” You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State”. This was the vision of Pakistan that our beloved Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah expressed in his historic speech of August 11, 1947 to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in Karachi. We all know that over the past 70 years, Pakistan has not followed this vision of its founding father and the results have been disastrous. During the past few years, the nation as a whole has desperately been searching for a leader that can change the disastrous course this country is headed towards and can bring about a real change for the better future of Pakistan.
Imran Khan entered the political arena in 1996 by forming his political party Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf. He has led a heroic 22 years long struggle for bringing real change in Pakistan and many Pakistanis including me have been his supporters during this epic struggle which culminated when his party emerged as the leading party in 2018 general elections and he became the Prime Minister. He is my childhood hero and one person I have always admired due to his leadership qualities that he displayed during his cricketing years and specially his daring feats as the Captain of our cricket team. His never say die attitude has been his special hall mark both during his cricketing and political years.
I am extremely disappointed by the way his government surrendered before the extremists by taking back the nomination of Mr. Atif Mian from the Economic Advisory Council. It was highly unlike the Imran Khan that I have known and observed and idealized over the years. This act is totally against the ideology of Mr. Jinnah the founder of Pakistan as well as the much publicized “Medina State” that Mr. Imran Khan wants to follow in building a “New Pakistan “.
As mentioned above the Quaid had clearly stated that Religion was a personal matter of every citizen and the State of Pakistan would have nothing to do with it and would not discriminate among its citizens on the basis of cast, creed or Religion, but unfortunately Mr. Atif Mian a word renown economist was removed on the pressure of extremist forces only because he belongs to the Ahmadiya community. The two days when Mr. Fawad Ch the Information Minister defended his nomination really made me believe that perhaps the much anticipated change has really come and Quaid’s dream of all inclusive state is finally taking shape but the joy was shortlived and the next morning we were back to square one.
I personally know that people belonging to Ahmadiya community have rendered invaluable services for Pakistan. The first foreign minister of Pakistan Sir Zafarullah Khan was an Ahmadi and a very trusted colleague of Mr. Jinnah and he also played a pivotal role in Pakistan movement as he was the one who had drafted the Lahore resolution that was passed on March 23 1940 at Lahore and later on came to be known as the Pakistan Resolution. He also played an important role in securing the geographical boundaries of Pakistan as he was appointed by Mr. Jinnah to represent the Muslim League in the boundary commission. He was the one who played his due rule in passing of the Kashmir Resolution of 1948 through the United Nations which has been the cornerstone of our basis for supporting the Kasmiris struggle for their right of self determination.
During the Ayub Khan era another prominent economist was the financial advisor to the then Government of Pakistan and his name was Mirza Muzaffar Ahmad and he was also an Ahmadi. He played a very important role in securing finances for building of Tarbela and Mangla dam projects from international financial institutions and Ayub Khan is known to have said that the nation would always remain indebted to MM Ahmad for his tremendous services in making Tarbela and Mangla possible. Everyone is familiar with the name of Dr. Abdussalam the Nobel laureate from Pakistan. He was instrumental in the launch of SUPARCO and the launch of our nuclear program. Many Ahmadis have rendered meritorious services in the Armed forces. My late father was a proud officer of Pakistan Army and rendered his services for the defense of our motherland when and wherever required. By doing away with the services of a brilliant economist merely on the basis of his religious beliefs has sent a message that perhaps Ahmadis are not patriotic Pakistanis. The extremists have mentioned that they cannot and will not allow any Ahmadi to be appointed to any prominent position in government.
I belong to the Ahmadiya community and this act of the government to cede to the pressure of the extremists has caused me great pain because my loyalty to my country has been doubted. Times will move on and implications of this decision will become evident in due course of time.
I certainly do not doubt the good intentions of Imran Khan for bringing positive change to Pakistan but a few years down the lane whenever the history will be written, the historian will not take into account the good intentions but the practical steps that were taken for bringing about the desired change and unfortunately it will be written that he had an excellent opportunity to change the history and course of history but Imran Khan was not up to the challenge. Imran is still my hero because of all his services for Pakistan. I sincerely hope and pray that he is able to live up to the challenge and take prudent decisions for bringing true change in Pakistan.