The Freemasons Hall on 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-e-Azam stood on the main thoroughfare of Lahore as a symbol of secrecy and intrigue. No one knew what was discussed behind its closed doors and blackened windows. Growing up on the Mall we took it as a challenge to break this cordon. At best we got to peep in through some of the windows before we were chased out by the vigilant guards. As the movement against the first dictator was led by students, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) promised them to ban this Jewish-sponsored movement if he came into power. After taking oath of office in December 1971, he took two major foreign policy decisions: Pakistan left the British Commonwealth and The Freemasons were banned. Their hall was taken over by the government, and is now a sub-office of the Chief Minister.
Now that the slogan has been raised for the restoration of people’s power under the banner of: ‘Vote Ki Izzat‘, I decided to highlight the role played by the ‘Freemasons of Democracy’ in derailing the democratic order. This evil lodge is located at 33 Davis Road right on the corner of Sunder Das Road. Ayub Khan named it Muslim League House from where he launched his political outfit called Pakistan Muslim League (Convention). After the first Martial Law in October 1958, Mumtaz Daultana, who lived not too far on Durand Road, called a Council Meeting of the Muslim League. Those who responded to his call organized themselves as Pakistan Muslim League (Council) while the others called a Convention of Leaguers who then organized themselves as Pakistan Muslim League (Convention). The Pakistan faction of the All-India Muslim League (AIML) thus split into two. PML (Convention) then decided to have its own headquarters from where ‘Establishment Politics’ could be launched. A 16 kanal bungalow was purchased on Davis Road for this purpose not too far from Habibullah Road where Mamdot Villa was.
Ever since the ‘ Freemasons of Democracy ‘have operated from their lodge on 33 Davis Road. The PML(N) operated from there till another split took place and the PML(Q) was launched by Musharraf. Currently, the Chaudhrys of Gujrat control this ‘Freemasons Lodge’. While one King’s Party, the PML(N) is out of favour, the other, the PML(Q) has skillfully managed to remain in. As a Muslim League child, I have seen this Political Drama unfold so many times and had the chance of meeting most of these backstage players. I consider it my national duty to record the political intrigues hatched by the ‘Freemasons of Democracy’.
Freemasons of Democracy should be dislodged
Ghulam Haider Wyne, an old League worker, used to live here. He used to visit my father’s office regularly on his bicycle. When Nawaz Sharif was made PM, Wyne Sahib became CM. So he drove straight from 33 Davis Road to 7 Club Road, a crossing away. Then Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi as CM did not have to travel far, as Zahoor Elahi Road is on the other side of the Canal. It is time to identify and then ban the ‘Freemasons of Democracy’ as was done by ZAB when he shut down the ‘ Freemasons Movement’ in Pakistan and took over their lodge.
Buildings built with evil designs have to be brought down or taken over and put into useful use. Like the ‘Freemasons Movement’ remained untouchable and out of reach of the state till the 1970s before they were made to leave forever, the ‘Freemasons of Democracy’ will continue to hijack people’s power till they are permanently disarmed and dislodged. The negative propaganda against Madre Millat Fatima Jinnah during the 1965 Presidential Election was hatched here and so was the character assassination campaign against Benazir and her mother.
With the enactment of the 1973 constitution, a transition to democracy was started. League House remained deserted for a few years. It was revived again during the ‘Zia Dark Ages’ to incubate fresh King’s Parties like the PML(N) and then PML(Q).
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Kaptaan has announced major Electoral Reforms. For respect of the ballot, the Freemasons have to be dealt with. The Ayub-led Khaki invasion has to be reversed but not through confrontation with state institutions. Today Pakistan faces an institutional collapse which challenges its very survival. Civilian institutions have to be rebuilt all over again. Yes, the Khakis have to return to the barracks but lock, stock and barrel. ‘Freemasons of Democracy’ will no longer be needed, let the ballot rule under the constitutional framework. Only genuine political outfits like PPP and PTI should be allowed to operate. ‘King’s Parties’ launched from the ‘Freemasons’ Hall of Democracy’ should be shown the door.
Dr. Farid A.Malik is the Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He was a Shadow Minister PTI and Co-Ordinator of the PTI Think Tank where the framework of the Welfare State was developed. The article was first published in Pakistan Today and has been republished here after making certain changes for which prior permission from the author was taken. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.