As police struggle to curb crime in the city, robbers did not even spare a 94-year-old man who played a vital role in Pakistan movement. While the robbers snatched numerous valuables, the victim is only heartbroken about one item — a medal awarded to him by the government in appreciation of his services for Pakistan.
Tehreek-i-Pakistan Gold Medalist Muhammad Khan Naqshbandi, a resident of Satellite Town Rawalpindi, was an active member of Muslim Students Federation (MSF) and played an important role during the Pakistan movement.
In 1989, the Punjab government awarded Naqshbandi with a gold medal in appreciation of his services for Pakistan.
He told The Express Tribune that a few months ago, eight robbers entered his house at around 8pm, adding that four of them were dressed in police uniforms. Naqshbandi said they took away his gold medal and other valuables. He said he was still perturbed over the loss of the medal, which he called his most prized material possession. “It reminded me of the days spent struggling to help create Pakistan.”
He said he did not formally register an FIR as he was not worried about the loss of the other items. Naqshbandi did say that some policemen came to his house later and assured him that his belongings would be recovered.
But he seems to have lost hope. “No one can recover that loss. No one can feel that pain.”
Naqshbandi is originally from Jammu. He said that he completed his matriculation at Islamia High School, Jammu and his bachelors from Prince of Wales College, Jammu. The college was then-affiliated with the University of Punjab (PU).
He said that he joined the MSF in college and began working as a journalist soon after completing his bachelor’s in 1942.
Naqshbandi said that relatively few Muslims were involved in journalism at the time. He said Muslims had to work very hard to establish themselves in the field. “Congress was using the newspapers as a powerful tool to influence people. We [Muslims] started playing that role for the Muslim League.”
Naqshbandi said that the Muslims were less in number but were true admirers of Jinnah and genuinely wanted a separate homeland under his leadership. He said that they worked day and night under the MSF banner to spread the message of Quaid-i-Azam. Naqshbandi said students played a vital, underappreciated role in the Pakistan movement.
He considers himself “very fortunate” to have gotten the opportunity to meet Quaid-i-Azam on three separate occasions — in Sialkot, Jammu College and during an All India Muslim Students Conference in Jalandhar.
Naqshbandi said that after migrating to Lahore in 1946, he worked in the Civil Military Gazette before joining the Urdu newspaper Nawa-e-Waqt. Naqshbandi said that he also served as an information officer in Islamabad and joined Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) in 1956. He served as a national affairs analyst and bureau chief for APP.
Naqshbandi is upset over the prevailing circumstances in the country. He said that the leaders deviated from the path Jinnah had envisioned, explaining that the “Quaid was in favour of a tolerant society where the rights of minorities are protected, where rule of law would prevail, and where there would be no exploitation”.
With a wry laugh, he asked The Express Tribune where the country was headed if robbers would not even spare an old man like him.
He said that swindlers had taken control of the country and no one seemed serious about resolving the problems of the people. “The people need a visionary leader like Quaid-i-Azam,” Naqshbandi added.
Meanwhile, in an interview with the APP, Naqshbandi said the basic objective of the Pakistan movement was to set up an Islamic welfare state based on democratic principles, adding that the youth must play their role in achieving these objectives.
“This is the time, he said, for reviving the spirit of the Pakistan Movement by forging unity, faith and discipline among the people.”
Naqshbandi was also awarded the “Quaid-i-Azam Award” during golden jubilee celebrations held by the Quaid-i-Azam Welfare Society.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2014.
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