Very few workers of the Pakistan Movement have seen the dawn of the 21st century. Fewer still have witnessed the second decade.
Among those untiring workers, whose spirit and passion were emboldened by the inspirations of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was Akram Khan Khattak, who died late Friday night in his hometown of Daag Ismail Khel in Nowshera district.
Born around 1917, Akram was the son of Zarin Khattak, a major in the Royal Indian Army who, people said, was a close confidant to the British regime.
Akram received his primary education in Nowshera and did his graduation from Islamia College, Peshawar, in the mid-1940s when the Pakistan movement was at its zenith. Due to his oratory skills, Akram Khan was quickly elected as provincial president of the Muslim Students Federation, and along with other students, invited the Quaid-e-Azam to visit Islamic College in 1948, where an impressive welcome ceremony was held. He graduated from the college a year later.
His younger son Daud Khattak told The Express Tribune that due to the unrecorded history of the Pashtuns, much of the memoirs and political achievements of his father have been forgotten by even his family members.
Akram and a number of other students responded to the Quaid-e-Azam’s call for jihad by fighting bravely in Kashmir. Daud said that after completing his studies, his father came back to his hometown and started working in his village to create political awareness about the independence movement.
Daud said that like his grandfather, people would call Akram ‘major’, even though his father had never served in the army or any other force. He was garlanded upon his return from Kashmir, and praised as the leader of the ‘Kashmir jihad’ among students. Thereafter, he started working as the chairman of the Pakistan Muslim League in Nowshera. He used to often say that Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar was his role model and talked passionately about his political achievements and humanitarian social activities.
Daud said his father respected the Quaid-e-Azam for his love and dedication to the Pashtuns, saying that the Quaid had told them during his visit to Islamia College that the Pashtuns are the backbone of Pakistan.
“My father had this sentence written in his heart and mind. Till his death he remembered those words,” he added, saying that the Quaid admired their bravery and wanted to educate and let them succeed.
Akram fell ill on Tuesday evening and was paralysed. He was shifted to the Combined Military Hospital in Nowshera, where he breathed his last late Friday night.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2014.
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