The event of the book launch, A Personal Chronicle of Pakistan by Ikram Sehgal was moderated by Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a renowned TV anchor and political commentator in Islamabad at Marriot Hotel on 5th August 2021. He comments that Ikram Sehgal has cultivated friends, influential opinion-makers, all across the world in this country and they have also set their messages that pay tribute to his laudable contribution in the existing literature of Pakistan.
The event played their video messages and the majestic galaxy of speakers expressed their appreciation for his intellectual contribution in preserving the history of Pakistan and its heritage.
The event was graced with the presence of Former Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Senator Mushaid Hussain, Lt. Gen Ali, Kuli Khan, Syed Kaleem Imam, Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, and Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs and Finance, Sartaj Aziz.
Also, Ikram Sehgal’s extended circle of friends and colleagues across the world including HH Nahayan Al Mubarak Al Nahayan; Cabinet member and Miniter of Tolerance and Co-existence, UAE, Owen Bennett Jones; Former Host of NewsHour, BBC, Dr. Frederick Starr; Chairman Central Asia Caucasus Institute, HE Yves Manville; Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of France Dr. Marc Seigel; President and CEO of M. Seigel Associates LLC Director, Global Security, and Resilience Projects, Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, Former minister of Bangladesh, Ross Perot Jr; Chairman Perot Group of Companies (US) and Borge Brede: President World Economic Forum and Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Norway sent their congratulations and expressed their appreciation for his intellectual contributions in the cannon.
Dr. Moeed highlights the fact that Ikram Sehgal is his intellectual mentor and he has published his pieces and writings in Global Village Space which provide and an alternative and insightful viewpoint on Pakistan’s social, political, and economic policies.
He expounds that this event is not a book launch but a compendium; a collection of books in 12 volumes testifying well-researched work and commentary which Sehgal sahib has been making from the 1980s.
It is a very valuable addition to the literature that is available in Pakistan’s history, politics, wars, conflicts, its transition, its social evolution, its economy, and international politics. And this is going to fill a huge void because most of the literature that is available on Pakistan, looks at Pakistan from an external lens; either through British or Indian History.
This collection, as he explicates is an original Pakistani comment, about Pakistan, a country where 65% of the population is less than 35 years of age. And this 45 years of Pakistan’s history illuminated in this collection is reflective of the time when the history was unfolding and it was defining itself when things were already happening and major changes were taking place which he aptly recorded.
His Highness Sheikh Al Nahyan Mubarak Al Nahyan, the senior cabinet member and minister for tolerance and co-existence UAE paid tribute to Ikram Sehgal’s efforts in these words;
“The best way to celebrate the publication of Ikram Sehgal’s life story and his contributions to the public life of the last 40 years would be to read the remarkable book that is launched day. The book clearly signifies what we know about Ikram’s dedication, commitment, common sense, and generosity of spirit. His contributions to public discourse and discussions on national issues in this collection are the reflection of his hard work, loyalty, and commitment to Pakistan and its people. Ikram is a dear friend and a brother, one of the most accomplished and dedicated people that I know. He has always provided wise and thorough advice and consultation,” he said.
He added, “As the dedications in these volumes show that he is truly inspired by his deep love for his country, his family, his mentors, and his friends and colleagues alike. We naturally praise Ikram Sehgal for his grace throughout his life. Ikram has marshaled his experience, his education, his intellect and we appreciate his standing in the national arena which is clearly evident in his articles of this book. He has witnessed his country’s exclusive quest to become a truly global force in progress. I pay tribute to him and pay my highest regards and sincerest gratitude for the excellent work he has done. This book will inspire readers everywhere. He is confident that this book will help to promote knowledge and pride among its great people. Your contribution will also encourage controlled and sustained efforts to explore and preserve Pakistan’s great history, heritage, and traditions of great dialogue and cooperation for a common national cause.”
Shahid Khaqan Abbasi graced the podium by commenting that Ikram Sehgal is a witness to history which was turbulent in the last 40-45 years and his book is an insightful view into the history of the period. And in the hindsight, we can look back and see where the mistakes were made. In encapsulation, it is an informative addition to the history with lots of factual information that provide a credible insight on the events taking place which define Pakistan’s history and political evolution.
The well-known writer, prominent journalist, Owen Bennett Jones- Former Host of BBC expressed his appreciation by commenting that anyone who has read Ikram Sehgal’s columns over the years already knows that he is a prolific writer and writes on a huge array of topics of deeper and analytical nature such as military strategy and economy which is one of his vantage point of being the country’s economist. His books give a diverse perspective which Pakistani commentators and journalists lack. And therefore it is essential for Pakistan to have a perspective by people who understand where the country is in a broader scheme of international affairs.
Additionally, the dominant theme in this collection is Ikram Sehgal’s patriotism and he is confident that the military can constitute a great change in Pakistan to a greater degree. Nonetheless, there is also a great understanding of the limits of military power and the desirability of the civilian government if it can be done in a non-corrupt way.
Senator Mushahid Hussain, who is the chairman of the Senate Defense Committee called his book, the collection of “Chairman Sehgal”. By referring to the article by Ikram Sehgal wrote last year titled, “Kashmiri lives also matter”, published in Daily Times, he lauds Ikram Sehgal’s efforts to express solidarity with the Kashmiri people and his foreshadowing of Modi’s action which could unleash series of events including repercussions in the region.
He comments on the aptness of these observations because that move leads to the worsening of relations not with just Pakistan and with China. There have been two major clashes between the Indian military and the Chinese People Liberation Army for the first time in about 40 years due to the provocation.
In the same article, Ikram Sehgal mentioned that about 25,000 domiciles have been issued in the occupied Kashmir to facilitate the influx of outsiders after Modi’s decision to revoke Article 350 and 35 A of the Indian Constitution. With the inaction by the international community, the numbers of the domiciles soared to 3.8 million domiciles with 1.2 million names added to the voter’s list.
So what he alluded to in his article two years ago has actually proven to be correct as there is an attempt to change the demography of the region by converting the majority into minority He lauds Ikram Sehgal’s speaking truth to power and the rare feat he demonstrates by advising two prime ministers; Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Mr. Imran Khan who have alternative agendas and outlook on a political forum.
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In conclusion, Ikram Sehgal’s writing has always been pro-centric, pro-federation, pro-nation-state, and state-oriented and his compendium as Dr. Moeed calls it, bears testimony of it. Thus, these volumes are a gift to a new generation who can use it as guide for business, commerce, public life and realize the existing opportunities and potential of Pakistan.