Recently two anniversaries were celebrated. Both individuals were remembered for their innings. While the Nawabzada Nasrullah played a leading role in strengthening the democratic order in the country, Chaudhry Sahib left a very poor legacy. In his case, there should be remorse and apology instead of celebrations participated by a captive audience. As a political activist growing up in Lahore, I had the chance of interacting with both of these individuals.
The Chaudhry from Gujrat had very poor credentials. After being dismissed as Sub-inspector of Police, he was launched by the first dictator as a ‘Political Villian’ (PV) to derail democracy. In this capacity, he performed exceptionally well. The left of center Progressive Papers Limited (PPL) of Mian Ifthikar-ud-Din was handed over to him. In order to meet the expenses of running the newspapers, a profitable factory was also handed down to him. He drove the organization into dust, thus ending an era of free-thinking journalists. Somehow he managed to build a house in the FCC scheme which remained his headquarter for many years.
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In the 1970’s elections, Bhutto won by huge margins in this constituency
Again in 1977 after the takeover, he challenged Bhutto to contest the election against him from any constituency of Punjab. The challenge was accepted, Bhutto filed his papers against him and was leading by a big margin. He was one of the few politicians who went begging Zia to call off the elections within ninety days as required by the constitution. He then joined his cabinet together with Javed Hashmi. Air Marshal Asghar Khan repented his mistake and tried to make amends by contesting against the establishment-created alliance called ‘Islami Jhumari Ittehad’ that launched Mian Nawaz Sharif together with the next generation of PVs.
He openly supported the mistrial of Bhutto by his friend Maulvi Mushtaq Muhammad the then Chief Justice of Lahore High Court. When the car of the Judge was ambushed in Model Town, he was unfortunate to be sitting with him. While he was killed, the Judge was critically injured and died a few months later. He played a key role in the launch of ‘Sarkari Leagues’ (PML-Con, PML-N, PML-Q, etc) that continue to derail democracy till today. Today his heirs have built a political empire and own almost all important properties in the area which has now been named after him. Certainly, he sided with the evil forces that were responsible for the launch of ‘Zia Dark Ages’ which refuses to come to an end.
Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan was a ‘Political Hero’ (PH) who commanded respect from all quarters. Bhutto called him ‘Siasi Khalari’ (Political Player). He believed in democracy and civilian supremacy for which he struggled till his last breath. As he belonged to Muzaffargargh, he rented a small place on Nicholson Road Lahore from where he operated and led several movements to strengthen the democratic order which was repeatedly derailed by the dictators. He died in 2003 after a valiant effort to corner the fourth dictator in the National Assembly of Pakistan. The PVs succeeded by one vote to install Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali as the Prime Minister (PM) of the new ‘Sarkari League’ headed by the heirs of the Chaudhry of Gujrat.
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He leads the Kashmir Committee of the parliament with vigor. Started the Kashmir Day protest to highlight the plight of our Kashmiri brethren. He was an honest, upright, able, selfless individual who never compromised on principles of integrity and fair play. People like him have become rare these days who believed in giving not taking. Despite being a chain smoker, he lived a long healthy and meaningful life. Such individuals must be celebrated as they were role models for the youth.
Why do we need to open our eyes before it’s too late?
As a nation, we must distinguish between heroes and zeros, separate PHs from PVs. The prevailing confusion needs to be cleared for the next generation to follow the righteous path to glory instead of the prevailing gloom. The two sons of the Nawabzada have kept the family political traditions alive. While his eldest son Mansoor Ali Khan merged his father’s party Pakistan Democratic Party (PDP) with PTI and was elected MPA, Ifthikar Ali Khan was elected MNA on a PPP ticket. The Chaudhry’s of Gujrat have built their own financial-political empire that continues to indulge in pro-establishment politics totally void of principles.
They offered to support the candidature in uniform for the position of the President for the fourth dictator. PML-Q follows the politics of ‘Mitti Pao’ (Cover-up) while PML-N has adopted the approach of ‘Muk Maka’ (Wheeling-Dealing). For the nation to move forward the political dirt created by the establishment honchos has to be cleaned up.
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The shining path of politics left behind by the Nawabzada should be our guide not the intrigued and back door political approach of the Chaudhry’s of Gujrat who have managed to manipulate the system for their personal gains. A new dawn and a fresh start have to be made to bury the evils of ‘Mitti Pao’ and ‘Muk Maka’ and replace them with ‘Principles’ as followed by the likes of the evergreen Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan of Muzaffargarh. People like him are immortalized by their deeds, misdeeds perish with the person.
The writer is Ex-Chairman Pakistan Science Foundation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space (GVS).