Friday July 01, 2022

A polite, amiable politician even if you differ with him

December 26, 2016

I went to Karachi to attend the walima ceremony of Syed Talha Hassan on 26 Dec, 2012. I was free after the function when I received the heart-rending message that Prof Abdul Ghafoor had passed away. I had a desire to call on him during my visit to Karachi. During the ceremony, I informed his son Tariq that I would call on Prof Sahib on 27 Dec. But I couldn’t imagine that I had to go to his home to attend his funeral and not for asking after his health. The tragedy is that I had to bid him farewell forever. 

Prof Sahib was an asset for the country and the nation. He rendered great services in the fields of teaching, education, politics and preaching the religion. He was born in Bareli, a famous center of education and religion of UP on 11 June 1927. He got degree of M. Com from Lucknow University and started his career as a lecturer from Islamia College Lucknow the same year. Next year, he came to Karachi and joined a private trade institution. He served in the department of Accounts. In addition, he joined Urdu College for teaching Accounts and Trade. This continued up to 1961. After that he taught in the Institute of Industrial Accounts, Institute of Chartered Accounts and Jinnah Institute of Industrial Accounts. He continued teaching up to 1972. 

He also served Jammat-e-Islami at the same time. He was elected as an MNA in 1970 from Karachi.Nine members of JI were elected in the elections of 1977 in spite of rigging. He had played an important role in parliament. He always defended democracy. He also struggled for the movements of Khatam-e-Nabuwat and Nizam-e-Mustafa. He had been the general secretary of United Democratic Front (UDF) and Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) (1977-1979). He served as Federal Minister for Production (1978-1979). 

He had been a member of Senate from 2002-2005. He wrote 8 books on the political circumstances of Pakistan. These books are regarded as authentic source of history of Pakistan.

My first relation with Prof Sahib is that of student and teacher, although I was not his student on a regular basis. In fact when I was getting education in Govt College of Commerce and Economics, he was teaching in Urdu College and other institutions. He was a deep friend of my teacher Mateen Ansari. That’s why I got a chance to meet him. Then I knew that he had been my examiner in B.Com. Thus indirectly he was my teacher. He was senior to me in JI. I learnt many things from him both in national politics and in the process of movements. 

In 1964 I had a chance to live with him in the same room of the prison with other companions. I found him a delicate, kind, honest, loving and selfless person. A person who treats his juniors in a way that it was difficult to differentiate between them. The love, kindness and honour that he gave me during 60 years is most precious for me and is the asset of my life. The chief characteristics of his personality were simplicity, humility, affection and love. There was no artificiality in his life style. He always talked politely whatever may be the conditions. He remained polite even in the condition of disagreement. He always respected others. He preferred the collective interest. He treated others with respect and love. That’s why he was respected by everyone. 

His role in the political life of the country is great. He worked for the progress of democracy and Islam wisely, bravely and selflessly. In 1972 when Pakistan lost its important part, namely Bangladesh, the struggle for the protection of Pakistan was started in and out of assembly. He played a memorable role in this connection. 

The results of the elections of 1970 affected Islamic movement and its well-wishers in a big way. He faced the situation courageously. He and the opposition of that time played a historical role in formulating the constitution of 1973. Attempts were made to impose an already imposed constitution in 1972. It was feared that civil dictatorship could take hold of the country. But opposition consisting of Prof. Abdul Ghafoor, Maulana Zafar Ahmad Ansari, Maulana Mufti Mahmoud, Mr. Sher Baaz Mazari and Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani accepted that constitution as something temporary. They compelled the Govt to make a constitutional committee and make a new constitution. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Hafiz Pirzada and Mahmood Ali Qasuri also worked for it. It was a miracle that the Constitution of 1973 was formulated. This Constitution has saved democracy in Pakistan in spite of all conspiracies. Prof. Sahib played a vital role in the whole process. He organised the political forces forgetting every difference. He made alliances for political purposes. 

Personalities like Altaf Gohar and Khalid Ishaq said that Pakistan could progress by leaps and bounds if it was led by a person like Prof. Abdul Ghafoor. Altaf Gohar presented him as a needed PM of Pakistan in his article in Dawn. Everyone was convinced that he had the vital quality of evolving consensus because of his wisdom. He was appreciated and respected by everyone.