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Well said Nawaz Sharif, well done SAFMA —Dr Mohammad Taqi

Related : SAFMA sends defamation notice to TV channel

The security establishment frets that a strong politician from Punjab, who always had the wherewithal to cut them down to size, has been consistently expressing his will to do so too

“Your Excellency doesn’t understand. A man is a Punjabi or Bengali before he is a Hindu or a Muslim. They share a common history, language, culture and economy. You must not divide them. You will cause endless bloodshed and trouble” — Quaid-e-Azam to Lord Mountbatten.

The self-appointed guardians of Pakistan’s physical and ‘ideological’ frontiers are frothing at the mouth — again. The man-eaters want more and, as always, they want it in the name of Islam and the ‘ideology’ of Pakistan. From political liberals and dissidents to the religious minorities, this pack of wolves has hounded them all. But this time the target is not the secular Salmaan Taseer.

The thirst of the vicious cabals in the media and religio-political parties were not quenched by Taseer’s blood. Now they are out to get a centre-right politician, a rather devout Muslim: the former prime minister of Pakistan and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Mian Nawaz Sharif is the object of their latest venomous barrage. His fault is to have candidly given a roadmap for peace between Pakistan and India at the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) seminar in Lahore last week. Dunya TV anchor Meher Bokhari, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Siraj-ul-Haq and the charlatan Zaid Hamid then ganged up to verbally lynch Nawaz Sharif.

This vitriol by the media, mullahs and the military stooges was a sordid game of snakes-and-ladders: just when a politician is about get past the security state paradigm, the snakes bite him down all the way to square one. Allegations ranging from being a sellout to India and betraying Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal’s vision to violating the oath to uphold this vision were hurled at Nawaz Sharif. Since the bigots have invoked Jinnah and Iqbal’s words in their odious invective against Nawaz Sharif and SAFMA, I shall keep the discourse within that realm. I have watched Nawaz Sharif’s speech and was reminded of Jinnah and Iqbal’s words; especially the latter’s lines in Javeed Nameh:

“Hind raa eeN zauq-e-azadi kih daad,

sayd raa sauda-e-sayyadi kih daad,

aaN Brahmin-zadgan-e-zindah-dil,

lalah-e-ahmar ze roo-e-shaaN khajal,

taizbeen o pukhta-kar o sakht-kosh,

az nigahe-shaaN farang andar kharosh,

asle-shaaN az khaak-e-damangir-e-maast,

matla’-e-eeN akhtaraaN Kashmir-e-maast.”

(Who gave to India this yearning for freedom?

Who gave the quarry this passion to be the hunter?

Those scions of Brahmins, with vibrant hearts,

whose glowing cheeks put the red tulip to shame,

keen of eye, mature and strenuous in action,

whose very glance puts Europe into commotion.

Their origin is from this protesting soil of ours,

the rising-place of these stars is our Kashmir — translation Arthur J Arberry.)

Who were those Brahmin Hindus that Iqbal has immortalised in his verse? My Persian is rudimentary but the personalities in the verse cannot be mistaken. He wrote it when Jawaharlal Nehru became the president of the Indian National Congress and had demanded complete freedom from the British. Jawaharlal and his father Motilal Nehru are the Kashmiris that Iqbal — himself a descendant of Kashmiri Brahmins — credited with giving the subcontinent the awareness that caused commotion in the colonial ranks.

But I still wanted to be sure and asked a friend to help me contact Dr Javed Iqbal, who is not just Iqbal’s son but perhaps the foremost living authority on Iqbal’s poetry. With great kindness Dr Iqbal received my phone call and confirmed that Allama Iqbal indeed was referring to Nehru, of whom he had very high hopes, in the said verse. Dr sahib did not wish to comment on Nawaz Sharif’s speech, as he had not heard the speech himself.

I then asked Dr Javed Iqbal what might have Iqbal’s vision been for Pakistan vis-à-vis its neighbours. Dr sahib pointed towards Iqbal’s Allahabad address in which he had given the sketch of what today may have looked like the European Union. He added that while a separate state was not the initial objective of Allama Iqbal or Jinnah, after the Cabinet Mission fiasco, it became inevitable. I then inquired about what he, as a Pakistani, intimately familiar with Iqbal — the person, poet and politician — thinks, is the way forward. Dr sahib said that we are more a part of South Asia rather than anything towards the west of our borders. He said if someone still cared to listen to him or give credence to his advice, he would say that Kashmir be given a (independent) status like Bhutan or Nepal, with China and Russia becoming guarantors of this arrangement, and the process leading to open borders like the European Union. My other question to Dr Iqbal was about an analogy that Quaid-e-Azam had once made about two bickering brothers. He said that he did not recall that but did say that he felt that Jinnah’s aspiration would not have been anything but peaceful relations with neighbouring nations.

What Quaid-e-Azam had said in a conversation with Mountbatten’s Chief of Staff, General Ismay has been chronicled in M A Jinnah Papers (Editor Zawar H Zaidi, Volume I part II, page 647) as: “Mr Jinnah said with the greatest earnestness that once the partition had been decided upon, everyone would know exactly where they were, all their troubles would cease, and they would live happily ever after. He quoted me the case of two brothers who hated each other like poison as a result of portions allotted to them under their father’s will. Finally, they could bear it no more and took the case to court. Mr Jinnah defended one of them and the case was fought with utmost venom. Two years later Mr Jinnah met his client and asked how he was getting on and how was his brother, and he said: ‘Oh once the case was decided, we became the greatest friends.’”

There is a method to the media-mullah madness. The security establishment frets that a strong politician from Punjab, who always had the wherewithal to cut them down to size, has been consistently expressing his will to do so too. The junta that has idolised the Turkish military is also aware that not only a Muslim country like that can live in harmony with its European neighbours, a centre-right party is best placed to defang the praetorian guard. So before Nawaz Sharif can do an Erdogan number on them, the generals want to go Kenan Evren on him. Fortunately, the brass and its stooges stand on the wrong side of history. Nawaz Sharif did not use Iqbal and Jinnah’s elaborate diction but has cogently reiterated their message. Well said Mian sahib and well done SAFMA!

The writer can be reached at mazdaki@me.com. He tweets at http://twitter.com/mazdaki

Source : DailyTimes

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  • Well done, Mian sahib. You make us proud of the political class.

    On an unrelated note, I am baffled at urban elite’s selective campaign against Meher Bokhari (or Aamir Liaquat Hussain) vis a vis their silence on Ejaz Haider and Cyril Almeida’s lies (e.g on Balochistan) or Zakir Naik types.

  • Sir g sir g ZINDA BAAD

  • Nawaz Shareef is losing popularity fast mainly due to this difference between his words and actions, he does not have the acumen a leader should have. One can quite evidently find him perusing his personal interests rather than national interest. A person paying Rs. 5000 in tax after making fortunes out of the country, a person who himself nor his party bothered to help the earthquake affectees, a person who brought Pakistan to the brink of collapse in his tenure, a person who begged the Indian govt to rescue him from Pakistans jail, a person with statements of following the footsteps of Zia-ul-Haq in public can still be heard, a person who made “fauji adalats” and yet speaks of democracy, The list will go on and on my friends, one thing is for sure that hypocrites like Nawaz Shareef are a hurdle in the development of Pakistan.

  • Mr Nawaz Sharif manifestly believes in the politics of interest, not of belief. He wants as much cooperation in trade and business with India as possible. He knows the value of personal contracts and cultural affiliations in the marketplace. He has told the Indian leaders in public and in private meetings that he wants the Kashmir issue settled and justice done to Kashmiris but he will not go to war on this issue nor would he like the process of normalisation slowed down for any reason. He has also realised that democracy, with all its flaws and shortcomings, offers the only way to the country`s survival and progress, and he has lately been opposing military intervention in politics.
    One might call this part of Mr Nawaz Sharif`s split personality good or soundly based because peace with India was a rational policy in the past, and today it is a prerequisite for the survival of a democratic Pakistan. Every Pakistani believes that the Kashmir issue must be solved but also knows that it will not be solved in the foreseeable future and certainly not through the adventurism of this brand of militants or that.
    The other part of Mr Nawaz Sharif reveals him as hobnobbing with all kinds of anti-democratic elements in the religious parties and elsewhere. There is no harm in practising religion or maintaining closest possible relations with the Saudi princes, but there is every harm in letting any cleric, domestic or foreign, dictate political choices. Mr Nawaz Sharif would only sink into the marsh of bigotry if he did not find the courage to tell the born-again advocates of the two-nation theory that whatever the theory was it was dropped by the wayside by the author of it himself 64 years ago. He might win short-term popularity by being soft on militants but he will not be able to go far by befriending religious factions that make no secret of their resolve to use democratic institutions and mechanisms (such as assemblies and elections) to demolish democracy. There is no inherent difficulty in being a good Muslim, a democrat and an advocate of friendly relations with India on the basis of equality and mutual good. But the contradiction between a religious polity on the one hand, and democracy, good business and peace with India on the other, cannot be resolved. The choice before Mr Nawaz Sharif is clear: he could go for power regardless of the compromises he makes contrary to his own thinking and interest, or he could be his own master while qualifying as a politician committed to the good of the people. The choice may be solely his but the bills will come to the community.

  • Text of Nawaz Sharif’s speech
    Published: August 16, 2011
    LAHORE – Complete text of speech made by former prime minister and President PML-N Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif at a function organised by the SAFMA I had requested Imtiaz Sahab to let me speak in the beginning instead at the last. It is kind of Imtiaz Sahab that he had invited me here. You are seated here. I am pleased to see guests from Hindustan. Prior to me many beautiful talks had been delivered. First Imtiaz Sahab, and then Dr Sahab has said many good things. I think that such a condition should exist between two countries. This environment will get further better. Then certainly we will resolve our issues, will increase our cooperation as well, will progress too, moreover prosperity will be actualised, our issues will be resolved also. Both countries will resolve their respective issues besides settling matters of mutual concern too. And Imtiaz Alam Sahab’s dream ‘Let us join hands to write a new story’ will be materialised as well. And then Building Bridges in the Sub-Continent. Usually for politicians Building Bridges are not on rivers. I understand that this is not a good beginning. Imtiaz Sahab is working for long. SAFMA’s others members are involved in this struggle for long. For peace and brotherhood in this region, and especially in your ‘writing a new story’ I was ready to pen another new account. I was not aware that Musharraf was writing another narrative, which was in dire contradiction to the existent tale. It was so painful and sad that for the first time in the history of Pakistan and Hindustan that two prime ministers, as per your assertion, had come very close to each other and they had developed very good understanding. Hindustan n PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee came to Pakistan. I respect him a lot, and pray for his good health. I think he was a brave man, and he himself expressed his desire that why we should not resolve Pakistan’s issues, find solution to problems, make a move to progress, and listen to each other’s troubles, understand, and make earnest efforts to resolve them. I liked his talk to the core of my heart. A day came when he arrived here. When he came, I think it was a historic day in the history of Pakistan and Hindustan. Upon his arrival, he expressed a desire, and talked with sincerity. I was impressed by his truthfulness and his face depicted his honesty, his eyes stood witness to it. He had fairness in his talk. I am in the knowledge of the things and I have gone through the process myself. We talked face-to-face. Prior to this, we used to meet in conferences. I had meetings with his predecessor as well. I have talking to Narsima Rao as well since he was prime minister of Hindustan at that time. When I became prime minister of Pakistan it was the fag end of 1990. I met him and he talked about Pakistan’s economic progress and fiscal policy. He especially mentioned that your (my) economic reforms order was very popular in Hindustan. Indian business community repeatedly asks to implement the policy which is actualised in Pakistan, which included abolishing exchange control, and heading to the free market economy, and he said he wanted to study your (my) model. I said it was pleasing to me. The same we want. We wish to compete in the economic race, do not want military or defence rivalry. I think it has been a bad luck of Hindustan that we had tried to compete in arms race. If Hindustan had been running after MIG 29, then we chased F16. Hindustan purchased tanks, and we made it compulsory upon us to follow the suit. Because of this, our social sectors, our development areas were adversely affected to a huge extent. Our lagged behind in education, health services, industrial development. Huge sums of money were spent on the defence built-up. We had a tradition that if anything goes wrong in Hindustan, its onus should put on Pakistan. If some thing untoward happened in Pakistan, Hindustan was to get the blame. This has been the tit-for-tat, whether there was a reality to this or not. You and I have been seeing that we spent our 60 years in this. How much this damaged us! We missed our target. Here Imtiaz talked of the Motorways, which was my first project as prime minister in 1990 which was launched by us, and completed it though we did not get time. In the first tenure, we got two years, and in the second two-and-a-half years. You saw that we completed it in the second term. It could have been done earlier provided our stint would not have been disrupted. I think that Motorways could have been constructed earlier. In the ECO meeting, I talked to the Afghan president. Said in the Tashkent meeting, that why the Motorways is not extended to Kabul. Half of it should be financed by you, half by us. The project was that on one it would be stretched to Gwadar, and from second point to Tashkent. But Motorways could not be extended to Tashkent but I was sent to Jeddah. If I would not have reached Jeddah, then Motorways would have stretched to Tashkent. It was our commitment to our country. It would have very good if Hindustan would have constructed the same Motorways and take it to Calcutta (Kolkata) and carried out such a trade or business. Because of which I am sure that we had resolved our issues and problems; Jammu and Kashmir dispute could have been resolved simultaneously. I am certain that this would have solves the problem. Vajpayee said to me ‘Pakistan takes Jammu-Kashmir very seriously. It is not that we have come here, and sign a declaration. We want to resolve the Jammu-Kashmir problem. I believe that year 1999 should be declared ‘year of resolution of Kashmir’. I was hugely impressed after listening to Vajpayee’s this discourse. A person has this earnest desire in his heart that he wants to resolve the most important issue between two countries. And we will come close to each other after resolving our all problems.