Random thoughtsAfter seven years, Pakistan Day was celebrated again with pomp and show and an armed forces parade was held. It was witnessed by the president, the prime minister, chairman joint services chiefs, the three service chiefs, ministers, senior service officials, ambassadors and the public. It was a heart-warming, grand
After seven years, Pakistan Day was celebrated again with pomp and show and an armed forces parade was held. It was witnessed by the president, the prime minister, chairman joint services chiefs, the three service chiefs, ministers, senior service officials, ambassadors and the public. It was a heart-warming, grand show and the latest defence and offensive weapons were shown.
Independence Day (August 14) and Pakistan Day (March 23) are two different things. We became an independent nation on August 14, 1947, which became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on March 23, 1956. Before that date Pakistan was a dominion of the British Empire with a governor general as its head. From that date on we had a president as head of state. The change from dominion to Islamic Republic hardly meant any change for the general public. All the rulers who came after Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan were more or less incompetent, self-centred, egoistic and/or dictators. Pakistan has become totally different to what Quaid-e-Azam and his colleagues hoped and fought for.
Pakistan was not given to us on a platter. We have a long, sad and bloody history of almost 172 years. The British, under the garb of trade (East India Company), plotted, divided and occupied the Subcontinent, starting from Bengal (Battle of Plassey 1775) and ending on May 4, 1799 with the martyrdom of Tipu Sultan. Since the British were rather cruel and high-handed with the local population, Muslims and Hindus alike rose together in revolt.
As in 1799 when the British could have been wiped out but for the treachery of the Nizam and Marhattas, in 1857 they were saved from total annihilation by the treachery of the landlords of Punjab, who sent enormous sums of money and a large number of men to support and suppress the freedom fighters. Hindus were patronised to neutralise the influence of the Muslims and all hell was let loose on the Muslims. Traitors guided British soldiers to Muslim residences where they shot and killed all able-bodied men and boys. Then that giant of a man and saviour of Muslims, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, came on the scene. He organised the Muslims, set up Aligarh Muslim University, towards which Begum Bhopal was the largest contributor and had the honour of becoming the first chancellor. He knew that only through modern education could Muslims survive.
The British, together with the Hindus and some Muslim stooges, founded the All India Congress in 1885. Its sole purpose was Hindu domination and the elimination of Muslims as a political force. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, together with Deputy Nazir Ahmad, Nawab Waqarul Mulk, Syed Amir Ali, etc founded the All India Muslim League in 1906 in order to safeguard Muslim rights. Quaid-e-Azam entered the political scene in 1915 and was soon considered to be the ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. He was intelligent, honest and a man of principles.
Frustrated with the leadership of the Muslim League, he left for London a few years later, leaving the Muslims like a rudderless ship. On Allama Iqbal’s repeated requests the Quaid returned in 1934, took over charge of the Muslim League and blew new life into it. By 1940 it was a party to be reckoned with and was accepted as a third political force by the British and the Hindus. From March 22-24, 1940 a mammoth gathering was organised in Lahore at what is now Minar-e-Pakistan. In his opening speech, Quaid-e-Azam, in clear and unambiguous terms stated that the Muslims would not accept anything less than a separate homeland.
On March 23, 1940 the famous Lahore Resolution was adopted and the demand for a separate homeland for the Muslims was formally adopted. The western press reported that nobody could stop the establishment of Pakistan. On August 14, 1947 Pakistan came into being, but at a very high cost – the life of Quaid-e-Azam and millions of migrating Muslims. On March 23, 1956 we became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Unfortunately, the wonderful dreams of the founders of Pakistan have not been realised.
I had just been discharged from hospital after a close call. I saw the splendid parade on March 23, with smartly turned out armed forces presenting a march-past and saluting the rulers. There was also an impressive show of our weapons systems, powerful enough to send jitters down anyone’s spine. We saw tanks, missiles and all kinds of fighter aircraft and helicopters.
What saddened me (and many of my former colleagues) was that the ‘Ghauri’ missile was nowhere to be seen. It had been the backbone of our defence for more than 10 years and kept the Indians away from any misadventure. It was our country’s first long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons with a range of 1,300 to 1,500 km. When using steel components, its range is 1,300 km, when using aluminium alloy components, it could reach 1,500 km.
A missile shown on a launcher looked just like our ‘Ghauri’, but had been dubbed as “Shaheen II” and its range was mentioned as 1,500 km. ‘Ghauri’ was named after that famous hero, Shahabuddin Ghauri, who not only defeated the mighty Rajputs but, unlike Mahmud Ghaznavi, did not loot temples. He established an Islamic dynasty in Delhi with Qutubuddin Aibek as his governor. As Muslims, we owe our very existence to him. How can you compare a real hero with an imaginary bird? What a pity the prime minister, who had agreed to my suggestion of naming our first missile ‘Ghauri’ (in response to the Indian ‘Prithvi’), chose to totally overlook this development.
In the afternoon of March 23, functions were held at the Presidency and Governor Houses of the four provinces. I was pleased to see my dear friends Prof Dr Mujaheed Kamran, Dr A Rashid Seyal, Dr Imran Jofa and Mehtabuddin Chowla amongst the recipients of prestigious civil awards. I was extremely pleased to see that the late Agha Hassan Abedi had been awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz posthumously. He deserved more than that. He was a great benefactor of Pakistan and had, on many occasions, come to our rescue. I remember meeting his graceful wife Rabia Abedi in Karachi. She was justifiably bitter about the attitude of Pakistan’s rulers towards her husband when he was in trouble, thanks to a British/US plot.
At my personal request he gave Rs500 million for the GIK Institute in Topi. I later had the auditorium named after him. Another benefactor whom the rulers have ignored is the late Haji Abdul Razzaq Yaqub of ARY Gold, Dubai. I personally know that he had lent $185 million to Pakistan when the country was in dire need of foreign exchange. I sincerely hope this omission will be rectified when awards are next made known. May Almighty Allah bless these two noble souls with favourable place in Jannah – Ameen.