Interview Mr. Zafar Hilaly

Today, the challenge we face from the east, in terms of lethality, is no different than the one we face from the west. Both of them are existential challenges.

Asif Jehangir Raja

Mr. Zafar Hilaly is a renowned diplomat who had been Pakistan's Ambassador to several countries. His father Agha Hilaly migrated from India and is considered among pioneers of Pakistan Foreign Service. His uncle Agha Shahi was also a famous diplomat. In line with his family traditions, Zafar Hilaly also joined Pakistan Foreign Service. Besides other prestigious portfolios, he remained Special Secretary to the Prime Minister. He is a security and political analyst who regularly contributes for print & electronic media.

Hilal: This year we are celebrating 68th Independence Day of Pakistan. Your father Agha Hilaly migrated from India and is considered among pioneers of Pakistan's Foreign Service. He is also known to have close acquaintance with Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. What are your memories of early days of Pakistan and what your father shared with you, particularly, with reference to dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam?

ZH: On the 68th anniversary of our independence, it's worth recalling that many did not think we would exist for as long as we have. In fact, on or about our first anniversary in August 1948, Nehru declared that Pakistan would not have a life span of more than 25 years. And just the other day, Richard Armitage, the former US Deputy Secretary of State, said he was not sure whether Pakistan would last a further 25 years. A spate of recent books by American think tanks and former diplomats also hold out the prospect of Pakistan's impending demise. Well, Nehru was proved wrong; and there is every reason to believe that the other doomsayers will also have to eat their own words.

Yes indeed my father migrated from India to live in a part of the subcontinent he scarcely knew and had never visited, only because he believed in Jinnah and his cause. In fact, along with the others whom you describe as the 'pioneers' of Pakistan he, and his brother, Agha Shahi, readily gave up all they owned, including over a score of houses on a street named after their own father (Agha Abdullah) in Bangalore for the sake of Jinnah's Pakistan. I say this because when in 1950, as a very young boy, I grumbled to my mother about the modest accommodation assigned to us by government in Karachi, when compared to the virtual palace in which we lived in Bangalore, she suggested I keep quiet lest my father overhear. Later, when I finally did summon up the courage to ask father why he had decided to leave all his worldly possessions in India to trek to Pakistan; his answer, in one word, was, 'Jinnah', adding, 'and I have never regretted that decision.'

Yes, my father Agha Hilaly worked fairly closely with Jinnah as Pakistan's first de facto chief of protocol in 1948, although he never thought of himself as a 'friend' of Jinnah or even an 'acquaintance'; he was too much in awe of Jinnah to consider himself in those terms, besides he was much younger. It's probably more accurate to describe him as a devoted follower, a 'murid', if you like, of the man he revered as 'the Quaid'. My father's reminiscences of working with Jinnah were many. I recall him remarking that Jinnah had no patience for the interminable pleasantries and aimless banter exchanged with foreign dignitaries during courtesy calls and how the Quaid had fretted because, for instance, his half-hour long meeting with the Saudi monarch in 1948 had consisted of nothing but pleasantries. He also recalled Jinnah feeling irked that the Shah of Iran, a young man in 1948, seemed so tongue tied during their meeting that he hardly uttered a word. Luckily the Foreign Secretary (or was it the Foreign Minister at the time?), who was also present at the meeting, came to the rescue and the meeting concluded on a pleasant note.

What impressed my father about the Quaid was the meticulous attention he paid to detail. There was nothing 'airy- fairy' about the Quaid. He wanted his subordinates to be 'boned up' on all aspects of the projected meeting, the proposals under discussion and to brief him, if the need arose. Apparently, Jinnah was fastidious in just about everything he did, including dress, deportment and his selection of words and phrases. Some of the Quaid's attributes must have rubbed off on my father because on one occasion, I recall him telling me (1961), with considerable pride that an Indian journal had declared him the 'best dressed Ambassador (High Commissioner) in New Delhi'. Sensing I was unimpressed by the accolade he had earned my father remarked, 'you don't seem to appreciate how important it is for a diplomat to be well dressed. By dressing well you not only tell a lot about yourself but also show respect for whomever you are meeting.' I suspect he recalled Jinnah too believing that. Of course, much has changed since then, though not in some countries like Italy, as I discovered. There, even today, 'Clothes maketh the man', as the saying goes.

Hilal: Quaid-i-Azam was known for Hindu-Muslim unity. Similarly, initially Dr. Allama Muhammad Iqbal also demanded for more political representation and economic rights for Muslim community. How do you view role of Hindu leadership and movements for Hindu revivalism that pushed Muslim leadership to the conclusion that it would be detrimental to the future of Muslims of the subcontinent to live alongside a highly prejudiced and narrow-minded Hindu majority in one country.

ZH: Yes, indeed, the attitude of Hindu nationalists in the Congress Party had a key role to play in the creation of Pakistan. Some believe, and I agree, that their role was unwittingly, of course, even greater than some Muslim League leaders, for example, the (Hindu) refrain that in an independent India the will of the (Hindu) majority would invariably prevail. It caused a great deal of concern among Muslims who feared for their future at the hand of Hindu revivalists (like Vallabhai Patel) who had come to dominate Congress policies. Even Nehru, who was considered more 'secular' than the rank and file Congress Party leader, was not prepared to accept that Muslim concerns had to be addressed and their fears assuaged if India was to remain united. Nehru believed that the time had come for Muslims to lump it, as it were, and accept Hindu dominance just as, I suppose, the Hindus had accepted Muslim (MUGHAL) rule. Jaswant Singh has pointed out how Jinnah, once known as the 'Ambassador of Hindu Muslim unity' among his fellow Congress Party members was slighted and made to feel unwanted in Congress by Nehru in the 1930s because he felt that Muslim apprehensions should not be ignored. Of course, the breaking point between Jinnah and Nehru and, in a sense, between Muslim and Hindu India came later, in 1946, when having accepted Jinnah's conditions for a united India, Nehru went back on his word very shortly afterwards. It was then that Jinnah declared he had no trust in Nehru, or the Congress, and that henceforth the Muslim League, of which he was by now the undisputed leader, would settle for nothing less than partition.

Frankly, that was probably just as well because, as we now know, Hindu bigots in Congress wished to reclaim India exclusively for the Hindus. For them even Mahatma Gandhi was far too accommodating of the Muslim viewpoint and, hence, an obstacle to militant Hindu rule, which is why, as we now know, he was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic (Naturam Godse) in 1947.

Hilal: Pakistan began its journey with virtually no economic assets, meagre share of defence forces and non-existent civilian bureaucracy. However, today despite enormous challenges, Pakistan has achieved many successes. How do you view this journey from a 14 August 1947 to 14 August 2014?

ZH: To say Pakistan began her independent journey with few, if any, assets is a gross understatement. I recall being told the Foreign Office did not even have paper for notes, summaries, etc. or the wherewithal to purchase them at the time of independence because the funds supposed to have been released for Pakistan's use had been withheld by India. Instead rolls of toilet paper served as writing material in the Foreign Office for several weeks after independence. So yes, the saga of Pakistan's rise, in the teeth of unremitting Indian hostility and the denial of her assets is one that deserves recounting, especially when we consider that the task was made infinitively more difficult by the huge influx of refugees that partition triggered and the administrative chaos that created for a fledgling nation.

But while succeeding generations must not forget all that, and the other travails and vicissitudes our elders endured, and how well we have done to reach the stage where we are at today, the fact is we are out of the woods as yet. In fact, the challenges we face today, at the hands of local and foreign zealots, and cunning enemies in neighbouring countries are, if anything, as serious a challenge to our independence and territorial integrity as any that we have faced in the 67 years since we gained our freedom. In other words, Pakistan's history is still in the process of being made. The present, therefore, is not the time for self–congratulations although, Inshahllah, that time too will come. The present is the time to make history and to make history bend in our direction.

Hilal: You have served for a long time in Pakistan's Foreign Service. Your father, Agha Hilaly, and paternal uncle Agha Shahi also remained top civil servants for Pakistan. In your opinion, what are major achievements of our foreign policy and where things went wrong that could have been avoided, or a better course had been chosen to safeguard Pakistan's national interests?

ZH: Pakistan's greatest foreign policy success has been the relationship we have been able to forge with China. It is in every respect an exemplary relationship and moreover one that ensures peace can subsist in our volatile environment notwithstanding India's hegemonic hilalyaspirations and crude attempts to impose her fiat on the smaller nations of the region. But we would do well to remember that like much else in life friendship too, much like loyalty, has to be continually nourished. It must not be taken for granted; hence, it is gratifying to see that every sphere of government and, in particular, the armed forces striving to maintain the closest possible cooperation with China.

Our gravest foreign policy failure has been our inability to convince the world that, like so many other people, Kashmiris too must be permitted the right of self-determination, as was promised to them by India, Pakistan and the UN itself in numerous UNSC resolutions. The Kashmir cause is a great moral cause but somehow it has not caught the imagination of the world like ending apartheid in South Africa did not long ago. Our stance that the Kashmir dispute must be settled peacefully in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri nation is the right one and we must not, merely for the sake of pleasing India, or a phony peace, give up our principled stance or forsake the Kashmiris.

As great a failure has been our inability to forge the closest possible relations with our neighbours, Iran and Afghanistan. The fault is not entirely ours, especially in the case of Afghanistan, which stubbornly lays claim to Pakistan territory and connives with India to harm Pakistan. But that said, had we made the right kind of approaches to Kabul earlier, like we did in the last days of the Daoud regime (1978) and generally shown more imagination in handling Kabul, who can say we would not have succeeded in overcoming the suspicion and distrust that presently sour relations. Indeed, matters have reached a pass today that both countries not only accuse each other of harbouring and providing succor to their respective enemies but also actively helping them to launch attacks against the other. I have always believed our policy towards Afghanistan should be non-interventionist, trade oriented, non ideological, focused on genuine national interests and undergirded by an inflexible bias towards neutrality in other people’s wars and repeatedly pointed this out to the powers that be while I was in service. Needless to say it earned me no kudos.

However, it is the vital relationship with Iran that we have consistently failed to get right and has been our greatest foreign policy failure. It has deprived us of the vast economic benefits that an assured supply of energy would generate for the economy and the improvement it would bring about in the quality of the people’s lives. It beggars the imagination that 67 years on, not a single oil pipeline links energy-starved Pakistan with an oil exporting country of the magnitude of neighbouring Iran. It is no less astonishing, given our geographical location, common religion and cultural ties that not a single bilateral treaty binds the two countries to come to the assistance of the other in times of peril or need. We have signed defence treaties and joined alliances with countries seven seas away from Pakistan but not even one with our neighbour Iran. The lapse is so glaring and logically so inexplicable that I, for one, have never been able to discover a plausible explanation.

Another failure was the decision, very soon after independence, to take the side of the West in the ongoing cold war at that time. We were seen as having sold ourselves to the West and although few believe, it caused any lasting damage, which was not the case. The Soviet Union, for example, was alienated and blocked all moves in the UNSC to implement the resolutions of the Security Council on Kashmir although earlier these had been passed unanimously. Moreover, at a key moment during the Bangladesh crisis, the Soviet Union signed a military alliance with India, in effect giving India military cover to invade East Pakistan without having to worry about the Chinese and US reaction.

Both Agha Hilaly and Agha Shahi were strongly opposed to the uncritical relationships Pakistan forged with the West during the Cold War. Agha Hilaly nearly lost his job over his opposition to Pakistan joining SEATO. And it was Agha Shahi who finally persuaded ZA Bhutto to adopt a non-aligned posture when it came to choosing between the capitalist and communist worlds rather than be too clever by half and promise unstinted support to the West out of one corner of his mouth and the same to the Soviets out of the other corner as Bhutto would do on occasions. Eventually in 1982, Agha Shahi resigned as Foreign Minister, ostensibly on health grounds, but actually because of differences over the direction of our Afghan policy and the posture, our leaders adopted towards the US.

Again, it was Agha Shahi who masterminded the UN campaign to win China's admission and, as it happened, it was Agha Hilaly who acted as the messenger/ adviser to both Presidents, Yayha Khan and Nixon, in the now historic rapprochement between China and the US. As a measure of US gratitude President Nixon offered Agha Hilaly US citizenship, which he politely declined. However, he did accept Prime Minister Chou en Lai's invitation to pay an 'official' visit to China even though he was by then (1974) a private citizen, having retired from service two years earlier. The invitation to pay an official/state visit, as PM Chou reminded Agha Hilaly during a dinner in his honour, was 'a unique invitation' and indeed since then a Chinese prime minister has not extended a similar invitation to any 'private' Pakistani citizen.

Hilal: You remained Pakistan's ambassador to Italy, Yemen and Nigeria. In your view, what are the essentials for a successful diplomacy and a diplomat?

ZH: To be a good diplomat one need to have a cool head, a cold heart, a smiling countenance (preferably) and a facile pen, in other words, good powers of expression and excellent communication skills. But that's not all, he also needs to have a profound knowledge of the host country's history and geography and an innate ability to discern where important differences exist, and if no solution can be found, how best to manage them, so that relations remain on an even keel. In other words, to dwell on the positive things that draw the two countries together and do everything that will help reduce friction. All of which requires experience and the right training and background. But just as you cannot clap with one hand so a diplomat's efforts to bolster relations with the country of his accreditation will flounder if he receives no support from his parent office or the government of the day. Alas, regrettably, that happens all too often, as I know from personal experience.

Hilal: Today Pakistan is facing internal as well as external threats. How do you view security challenges for Pakistan from eastern and western neighbours?

ZH: Today, the challenge we face from the east, in terms of lethality, is no different than the one we face from the west. Both of them are existential challenges; let us make no mistake about that. And both must be met with a judicious mix of diplomacy, discussion, state manoeuvring and force. However, we face another challenge, which you have not mentioned, although it is no less vital to our survival, and that is the challenge posed by poor governance and bad leadership. And it is this challenge that should take precedence over the external challenges because if we can get governance right, and are able to meet the very basic requirements of our people, the other challenges will become much easier to confront and the prospects of success immeasurably improved.

Hilal: Over a period of time Indians are following a diplomatic pattern whereby they emphasize on normalization of trade and socio-cultural relations with Pakistan without even mentioning of core issues between two countries. How do you see peace prospects in South Asia with a hegemonic India not ready to listen to others' grievances?

ZH: Precisely because the Indians are behaving in the manner you have correctly described, I see the prospects of improved relations with India as virtually nil. On the other hand, recent developments suggest the possibilities of greater confrontation and perhaps even conflict is very real. The election of Modi is a clear sign of popular bellicosity in India when it comes to dealing with Pakistan; the hysteria of the Indian media and the propaganda against Pakistan whenever there is an incident on the border or LOC; and the proclivity of Indian Army Chiefs to threaten Pakistan every now and then all suggest that India is spoiling for a fight. In the circumstances, I won't be surprised if the very first incident on the border, or perhaps a false flag operation, will result in a major trial of strength. It is for this reason that on no account can we afford to see our defences weaken even as India's massive rearmament programme gathers speed and new weapon systems are inducted, in particular new anti- missile weaponry. We must do whatever is needed to maintain an effective defence capability knowing that there are no prizes for having the second best military in a war. Meanwhile, Indian plans to weaken and bleed Pakistan by supporting anti Pak elements in Afghanistan and Balochistan are becoming more evident by the day. The seven Indian consulates located in the Afghan provinces bordering Pakistan reveal the nature and intent of Indian moves. These consulates are not there to promote tourism. Interestingly there are nearly a million Indian origin persons in Britain but India has only two consulates there whereas it has seven in Afghanistan although there are only 2160 Indians residing in Afghanistan.

And as India's presence in Afghanistan has expanded, so has Indian support for the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). It's no coincidence that cross border raids on Pakistan by TTP elements sheltering in Afghanistan have multiplied. Just as it's no coincidence that cooperation between the strongly India backed Kabul regime and the TTP has intensified, so much so that the second senior most figure in the TTP, Latifullah Mehsud was arrested by American forces while travelling in the company of a senior Afghan intelligence official. It seems it's only a question of time before the Pak-Afghan border region is transformed into an Afghanistan-India-Pakistan battleground with India actively backing Afghanistan. It's not, therefore, surprising that in the reckoning of some 'The Great Game' in Afghanistan has already resumed with new players and others are preparing to enter the fray to safeguard their own interests.

India is also busy improving relations with China to dilute the Pak-China alliance and further bolstering her strategic alliance with the US. Both moves are meant to ensure that Pakistan remains, in relative terms, militarily weak and diplomatically isolated. There is nothing cool, dispassionate or ritualistic about our antagonism with India. There is no clash of political ideologies or systems. What we have is historical and religious hatred on an unprecedented scale at a time when both countries are in the throes of full-blooded nationalism. India and Pakistan may want to escape from their history and geography but seem unable to do so. It's like a Greek tragedy. Both know the end but seem powerless to prevent it.

Hilal: How do you see post-2014 Afghanistan?

ZH: Afghanistan was never really a state in the accepted sense of the word. It only emerged as a country of sorts in the mid eighteenth century when Ahmed Khan, leader of the Abdali contingent in the Persian army of Nadir Shah, carved out a barrier between Persia and a crumbling Mughal Empire in India which was later to evolve into a buffer zone between Czarist Russia and British India. We could see Afghanistan disappear on the political map if the Pushtuns, Uzbeks and Tajik decide to link up with the other central Asian entities bearing their names or form their own autonomous republics. On the other hand, if Afghanistan were to fall under Taliban sway, a succession of radicalized states could come into being. Conversely if Afghanistan were to fall under Indian influence, India would be able to challenge Pakistan from the east and the west. I think Afghanistan's future is really up in the air and we will have to wait and see who the latest elections will bring to power, the extent of his support and how he proposes to deal with Pakistan.

Hilal: Your suggestions to combat religious extremism, sectarianism and ethnic militancy in Pakistan?

ZH: The only answer to combatting extremism, sectarianism and ethnic militancy is education, education and education. But even a revamped educational system won't work unless a holistic approach is adopted and planning at national, rather than provincial, a new/reformed system is implemented on an all Pakistan basis. In other words, every school in the country, including the most remote school in the Kaghan valley, must come within the purview of the new system and a central authority, which should also require the registration of all madarassahs and the strict supervision of their curricular and teaching methods. Moreover, funding of schools and madarassahs should, as a matter of course, be in the knowledge of the national education authorities and made available to the public on request.

Of course, the adoption of a new national education system will require an amendment to the Constitution, which presently designates education as a provincial subject. It may also require the creation of a special separate service perhaps called the Education Service of Pakistan with recruitment undertaken by the Central Public Service Commission for candidates with prescribed qualifications.

Only a good educational system will allow us to tackle the other major ills that afflict society such as indiscipline, corruption, social injustice, the cult of mediocrity, etc. And also tackle the cancer of ethnicity/ provincialism, which is so damaging to social morality and national unity. The greatest sufferer of provincialism is the nation itself because it has to contain the legitimate grievance of a wronged citizen; accommodate the incompetence of a favoured citizen and, most importantly, endure the decline of morale and efficiency caused by an erratic system of performance and reward. It's a bit like picking a 'Third and Fourth XI' to represent the country while ignoring the 'First XI' and still hoping to win the World Cup. A good yardstick to measure the quality of the country's leadership, and its political system, is the government's interest in education. It is no accident that with the exception of China, not one non-democratic country has even one university rated among the top 200 universities in the world. In fact, before Hong Kong's return to China, the best-ranked Chinese university ranked 47th in the world and given Russia's long history of dictatorship the best ranked Russian university today is ranked 210th. The obvious lesson to derive from these statistics is that when a leadership's base is narrow, higher education is for the children of the powerful: when it is big, it is for the betterment of everyone.

Hilal: It is often said that strong institutions are important for continuity of democracy in the country. As a political analyst, in your view how we can make our institutions strong so that they can perform in line with state's interests than any other temporary political consideration or influence?

ZH: I don't think I am qualified to address this question. But, what I would say, as someone who has had the opportunity to observe the working of governments at close quarters, is that the trouble with Pakistan, and our institutions, is simply and squarely a failure of leadership. There is nothing basically wrong with the Pakistani character. There is nothing wrong with the laws and the Constitution. There is not even anything wrong with our institutions and how they function. What is wrong is simply the unwillingness or inability of our leaders to rise to their responsibility and especially to the challenge of personal example, which is the hallmark of true leadership. I believe the character of one man at the top can bring about that quantum of change in a society that could be transforming. Jinnah did it and the pity is that 67 years on we await his true successor. Let me also add that the difference between different forms of government, like a dictatorship and democracy, is mostly a convenient fiction. Governments do not differ in kind but only how broad based they are, in other words, in the number of essential supporters. The size of this group determines almost everything about politics: what leaders can get away with and the quality of life (and misery) under them for the population as a whole.

Hilal: What message you would like to give to the youth of Pakistan on this Independence Day through pages of Hilal?

ZH: Reject those people, policies and habits, which cripple our chances of becoming a modern, progressive, tolerant and democratic Muslim country. Reject the world and slogans of make believe and unrealistic expectations because that's the commonest manifestation of under development. Don't believe that somehow through the power of prayer alone your problems will be solved. Admit that although your country is presently not a great country it can become one and that your generation will have to toil, and sweat, and fight, and die to make it great. And then ask Allah for the strength to make you do all that.


حسینہ معین

انٹرویو : عذرا انتصار



حسینہ معین پاکستان کی معروف ڈرامہ رائٹر ہیں۔ اُن کا نام سپرہٹ ڈرامے کی علامت سمجھا جاتا ہے۔دل کی تاروں کو چھیڑتی محبت‘ نازک احساسات کی ترجمانی کرتے ڈائیلاگ اور اعلیٰ پائے کے مزاح کی جو کوالٹی

حسینہ نے دی آج تک کوئی ان کی ہمسری نہ کر سکا۔ماہنامہ ہلال کے لئے ان سے کی جانے والی گفتگو پیشِ خدمت ہے۔


س۔ ہمیں اپنی ابتدائی زندگی کے بارے میں کچھ بتائیے،بچپن کیسا گزرا؟

ج۔ میرابچپن عام بچوں کی طرح گزرا۔ ہم لوگ 5 بہنیں اور 3 بھائی تھے۔میں اپنے والدین کی چوتھی اولاد تھی۔میرے والد صاحب کوبیٹیوں سے بہت محبت تھی۔نانا، نانی،چچا،چچی،ماموں، خالائیں بہت پیار کرنے والے لوگ تھے۔ میرے والد آرمی میں سویلین سائیڈپر تھے۔ قیامِ پاکستان کے موقع پران کو آپشن دیا گیا تھا کہ آپ پاکستان میں رہیں گے یا انڈیا میں؟تو میرے والد نے پاکستان جانے کا فیصلہ کیا۔ ہمیں بذریعہ ٹرین بمبئی بھیجا گیا۔ گارڈز ہمارے ساتھ تھے۔ہم لوگ چھوٹے چھوٹے تھے۔ بڑا مزا آرہا تھا‘ٹرین کی چھکا چھک کے ساتھ‘ ہم بچوں کا جوش و خروش دیدنی تھا۔ ہم بھاگ کر کبھی ایک سیٹ پر جا بیٹھتے کبھی دوسری پر۔ ہمارے لبوں پر ایک ہی نعرہ تھا ’’پاکستان زندہ باد‘‘ جس کو سن کر ماں کی چھلکتی آنکھوں کے ساتھ چہرے پر مسکراہٹ دوڑ جاتی۔ ماں کو اپنے عزیزوں سے بچھڑنے کا دُکھ تھا اور ہمیں اپنے آزاد وطن پاکستان جانے کی خوشی۔ میرا پہلا سفر، میری پہلی ہجرت، میری پہلی محبت، میرا پاکستان ٹھہرا۔۔۔۔۔


پاکستان پہنچنے کے بعد والد صاحب کی ٹرانسفر پنڈی میں ہوئی تھی۔ سارا شہر خالی تھا‘ ہمیں ایڈمنسٹریشن والوں نے کہا آپ جو مکان کہیں گے ہم کھول دیں گے۔لیکن والد صاحب رضا مند نہ ہوئے کیونکہ اس میں لوگوں کا سامان رکھا ہوا تھا‘ تو شروع میں آکر ہوٹل میں رہے۔بعد میں گھر کرائے پر لیا ۔یہاں جو پڑوسی بچے ملے ان کے ساتھ کھیل کود میں وقت اچھاگزرا۔ زندگی اس وقت بڑی خوبصورت لگتی تھی۔


س۔ تعلیم کہاں سے حاصل کی؟

ج۔ بعدمیں میرے والد صاحب کا تبادلہ لاہور ہو گیا۔ میٹرک میں نے ماڈل ٹاؤن سکول لاہور سے کیا تھا۔اس کے بعد کراچی چلے گئے۔میرے مین سبجیکٹس اردواورانگریزی لٹریچر تھے‘ جو مجھے بہت پسند تھے۔ ماسٹرز جنرل ہسٹری میں کیا‘ اس کے ساتھ بی ایڈ بھی کیا۔ ڈاکٹر محمود حسین ہمارے ہیڈ آف ڈیپارٹمنٹ تھے۔بہت پیارے انسان تھے اورمیرا بہت خیال کرتے تھے۔ سکول‘ کالج‘ یونیورسٹی کا دور میری زندگی کا بہترین دور تھا۔کالج میں‘ میں بہت شرارتی تھی‘ مجھے دِیول کہا جاتا تھا۔ہماری پرنسپل مسز رشید احمد بہت اچھی تھیں۔اکثر میری شکایت ہو جاتی تھی اور مجھے آفس میں بلا لیا جاتا وہ مجھے دیکھ کرکہتیں تم پھر آگئیں،لیکن کوئی سزا نہ دیتیں، وہ کہتی تھیں یہ بچی اتنی معصومیت سے شرارت کرتی ہے کہ کچھ کہنے کو جی نہیں کرتا۔



س۔زمانہء طالب علمی میں کیا بننا چاہتی تھیں؟

ج۔میں کچھ بھی نہیں بننا چاہتی تھی۔ میرا کوئی خواب نہیں تھا۔ (ہنستے ہوئے)۔جب میٹرک کا امتحان ہو رہا تھاتو میری والدہ پریشان حال گھومتی تھیں اور میری بڑی بہنوں سے کہتی تھیں کہ خدا کے لئے اسے کچھ پڑھا دو۔ جس طرح یہ کھیلتی پھرتی ہے یہ تو پاس تک نہیں ہو سکتی۔ہم لوگ ماڈل ٹاؤن کی سڑکوں پر کرکٹ کھیلا کرتے تھے۔پڑھائی کا خیال تک نہیں تھا۔


س۔لکھنے کا شوق کیسے پیدا ہوا؟

ج۔اس وقت ٹی وی تو تھا نہیں اس لئے ریڈیو ہی سنا کرتے تھے ۔کالج کے زمانے میں ہی مجھے لکھنے کا موقع ملا۔ اس وقت میں سیکنڈ ائیر میں تھی۔ شان الحق حقی کی بیگم سلمیٰ آپاہماری اردو کی لیکچرر تھیں۔انہیں اندازہ تھاکہ میری اردو بہت اچھی ہے۔ جب ریڈیو پاکستان سے طلباوطا لِبات کا جشن تمثیل ہوا تو ہمارے کالج میں ایک لیٹر آیا کہ20منٹ کا ایک ڈرامہ چاہئے۔ سلمیٰ آپا نے مجھے لکھنے کو کہا۔میں نے کہاکہ ڈرامہ تو مجھے لکھنا ہی نہیں آتا۔وہ کہنے لگیں‘ جو کچھ سوچتی ہو وہ لکھ دو۔ میں نے کالج میں بیٹھ کر ہی دو تین دن میں ایک کامیڈی لکھی‘جوسلمیٰ آپا نے بھجوا دی۔آغا ناصر صاحب نے وہ ڈرامہ پڑھا‘ ان کو بہت اچھا لگا۔ انہوں نے اس کوخود پروڈیوس کیااورمیرے پہلے ڈرامے کو ہی انعام مل گیا۔یہ وہ موقع تھا جواللہ نے مجھے دیا۔ بی اے تک میں ریڈیو پاکستان کے لئے ڈرامے لکھتی رہی۔یونیورسٹی جا کر یہ سلسلہ رک گیا۔انہی دنوں جب ٹی وی آیا تو ان لوگوں نے میرا ریڈیو کاایک ڈرامہ بھول بھلیاں لیا اورمجھے کہا کہ اسے ٹی وی کے لئے لکھوں۔ ڈرامہ کامیاب ہو گیا۔یہ پہلا موقع تھا جب میں لوگوں کے سامنے آئی۔ اس کے بعد میں نے عید کا خصوصی کھیل’’عیدمبارک‘‘لکھا۔رومینٹک کامیڈی تھی، اس میں نیلوفر، علیم اور شکیل تھے۔ خوش قسمتی سے وہ بھی کامیاب ہو گیا۔اس کے بعد مجھے عظیم بیگ چغتائی کی کتاب پر ماڈرن دور کے مطابق سیریل لکھنے کو کہا گیا تو میں نے اسے ’’شہزوری‘‘کے نام سے لکھا۔اس زمانے میں یہ ڈرامہ بہت مشہوراور کامیاب ہوا۔اس میں مَیں نے اپنا ایک جملہ ’’میں بہت برا آدمی ہوں۔‘‘شامل کیا‘ یہ ڈائیلاگ بہت مقبول ہوا۔


س۔ کامیابی کے حصول میں کبھی کوئی مشکل پیش آئی؟

ج۔ مجھے ہمیشہ خدا نے کامیابی دی‘ میں نے اس کے لئے کبھی کوئی کوشش نہیں کی۔نہ ہی میں کبھی کسی کے پاس سکرپٹ لے کر گئی۔مواقع مجھے خود ہی ملتے چلے گئے۔خدا نے جس کو جو بنانا ہوتا ہے وہ بنا دیتا ہے۔جیسے کالج میں تھی تو ریڈیو سے پیغام آگیا۔یو نیورسٹی سے فارغ ہوئی تو ٹی وی والوں نے بلا لیا۔جب ’’شہزوری‘‘ختم ہوئی تو مجھے ایک اور ناول کی ڈرامائی تشکیل کرنے کو کہا گیا۔ میں نے کہا کہ میں ایک اور یجنل سٹوری لکھنا چاہتی ہوں۔ سکرپٹ پروڈیوسر نے کہا کہ ٹی وی پر ہفتے میں ایک ڈرامہ لکھا جاتا ہے۔وہی ریکارڈ ہوتا ہے۔ اگر آپ درمیان میں رُک گئیں تو کیا ہوگا۔ تو میں نے کہا ایسا نہیں ہو گا۔ انشاء اللہ۔ پھر میں نے ان کو ’’کرن کہانی‘‘لکھ کر دی۔جب میں نے ڈرامہ ’’پرچھائیاں‘‘ لکھا اور اس کی پہلی قسط دیکھی تو مجھے اس کی پروڈکشن اورکاسٹ پسند نہیں آئی۔ حالانکہ یہ ڈرامہ بہت بڑے پروڈیوسر نے کیا تھا۔ میں نے مزید لکھنے سے انکار کر دیا۔ لوگ حیران رہ گئے،کہ یہ کس طرح ہو سکتا ہے اس کاتو اعلان ہو چکا ہے۔ اس وقت کے لوگ بہت عزت اور خیال کرنے والے تھے۔ مجھے کہا گیا آپ بتائیں کہ کس سے ڈرامہ کروائیں گی۔ تومیں نے کہا کہ یہ ڈرامہ شیریں اور محسن علی ریکارڈ کریں گے۔ اسلام آباد سے ساحرہ کاظمی اور راحت کاظمی کو بلایا گیا اور انہوں نے اس ڈرامے میں کام کیا۔حالانکہ اس وقت ان کی بچی مشکل سے چار یا پانچ مہینے کی تھی۔ پرچھائیاں بہت کامیاب رہا۔ میں ان پروڈیوسرصاحب کی بڑائی کا اعتراف ضرور کروں گی کہ وہ ایک لفظ زبان پر نہیں لائے ۔


ہماری فوج دنیا کی بہترین فوج ہے۔میرے د ل کی نیک تمنائیں اور خواہشات ان کے ساتھ ہیں۔اللہ ان کو ہمیشہ سلامت رکھے۔اور ایک خواہش ہے کہ وہ میرے ملک کو بچا لیں کیونکہ مجھے اپنے ملک سے محبت ہے اور فوج ہمارے ملک کی محافظ۔


س۔ کس ڈائریکٹر اور پروڈیوسر نے آپ کے ڈرامے کو بہترین شکل دی؟

ج۔ محسن اور شیریں، شہزاد خلیل ،ساحرہ کاظمی اوررعنا شیخ۔ شروع میں محسن علی اور شیریں ڈرامہ پروڈیوس کرتے۔ انکل عرفی‘ پرچھائیاں، بندش اور دھند پروڈیوس کیا۔بد قسمتی سے شیریں بیمار پڑگئی اسے کینسر ہو گیا۔وہ لندن چلی گئی۔اس کی وفات کے بعد میں نے سال بھر کام نہیں کیا۔شعیب منصور نے مجھ سے کہا کہ آپ میرے لئے کچھ لکھیں۔ میں ان کے بارے میں کچھ تذبذب کا شکار تھی کہ یہ اتنے چھوٹے سے ہیں‘ پتہ نہیں کر بھی پائیں گے یا نہیں۔تو انہوں نے کہا کہ آپ ایک موقع دے کر تو دیکھیں۔ جس دن میں نے ہامی بھری کہ چلو تمہارے لئے کچھ لکھ دوں گی۔تو شعیب منصور نے باقاعدہ سجدہ شکر ادا کیا کہ آپ نے حامی تو بھری۔ ’’ان کہی‘‘ میں نے ان کے لئے لکھا۔اس میں محسن صاحب بھی شامل تھے۔کیونکہ شہناز شیخ نے جب سنا کہ شعیب منصورکریں گے تو اس نے کہا یہ تو بہت چھوٹے سے ہیں، یہ کیسے کریں گے تو میں نے کہا کہ نہیں محسن صاحب بھی ہیں۔ پھر میں نے شہزاد خلیل صاحب کے ساتھ ڈرامہ ’’تنہائیاں‘‘کیا۔

میرے ساتھ یہ بات بھی بہت عجب رہی کہ میرے ساتھ دو ڈائیریکٹرز کام کرتے تھے اور میں اکیلی لکھتی تھی۔اتنا اتفاق ہونا بہت کم ہوتا ہے ۔ ’’ان کہی‘‘ کو شعیب اور محسن علی نے کیا۔پھر ان لوگوں کا تبادلہ ہو گیا۔ ’’تنہائیاں‘‘ شہزاد خلیل صاحب نے کیا۔پھر ساحرہ کے ساتھ ’’دھوپ کنارے‘‘ اور ’’آہٹ‘‘ کیا۔ ’’آہٹ‘‘ پاپولیشن کے متعلق تھااور اس وقت پاپولیشن کا نام لینا ہی بہت خطرناک تھا۔ایک تنظیم کی خواتین ہمارے پاس آئیں کہ آپ نے فحش نگاری کی ہے۔میں نے کہاکہ اگر پریگننٹ عورت کو دکھانا فحش نگاری ہے تو پھر پوری دنیا ہی فحش ہے۔ اس کے بعد خواجہ نجم الحسن کے ساتھ تاریخی کھیل ’’تان سین‘‘ کیا۔جو بہت کامیاب رہا۔ ایک انڈین سنگر نے مجھ سے کہا کہ اس کے سارے گانے آپ کو فری میں کر کے دینے کو تیار ہوں۔میں نے کہا یہ انڈیا اور پاکستان کا معاملہ ہے‘ اس میں مشکل ہو جاتا ہے‘ میں پھر کبھی آپ سے کام کرواؤں گی۔


س۔ آپ کا ہر ڈرامہ اور ہر ہیروئن سپر ہٹ ہوتی تھی‘ اس کی کیا وجہ ہے؟

ج۔ وہ اس لئے کہ ہم نئی لڑکی ڈھونڈ کر لاتے تھے‘جو ہمیں پسند آجاتی تھی۔ اس کے گھر جاکر گھر والوں کی خوشامد کر کے ان کو رضا مند کر کے لاتے تھے۔ شہناز کو میں نے دیکھا ہوا تھا وہ میری بڑی فین تھی۔ میں اور شعیب ان کے گھر پہنچ گئے ،جب میں نے ’’ان کہی‘‘کے لئے اسے کہا تو اس نے انکار کر دیا۔ میں نے کہاکہ اگر تم یہ کریکٹر نہیں کرو گی تو ہم ’’ان کہی‘‘کریں گے ہی نہیں، اس پر اس نے کہا کہ،اچھا ڈائیریکٹر کا بتائیے تو میں نے شعیب کے ساتھ محسن علی کا نام لے لیا کہ شاید مرعوب ہو جائے۔محسن علی صاحب کا کام اتنا زیادہ تھا کہ وہ فوراً راضی ہو گئی۔اس طرح شہناز کو لائے۔ شہلا احمد کو انکل عرفی میں لائے۔ ہمارے جاننے والوں کی بچی تھی۔ ان کے والد کی بہت خوشا مد کی۔ اسی طرح نادیہ خان کی امی کو میں نے ڈرامہ ’’پل دو پل‘‘ کے لئے فون کیا۔ نادیہ کے والد فوجی افسر تھے۔ ان کی امی نے کہا کہ دیکھئے نادیہ کے والد کی اجازت کے بغیر میں کچھ نہیں کہہ سکتی۔ میں نے کہا پریشانی کی کوئی بات نہیں۔ریکارڈنگ میں‘ میں ساتھ ساتھ ہوتی ہوں۔ آپ ان کے والد سے پوچھ لیجئے۔ اسی شام ان کی امی کا فون آگیاکہ نادیہ کے والد کہہ رہے ہیں کہ اگر حسینہ کا ڈرامہ ہے تو مجھے کوئی اعتراض نہیں۔ نادیہ بہت اچھی بچی تھی۔ہماری ٹیم بہت اچھی تھی۔ہم لوگ ایک فیملی کی طرح کام کرتے تھے۔آج کل پیسے اور سفارش کے زور پر کام چل رہا ہے۔ہمارے زمانے میں نہ کسی کو پیسے کی پروا تھی نہ سفارش کی۔


س۔ اتنی ساری ہیروئنوں میںآپ کی پسندیدہ ہیروئن کون تھی؟

ج۔ شہناز شیخ اور شہلا احمد ۔


س۔ ڈرامہ سلسلے کا کیاسلسلہ تھا؟

ج۔ اس کے لئے مرینہ نے آکر مجھ سے اجازت لی کہ ہم اس کا سیکوئیل بنا رہے ہیں۔پہلے تو میں اسے منع کرتی رہی کہ ایک دفعہ جو چیز ہٹ ہو جائے اسے دوبارہ نہیں بنانا چاہئے کیونکہ وہ دوبار ہ ویسی نہیں بنتی۔لوگ اسے تنقیدی نظر سے دیکھتے ہیں۔اس کے اصرار پر میں نے مشورہ دیا کہ تم کوئی بہت اچھا ڈائریکٹر لو کیونکہ شہزادخلیل صاحب بہت اچھے ڈائریکٹر تھے، انہوں نے ڈرامے کو سنبھالا تھا۔تم اس کو سنبھال نہیں پاؤ گی۔ انہیں دنوں مجھے بیرونِ ملک جانا تھا۔میری غیر موجودگی میں ان لوگوں نے محمد احمد سے لکھوایااور خود ہی کر لیا۔ ظاہر ہے وہ خراب ہی ہونا تھا۔ میں نے مرینہ سے کہا کہ اس ڈرامے میں سے میرا نام نکال دو تو مشکل یہ پڑ گئی کہ جن لوگوں نے سپانسر کیا تھا، انہوں نے کہا کہ اگرحسینہ کا نام نہ ہوا تو ہم لیں گے نہیں۔ اس پریشانی کے عالم میں مرینہ میرے پاس آکر روئی تو میں نے کہا کہ چلو جیسا بھی ہے جانے دو مگر میں نے دیکھا نہیں۔کیونکہ میں کسی چیز کو خراب ہوتے نہیں دیکھ سکتی۔


س۔ آپ نے کبھی کوئی ناول یا افسانہ لکھا؟

ج۔ میں نے ایک ناول لکھا ہے ’’پل صراط کا سفر‘‘لکھنے کی بڑی چاہ ہے، دل بھی چاہتا ہے مگر ڈرامے لکھنے کی وجہ سے وقت ہی نہیں ملتا۔لیکن لکھوں گی ضرور انشاء اللہ۔


س۔ آپ کے ڈراموں میں دل کو چھو لینے والی محبت کی کوالٹی نظر آتی ہے تو کیا کبھی خو دبھی محبت کی ؟

ج۔جی ہاں بالکل میں نے بھی محبت کی ،یہ بڑی پرسنل سی چیزہوتی ہے۔اگرآپ کا دل سچا ہو اور آپ ہر جذبے میں سچے ہوں تو محبت بھی سچی ہوتی ہے۔نفرت بھی سچی ہوتی ہے نفرت کرنا تو خیر میں نے سیکھا ہی نہیں۔اسی لئے آپ کو شاید میرے کرداروں میں منفی کردارکبھی نہیں ملیں گے۔


میڈیا کا اثربہت گہرا ہوتا ہے۔آج کل کے بچوں کو آپ کیا دکھا رہے ہیں۔اگر بچوں کو الزام دیں گے تو غلط ہے۔ماں باپ،بہن بھائی سب عشق کر رہے ہیں۔ راتوں کو مل رہے ہیں گھر وں سے بھاگ رہے ہیں۔ اگر اس قسم کی چیزیں دکھائیں گے تو پھرکیا انجام ہو گا۔آج کل ایسی ایسی چیزیں دکھائی جا رہی ہیں،کہ ڈر لگتا ہے کہ اگر بچے نے اس کا مطلب ہی پوچھ لیا تو کیا جواب دیں گے؟


س۔ شادی؟

ج۔ امی کی خواہش تو تھی کہ میں شادی کروں۔مگر مجبور نہیں کیا ان کا خیال تھا میں خود کرلوں گی اور خود میں نے کی نہیں۔


س۔ آپ کے ڈراموں میں مزاح کا معیار سب سے جدا ہے اس کی کیا وجہ ہے؟

ج۔ بقول شیکسپئیر کے ٹریجڈی اور کامیڈی کے درمیان ایک بہت باریک سی لکیر ہوتی ہے۔اگر آپ اس لائن کو کراس کر دیں گے تو تریجڈی کامیڈی بن جاتی ہے اور کامیڈی ٹریجڈی بن جاتی ہے۔اسی طرح مزاح اور پھکڑ پن میں بھی باریک سی لکیر ہوتی ہے۔اگر آپ اس کو کراس کر جائیں گے تو مزاح پھکڑ پن بن جائے گا۔آج کل جوکچھ دکھایا جا رہا ہے‘ معافی چاہتی ہوں‘ وہ مزاح نہیں ہے‘ کچھ اور ہے۔آپ نے مشتاق احمد یوسفی،شفیق الرحمن اور ابن انشا کا مزاح پڑھا ہو گا۔ تہذیب، تمیز اوراطوار ہم گھر سے سیکھتے ہیں۔


س۔ لکھتی کب ہیں؟ کیا شاعری کی طرح اس کا بھی نزول ہوتا ہے؟

ج۔ سب کچھ خدا کی طر ف سے ہوتا ہے اگر انسان چاہے تو خود سے ایک جملہ بھی نہیں لکھ سکتا۔میں ہمیشہ رات کے وقت لکھتی ہوں۔رات کو سکون ہوتا ہے۔جتنا چاہیں لکھیں۔میں فلی یوز کرتی ہوں اپنے آپکو۔جب ٹی وی کے لئے لکھتی تھی تو کمرہ ملا ہوا تھا‘خاموشی ہوتی تھی۔


س۔ آپ نے بہت شروع سے ڈرامہ لکھا ،پہلے اور آج کے ڈرامے میں کیا فرق محسوس کرتی ہیں؟


ج۔ میں نے سیکنڈ ائیر سے لکھنا شروع کیا۔یونیورسٹی کے بعد سے اب تک لکھ رہی ہوں ۔پہلے زمانے اور آج کی چیزوں میں جو فرق ہے وہی فرق ڈرامے میں بھی ہے۔آجکل ڈسپوزیبل چیزیں بنتی ہیں۔بے تحاشہ ڈرامے بن رہے ہیں‘ نہ کسی کو ان کا نام یاد ہوتا ہے نہ کردار۔کمرشل دور ہے ،مارکیٹنگ کے لوگ ڈرامہ خریدتے ہیں۔صرف ریٹنگ کا خیال کیا جاتا ہے۔سب سے بڑی چیز جو ہو رہی ہے،وہ یہ کہ ڈرامے میں عورتوں کو مارا پیٹا جا رہا ہے۔کبھی گھر سے نکالا جا تا ہے اور لوگ کہتے ہیں کہ اس سے ریٹنگ بڑھتی ہے۔کیا گھروں میں ایساہوتا ہے اتنی بد تہذیبی آگئی ہے ۔میں نے توآج تک نہیں دیکھی۔ہر ایک میں ایک ہی کہانی چل رہی ہے۔دو لڑکیاں ایک آدمی‘ دو آدمی ایک لڑکی، سا س بہو کا جھگڑا، ماں بیٹی کا جھگڑااور اب تو خیر دوسرے معاملات اتنے کھلم کھلا دکھائے جا رہے ہیں کہ لگتا ہے ہر گھر میں ہی کچھ نہ کچھ گڑ بڑ ہے۔لڑکی سکول سے بھاگ کر لڑکے کے ساتھ بائک پر جارہی ہے۔بہنیں ایک دوسرے کو کاٹ رہی ہیں،ایک بہنوئی کے لئے لڑ رہی ہیں‘پتہ نہیں کیا ہو رہا ہے۔ اسی طرح ایک بہن کی غیر موجودگی میں دوسری کا نکاح کر کے رخصتی پہلے والے کی کر دی۔ہم حیران پریشان دیکھ رہے ہیں اگر یہ حالات ہیں تو کیا کہہ سکتے ہیں۔ میں توڈرامہ دیکھتی ہی نہیں‘ جو کبھی اتفاقاً نظر پڑی وہی بتا رہی ہوں۔


س۔ پاکستانی ڈرامے کا بہترین دور؟

ج۔ ٹی وی آنے سے لے کر 90 کی دہائی کے کچھ سال تک ٹھیک رہا‘ پھر اس کے بعد حالات بگڑنا شروع ہو گئے۔میں نے ضیاالحق کے دور میں پرچھائیاں لکھا تھا۔کسی نے اعتراض نہیں کیا۔کیونکہ اگر آپ ڈھکی چھپی بات سلیقے سے کریں گے ، تو وہ بری نہیں لگتی۔


س۔ میڈیا معاشرے پر کس حد تک اثرانداز ہوتاہے؟

ج۔ میڈیا کا اثربہت گہرا ہوتا ہے۔آج کل کے بچوں کو آپ کیا دکھا رہے ہیں۔اگر بچوں کو الزام دیں گے تو غلط ہے۔ماں باپ،بہن بھائی سب عشق کر رہے ہیں۔راتوں کو مل رہے ہیں گھر وں سے بھاگ رہے ہیں۔اگر اس قسم کی چیزیں دکھائیں گے تو پھرکیا انجام ہو گا۔آج کل ایسی ایسی چیزیں دکھائی جا رہی ہیں،کہ ڈر لگتا ہے کہ اگر بچے نے اس کا مطلب ہی پوچھ لیا تو کیا جواب دیں گے؟ اور مزاحیہ ڈراموں کا انداز بالکل پھٹیچر ہے۔ جس میں بہت غلط جملے استعمال ہوتے ہیں۔ گالیاں تک دی جاتی ہیں۔ حرکات و سکنات خراب ہیں‘اس کو مزاح نہیں کہتے۔


س۔ اس چیز کو کیسے کنٹرول کیا جا سکتا ہے؟

ج۔ اس کو صرف چینل والے کنٹرول کر سکتے ہیں۔لیکن ا ن کو صرف پیسا بنانا ہے ان کو فکر نہیں ہے کہ یہ اخلاقی گراوٹ آگے چل کر کیا رنگ لائے گی۔ ہم بھارت کی نقل کر رہے یں۔ہماری جو شناخت تھی کہ یہ پاکستانی ڈرامہ ہے‘ وہ ختم ہو گئی ہے۔پاکستانی ڈرامہ دیکھیں تو کبھی وہ انڈین لگتا ہے کبھی ترک۔ ہر چیز کا منہ پیسے سے بند کیا جاتا ہے۔اگر ایسا نہ ہوتا تو اب تک یہ سب کچھ رک چکا ہوتا۔


س۔ انڈین اورترک ڈرامے جو آج کل دکھائے جا رہے ہیں ان کے بارے میں کیا کہیں گی؟

ج۔ ترکی اور انڈیا کے چلے ہوئے پرانے ڈرامے ان کو سستے مل جاتے ہیں۔ وہ خرید لاتے ہیں۔ڈبنگ کرکے چلا دیتے ہیں‘ ان میں بعض اچھے بھی ہوتے ہیں۔انڈیا کا کلچر دیکھیے کہ وہ اتنی بھاری ساڑھی اور زیورپہن کر کچن میں کا م کرتی نظر آتی ہیں۔اسی کا اثر ہے کہ ہمارے ہاں فل میک اپ اورآئی شیڈ کے ساتھ لڑکی جاگتی ہے۔میں تو حیران ہوتی ہوں کہ ڈائریکٹر کدھر ہے‘ کیا وہ سو رہا ہے؟


س۔ نئے لکھنے والوں میں کوئی رائٹر جو آپ کو پسند ہو؟

ج۔ بھئی سچ بات بتاؤں میں نے تو اب ٹی وی دیکھنا ہی چھوڑ دیا ہے۔کبھی دیکھنے بیٹھوں تو عورتوں پر کیا جانے والا تشدد میں نہیں دیکھ سکتی۔میں نے40سال تک کوشش کی کہ عورت مضبوط ہو گی‘ اپنے پاؤں پر کھڑی ہو گی‘ اپنا مقام بنائے گی‘ اپنا حق لے گی۔وہ ساری چیزیں ایک دم سے ختم ہو گئیں ہیں،اب نہ تو اس کا کوئی حق رہا نہ مقام‘ نہ عزت۔سب کچھ ختم کر دیا گیا۔میں تو بہت مایوس ہو گئی ہوں۔


س۔ آپ نے آئی ایس پی آر کے لئے کام کیا؟

ج۔ میں فوجیوں سے بہت متاثر ہوں۔ انہوں نے میرا بہت خیال رکھا۔ پاسنگ آؤٹ پریڈ پر مجھے بلایا۔اعزازی طور پرکاکول میں مجھے بلایا،لکھنے کی فرمائش کی۔ اب میں ان کے لئے لکھوں گی۔خاص طور ان فوجیوں کے لئے جو اپنی جان داؤ پر لگا کر ہماری حفاظت کے لئے لڑ رہے ہیں۔


س۔ آپ نے خود اداکاری نہیں کی؟

ج۔ نہیں ۔مجھے شوق نہیں ہے،اور شاید میں کر بھی نہیں پاتی کیونکہ میں بہت شرمیلی ہوں۔


س۔ زندگی میں خود پر کب فخرمحسوس ہوا؟

ج۔ مجھے وکٹری سٹینڈ بہت پسند تھا۔میں اپنے سکول میں ہونے والی سپورٹس میں حصہ بھی لیتی تھی لیکن وکٹری سٹینڈ تک کبھی نہیں پہنچی ۔جس وقت مجھے پرائڈ آف پرفارمنس دیا گیاس اس وقت مجھے محسوس ہوا کہ میں وکٹری سٹینڈ پر کھڑی ہوں اورواقعی میں نے کچھ کیاہے۔


س۔ پسندیدہ رائٹر؟

ج۔ خلیل جبران اور بہت سے انگلش رائٹرز۔


س۔ پسندیدہ شاعرَ ؟

ج۔غالب، میر درد،سودا ،داغ، فراق ،مجاز ،احمد فراز،پروین شاکر، امجد اسلام امجداورفیض بہت زیادہ پسند ہیں۔


س۔ موسیقی سے لگاؤ ہے؟

ج۔ بہت زیادہ،مہدی حسن،لتا ، آشا بھوسلے میرے پسندیدہ گلو کار ہیں۔


س۔ اب تک کتنے ایوارڈز حاصل کر چکی ہیں؟

ج۔ اللہ کا فضل ہے ہر سیریل پر ایوارڈ ملا۔ایوارڈزسے الماری بھر چکی ہے۔


س۔ آپ کی کامیابی کا راز کیا ہے؟

ج۔ دعائیں۔میرے ماں باپ کی ،دوستوں کی ، بھائی بہنو ں کی ان کے بچوں کی سب کی دعا ئیں میرے ساتھ ہیں۔میری ماں ہمیشہ نماز پڑھنے کی تلقین کرتی تھیں۔ انہوں نے سکھایاکہ دعا مانگنے سے سب کچھ مل جاتا ہے۔آپ یقین رکھیں کہ جو کچھ ہو رہا ہے‘ وہ آپ کی بہتری کے لئے ہو رہا ہے،اور جو نہیں ہورہا اس میں بھی آپکی ہی بہتری ہے تو آپ خوش رہیں گے۔


س۔فوجی بھائیوں کے لئے کوئی پیغام؟

ج۔مجھے فوج بہت پسند ہے۔یہ ہماری پر سکون نیند کے لئے راتوں کو جاگتے ہیں اور ہماری حفاظت کے لئے اپنی جانیں قربان کرتے ہیں۔ہماری فوج دنیا کی بہترین فوج ہے۔میرے د ل کی نیک تمنائیں اور خواہشات ان کے ساتھ ہیں۔اللہ ان کو ہمیشہ سلامت رکھے۔اور ایک خواہش ہے کہ وہ میرے ملک کو بچا لیں کیونکہ مجھے اپنے ملک سے محبت ہے اور فوج ہمارے ملک کی محافظ ہے۔


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mr Sarfaraz Bugti, Home Minister of Balochistan

“Seeing beyond perceptions is very important to understand any issue”

Interview By: Asif Jehangir Raja

Question: Awaran and Mushke districts of Balochistan were severly hit by earthquake on 24 September 2013. What is the progress of relief work and how much support you received from Army and FC Balochistan in this regard?

Answer: Balochistan has been badly hit by this catastrophe. FC Balochistan was the first force to reach in that area and start relief activities. It was followed by Pakistan Army and now both forces are doing utmost to help those people in trouble. Corps Commander of Quetta himself visited the the affected areas on very next day and supervised relief operations. As of now, rescue and relief work is almost complete and we are now focusing on rehabilitation phase. Two months’ rations have been distributed among the people, and tents/shelters are also being provided. Army doctors and nurses are providing medical services day and night to the affected people. On behalf of government and people of Balochistan and, on my own behalf, I want to thank Pak Army and FC Balochistan for carrying out relief activities in such an organized, swift and professional manner.

Question: Military troops carrying out relief work have been attacked on numerous occasions by the armed militants. These elements also claim that military is conducting operation in earthquake affected areas. What is situation on ground?

Answer: To put the record straight, I want to clarify to everyone that no military operation is being conducted in any part of Balochistan. It is a mere propaganda by enemies of common masses who do not want poor people to be helped and assisted in any shape. Pak Army and FC have been called to carryout relief activities in earthquake areas on request of provincial government. Despite being attacked, the forces and government have shown restraint and are determined to help those earthquake hit people till the last person is not rehabilitated. The government will improve and reconstruct communication infrastructure in that area and will also help in provision of shelter and other amenities to each and every family.

Question: What measures new provincial government is taking to address law and order situation in the province?

sarfaraz bugti 1Answer: Law and order situation in Balochistan is facing three types of challenges: religious and sectarian violence, armed activities by miscreants (so-called 'angry Baloch' or 'separatist groups') and organized crimes. Sectarian violence or extremism in the name of religion is prevalent in some parts of the country but has also taken its roots in Balochistan. There have been quite a few incidents of this nature in the province previously but our government is taking all measures with full support of federal government, and we are hopeful about settling down of this issue in future. There are four main militant groups that are operating in the province under local and exiled leadership. These groups have more influence in rural areas and hardly have any support in urban belts. This minority is also portrayed on media as 'naraz Baloch'. Federal government has mandated Chief Minister to carryout dialogue with these groups. We are also planning to organize an All Parties Conference (APC) on this issue in December and have decided to take all political parties into confidence about dialogue process with these groups. We also intend to announce timeline for dialogue at the end of APC and shall call for another conference to discuss modalities, if dialogue process fails. However, it should be clear to everyone that dialogue and reconciliation would only take place within constitutional framework of the Federation and writ of the state will be established at all costs. Violence on any pretext is unacceptable and unpardonable. No one has any right to endanger the life of a common man and attack the law enforcement agencies.

We are also taking measures to reduce rate of organized crimes in Quetta and other cities. Although I admit that few incidents of kidnap for ransom did take place in Quetta during our government but we are looking forward to eliminate it all together. I want to make one thing clear that this government is very serious in bringing better environment to the people of the province from every angle; employment, law & order, development, health and, education. We will focus on all areas in coming five years.

Question: Do these armed militant groups enjoy support of common masses?

Answer: No, absolutely not. The strength of these miscreants is not more than 2000 to 3000 which is very less as compared to the total population of about 8 million people. Therefore, around 1% people are claiming to be representative of complete province which is absolutely false and wrong. The majority of the people of Balochistan are peaceful, pro-federation and have never challenged writ of the state. Unfortunately media is giving full coverage to those elements that talk against federation of Pakistan and are miscreants. Instead, those people in majority, who are peaceful and leading lives within bounds of constitution aren't given any coverage which creates misperceptions. I must say that people of Balochistan are as patriotic as any other Pakistani. It is the magic of negative propaganda, vested interests and foreign elements that Balochistan is shown negatively in some media channels and newspapers. In reality, Baloch, Pashtun and other ethnicities living in Balochistan are fully active and eager to take part in development, progress and security of Pakistan.

Question: Foreign NGOs are propagating for not having been given chance to work in earthquake areas. What is the situation on ground?

Answer: The security situation of Awaran is much better than what it used to be few years back. We will provide security to all NGOs who want to work for the people of the area. However, there can be a concern if any NGO is found to be involved in any suspicious activity. In any such eventuality, federal and provincial government shall carry out action as per laws. Although relief work is difficult but government and Pak Army are managing things well on ground even without much assistance from these NGOs.

Question: What, in your opinion, are root causes for problems in Balochistan? Do you relate it to some mistakes of the past?

Answer: I want to request people of Pakistan and Balochistan to understand realities and not follow the perceptions. Seeing beyond perceptions is very important to understand any issue. Being underdeveloped or underprivileged due to any political reason doesn't mean to adopt the path of violence. We have forums available in the shape of Provincial Assembly, National Assembly, Senate where we can register our grievances. We may even come out to protest on roads but, by no means can someone pick up arms against government and start killing innocent people. Change in mindset is very important. People of Balochistan voluntarily joined Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947. Not all Sardars are against development or against Pakistan. These are very few. Many of these tribal leaders hoist flags of Pakistan on 14 August each year but are not given enough coverage in the media. Only so-called 'naraz Baloch' are covered which create negative perceptions.

Question: How do you view recent increased induction of Baloch youth in defence forces?

Answer: I am thankful to Pak Army and General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Chief of Army Staff for adopting the policy to induct Baloch youth in Army. It is a very good step which, not only will provide employment opportunities to the youth of the province but will also prove beneficial for the country in the times to come. I am also thankful to the army for relaxing the induction criteria for the people of Balochistan. It has further strengthened the impression that Pakistan Army has representation from all provinces and it is a national army.

Question: Your views on Pak Army’s role in spreading education in Balochistan?

Answer: We are very thankful to Pakistan Army that it is supervising the education of approximately 22,000 students from Balochistan being undertaken inside and out of the province. Establishment of ‘Military College Sui’ and ‘Sui Educational City’ shall go a long way in changing destiny of the Baloch people. Army has established hostels for Baloch youth in most garrisons where students are being given accommodation and education without any expenses. The infrastructure of education does exist in the province, but unfortunately it was misused by many local tribal leaders in the past. But with education reforms in the province, Pak Army has laid foundation for enlightened Baloch generations. Our progress is associated with the progress of Pakistan. If one province will progress, so shall the country.

Question: What are your comments about role for foreign agencies behind acts of terrorism and violence in Balochistan?

Answer: Balochistan is not only placed on a strategically important location but also contains rich minerals under its surface. International and regional players are playing a negative role to damage Pakistan and increase their influence. Balochistan is a 'gateway' to central Asia, and also closely linked to Iran, China and Afghanistan. Gwadar Port is likely to play a key role in future trade and economic activity. We, Pakistanis, must remain vigilant and defend our national interests. There is existence of farari camps in a neighbouring country that are being used for violence and terrorism inside Balochistan and Pakistan. The world must take notice of this case of 'harbouring terrorism' against Pakistan. Moreover, India has opened so many consulates in Afghanistan which are believed to be used against interests of Pakistan.

Question: What are your sentiments on terrorists' attack on Quaid's Residency at Ziarat?

Answer: The attack on Quaid’s Residency at Ziarat wasn't an isolated targeting of a building but it was an attack on ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ and, it was attack on hearts of the people of Pakistan. To me it was a terrorist activity of an extreme nature and it should be a point of concern for all Pakistanis that even after such a big tragedy, no worthwhile protest was recorded. People from all walks of life were very sad after this incident and were badly pinched. Baloch people are patriotic and were moved after this tragedy.

Question: Your message to those targeting Law Enforcement Agencies?

Answer: My message to all such elements is that they must give up their arms and we are ready to negotiate with them within framework of the Constitution of Pakistan. We can accommodate them if they stop challenging the government and stop their negative activities.

Question: What are your views with regards to the wrong perceptions being created about Gwadar port?

Answer: To me Gwadar port is not only important for Balochistan but is also very vital project for the development of whole country. In line with Prime Minister's vision of economic revival in Pakistan through trade, Gwadar shall become hub of all activities. International players understand its importance and are playing negative role from behind the scenes to create misunderstandings. Government of Balochistan will help federal government in completion of all projects related to Gwadar in earliest possible time.

Question: What in your opinion is the way forward for Balochistan?

Answer: In my opinion, three things should be done in Balochistan: a) Zero tolerance for violence and no one should be allowed to operate farari camps in the province. b) We must focus on good governance in the province and should work for the masses. c) We must provide employment opportunities for the youth of the province.

Moreover, investment in development of communication infrastructure and education reforms shall help to develop the society as a whole. I am against student politics in education institutions which, to me, has always harmed the education standards and environment of the institutions. People of Balochistan believe in Federation and always take pride in being Pakistani.


Justice (Retired) Dr Javed Iqbal

Interview By: Asif Jehangir Raja

Question: I shall request you to share few memories of Allama Iqbal with us?

Answer: I was twelve years old when Allama Iqbal died in 1938. So I couldn't get much time to spend with him but his personality left a great impact on me which I still carry to this date. Dr Allama Iqbal was a man of values who took pride in own culture, own dress, own language and wanted me to retain my own identity. It was a time when the British were ruling the Subcontinent, so I wasn't allowed to wear English dress, hats and, anything that was English, was banned for me. He was a simple person and to inculcate similar characteristic in me, he had even fixed the price limit for me to purchase dresses, shoes and personal belongings. He had much focus on my character building and discipline and, didn't allow me to visit cinemas. I wasn't also allowed to stay out of home during dark hours.

He was polite in his handling and there was hardly a moment when I saw him angry or annoyed. To express his displeasure on my any action, he mostly used mild expressions and normally uttered these two words: Ahmaqq (foolish) and Bay-waqoof (moron). I was little naughty in my childhood and often moved out barefooted in the courtyard. He always forbade me from doing so. However, my mother was strict and at times subjected me to beating but never let my father to do that! (There was a definite glimpse of smile, fondness and respect in Dr Javed Iqbal eyes while recollecting these particular golden moments).

Dr Allama Iqbal was fond of music. He occasionally asked me to sing his poems to him. A person from 'Hijaz' (a Khush Ilhaan Hijazi), used to frequently visit him. Allama Iqbal would ask him to recite Holy Qur'aan and while he recited, Allama Iqbal used to weep. I was often asked to be present during this by Allama as he advised me to recite Qur'aan like him. He advocated simplicity and felt happy to know that I had slept on floor instead of bed on any day.

On the fateful night before he died at 5 a.m. on 21 April 1938, I went to him at about 10 p.m. His friend, Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain was sitting beside him. His eyesight had been affected by then due to cataract and was unable to even recognize me. As I entered the room, he asked “kaun hey” (Who is there?). I replied “mein Javed hoon” (I am Javed). He laughed and said “Javed baan kar dikhao” (be like Javed), because literal meanings of Javed are 'eternity'. He then asked Chaudhry Hussain to facilitate me to read his book 'Javed Nama' which is addressed to the younger generation of Muslims. This was probably his last advice to me before his sad demise.

Question: Quaid-i-Azam must be a frequent visitor to Allama Iqbal. Do you have any memories of him?

Answer: Meeting Mr. Jinnah was always an honour for me. During 1936, Quaid-i-Azam was due to visit our home. On that day, Allama asked me to be ready by 4 p.m. and also told me to bring an autograph book. He probably wanted to honour the Quaid and give him an impression of being a well known figure among all age groups. After meeting Quaid-i-Azam, I requested him for autograph that he granted. Then he asked me in English, “Do you also write poetry?” My reply was negative and he asked another question, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” I stayed quiet and while laughing he looked at my father and said, “He doesn't answer.” Allama Iqbal replied to him, “He won't answer. He is waiting for you to tell him what he is to do.” Personality of Jinnah left a great impact on me and I always took him as a role model.

Question: Please explain us the views of Allama Iqbal about the nature and type of a separate nation state for the Muslims of the Subcontinent?

Answer: In my opinion, thoughts of a separate state were floated much earlier than Iqbal's address at Allahabad. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was the first Muslim leader who raised awareness about population divides between Hindus and Muslims. He gave his point of view through these distinct arguments;

• If democratic order is placed in order by British in the Subcontinent, Muslims shall be the one at loss being in minority.

• The situation between both communities can improve, if some formula of power sharing based on equality is evolved and implemented. But he was fearful of its non implementation owing to lack of population balance between the both.

brig javaid 1Iqbal claimed that he understood Sir Syed Ahmed Khan's concept completely. Iqbal went further ahead by suggesting that the areas of Muslim majority be amalgamated as a separate state. Allama suggested and advocated to initiate the movement to separate Sindh from Bombay Presidency and to introduce reforms in Balochistan and NWFP (now KPK).

When the 'Urdu-Hindi' controversy surfaced in Uttar Pradesh (UP) in 1867, where Hindus of Banaras presented a request to their government regarding the replacement of Urdu with Hindi. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan told the then Commissioner, Mr Shakespeare, that these two communities might never survive together because of their differences and owing to the negative attitude of the Hindus.

The attitude of Hindus towards the Muslims was one of the reasons that resulted in demand for a separate homeland, Pakistan. Muslim leadership was always friendly and initially talked of autonomy that later converted into demand of a separate Muslim state. Jinnah's Fourteen Points after the First Round Table Conference were rejected by Moti Lal Nehru (father of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru). He didn't agree despite efforts by the British as well. Similarly same demands for autonomy were put forth in the Cabinet Mission Plan in 1946 which were accepted by Jinnah but rejected by Nehru. Even Nehru's attitude has of late been criticized by Jaswant Singh in his book, 'Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence' who has held him responsible for a partition that was against the interests of Hindus.

In nutshell, attitude of Hindus was the main reason that compelled our leaders to seriously think for a separate homeland. Quaid's presentation of 'Fourteen Points' and acceptance of the Cabinet Mission Plan bears testimony to the positivity of the then Muslim leadership but Hindus were not ready to accommodate Muslims in any way.

I am often asked a question that what did Muslims achieve through a separate homeland. And I always reply that even at a time when the Subcontinent was one, Hindus were not ready to tolerate and accommodate the demands of the Muslims in any way. Their attitude was likely to even become worst after departure of British.

Question: Do individual and collective interests interpreted in the domain of a modern nation state contradict or conflict with a higher ideology and philosophy that goes beyond these confines? Or in other words, how realpolitik responds to a sublime idealism?

Answer: Iqbal derived his concept of an Islamic democratic state from Meesaq-e-Madina. He wanted Pakistan to be model state for rest of the Muslim world. He neither wanted a secular democracy nor did he think of a theocracy.

Iqbal always thought of a 'Spiritual Democracy'. By spiritual democracy he meant a state which can accommodate and protect people from all religions and sects. As a member of Punjab Legislative Council, Allama Iqbal proposed formulation of a law which was meant to punish people committing “Toheen-e-Baniyan-e-Adiyaan”, means a law to punish anyone who commit blasphemous acts against any religion.

This concept was derived by Iqbal from Meesaq-e-Madina. It was that document in which the Prophet (PBUH) allowed religious freedom to everyone residing in Madina. Iqbal understands it as a Spiritual Democracy and wanted it to be basis of the separate Muslim state. I recently delivered a lecture in Oman on a related theme, 'What is an ideal Islamic democratic state'. I focused my opinions and ideas through the thoughts of Iqbal. Few leaders didn't agree to my point of view but some of them have invited me to discuss this theme further with their scholars. The much debated speech of Quaid-i-Azam delivered on 11 August 1947, which people interpret as his message and desire to establish a secular state, is basically based on Meesaq-e-Madina. Lord Mountbatten, the Last Viceroy of India, once asked Quaid-i-Azam about his idea to govern Pakistan based on the principles of Mughal Emperor Akbar. Jinnah replied him, “No, we have learnt and derived our democratic values from Holy Prophet (PBUH).” He was basically hinting at Meesaq-e-Madina.

Question: Please enlighten us about the concept of 'khudi'? Does it see a Man rising above any material concern and economic interdependence and existing as a self-survivor? How it responds to a present day society immersed in over consumption and gross production net?

Answer: The concept of Khudi is a metaphysical concept. Iqbal placed worth of a human being much above the status that we think ourselves to be at. Iqbal thought that Allah has breathed his soul in humans. The Man through rising from self can reach a sublime position that he becomes a part of eternal reality. The man is submerged in the reality in a way that he is not separated from the Divine Will. Citing example of Masjid-e-Qartaba in the same context, Iqbal believed that it wasn't humanly possible to construct such a masterpiece and thought of some Divine force assisting them. I always believe the same way. Similarly in the case of Hazrat Dawood who sang so well that even birds used to assemble to listen to him which is reflection of Divine manifestation.

Similarly Iqbal emphasized humans to be creative through his book Javed Nama where, in a poem, he delivers a message from Allah to the humans, that anyone who is not creative is a sinner for not having exercised the powers granted by Him. Iqbal emphasized on ‘change, change and change’ concept that brings an end to the jamood (status quo) and results in progress.

Question: Do human 'found truth', philosophy and ideals are limited to a particular time and space? How we see them relevant to changing realities and perceptions?

Answer: Philosophy is kind of an exercise which is related to the reason and consciousness. It is related to ideals and not directly to the everyday life. The thoughts and practical thinking of people like Iqbal does have linkage with some philosophical base. Basically philosophy is a loose term that includes metaphysics as well as ethics or, anything else. Philosophy isn't related to a particular time and space. People who make statues of their thinkers and heroes should actually try to study them and follow them. The process of change should be a regular feature.

Question: Does Allama's advocacy of Ijtihad meant rejection of tradition and to what extent?

Answer: Ijtihad doesn't mean to prevent changes in all matters. No. It means that the issues meriting change must undergo the requisite transformation. It is related to the Mu’amalat (routine affairs of a human life) but not with the Ibadat (religious obligations). The change is important to tackle the emerging realities of time and space. Human journey cannot remain tied to the antiquity for all the times. According to Allama the creativity and change for a better construction is the essence. It is through creativity that Man fulfils Divine manifestation. It is not through blindly following the tradition but through a constructive change commensurate with time and space that Man takes forward the journey according to God's Will. If we look around, there are many Muslim societies that have introduced many changes according to the needs of present times. We have examples of Tunisia, Indonesia etc. For example, Indonesia has brought so many changes in their day-to-day affairs in accordance with changing environments. Hillary Clinton, former US Secretary of State, has on record stated that women enjoy exemplary privileges and status in Indonesia which should be followed by other countries as well. It is through Ijtihad that a Muslim country, Indonesia, has introduced changes in rules other than basic religious obligations.

Question: How can we overcome challenges of intolerance and extremism?

Answer: Extremism has affected our society from every angle. Islam doesn't permit its people to kill others for whatever reasons. Writ of the State must be established and negotiations with these extremists must be made from the position of strength. All segments of the society have to play their role in transforming our society as tolerant and accommodative. We can never progress with the label of an extremist and intolerant society.

Question: How can we achieve national integration?

Answer: There are many ways to achieve it. The language can play a very vital role in this. The Quaid-i-Azam, who himself couldn't speak Urdu properly, declared it as a national language. Iqbal always talked of unity. We need to promote Iqbalian thinking in ourselves. Unfortunately our universities do not have 'Iqbal Chairs' that can help people to understand his vision. Likewise Madrassas should also be affiliated with universities so that concept of unified syllabus can be promoted and unity can be achieved.

Follow Us On Twitter