive at an agreed formula. Jawahar Lal Nehru ridiculed the Cabinet Mission Plan and gave a threat that he would not allow the grouping of the provinces, ,nor would he allow his party to stay in the Assembly. Under these circumstances, the Muslim League also withdrew its support to the Cabinet Mission Plan. As a protest against the attitude of the British the Muslims returned all the titles conferred on them. The British Government made a ludicrous move and asked Nehru to form the Government which he did in August, 1946. After some discussion, the League also decided to join the ‘Interim Government’. When the portfolios were allocated, Congress appropriated all the important portfolios itself and gave to the League nominees such portfolios as were either unimportant or the Congress thought that the Muslims would be unable to do well with them. Liaqat Ali Khan, who was the Minister for Finance, made every intelligent move. He prepared a budget which was beneficial to the poor, but hit the Hindu capitalists hard. The Congress opposed the budget and was exposed to the world as a party which stood for the interests of the capitalists and not the masses. The British Prime Minister, at the failure of the Cabinet Mission as well as the Interim Government announced the Intention of the British Government to transfer power to the people of the subcontinent and also announced the appointment of Lord Mountbatten In place of Lord Wavell. Lord Mountbatten studied the political situation and later with the approval of the British Government announced the June 3 Plan in which it was decided to partition the sub-continent. Punjab and Bengal were to be divided on the basis of Muslim majority and Hindu majority areas. A Boundary Commission was also to be appointed to demarcate the boundaries of Pakistan and Bharat. Provincial Assembly of Sindh and ‘Shahi Jirga’ of Balochistan were to decide about their future. N.W.F.P. was given an option to hold a referendum and decide their own fate. By giving away Gurdaspur, a Muslim majority district to Bharat, the British Government gave Bharat an access to Kashmir which ultimately proved to be the greatest hurdle in the smooth neighbourly relations between Bharat and Pakistan. In the distribution of assets, Mountbatten again showed great partiality and Pakistan was deprived of her legitimate share In the finances, defence equipment, railway engines and bogies and the like. On the 14th day of August, 1947 the sub-continent was divided into two parts – Pakistan and Bharat. Lord Mountbatten came to Karachi and transferred the power to Pakistan. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was appointed as the first Governor-General of Pakistan. Acting on the golden principles of unity, faith and discipline, the Muslims established a true and everlasting Muslim State of which we are all so proud.
Chief Petty Officer Mahboob Ali Shaheed deserves gallantry award posthumously
By Basheer Ali, ACIS (UK) Ex. Honorary Magistrate 1st Class ISLAMABAD
My brother Mahboob Ali, Chief Petty Officer, Pakistan Navy (PN) was martyred on 3.10.1947 in the line of duty at Batala, India while escorting a convoy of Muslims and non-Muslim refugees across the border as an officer of the Naval Task Force consisting of 30 to 35 officers and jawans of PN. The State of Pakistan was only 51 days old on that day. This Naval Task Force was constituted in September 1947 at PNS Himalaya and entrusted the task of safe transportation of Muslims and non-Muslim refugees across the border under their protection. On way back to Lahore on 3rd Oct. 1947 the road at Batala City was heavily blocked and heavy fire was opened on motionless Naval Task Force and convoys of Muslim refugees to eliminate them all. In this scenario my brother, under orders, cleared the way all alone enabling convoys to proceed to Lahore. NTF and convoys of Muslim refugees arrived safely the next day without any loss of lives except my brother who was hit after successfully accomplishing this exceedingly dangerous ‘Mission’. His body was not picked up by his comrades due to barrage of gun fire as per PN statement. This armed encounter is known in PN records as Encounter at Batala of 3.10.1947. Pak Navy admits both the Batala Encounter and valor of my brother first in their letter of 2.5.1988, then by placing Shaheed’s Plaque under Unsung Heroes in Pakistan Maritime Museum Karachi declaring therein Shaheed as a National Hero and Shaheed in Pakistan Navy and thirdly by knowing the eye-witness accounts of Shaheed’s Commander, his several comrades and Muslim refugees now living in Pakistan and abroad as per details given in last paragraph. From 1988 I have been pursuing my brother’s case for a gallantry award in recognition of my brother’s supreme sacrifice for PN and humanity and wrote 494 Appeals including 105 in national press to the President, PM, GHQ Shuhadas Cell, Min. of Def. CNS, Supreme Court, Fed. Ombudsman and PM Shuhada Cell in Islamabad High Court. My 27 years old Shaheed brother left behind a widow and a son of 22 months who served Pak Army for over two decades before seeking retirement. In September 1993 I met the Commanding Officer of the NTF Lt. Cdr. Syed Sajjad Hasan at Lahore with my wife who confirmed this supreme sacrifice of my brother and told me that on arrival at Lahore he wrote a recommendatory letter to Maj. Gen. Davis, the Commander of 5th Div. at Lahore for a highest gallantry award to Shaheed and sent a copy to NHQ Karachi.
I solemnly state this though both the CO and my wife are no more in this world. On 6th October 2011, I received a letter from NHQ signed by a Captain Abdul Raqeeb informing me that they have no records of Batala Encounter and no proof of my brother’s bravery without which gallantry award could not be given. This had halted my pursuit but my struggle is continued. PN’s above last letter of 6.10.2011 to date has been negating and contradicting their earlier letter of 2.5.1988 also signed by a Captain Mohammad Younus in which he informed the heirs of Shaheed the date, day, location, cause of death, Mission of NTF and reason for not picking up the dead body from Batala. This letter ends up by saying “Pakistan Navy highly values the services rendered by my brother and the gallant way he laid down his life.” I have sent eye witness statements of Shaheed’s several comrades, including his CO and Muslim Refugees by meeting them and communicating with them who saw this supreme sacrifice of my brother who responded bravely by demonstrating the highest degree of valor, courage in line of duty on 3.10.1947 and saved his CO, comrades, Muslim refugees at the cost of his own life. PN did not write to me after their letter of 6.10.2011 in spite of my repeated requests to them to let the Shaheed’s heirs know whether their first Captain was speaking truth in his letter of 2.5.1988 or 23 years later their second Captain was concealing the truth in his letter of 6.10.2011. PN did not respond till to date i.e. in previous six years. PN did not write to me after their letter of 6.10.2011 in spite of my repeated requests to them to let the Shaheed’s heirs know whether their first Captain was speaking truth in his letter of 2.5.1988 or 23 years later their second Captain was concealing the truth in his letter of 6.10.2011. PN did not respond till to date i.e. in previous six years. I had recorded statements of my Shaheed brother’s comrades and also Muslim refugees who had seen this supreme sacrifice of my brother on 3.10.1947 when I was invited by PN on Bara Khana in PNS Karsaz on 15 December 1993 at 7.30 pm. Lt. Cdr. Syed Sajjad Hasan, C.O. NTF on 3.10.1947 – I met him Sep. 1993. Dr. Major Munir Ahmad Khalid of Pakistan Army as a refugee on 3.10.1947 Mohammad Essa Jan a Muslim refugee of Canada Mr. Abdul Rehman a Muslim refugee of West Germany Petty Officer Mohammad Sadiq, my brother’s comrade on 3.10.1947 now living in UK Petty Officer Mohammad Yousuf Qureshi of Kohat whom I met in his village Master-At-Arms Karam Dad of PN, Member of NTF on 3.10.1947 – I met him Chief Petty Officer Munawar Khan of Attock- I met him Warrant Officer Syed Khateebuddin of Peshawar Chief Petty Officer Allah Ditta of Murree- I met him Leading Seaman Gul Anar Pathan of Kirk. 17 blood relations of Shaheed, 2 brothers, 1 sister, 1 son, 3 grandsons, 5 granddaughters, 2 great grandsons and 3 great granddaughters humbly request President of Pakistan to grant a gallantry award to our Grave less Shaheed CPO Mahboob Ali Pakistan Navy.