Museum tells the story of Pakistan at 72

1 / 3
The partition of the Indian subcontinent of India forced migration of several hundred thousand people between the new states of Pakistan and India.
2 / 3
Muhammad Ali Jinah being introduced to Muslim League leaders at Quetta on a visit to Baluchistan.
3 / 3
Muhammad Ali Jinah with his sister, Fatima Jinah and wife Rati Bi.
Updated 13 August 2019

Museum tells the story of Pakistan at 72

  • National History Museum in Lahore chronicles country’s birth and struggle
  • Pakistan and India never tell the truth about Partition, academic says

LAHORE: Established by the Punjab government, the National History Museum at the Greater Iqbal Park shows all aspects of the country’s history not only after its creation, but also throws light on the struggle of Muslims ruling the subcontinent for centuries prior to Partition.

The mega project was envisaged to keep new generations of Pakistanis informed about the struggle of their forefathers for a separate country.

The museum narrates the tales from the independence movement and the first few years of the newborn 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 displays pictures and mementos from the British colonial era.

“I have crossed the 65th year of my life and have come here with my grandson. Every wall, every corner introduces with us to a new phase of the struggle of our elders The pain they bore, they did so for the peace of their people,” Nisha Begum, a visitor, told Arab News.

A portion of the museum showcases the stories with the help of archival content, including newspaper articles, personal letters and first hand accounts.

This portion also shows the scenes of great migration of August 1947. Britain left the subcontinent after 90 years, dividing it into two separate countries. Millions of Muslims started journey to West and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction. Unprecedented violence — Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other — was witnessed.

“The carnage was especially 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,” an article from The New Yorker recalled in June 2015.

“I have seen those black days with my eyes. I was little child at that time. I saw trains pelted with dead bodies. The Muslims sacrificed their lives for a peaceful land but the politicians wasted the struggle. The looters have taken control and the noble lost their dignity,” Salahud Din, 82, told Arab News.

Few historians believe that the truth was told to the people of India and Pakistan.




Muhammad Ali Jinah with the central leaders of the All India Muslim League.

“Partition had resulted in the biggest forced migration in history and as many as 14 million people, including 10 million from Punjab, were forcefully evicted. Although historians have failed to narrate the violence, some masterpieces of Urdu literature have highlighted the women’s experiences during Partition,” said historian Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi.

The veterans, however see the 72-year journey of Pakistan with disappointment and hope at the same time.

“The 72-year journey of Pakistan is very pathetic. A few years after its creation, the country entered the clutches of army dictators, and we failed to set up of the country as per our needs. Dictators used the country for personnel gains, depriving the people of their legitimate rights,” said veteran journalist Khadim Hussain, 84.

“I saw the moment of creation of Pakistan. The people sacrificed their lives, properties and relations in the hope of good but successive martial rule destroyed everything. Even a popular leader like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto failed to complete his agenda.”

Gen. Khawaja Ziauddin Abbassi has a different point of view: “Despite having nuclear weapons Pakistan never put the world in danger. It always behaved sensibly. The Pakistani army played important role not only in the development of the country but also contributed for peace at international level.

“Pakistan was created in the name of Islam but unjustified distribution of resources among different segments of society kept the poor away from its blessings.”

The veteran politician Raja Zafrul Haq, who took part in the independence movement, says that Pakistan is a story of success and failure at the same time.

“We lost credibility and international level because of weak system and discontinuity in democratic systems.”


Venice hit by another ferocious high tide, flooding city

Updated 15 November 2019

Venice hit by another ferocious high tide, flooding city

  • The government declared a state of emergency for Venice on Thursday, allocating 20 million euros ($22 million) to address the immediate damage
  • Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is spread over 118 islands and once presided over a powerful maritime empire

VENICE: An exceptionally high tide hit Venice again on Friday just three days after the city suffered its worst flooding in more than 50 years, leaving squares, shops and hotels once more inundated.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro closed access to the submerged St. Mark’s Square and issued an international appeal for funds, warning that the damage caused by this week’s floods could rise to one billion euros.
Local authorities said the high tide peaked at 154 cm (5.05 ft), slightly below expectations and significantly lower than the 187 cm level reached on Tuesday, which was the second highest tide ever recorded in Venice.
But it was still enough to leave 70% of the city under water, fraying the nerves of locals who faced yet another large-scale clean-up operation.
“We have been in this emergency for days and we just can’t put up with it any more,” said Venetian resident Nava Naccara.
The government declared a state of emergency for Venice on Thursday, allocating 20 million euros ($22 million) to address the immediate damage, but Brugnaro predicted the costs would be vastly higher and launched a fund to help pay for repairs.
“Venice was destroyed the other day. We are talking about damage totalling a billion euros,” he said in a video.
Sirens wailed across the city from the early morning hours, warning of the impending high tide. Sea water swiftly filled the crypt beneath St. Mark’s Basilica, built more than a thousand years ago.
Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is spread over 118 islands and once presided over a powerful maritime empire. The city is filled with Gothic architectural masterpieces which house paintings by some of Italy’s most important artists.
Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said initial checks suggested the damage to St. Mark’s was not irreparable, but warned that more than 50 churches across the city had been flooded this week.
“Visiting here you see that the disaster is much bigger than you think when you watch the images on television,” he said.
After Friday’s high waters, forecasters predicted tides of up to 110-120 cm during the weekend. In normal conditions, tides of 80-90cm are generally seen as high but manageable.
The mayor has blamed climate change for the ever-increasing flood waters that the city has had to deal with in recent years, with the mean sea level estimated to be more than 20 cm higher than it was a century ago, and set to raise much further.
Groups of volunteers and students arrived in the city center to help businesses mop up, while schools remained closed, as they have been most of the week.
“When you hear the name Venice, it is always like sunsets and everything pretty but it is a bit crazy now that we are here,” said British tourist Chelsea Smart. “I knew it was going to flood ... but I didn’t expect it to be this high.”
At the city’s internationally renowned bookshop Acqua Alta — the Italian for high water — staff were trying to dry out thousands of water-damaged books and prints, usually kept in boats, bath tubs and plastic bins.
“The only thing we were able to do was to raise the books as much as possible but unfortunately even that wasn’t enough ... about half of the bookshop was completely flooded,” said Oriana, who works in the store.
Some shops stayed open throughout the high tide, welcoming in hardy customers wading through the waters in boots up to their thighs. Other stores remained shuttered, with some owners saying they had no idea when they could resume trade.
“Our electrics are burnt out,” said Nicola Gastaldon, who runs a city-center bar. “This is an old bar and all the woodwork inside is from the 1920s and earlier which we will have to scrub down with fresh water and then clean up again.”
A flood barrier designed to protect Venice from high tides is not expected to start working until the end of 2021, with the project plagued by the sort of problems that have come to characterise major Italian infrastructure programs — corruption, cost overruns and prolonged delays.