Pakistan at 72: a story of success and misfortunes

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The partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan led to the forced migration of hundreds of thousands of people in 1947. This picture here shows refugees from India moving into Pakistan. (Photo Courtesy - Punjab Archive Pakistan Movement gallery)
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In this picture from, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is seen in a meeting with the central leaders of the All India Muslim League at the residence of Mian Bashir Ahmad, in Lahore Lahore, 1940. (Photo Courtesy - Punjab Archive Pakistan Movement gallery)
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In this picture from 1948, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is being introduced to the elders and tribal chiefs of Balochistan. In the picture late Nawab Akbar Bugti is shaking hand with the Quide. (Photo Courtesy - Punjab Archive Pakistan Movement gallery)
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In this undated photo, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is seen with his sister, Fatima Jinnah and wife Rattanbbai. – (Photo Courtesy - Punjab Archive Pakistan Movement gallery)
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A family rides a bull cart while entering Lahore in this picture from India in 1947 – (Photo Courtesy - Punjab Archive Pakistan Movement gallery)
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A view of the Lahore Railways station where refugees can be seen arriving from India in August 1947 – (Photo Courtesy - Punjab Archive Pakistan Movement gallery)
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In this photo from 1947 refugees from India are seen at the Dilli (present New Delhi) railway station before travelling to Pakistan. (Photo Courtesy - Punjab Archive Pakistan Movement gallery)
Updated 14 August 2019
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Pakistan at 72: a story of success and misfortunes

  • National History Museum narrates the tale of the country's inception and struggle
  • Successive martial laws made Pakistan lose direction, veteran journalist says

LAHORE: Established by Punjab government, the National History Museum (NHM) at Greater Iqbal Park has preserved the country’s history not only since its creation but also throws light on the struggle of Muslims ruling the sub-continent for centuries.
The mega project was envisaged as a part of the park to educate the new generation of Pakistan about the struggle of their forefathers for a separate country.
The Museum narrates the tale from the independence movement and the picture of first few years of a new born state. The historic events, important statistics and speeches of the leaders of the movement have been displayed at the digital library of the National History Museum while another section of the museum displays pictures and mementos from the British era.
The era from 1940 to 1960, the Pakistan Movement and its inception and the years after have been displayed as a timeline. Similarly, another part of the museum depicts the Lahore Resolution, Pakistan's founding father Muhammad Ali Jinnah's videos, speeches and scenes from migration of Muslims from India to Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947.
“I have crossed eighty fifth year of my age and came here with my grandson. For me it is like moving with history as every wall, every corner introduces us to the struggle of our elders. The pain they suffered, the price they paid for the peace of their people,” Nisha Begum, a senior citizen living in Lahore, told Arab News.
A section at the NHM showcases stories with the help of archives -- newspaper articles, personal letters and firsthand accounts.
This section also shows the scenes of great migration in the country's history as in August 1947, Great Briton left the subcontinent after ruling for 90 years, dividing United India into two separate countries. Millions of Muslims began their journey to West and East Pakistan (presently Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction.
Unprecedented violence with Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other, was witnessed. “The carnage was very intense, with massacres, arson, forced conversions, mass abductions, and savage sexual violence. Some seventy-five thousand women were raped, and many of them were then disfigured or dismembered," according to The New Yorker edition of June 22, 2015.
“I have seen those black days with my eyes. I was a little child at that time. I saw trains arriving with dead bodies. The Muslim sacrificed their lives for a peaceful land but the politicians wasted the struggle. The looters have taken control and the noble lost their dignity,” another senior citizen, Salahud Din, 82, told Arab News.
However, some historians believe that truth was kept from the people in India and Pakistan with self-narrated literature disseminated to further agendas and brain wash people.
“Partition had resulted in the biggest forced migration in the history of mankind and as many as 14 million people, including 10 million from Punjab, were forcefully evicted. Although historians have failed to narrate the violence, but some masterpieces of Urdu literature have highlighted the women’s experiences during Partition,” Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi, historian and Chronologist said during a book launching ceremony at the University of Lahore.
However, the veterans see the 72-year journey of Pakistan with disappointment and hope at the same time.
“The 72-year journey of Pakistan is very unique. A few years after its creation, the country came into the clutches of army dictators and we failed to build a strong system as per our needs. Dictators used the country for personnel gains depriving the people of their legitimate rights,” opined veteran journalist, Chaudhry Khadim Hussain, touching 84 years of age. “I witnessed the creation of Pakistan. People sacrificed their lives, properties and relations in hopes for good but successive military interventions destroyed everything. Even a popular leader like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto failed to complete his agenda,” Hussain added.
Retired General Zia-ud-Din Khawaja had a different point of view. “Despite having nuclear and missile capacity Pakistan never put the world in danger. It always behaved sensibly. Pakistan army played important role not only in the development of the country but also contributed for peace at international level,” Gen. Khawaja said. “Pakistan was created in the name of Islam but unjustified distribution of resources among different segments of society kept the poor away from the blessings,” he added.
Veteran politician Raja Zafrul Haq, who took part in the Pakistan movement, told Arab News that Pakistan was a story of great successes and misfortunes at the same time. The civil governments developed the infrastructure of the country, made her a nuclear power, strengthened its defense but look at what we did with the elected prime ministers whether it was Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif.
“Pakistan significantly lost credibility in the world because of a weak democratic system," said Haq.


India defends blocking politicians from visiting Kashmir

Updated 25 August 2019
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India defends blocking politicians from visiting Kashmir

  • If everything is normal, asks opposition’s Rahul Gandhi, why are Congress leaders not allowed in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Hurriyat Conference has released its first official comment since the clampdown, calling for locals to resist New Delhi’s move 

NEW DELHI: Authorities on Sunday defended blocking opposition Indian politicians from visiting Muslim-majority Kashmir, saying it was to “avoid controversy” weeks after stripping the restive region of its autonomy and imposing a major clampdown.
India’s Hindu-nationalist government has been criticized by the main opposition Congress party over the contentious move on August 5 that brings Kashmir — which has waged an armed rebellion against Indian control since 1989 — under its direct rule.
The region remains under strict lockdown with movement limited and many phone and Internet services cut, although authorities say they have been easing restrictions gradually.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, still a key figure in India as a scion of the powerful Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty, was earlier invited by local governor Satya Pal Malik to visit Kashmir.
But a video released by Congress showed Gandhi questioning officials about why he was stopped from entering Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar at the airport on Saturday.
“The governor has said I’m invited. He has invited me so I have come but you’re saying I can’t go,” he said.
“And the government is saying everything is OK, everything is normal. So if everything is normal, why are we not allowed out? It is a bit surprising.”
Regional police chief Dilbagh Singh told AFP police supported the decision.
“In an environment that is getting to normalcy, we didn’t want any controversial statement from anyone. That’s why they were asked to return from the airport itself,” Singh said.
Malik told the ANI news agency he invited Gandhi out of goodwill but that he then politicized the issue.
The controversy came as key separatist group Hurriyat Conference, a coalition of local political parties, released its first official comments since the clampdown and called for locals to “resist at this critical juncture” New Delhi’s move.
“Each and every person must face the naked Indian brutality with courage ... People should organize peaceful protests and demonstrations in their areas of residence,” top separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani said in a statement obtained by AFP.
The Hurriyat Conference, which supports Kashmir’s right to choose whether it wants to be part of India or Pakistan, added that Pakistan and the wider Muslim community should “come forward to ... help the besieged people.”
The call came as India’s home affairs ministry refuted a report by India’s News18 television on Sunday that the region was running out of lifesaving medicines, saying supplies were “slightly higher than the monthly average.”