مشیت الرحمن ملک تمغۂ قائداعظم کے ذکر سے پہلے مجھے جوان دنوں کا اپنا ہی قول یاد آ گیا کہ ’’مر جانا کوئی بڑی بات نہیں زندہ رہنا کمال ہے۔‘‘ بعض لوگ کبھی نہیں مرتے۔ ہمیشہ زندہ رہتے ہیں۔
کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن ملک کا شمار انہی لوگوں میں ہوتا ہے۔ وہ پاکستان آرمی کی انجینئرنگ کور سے تعلق رکھتے تھے۔ 1952 میں بطور سیکنڈ لیفٹیننٹ فوج میں گئے کوہاٹ ٹریننگ سے فارغ ہوئے تو پہلی پوسٹنگ ہزارہ ڈویژن کے مارشل ایریا شنکیاری میں ہوئی جہاں وہ جون 1957 تک کیپٹن ایڈجوٹنٹ رہے۔یکم جون 1961 میں وہ ملتان میں تھے۔وہاں وہ نوجوان افسروں کو دستی بم کی ٹریننگ دے رہے تھے۔ پن نکالنا سکھا رہے تھے، پن نکالی ہی تھی کہ بم کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن کے ہاتھ میں ہی پھٹ گیا۔ سی ایم ایچ ملتان میں ان کی بیگم عصمت، جو ان کی پھوپھی زاد بھی تھیں، جن سے 1960میں جھنگ میں شادی ہوئی اور دونوں کی ثمر نامی بیٹی بھی تھی، کی اجازت سے کیپٹن مشیت کی زندگی بچانے کے لئے ان کے دونوں بازو کاٹ دیئے گئے ۔ کٹے ہوئے بازو اور آنکھوں پر بندھی پٹی کے ساتھ کیپٹن ملک کو راولپنڈی سی ایم ایچ شفٹ کر دیا گیا۔ جب پٹی کھلی تو کیپٹن مشیت پر کھلاکہ وہ آنکھوں جیسی عظیم نعمت سے بھی محروم ہو چکے ہیں۔ کسی بھی انسان کے لئے کس قدر کربناک لمحات ہیں جب اسے پتہ ہو کہ وہ آدھے سے زیادہ کٹ چکا ہے اور بچا ہوا جسم اندھیروں میں ڈوبا ہوا ہے، جو دن اور رات میں امتیاز کرنے کی صلاحیت سے محروم ہو چکا ہے۔ لیکن وہ کیا ہے کہ اﷲ پاک کسی شخص کو بھی اس کی برداشت سے زیادہ آزمائش میں نہیں ڈالتے۔ کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن ملک ایک حوصلہ مند جوان اور روائتی فوجی تھے جن کا مقصد ہی خطرات سے کھیلنا ہوتا ہے۔ جو ہر وقت ناموس وطن اور دھرتی کی حفاظت کے لئے دشمن کے خلاف مورچوں میں اترے ہوتے ہیں۔ کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن کی زندگی یکسر تبدیل ہو گئی تھی۔ وہ فوج کے چھوٹے مورچے سے نکل کر زندگی کے بڑے محاذ پر اولوالعزم شخصیت کا روپ دھار چکے تھے۔ ہرے زخم جب بھر گئے تو ایک آنکھ میں روشنی کی واپسی کی امید پیدا ہوئی۔ آئی سپیشلسٹ بریگیڈیئر پیرزادہ نے کیپٹن مشیت لرحمن کی برطانیہ روانگی کا اہتمام کیا۔ فوج اپنے غازیوں اور شہیدوں کو بہت عزیز رکھتی ہے۔ قرنیہ لگا دیا گیا۔ رتی برابر دکھائی دینے لگ گیا جب دروبام چمک اٹھتے تو وہ جان جاتے کہ صبح ہو گئی ہے اور بقول فیض صاحب زندگی کا زندان تاریک ہوتا تو وہ سمجھ جایا کرتے کہ اب میرے وطن کی مانگ ستاروں سے بھر گئی ہے۔
کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن ملک برطانیہ سے پلٹے تو مصنوعی بازو لگے ہوئے تھے۔ فوج نے جھنگ میں ایک کنال کا رہائشی پلاٹ الاٹ کیا تو انہوں نے وہ پلاٹ اپنی بیگم عصمت کے نام کر دیا۔ اسی عرصے میں بیٹے حمیت الرحمن کی ولادت ہوئی۔ کیپٹن مشیت کی بیگم عصمت ڈاکٹر تھیں۔ جن سے بعدازاں اُن کی علیٰحدگی ہوگئی۔ بہرکیف کیپٹن مشیت نے معاشتی طور پر خود کو سنبھالا دینے کی بہت کوششیں کیں۔ فوج کی طرف سے معقول پنشن ملنے کے باوجود دیگر ضروریات سے نبرد آزما ہونے کے لئے مختلف کاروبار کرنے کی کوشش کی‘ پرنٹنگ پریس لگائی کیونکہ فوج میں کمشن حاصل کرنے سے پہلے مشیت الرحمن فیصل آباد کے روزنامہ’سعادت وغریب‘ اور ’عوام‘ کے ساتھ وابستہ رہ چکے تھے۔ جہاں وہ لائیلپور کی ڈائری لکھا کرتے تھے۔ اس تمام مہارت تجربے اور صحافتی جان پہچان کے باوجود وہ پرنٹنگ پریس بھی نہ چلا سکے۔ فوج میں جانے سے پہلے وہ لاہور باٹاپور شو کمپنی میں ملازمت بھی کرتے رہے۔ یعنی زندگی کی ساری دھوپ چھاؤں سے گزرے مگر کوئی بھی کام وہ پورا نہ کر پائے۔ آخرکار 1965میں انہوں نے فیصل آباد میں اپنے گھر کے گیراج میں ہی نابیناؤں کے لئے ایک ادارہ قائم کیا۔ اس کا نام پاکستان ایسوسی ایشن آف دا بلائنڈ رکھا۔ اس کی بنیاد رکھنے میں کراچی کی ڈاکٹر فاطمہ شاہ نے بہت ساتھ دیا۔ فاطمہ شاہ جو1916 میں بھیرہ میں پیدا ہوئی تھیں، میڈیکل ڈاکٹر تھیں۔ 1948میں اپوا کی سیکرٹری ہیلتھ رہیں۔ 1956میں ان کی بینائی یک دم ختم ہو گئی تھی۔ انہوں نے 1960میں پاکستان ایسوسی ایشن آف دا بلائنڈ قائم کی اور اس کی بانی ہونے کے ساتھ ساتھ 19سال تک اس کی صدر رہیں۔ سکولوں کالجوں میں بریل (Braille) کواضافی مضمون کی طرح پڑھنے کا انتظام کروایا۔ 1974میں پیرس اور برلن میں انٹرنیشنل فیڈریشن آف بلائنڈ کی صدر منتخب ہوئیں۔ الغرض ڈاکٹر فاطمہ شاہ نے کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن کا بہت ساتھ دیا اور یہی وجہ تھی کہ کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن جن کی زندگی میں اندھیروں کے سوا کچھ نہ رہا تھا، وہ فاطمہ شاہ کی حوصلہ افزائی سے پھر سے توانا ہو گئے اور 1965میں گیراج میں شروع کئے گئے پاکستان ایسوسی ایشن آف دا بلائنڈ سرگودھا ڈویژن کے بعد 1967 میں فیصل آباد کی جناح کالونی میں ایک کمرہ کرائے پر لے کر نابیناؤں کے لئے کرسیاں بنائی کی تربیت شروع کر دی۔ یوں کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن دن بھر بازاروں اور گلیوں میں بھیک مانگتے نابینوں کو اکٹھا کرتے اور انہیں مختلف ہنر سکھاتے اور معاشرے میں باعزت زندگی اور محنت میں عظمت کی تحریک دینے لگ گئے۔ کیپٹن ملک نے اپنا ادارہ رجسٹر بھی کروا لیا تھا پھر 1970 میں باقاعدہ تعلیمی شعبے کا آغاز کر دیا گیا۔ نابینا بچوں اور بالغوں کے لئے بریل کے ذریعے تعلیم کا حصول ممکن بنایا۔ 1971 میں مقامی لائنز کلب کی مدد سے صوتی کتب (Electronic Books) کی لائبریری قائم کی جس میں پہلی نابینا بچی کا داخلہ ہوا۔ پھر فیصل آباد کے گورنمنٹ کالج اور دیگر سکولوں میں مربوط تعلیم پروگرام شروع کیا۔ 1977میں محکمہ اوقاف نے گورونانک پورہ چک نمبر 279نادر خان والی میں ایک گرودوارے کی عمارت کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن کے حوالے کر دی۔ جہاں جناح کالونی والا ایک کرائے کا کمرہ چھوڑ کر وہ اپنا ادارہ گرودوارے میں لے گئے اور اس کا نام اتحاد مرکز نابینا رکھا جو بعد میں المینار مرکز نابینا ہو گیا۔
جنرل ضیا الحق 1978 میں فیصل آباد گئے تو کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن کی محنت اور نابیناؤں کی زندگی سنوارنے کے عمل سے بہت متاثر ہوئے اور فیصل آبادمیں ادارے کے لئے کوئی مناسب جگہ دینے کا حکم دیا۔ یوں پھر فیصل آباد کے اقبال سٹیڈیم کے نزدیک 1979 میں کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن کچھ اراضی اور ادارے کی تعمیر کے لئے رقم بھی دی گئی۔ علاقے کے مخیر لوگوں نے بھی ادارے سے مالی تعاون کیا۔ لڑکیوں کی تعلیم کا علیحدہ شعبہ اور قیام کے لئے گرلز ہاسٹل بھی تعمیر کیا گیا۔ نابیناؤں کو پہلے میٹرک تک باقاعدہ تعلیم و تربیت اور ہنر سکھانے کا آغاز ہوا۔ مقامی طلباء کے لئے پک اینڈ ڈراپ کی سہولت بھی ادارے نے دینا شروع کر دی اور دوسرے شہروں کے طلباء و طالبات کے لئے علیحدہ علیحدہ ہاسٹل بنائے گئے۔ ادارے کا نظام ایک بورڈ کے سپرد کیا گیا۔
کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن نے نہ صرف نابیناؤں کو ہنر اور زیور تعلیم سے آراستہ کرنے میں کردار ادا کیا بلکہ بے روزگار نابیناؤں کو سرکاری ملازمتیں بھی دلوائیں ۔ بعضوں کی آپس میں شادیوں کا بندوبست اور ان کی اگلی نسلوں کے محفوظ مستقبل کے لئے بھی اقدامات کئے۔ کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن جنہیں نصف درجن سے زیادہ زبانوں پر عبور حاصل تھا، جو کئی مذاہب اور ثقافتوں کا مطالعہ بھی کر چکے تھے۔ ایک چلتا پھرتا انسائیکلوپیڈیا تھے۔ پہلی نظر میں انہیں دیکھ کر گوشت پوست کا معذور سا شخص سمجھ کر ہر کوئی اپنے تئیں ترس کھانے لگتالیکن جب ان سے گفتگو کرتا اوران کے عزائم سے آگاہی پاتا تو ترس کھانے والا شخص عقیدت سے ان کے ہاتھ چوم کر رخصت ہوتا۔
8جون 1974 کو کیپٹن مشیت نے خالدہ بانو سے دوسری شادی کرلی۔ انہوں نے شادی کے بعد اپنی اہلیہ کو ایم اے اردو اور بی ایڈبھی کروایا۔ ان کے دو بیٹے ہیں۔ ودیعت الرحمن بیٹا اور سحر مشیت بیٹی ہے جو اسلام آباد میں بحریہ کالج میں گونگے بہروں کو پڑھاتی ہیں وہ شاعر ادیب اور معروف قانون دان رائے اظہر تمغۂ شجاعت کی شریک سفر ہیں۔
خالدہ بانونے شادی کے بعد جہاں کیپٹن مشیت کی دیکھ بھال کی ان کے اداروں کا انتظامی کنڑول سنبھالا، اپنی تعلیم مکمل کی وہاں ایران، فرانس، جرمنی اور برطانیہ کے علاوہ ملکوں ملکوں کیپٹن مشیت کے ساتھ بین الاقوامی نابیناؤں کی کانفرنسز اور خصوصی اجلاسوں میں شریک بھی ہوئیں اور فروری 1977میں کیپٹن مشیت کے ہمراہ شاہ فیصل سے بھی ملیں۔ آٹھ غیرملکی دوروں کی طویل کہانی، کامیابیاں اور کارنامے اور بھی طولانی ہیں۔ کیپٹن مشیت نے ایک کتاب بھی لکھی تھی۔ ’’انسانی آنکھیں‘‘ یہ آنکھوں کی ابتدائی بیماریوں اور مسائل سے لے کر نابیناپن اور بصارت کی بحالی تک محیط ہے اور مستند مانی جاتی ہے۔ خالدہ بانو دو کتابوں کی مصنفہ ہیں ایک ان کی سوانح ہے’ سفر حیات‘ اور دوسری اس طویل اور ضخیم کتاب کی تلخیص ہے۔ کیپٹن مشیت الرحمن ملک صدارتی تمغۂ قائداعظم پانے والے معذور ہوتے ہوئے بھی بھرپور زندگی گزارنے اور اپنے مشن کی تکمیل کے بعد 20نومبر2011 کو اکیاسی برس کی عمر میں رحلت فرماگئے اور فیصل آباد کے محمد پورہ والے قبرستان میں ان کی تدفین ہوئی۔
جبار مرزا ایک معروف صحافی اور مصنف ہیں۔ ایک قومی اخبار کے لئے کالم بھی لکھتے ہیں۔
آقاؐ میری بس اتنی تمنا قبول ہو مجھ پہ تیری نگاہِ کرم کا نزول ہو دیکھوں میں جس طرف نظر آئے تُو مجھے عشقِ نبیؐ کا لازم یہ مجھ پر اصول ہو آلِ رسولِؐ پاک کا ہوجائے یوں کرم بخشش میری جو ہو تو وصیلہ بتول ہو ہو جائے یوں علاج میرا اے شافیِ اُمم خاکِ شفا میری تیرے قدموں کی دھول ہو گرمجھ سے طلب ہو اِ ک نذرانہ حضورؐ کو ہاتھوں میں میرے گلشنِ زہرہ کا پھول ہو حاصل میری وفاؤں کا اے کاتبِ تقدیر لکھ دے مِرا نصیب میں خدا کا رسولؐ ہو مسکن میرا ہو گنبدِ خضریٰ کے آس پاس پیشِ نظر پھر میرے سجدوں کا طول ہو وقعت کہاں ہے مجھ میں کہ مدحت کروں تری بخش دیجئے گا مجھ سے سرزد جو بھول ہو اِ ک نعتِ رسولِ کبریاؐ میری پہچان ہے عتیقؔ رحمتوں کا کیوں نہ میرے سخن میں شمول ہو میجر عتیق الرحمن
As I was communicating with my '2nd-in-Command', Maj Jalal Ud Din Tareen Shaheed, and other command echelons through wireless-set on 21 May 2014 – while we were engaged in exchange of fire with the foreign terrorists in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) – there was suddenly a silence on the communication network. And before I could use the alternative means of communication to know about the situation, Capt Haider Khan, another officer participating in the same operation, reported to me that Maj Jalal had been hit by bullets of the enemy. I was also informed that two more soldiers from my proud unit, Sepoy Saleem Ullah and Sepoy Imtiaz had also received bullet injuries and had embraced Shahadat at the spot. I ordered Capt Haider Khan to immediately assume the command of the situation in place of Major Jalal and also ordered for evacuation of causalities to Field Treatment Centre (FTC), Mir Ali Camp in NWA, as we kept the enemy engaged. “He has been hit in the chest and bullet has damaged his internal organs that resulted in excessive blood loss,” shared doctor at the FTC with me.
He was in critical condition. We realized it, but were equally proud of the fact that Maj Jalal was another addition to the already long list of gallant soldiers of Pak Army who are always ready to lay their lives for the country. A tall, quiet, humble and graceful Maj Jalal Ud Din Tareen was born and brought up in a far flung area of Gulistan, located in Qilla Abdullah District of Balochistan. Hailing from a Pakistan-loving-patriotic-family, Maj Jalal joined Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), Kakul with 94 PMA Long Course in 1994, and was commissioned in 54 Baloch Regiment in 1997. His younger brother, Tariq Tareen, shares that Maj Jalal was very regular in communication with all family members and would always advise them to become useful citizen and was often found talking about Pakistan. Recalling his words, he tells, “Pakistan cannot go weak as along as its people work hard with zeal and enthusiasm and love their country.” I have the privilege of being coursemate of Maj Jalal, and was fortunate enough to be his Commanding Officer, too. Although Maj Jalal could not be promoted last year, but not even for a single moment did he give any gesture of being unhappy and was as good an officer as he used to be before his Selection Board. This is indeed beauty of Pakistan Army and its system that the soldiers prefer to work for country rather than for promotions and privileges. Maj Jalal was one such example besides many, who continue to serve the country in their own way.
“We should continue to work on training aspects of the soldiers as better trained soldiers will prove their mettle during the conduct of operations,” said Maj Jalal while discussing professional affairs of the unit with me, a day prior to his Shahadat. He was a driving force for all of us in the unit. One day once I asked him to proceed on leave, and his reply was simple: “I am not tired. I am never tired of wearing uniform and will only proceed to meet my family after spending the coming Eid with my troops.” Probably that Eid may never arrive now but his under command troops recall his words each day and admire his love for his soldiers. So intense was his love for his men that while being evacuated to FTC, he was not much worried about himself but was continuously asking about the health and condition of his two fellow soldiers who received bullets in the same incident and was reciting the Kalima continuously, recalls Subedar Major Alam Hussain, who was with him in FTC, Mir Ali.
Major Jalal was a marvelous support for me in the extension of my command in the unit. He was highly motivated and a true regimental officer who was involved in every affair of the unit and all operational tasks assigned to the paltaon. We went together to neutralize the terrorists in Mir Ali area on 19 December 2013 and returned victorious, and were happy to fight the terrorists again on another day. That day was to come five months later, on 21 May 2014, to leave its scars on my heart forever.
Although we were course-mates and good friends, but Maj Jalal never addressed me with my name after I assumed the command, and would always call me as 'Sir', which at times was embarrassing for me. And if I expressed un-easiness to be addressed so formally by him, he would say, “Allah has bestowed this rank upon you and you deserved it; it is my duty both officially and in person to respect you for this. I will In-Sha-Allah call you by your name once you are over with the command.”
Dear Jalal, now, I eagerly wait for you to address me with my name. Major Jalal loved his family very much. He was blessed with two sons and two lovely daughters. I never got the chance to talk to his eldest daughter, Umme Kalsoom, but his son Adil Tareen was almost a member of our unit community and we often talked to each other. Maj Jalal remained in touch with his wife on daily basis and was always concerned about their comfort and good life. Haji Muhammad Akhtar (father of Maj Jalal), a brave and courageous Baloch, after receiving Maj Jalal's coffin at home, said “It is Will of Allah and I am proud of my son who has sacrificed his life for Pakistan.” Maj Jalal often discussed situation of Balochistan with me. “I feel so happy that Army has opened many schools in Balochistan and is doing so much for the welfare of the people. I have a strong desire that people of Balochistan get best education and facilities,” Jalal shared with me the other day. He always motivated the troops from remote areas to bring their families in cantonment and educate their children. The bullet wound on the chest of Maj Jalal resulted in excessive blood loss. Although he was transfused three pints of blood during surgery at FTC, but could not sustain the injury and left for eternal abode in the midway to Peshawar, where he was being air-lifted to, for advance treatment. Before evacuation to Peshawar, at Mir Ali, I carried Jalal's stretcher from ambulance to the chopper. That was the last and final moment that I saw Jalal asleep, peacefully, though alive at that time.
Maj Jalal was buried with full military honour in his ancestral town, Saigai (Gulistan), Balochistan. He will always be remembered by his friends, colleagues, family members and above all, 54 Baloch Regiment.
It is not usually realized that by merely accompanying Jinnah wherever he went during the 1940s, Fatima Jinnah had psychologically prepared the Muslim women to stand shoulder to shoulder with men during the freedom struggle. Numerous pictures of the period show Miss Fatima Jinnah walking alongside Jinnah, not behind him. The message was loud and clear – the message both the brother and the sister wished to convey to the nation.
Over the decades a good deal has been written on Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah’s (1893-1967) singular contribution to national politics. The focus in most writings on her and about her is almost exclusively on how she stood for and beckoned the people to the pristine principles that had impelled the demand for Pakistan; how she had inspired the strivings and sacrifices in their quest, how she had enabled the beleaguered nation to own them up; how she had provided an unfailing source of inspiration to them during the 1950s and the 1960s; how she had helped, substantially and significantly, to keep the torch of democracy aflame in the most un-fortuitous circumstances; and, thus, how, above all, she, more than anyone else, had sustained the nation’s quest for democracy during president Ayub’s (1907-74) marathon semi-authoritarian rule.
Fatima Jinnah’s contribution in the social development sector, though as singular, substantial and critical, has however lain ignored somewhat. This has largely remained overshadowed by her political role despite the fact that she, along with Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan (1905-90), had made the greatest contribution in the realm of women’s awakening and participation in national affairs, in their emancipation, their regeneration, and their empowerment. Indeed, since her early life Fatima Jinnah had served as a role model for Muslim girls/women in several areas as the various roles she had donned would indicate.
Indeed, if you cast a glance at the various vicissitudes of her life, you will see that from the beginning she had cast herself in the role of a modern Muslim female persona. That role calls for equipping oneself to shoulder the tasks, along with its male counterpart, at various levels – domestic, public, and/or national – and contribute fully and significantly its share in accomplishing them.
Consider, for instance, her early life. In an age when few Muslim girls took to English education, she went in for modern education. In an age, when convent schools and boarding schools for girls were shunned, she enrolled herself in the Bandhara Convent School (1902) and, later in St. Patrick School, Bhandara (1906) from where she did her matriculation. And all the while she stayed on her own in a hostel, much against the family and Khoja traditions. She did her Senior Cambridge in 1913. In an age when few Indian (not to speak of Muslim) women went in for a professional degree or diploma and training, she went in for one. She moved to Calcutta in 1919, and got herself enrolled in Dr. Ahmad Dental College. Interestingly, she decided to stay on her own in a hostel, although her elder sister, Maryam, was living along with her family over there. Not only did she train herself as a dentist; she also, with Quaid’s encouragement, opened a dental clinic on Abdur Rehman Street, a Muslim locality in Bombay, in 1923. Indeed, a rare phenomenon even for cosmopolitan and modernized Bombay. In an age, when social work was not an in-thing, nor a sort of fashion, even with educated and affluent womenfolk in India’s most modern society except for the tiny Parsi community, she exhibited a passion for social work. She worked simultaneously at the nearby Dhobi Talau Municipal Clinic, on a voluntary basis.
Although Fatima Jinnah had lived with her elder sister during this period, her choice of a modern profession and leading a busy professional life indicated that she was determined to live on her own, that she wished to lead a useful life, instead of being a burden on the family or living off the family. Indeed, she was determined to pursue the values she deemed important to give meaning and purpose to one's life. Above all, she wished to contribute for the social uplifting and welfare of the community, rather than being a drain on it.
All this, inter alia, indicated her independence and will power, her capacity for decision-making and for hard and sustained work, and her penchant for social welfare activities and social and economic uplift of the downtrodden and poor womenfolk. This also indicated the progressive streak in her thinking in those days. A streak that required women to take to the professions and make themselves useful to the community and country at large, instead of wasting their talents and frittering away their energies, just sitting at home and engaging themselves in routine domestic chores and idle pursuits. Even in those days she believed that women should take part in nation building activities – a view she propagated repeatedly, later. But life is much more than a mere career, as Hillary Rodham Clinton pointed out years earlier when reigned supreme as the First Lady. When the call from the family comes, the profession inevitably takes a back seat, however committed one is professionally. Thus, when Rutten Bai (b. 1900) died on February 20, 1929, Miss Jinnah sacrificed her career, wound up her clinic, took charge of Quaid-i-Azam’s palatial Malabar Hill mansion, and assigned herself the most critical task of helping her illustrious brother out in terms of his personal needs and comforts, and in providing him with a salubrious atmosphere at home, so that he could give undivided attention to the critical problems Muslim India was confronted with. Additionally, she served as his confidante and advisor: she stood by him all the time, giving him hope and encouragement, and trying to sustain him during the most strenuous period of his life. She remained his constant companion for the next twenty years (1929-48).
Years later, Jinnah, who is seldom known to give public expression to his private feelings, acknowledged unreservedly. “My sister was like a bright ray of light and hope whenever I came home and met her,” Jinnah told the guests at the first official dinner, hosted by Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah (1879-1948), Premier and Governor designate of Sindh, at the Karachi Club on August 9, 1947.
Interestingly though, despite her closeness to Jinnah during all these years when he was almost the uncrowned “king” of Muslim India, Fatima Jinnah kept herself behind the scene; she was content to live under the shadow of the towering Quaid. She never utilized her vantage position to take to public office or public platform, leaving it to other women leaders like Begum Maulana Mohammad Ali (d. 1944), Begum Aijaz Rasul (1908-2001), Begum Jahanara Shah Nawaz (1896-1979) and Begum Salma Tasaduq Hussain (1908-1995), to assume leadership roles. She was, of course, active in organizing women (e.g., as Vice President, Women’s Wing of the All India Muslim League; founder, All India Muslim Women Students Federation, etc.), but she never aspired for public office, nor was she nominated by Jinnah for one. In both these cases, the brother and the sister broke the prevailing sub continental tradition of dynastic succession in the political realm.
Despite his democratic penchant and orientation, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964), for instance, had nominated his sister, Vijay Lakshmi Pundit, as leader of the Indian delegation to the UN, and later as the Indian nominee for the presidentship of the UN General Assembly. He also got his daughter, Indira Gandhi (1917-1984), elected as the Congress president during his own life time, paving the way for her to succeed him. The super populist Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (1928-79) got Nusrat Bhutto (1929-2011) elected to a woman’s seats in the NA in March 1977. More explicable, he had her nominated as his successor for life as PPP Chairperson. Nusrat got her daughter, Benazir Bhutto (1953-2007), nominated as PPP’s Co-Chairperson. This all indicate of a tendency and setting the trend for dynastic rule in Pakistan and India. Bhutto’s trend was followed by Khan Abdul Wali Khan (d. 2006) getting his wife, Nasim Wali Khan, and son, Isfandyar Wali Khan, to get “elected” as NAP’s NWFP President and as NAP’s President respectively. Likewise, in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) Bandaranaika followed her husband in the seat of power in the 1950s, and in Bangladesh Hasina Sheikh and Khalida Zia assumed leadership roles in the wake of her father’s/husband’s assassination, since the 1980s. Thus, Fatima Jinnah alone had set her face against the dynastic tradition, so characteristic of, and so prevalent, in the entire region.
But, despite Fatima Jinnah’s cloistered approach and low-key profile for over a decade, the nation was able to discover in her a leader in her own right, after she emerged from the Quaid’s towering shadow. Thus, in the post-Jinnah period, she donned the role of a supreme guide and became the foremost symbol and advocate of Jinnah’s cherished principles. Thus, in a real sense, leadership came to be thrust on her. Indeed, she had to don the leadership role, whether she liked it or not.
Thus, Miss Jinnah did come to the public platform – but only at the fag end of her life, some fifteen years after Jinnah’s death and even then, only, at the imminent and desperate call of the nation. This she did to head the democratic movement against the incumbent Ayub regime in September 1964. And when she took to the public platform she did it with indefatigable courage and unflinching determination, whatever the disabilities, whatever the odds, whatever the consequences. And despite being a septuagenarian, she dutifully went through the strenuous campaign all the way – though it meant great discomfort to her personally, wrecking her physically, and putting her to all sorts of mean attacks by her opponents.
Indeed, the inexhaustible energy, the unrelenting stamina and the unflagging enthusiasm she displayed during the election campaign surprised almost everyone, friend and foe alike – including President Mohammad Ayub Khan. All this could have been, and was, made possible if only because of her strength of character and conviction, and her tenacity of purpose. In all this, again, Fatima Jinnah served as a role model for Pakistani women. It is not usually realized that by merely accompanying Jinnah wherever he went during the 1940s, Fatima Jinnah had psychologically prepared the Muslim women to stand shoulder to shoulder with men during the freedom struggle. Numerous pictures of the period show Miss Fatima Jinnah walking alongside Jinnah, not behind him. The message was loud and clear – the message both the brother and the sister wished to convey to the nation. And by 1945-46 the message had sunk deep enough, to induce Muslim women to participate to the hilt during the critical election campaign. Mian Mumtaz Daultana told me that almost one-third of the audiences in the election meetings in the Punjab comprised women. Women volunteers campaigning door to door in the urban areas, he said, made the Muslim League’s success at the hustings possible.
Likewise, Miss Jinnah’s political role during the 1950s and the 1960s helped a good deal in making women’s role in public life both respectable and credible; it facilitated other women in later years to don public roles without let or hindrance, without raising an eye brow. Indeed, her candidature in the 1965 presidential elections settled once and for all the knotty question whether a woman could be the head of a Muslim state. In the circumstances it was her candidature alone that could have induced a favourable fatwa from Maulana Abul Ala Maududi. And once that was acquired, the controversial issue ceased to be all that controversial for all time to come. In perspective this represents a singular contribution towards women’s regeneration, women’s empowerment and women participation in public life in Pakistan.
Even otherwise, Miss Jinnah believed that “Women are the custodians of a sacred trust – the best in the cultural and spiritual heritage of a nation”. And all through her life she called on women to equip themselves as best as they possibly could and play out their due role in the onward march of the nation.
To sum up, then, apart from leading the nation in its democratic quest at a critical hour in its history, her genius lay in helping the development of a modern Muslim female persona which would equip itself to shoulder, along with its male counterpart, the tasks of nation building the dramatic birth of the new nation in the most treacherous circumstances had called for.
The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited Unesco's History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007), the only oral history on Pakistan's Founding Father.
I have received thousands of letters and telegrams of congratulations, greetings and good wishes from all over India and abroad. It is physically impossible for me to reply to each one of those who have sent me their messages and I am very grateful to all of them for their sympathy, good wishes and greetings.
Quaid-i-Azam's Statement dated 13 June 1947 expressing his thanks to the Muslims of the Tribal Areas for their numerous messages of good wishes and greetings. After protracted and long parleys between Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Lord Mountbatten, the Viceroy of British India, Mahatma Gandhi., Jawaharlal Nehru and other Indian leaders for about three months Partition Plan of 3 June 1947 was finalized by which Pakistan was created on 14 August 1947. The Tribesmen of NWFP were happy on this occasion. Upon conclusion of the Partition Plan of 3 June 1947, the hundreds of tribesmen sent their congratulatory letters and telegrams to Quaid-i-Azam, the Father of Pakistani Nation on this achievement that Pakistan would be established very soon. The Tribesmen were also very happy that the people of NWFP (now KPK) expressed their willingness to join Pakistan in July 1947. The happiness of the Tribesmen was increased because in the province the Congress Ministry of Dr. Khan Sahib was to be removed or toppled as it was against the idea of Pakistan. This was not a unique position, because the Referendum of July 1947was in line with the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the Muslims of the subcontinent. Responding to these hundreds of letters and telegrams, the Quaid thanked them in his reply of 13 June 1947. After the establishment of Pakistan when the Quaid, as First Governor-General of Pakistan, visited the Frontier in April 1948, the Quaid especially thanked them in his meeting of 17 April 1948. Both these documents are being published here showing the unstinted loyalty of Tribesmen for the cause of Pakistan.
Quaid-i-Azam's Statement dated 13 June 1947 expressing his thanks to the Muslims of the Tribal Areas for their numerous messages of good wishes and greetings. I have received thousands of letters and telegrams of congratulations, greetings and good wishes from all over India and abroad. It is physically impossible for me to reply to each one of those who have sent me their messages and I am very grateful to all of them for their sympathy, good wishes and greetings. Particularly, I thank our Muslim brethren of the Tribal Areas across the North-West Frontier Province for their messages of good wishes and greetings, which have come in large numbers, and I take this opportunity to assure them that we shall adjust and settle our affairs in a brotherly way. There is no desire on our part to interfere with their freedom. We shall be happy to meet them and enter into such arrangements with them, as would be in the mutual interests of both, and the Muslims generally.
Quaid-i-Azam's address to the Tribal Jirga on 17 April 1948 at Government House, Peshawar. I have been looking forward since long to meet you, representatives of the Tribes of the North-West Frontier, and it has given me very great pleasure indeed to have met you here today. I am sorry I have not been able to visit you in your own parts of the country, but I hope to be able to do so sometime in the future. I thank you for your welcome to me and for the kind personal references you have made about me. Whatever I have done, I did as a servant of Islam, and only tried to perform my duty and made every possible contribution within my power to help our Nation. It has been my constant endeavour to try to bring about unity among Musalmans, and I hope that in the great task of reconstruction and building up Great and Glorious Pakistan, that is ahead of us, you realize that solidarity is now more essential than it ever was for ach ieving Pakistan, which by the grace of God we have already done. I am sure that I shall have your fullest support in this mission. I want every Musalman to do his utmost and help me and support me in creating complete solidarity among the Musalmans, and I am confident that you will not lag behind any other individual or part of Pakistan. We, Musalmans, believe in one God, one Book the Holy Quran and one Prophet (PBUH). So we must stand united as one Nation. You know the old saying that in unity lies strength; united we stand, divided we fall. I am glad to note that you have pledged your loyalty to Pakistan, and that you will help Pakistan with all your resources and ability. I appreciate this solemn declaration made by you today. I am fully aware of the part that you have already played in the establishment of Pakistan, and I am thankful to you for all the sympathy and support you gave me in my struggle and fight for the establishment of Pakistan. Keeping in view your loyalty, help, assurance and declarations, we ordered, as you know the withdrawal of troops from Waziristan as a concrete and definite gesture on our part that we treat you with absolute confidence and trust you as our Muslim brethren across the border.
I am glad that there is full realization on your part that now the position is basically different. It is no longer a foreign Go vernment as it was, but it is now a Muslim Government and Muslim rule that holds the reigns of this great independent sovereign State of Pakistan. It is now the duty of every Musalman, yours and mine, and every Pakistani to see that the State, which we have established, is strengthened in every department of life and made prosperous and happy for all, especially the poor and the needy. Pakistan has no desire to unduly interfere with your internal freedom. On the contrary, Pakistan wants to help you and make you, as far as it lies in our power, self-reliant and self-sufficient and help in your educational, social and economic uplift, and not be left as you are dependent on annual doles, as has been the practice hitherto which meant that at the end of the year you were no better off than beggars asking for allowances, if possible a little and producing what is best in you and your land. You know that the Frontier Province is a deficit province but that does not trouble us so much. Pakistan will not hesitate to go out of its way to give every possible help financial and otherwise to build up the economic and social life of our tribal brethren across the border. I agree with you that education is absolutely essential, and I am glad that you appreciate the value of it. It will certainly be my constant solicitude and indeed that of my Gov ernment to try to help you to educate your children and with your co-operation and help we may very soon succeed in making a great progress in this direction.
Your desire for entering the Pakistan Service in the Civil and Military will receive my full consideration and that of my Government, and I hope that some progress would be made in this direction also without unnecessary delay. You have also expressed, your desire that the benefits, such as your allowances and khassadari, that you have had in the past and are receiving, should continue. Neither my Government nor I have any desire to modify the existing arrangements except in consultation with you so long as you remain loyal and faithful to Pakistan. I know there has been scarcity of food grains, cloth, and sugar. You must realize that we have all been passing through difficult times all over the world and Pakistan is no exception; indeed the whole world is facing hardships, but we are not unmindful of this problem, and we are endeavouring to the utmost of our capacity, with special care for Balochistan and the Frontier Province, and you will not be neglected in this respect. We will do our utmost to see that essential commodities reach you in time and in reasonably sufficient quantities. I am hoping and looking forward to the time when more normal conditions may present themselves to us, so that we may be able to live with more ease and comfort in the way of food, clothing, housing and all the necessities of life. In the end, I warmly thank you for the whole-hearted and unstinted declaration of your pledge and your assurances to support Pakistan, so that it may reach the pinnacle of glories of Islam and become a great and mighty nation among other nations of the world. Pakistan Zindabad
The writer is Ex-Director, National Instiutute of Historical and Curtural Research, and Professor at Quaid-i-Azam Chair (NIPS), Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad