ISLAMABAD: First of all, bravo to Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy for his article of March 5 titled “Run for your life”. While the writer painted a factual picture of the general state of affairs, he conveniently made some disturbing assumptions on behalf of a people that to date, are fighting for their right of ‘Pakistaniyat’.
I will be surprised if your readers have not heard of Jogendra Nath Mandal and his role in the freedom struggle. A leader of the Scheduled Castes, he fought for the cause of Pakistan along with the Muslim League. Born in Bengal he was chosen to be Pakistan’s first law minister.
Then there was SP Singha, who was a speaker of the Punjab Assembly when the resolution for Pakistan was moved. Short of three votes, he rallied the Christian members to vote in favour of Jinnah. And who can forget Samuel Martin Burke. Mr Burke was the magistrate of the Election Petition Commission of Punjab in 1945 and moved 16 petitions in favour of the Muslim League, all to the chagrin of the Indian National Congress and Sir Hayat’s Unionists who wanted a United India. These petitions eventually won Pakistan’s case. After partition, Mr Burke chose Pakistan as his native country. To date he is revered as a pioneer of Pakistan’s foreign policy.
These are but a few names that shared Jinnah’s dream of Pakistan and were instrumental in leading thousands of Hindus and Christians to join his cause. Whoever thinks that it’s only the Muslims who migrated on August 13, 1947, needs a history lesson. Several thousand non Muslims left the Ganges behind believing that Pakistan was their true calling. My family is included in this.
Where is it that we have fallen short of patriotism or denied service to our country? Christian, Hindu and Parsi soldiers have fought and accepted martyrdom as recently as the operations in Swat. They have been war heroes and prisoners of war enduring harrowing tortures for the country. Who can forget the Cecils, Cyrils, Anthony Chauhdrys, Mervyn Middlecoats, Peter Christies, Brig. Golwalas, Nazir Latifs, Justin Sharafs and many others like them who answered the call of ‘labaik’.
Since independence, missionary schools and hospitals have opened up their doors to every Pakistani without difference. Only a fraction of Pakistan’s total Christian population has emigrated abroad. The rest has stayed put. So why does the writer see that we were never “enthusiastic” about the creation of Pakistan?
I’m sorry that the writer, of all people, would say something like this.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.