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Saturday, February 1, 2020

how the Nation treated the Man who coined Pakstan ? - this day 87 years ago !

This day 87 years ago, has great significance for our neighbouring Nation sharing not only borders but also history with us !

Wasim Khan, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief executive officer, has rubbished reports claiming that Pakistan won’t send its team to India for the 2021 T20 World Cup if the BCCI doesn’t allow its team to tour Pakistan in the Asia Cup later this year. “This has been completely taken out of context. Even though we would still want to host the Asia Cup in Pakistan, the Asian Cricket Council needs to decide on what it will do about the matches involving India,” Khan is quoted as saying. Earlier, reports claimed that PCB would skip the World Cup T20 — to be held in India next year — if Indian team didn’t travel to Pakistan for the Asia Cup.

After years of slogan shouting and empty rhetoric from across the  border, the World knows that things are not greener over there. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan recently stated that  Islamabad is willing to hold a referendum in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir to give people the right to decide whether they want to remain in the country or be independent… .. for those who had supported Imran Khan stating him to be able and good administrator – here is some update on the political situation.

For almost five years, Talat Hussain, a well-known Pakistani journalist, hosted a popular current affairs talk show on Geo TV, openly discussing the political issues of the day. But last year all that changed. Forced to comply with a “total blackout” of news that criticised the military or the government of the new prime minister, Imran Khan, Hussain found himself unable to speak freely. “My programmes were being repeatedly censored,” said Hussain. “I was told that any suggestion that the 2018 elections were rigged or that the army was part of the running of the government by Imran Khan was unacceptable.” While Pakistan has a turbulent relationship with media freedom, under Imran Khan, elected as prime minister last year with strong backing from the military, censorship is felt heavier than ever before.

A high-profile civil rights activist has been arrested recently  in Pakistan on charges of sedition in the latest incident in a mounting crackdown on critics of the army. Manzoor Ahmad Pashteen was arrested in the north-western city of Peshawar on five charges, including criminal conspiracy and sedition. The 28-year-old is the charismatic leader of the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), which defends the rights of of Pakistan’s largest ethnic minority, the Pashtuns. He has established himself as a thorn in the side of the powerful military, publicly accusing it of human rights abuses including kidnappings and forced disappearances, and of secretly allying with the Pakistani Taliban. The PTM has also drawn thousands of people on to the streets in protests against the military over the past two years. The civilian Pakistan government, led by the prime minister, Imran Khan, is notorious for its alleged close ties to the military. Since Khan’s election, journalists, activists and critics of the military have increasingly been targeted, silenced and detained.

The oncoming 2020 decade will likely be an age of ‘democracy in trouble’ across major parts of South Asia. Greater oppression, dictatorial policies, and leadership, one-party domination – the challenges are immense. In Pakistan’s case, the long-ailing democracy under the Imran Khan government is now dead. The country, in the aftermath of General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure extension, signals a total reverse of American political scientist Francis Fukuyama’s ‘End of History’ thesis. In the early 1990s, after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Fukuyama had predicted a phase of human history in which liberal democracy and economic liberalism will be the only flag flying throughout the world. Notwithstanding the growth of neo-liberalism, politically, the opposite happened in Fukuyama’s own country and other large democracies like India. But in countries struggling to find their way to democracy, it’s been a disaster. ~ comically these people talk of democracy being in danger in India !

Now getting back to history, this day on 1933 -  came the voice in the form of a pamphlet titled "Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?" – as also the reference to Pakstan.  The word 'Pakstan' referred to "the five Northern units of India, viz., Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan”.  Known as the "Pakistan Declaration", this pamphlet written and published by Choudhary Rahmat Ali  used word Pakstan (without I)  for the first time  and  it was circulated to the delegates of the Third Round Table Conference in 1932.

Choudhry Rahmat Ali [16.11.1897 -3.2.1951] is credited to be the earliest proponent of the creation of the state of Pakisthan. He is credited with creating the name "Pakistan" for a separate Muslim homeland in South Asia and is generally known as the originator of the Pakistan Movement.  Rahmat Ali's seminal contribution was when he was a law student at the University of Cambridge in 1933, in the form of a pamphlet "Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?", also known as the "Pakistan Declaration". The pamphlet was addressed to the British and Indian delegates to the Third Round Table Conference in London.  The ideas did not find favour with the delegates or any of the politicians for close to a decade. They were dismissed as students' ideas. But by 1940, the Muslim politics in the subcontinent came around to accept them, leading to the Lahore Resolution of the All-India Muslim League, which was immediately dubbed the "Pakistan resolution" in the Press.

But as it would dawn, sadly after the creation of Pakistan, Ali returned from England in April 1948, planning to stay in the country, but his belongings were confiscated and he was expelled by the prime minister Liaqat Ali Khan. In Oct 1948, Ali left empty-handed. He died on 3 Feb 1951 in Cambridge "destitute, forlorn and lonely".  The funeral expenses of insolvent Ali were covered by Emmanuel College, Cambridge on the instructions of its Master. Ali was buried at Cambridge City Cemetery.  He is all but forgotten in the "country he coined".

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th Jan 2020.

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