We celebrated August 14 with great fanfare and enthusiasm, notwithstanding all the difficulties and calamities facing the country. Despite everything, people are still highly patriotic.
This year I celebrated Independence Day in Karachi. I had been invited as chief guest to two functions-the Khidmat-e-Khalq (KK) of the MQM and the show of Dr Amir Liaquat Hussain of Geo.
The KK function was held on August 12 in Jinnah Park near Nine Zero. I had never been to that area before. At 4 p.m. Rauf Bhai (Rauf Siddiqui, minister for industries and commerce) came to fetch me from my sister’s residence in Mohammad Ali Housing Society. We went straight to the residence of Mr Altaf Hussain, a small, modestly furnished house. All the members of the Rabita Committee had gathered there.
We discussed the prevailing dangerous situation in the country, especially in Karachi and Balochistan. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that all the members of the Rabita Committee belonged to the middle class, were well educated and fully conversant with national issues. They all expressed their concern at the law-and-order situation, targeted killings, loadshedding, unemployment, inflation and tensions due to the squabbling between the various political parties. Since it was Ramazan, my hosts were not able to offer any hospitality.
After about half-an-hour we went to the nearby Jinnah Park. It was packed to capacity with needy people and there were millions of rupees’ worth of essential items stacked for giving away. Dr Farooq Sattar, Mr Tariq Mir, Agha Siraj Durrani and others addressed the gathering. What fantastic discipline there was. This in total contrast to some of the rowdy and undisciplined functions I have attended before. Nobody tried to push forward to approach or harass me. I greatly appreciated the efforts put in for this noble cause by the MQM and their sympathisers. Sewing machines, fans, blankets, clothes, etc., were distributed to the needy. Some people were even given pushcarts loaded with fruits and vegetables so that they could sell their goods and earn a livelihood.
In addition to important MQM leaders, MNAs, MPAs, ministers and some important local businessmen-Munir Bhai (S M Munir), Mian Zahid, etc.-were also present. People approached in orderly queues, accepted what was given, said their thanks and walked away. In the end, Altaf Hussain addressed the function by telephone from London, thanked me for attending and also mentioned his appreciation for KRL having given nuclear weapons and missiles to Pakistan to make the country’s defence impregnable.
He also thanked me for accepting to become a member of the board of governors of the Nazir Hussain University. Later, after I had reached my sister’s house, Mr Altaf Hussain phoned me and we spoke for about half an hour. He seemed fully aware of the political situation in the country. In my speech at the function I had suggested that Rauf Siddiqui should be given the post of home minister. He is quite capable of bringing law and order and stop targeted killings and extortions in Karachi.
Mr Altaf Hussain and Mr Tariq Mir requested me to assist with the activities of the university and with the selection of officials and faculty. I have requested my able friend of long standing, a former vice chancellor of NED, Prof Dr Jamil Ahmad Khan, to help during this important initial phase. I have also requested another good friend and former class-fellow, Mehdi Hassan, to join us to assist in establishing the university on a solid foundation. The setting up of a university by the MQM is highly commendable and a noble act. It will offer excellent opportunities for the young generation of Karachi.
The second function I attended was organised in Expo Hall and was compered by Dr Amir Liaquat Hussain. I reached the venue at 3 p.m., planning to stay for about an hour or so. My dear friends, Haji Hanif Tayyab and Capt Kamal Mahmoodi were also with me. Consequently, I remained for 4-1/2 hours, answered questions, and participated whenever asked to do so. The show was broadcast worldwide. I stayed for Iftar and left at 7.30, tired but very well pleased. What a lovely function it had turned out to be. May Allah bless Mir Shakilur Rahman, his family members and all the staff members of Geo, Jang and The News for their efforts for the nation and Pakistan. Ameen.
I would like to request Pakistanis to buy two valuable books on Islam. The books in question, both authored by Dr A Rashid Seyal, are:
1. Faith in the Unseen
Some topics on which there is disagreement between faith and science are discussed in the books. For example:
• Scientific and mathematical proof of why creation could not have taken place without a Creator. The creation of parallel universes, the perfect creation, the end of the universes and the recreation of multiverses. The reality of nihility or nullity.
• The Wormhole Theory and travelling back in time: the journey of Me’raaj by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
• The Adam of science and the Adam of the Quran are one and the same.
• Scientific affirmation of the creation of DNA, the building blocks of the human body and soul and the scientific elucidation of the birth of Jesus Christ (AS) from the Holy Scriptures.
• The philosophy of life and death and life hereafter. How we will be created after death and how we will respond to the Almighty’s demand.
2. The Glorious Qur’an in Poetic Stance
These four volumes are unique in the sense that it gives an Urdu translation with English poetry of each verse. Dr Seyal writes about these volumes: “I plan to evolve a physiologically less annoying and psychologically more appropriate way for a particular type of scientific or religious mind to reconcile religion with reason. My efforts at rationalising faith are not actually interdicted to one faith or belief, but are for the whole of human society. My sincere hope is to scrub and swab the presumptuously miscalculated premise that has insinuated the minds of Western society and set them against Islam.
It really has to be dealt with quite amiably in a mannerly way with a plan so that the religious bent and bias is no longer there and we, as a human race, can live in a complacent and composed fraternity. My main purpose, at the same time, is not to admit the superiority of the philosophy of science over religion. I actually sincerely aspire to work in a new direction for the injunction and inclination of all thinkers of the modern century for their plea to the younger generation to be guided in the right direction.”
Dr Seyal is a US-trained cardiologist and author of many books and articles.