Imran Khan

Imran Ahmed Khan Niazi is the 22nd and current Prime Minister of Pakistan and the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Khan was born to a landowning Pashtun family of Mianwali in Lahore on 5 October 1952; he was educated at

  • Aitchison College in Lahore
  • Royal Grammar School Worcester in Worcester
  • Keble College, Oxford

He started playing cricket at age 13, and made his debut for the Pakistan national cricket team at age 18, during a 1971 Test series against England. After graduating from Oxford, he made his home debut for Pakistan in 1976, and played until 1992. He also served as the team’s captain intermittently between 1982 and 1992, notably leading Pakistan to victory at the 1992 Cricket World Cup, Pakistan’s first and only victory in the competition.

Khan retired from cricket in 1992, as one of Pakistan’s most successful players. In total he made 3,807 runs and took 362 wickets in Test cricket, and is one of eight world cricketers to have achieved an ‘All-rounder’s Triple’ in Test matches. After retiring, he faced scandal after admitting to tampering with the ball with a bottle top in his youth. In 2003, he became a coach in Pakistan’s domestic cricket circuit, and in 2010, he was inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame.

In 1991, he launched a fundraising campaign to set up a cancer hospital in memory of his mother. He raised $25 million to set up a hospital in Lahore in 1994, and set up a second hospital in Peshawar in 2015. Khan remains a prominent philanthropist and commentator, having expanded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital to also include a research centre, and founded Namal College in 2008. Khan also served as the chancellor of the University of Bradford between 2005 and 2014, and was the recipient of an honorary fellowship by the Royal College of Physicians in 2012.

In April 1996, Khan founded the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (lit: Pakistan Movement for Justice), a centrist political party, and became the party’s national leader. Khan contested for a seat in the National Assembly in October 2002 and served as an opposition member from Mianwali until 2007. He was again elected to the parliament in the 2013 elections, when his party emerged as the second largest in the country by popular vote. Khan served as the parliamentary leader of the party and led the third-largest block of parliamentarians in the National Assembly from 2013 to 2018. His party also led a coalition government in the north-western province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the 2018 general elections, his party won the largest number of seats and defeated the ruling PML-N, bringing Khan to premiership and the PTI into federal government for the first time.

Early life and family

He is the only son of Ikramullah Khan Niazi, a civil engineer, and his wife Shaukat Khanum, and has four sisters. Long settled in Mianwali in northwestern Punjab, his paternal family are of Pashtun ethnicity and belong to the Niazi tribe, and one of his ancestors, Haibat Khan Niazi, in the 16th century, “was one of Sher Shah Suri’s leading generals, as well as being the governor of Punjab.” Khan’s mother hailed from the Pashtun tribe of Burki, which had produced several successful cricketers in Pakistan’s history, including his cousins Javed Burki and Majid Khan.

Maternally, Khan is also a descendant of the Sufi warrior-poet and inventor of the Pashto alphabet, Pir Roshan, who hailed from his maternal family’s ancestral Kaniguram town located in South Waziristan in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan. His maternal family was based in Basti Danishmanda, Jalandhar, India for about 600 years.

A quiet and shy boy in his youth, Khan grew up with his sisters in relatively affluent, upper middle-class circumstances and received a privileged education. He was educated at the Aitchison College and Cathedral School in Lahore, and then the Royal Grammar School Worcester in England, where he excelled at cricket. In 1972, he enrolled in Keble College, Oxford where he studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics, graduating in 1975.

Cricket career

Khan made his first-class cricket debut at the age of 16 in Lahore. By the start of the 1970s, he was playing for the home teams of

  • Lahore A (1969–70)
  • Lahore B (1969–70)
  • Lahore Greens (1970–71)
  • Lahore (1970–71)

Khan was part of the University of Oxford’s Blues Cricket team during the 1973–1975 seasons. At Worcestershire, where he played county cricket from 1971 to 1976, he was regarded as an average medium-pace bowler. During this decade, other teams represented by Khan included

  • Dawood Industries (1975–1976)
  • Pakistan International Airlines (1975–1976 to 1980–1981)
  • Sussex from 1983 to 1988

Khan made his Test cricket debut against England in June 1971 at Edgbaston. Three years later, in August 1974, he debuted in the One Day International (ODI) match, once again playing against England at Trent Bridge for the Prudential Trophy.

After graduating from Oxford and finishing his tenure at Worcestershire, he returned to Pakistan in 1976 and secured a permanent place on the Pakistan national team starting from the 1976–1977 season, during which they faced New Zealand and Australia.

Following the Australian series, he toured the West Indies, where he met Tony Greig, who signed him up for Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket.

His credentials as one of the fastest bowlers in the world started to become established when he finished third at 139.7 km/h in a fast bowling contest at Perth in 1978, behind Jeff Thomson and Michael Holding, but ahead of Dennis Lillee, Garth Le Roux and Andy Roberts.

During the late 1970s, Khan was one of the pioneers of the reverse swing bowling technique. He imparted this trick to the bowling duo of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, who mastered and popularised this art in later years.

  • As a fast bowler, Khan reached his peak in 1982. In 9 Tests, he took 62 wickets at 13.29 each, the lowest average of any bowler in Test history with at least 50 wickets in a calendar year.
  • In January 1983, playing against India, he attained a Test bowling rating of 922 points. Although calculated retrospectively (International Cricket Council (ICC) player ratings did not exist at the time), Khan’s form and performance during this period ranks third in the ICC’s All-Time Test Bowling Rankings.
  • Khan achieved the all-rounder’s triple (securing 3000 runs and 300 wickets) in 75 Tests, the second-fastest record behind Ian Botham’s 72.
  • He also has the second-highest all-time batting average of 61.86 for a Test batsman playing at position 6 in the batting order.
  • He played his last Test match for Pakistan in January 1992, against Sri Lanka at Faisalabad.
  • Khan retired permanently from cricket six months after his last ODI, the historic 1992 World Cup final against England in Melbourne, Australia. He ended his career with 88 Test matches, 126 innings and scored 3807 runs at an average of 37.69, including six centuries and 18 fifties.
  • His highest score was 136.
  • As a bowler, he took 362 wickets in Test cricket, which made him the first Pakistani and world’s fourth bowler to do so. I
  • n ODIs, he played 175 matches and scored 3709 runs at an average of 33.41. His highest score was 102 not out.
  • His best ODI bowling was 6 wickets for 14 runs, a record for the best bowling figures by any bowler in an ODI innings in a losing cause.

Captaincy

At the height of his career, in 1982, the thirty-year-old Khan took over the captaincy of the Pakistan cricket team from Javed Miandad. As a captain, Khan played 48 Test matches

  • 14 were won by Pakistan,
  • 8 lost
  • 26 were drawn.

He also played 139 ODIs

  • win 77
  • lose 57
  • draw 1.

In the team’s second match, Khan led them to their first Test win on English soil for 28 years at Lord’s. Khan’s first year as captain was the peak of his legacy as a fast bowler as well as an all-rounder.

  • He recorded the best Test bowling of his career while taking 8 wickets for 58 runs against Sri Lanka at Lahore in 1981–1982.
  • He also topped both the bowling and batting averages against England in three Test series in 1982, taking 21 wickets and averaging 56 with the bat.
  • Later the same year, he put up a highly acknowledged performance in a home series against the formidable Indian team by taking 40 wickets in six Tests at an average of 13.95.
  • By the end of this series in 1982–1983, Khan had taken 88 wickets in 13 Test matches over a period of one year as captain.
  • This same Test series against India, however, also resulted in a stress fracture in his shin that kept him out of cricket for more than two years. An experimental treatment funded by the Pakistani government helped him recover by the end of 1984 and he made a successful comeback to international cricket in the latter part of the 1984–1985 season.
  • In India in 1987, Khan led Pakistan in its first-ever Test series win and this was followed by Pakistan’s first series victory in England during the same year. During the 1980s, his team also recorded three creditable draws against the West Indies.
  • India and Pakistan co-hosted the 1987 Cricket World Cup, but neither ventured beyond the semi-finals. Khan retired from international cricket at the end of the World Cup.
  • In 1988, he was asked to return to the captaincy by the President of Pakistan, General Zia-Ul-Haq, and on 18 January, he announced his decision to rejoin the team. Soon after returning to the captaincy, Khan led Pakistan to another winning tour in the West Indies, which he has recounted as “the last time I really bowled well”. He was declared Man of the Series against West Indies in 1988 when he took 23 wickets in 3 Tests.
  • Khan’s career-high as a captain and cricketer came when he led Pakistan to victory in the 1992 Cricket World Cup. Playing with a brittle batting line-up, Khan promoted himself as a batsman to play in the top order along with Javed Miandad, but his contribution as a bowler was minimal. At the age of 39, Khan took the winning last wicket himself.

Post-retirement

In 1994, Khan had admitted that, during Test matches, he “occasionally scratched the side of the ball and lifted the seam.” He had also added, “Only once did I use an object. When Sussex were playing Hampshire in 1981 the ball was not deviating at all. I got the 12th man to bring out a bottle top and it started to move around a lot.”

In 1996, Khan successfully defended himself in a libel action brought forth by former English captain and all-rounder Ian Botham and batsman Allan Lamb over comments they alleged were made by Khan in two articles about the above-mentioned ball-tampering and another article published in an Indian magazine, India Today. They claimed that, in the latter publication, Khan had called the two cricketers “racist, ill-educated and lacking in class.”

Khan protested that he had been misquoted, saying that he was defending himself after having admitted that he tampered with a ball in a county match 18 years ago. Khan won the libel case, which the judge labelled a “complete exercise in futility”, with a 10–2 majority decision by the jury.

Since retiring, Khan has written opinion pieces on cricket for various British and Asian newspapers, especially regarding the Pakistani national team. His contributions have been published in India’s Outlook magazine, the Guardian, the Independent, and the Telegraph. Khan also sometimes appears as a cricket commentator on Asian and British sports networks, including BBC Urdu and the Star TV network.

In 2004, when the Indian cricket team toured Pakistan after 14 years, he was a commentator on TEN Sports’ special live show, Straight Drive, while he was also a columnist for sify.com for the 2005 India-Pakistan Test series.

He has provided analysis for every cricket World Cup since 1992, which includes providing match summaries for the BBC during the 1999 World Cup. He holds as a captain the world record for taking most wickets, best bowling strike rate and best bowling average in Test, and best bowling figures (8 wickets for 60 runs) in a Test innings, and also most five-wicket hauls in a Test innings in wins.

On 23 November 2005, Khan was appointed as the Chancellor of University of Bradford, succeeding Baroness Lockwood. On 26 February 2014, University of Bradford Union floated a motion to remove Khan from the post over Khan’s absence from every graduation ceremony since 2010.  Khan, however, announced that he will step down on 30 November 2014, citing his “increasing political commitments”. The university vice-chancellor Brian Cantor said Khan had been “a wonderful role model for our students”.

Philanthropy

During the 1990s, Khan also served as UNICEF’s Special Representative for Sports and promoted health and immunisation programmes in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. While in London, he also works with the Lord’s Taverners, a cricket charity. Khan focused his efforts solely on social work. By 1991, he had founded the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust, a charity organisation bearing the name of his mother, Mrs. Shaukat Khanum. As the Trust’s maiden endeavour, Khan established Pakistan’s first and only cancer hospital, constructed using donations and funds exceeding $25 million, raised by Khan from all over the world.

On 27 April 2008, Khan established a technical college in the Mianwali District called Namal College. It was built by the Mianwali Development Trust (MDT), and is an associate college of the University of Bradford in December 2005. Imran Khan Foundation is another welfare work, which aims to assist needy people all over Pakistan. It has provided help to flood victims in Pakistan. Buksh Foundation has partnered with the Imran Khan Foundation to light up villages in Dera Ghazi Khan, Mianwali and Dera Ismail Khan under the project ‘Lighting a Million Lives’. The campaign will establish several Solar Charging Stations in the selected off-grid villages and will provide villagers with solar lanterns, which can be regularly charged at the solar-charging stations.

Political ideology

Basing his wider paradigm on the poet-philosopher Muhammad Iqbal and the Iranian writer-sociologist Ali Shariati he came across in his youth, Khan is generally described as a nationalist and a populist. Khan’s proclaimed political platform and declarations include: Islamic values, to which he rededicated himself in the 1990s; liberal economics, with the promise of deregulating the economy and creating a welfare state; decreased bureaucracy and the implementation of anti-corruption laws, to create and ensure a clean government; the establishment of an independent judiciary; overhaul of the country’s police system; and an anti-militant vision for a democratic Pakistan.

Khan publicly demanded a Pakistani apology towards the Bangladeshi people for the atrocities committed in 1971. He called the 1971 operation a “blunder” and likened it to today’s treatment of Pashtuns in the war on terror. However, he repeatedly criticised the war crimes trials in Bangladesh in favour of the convicts. Khan is often mocked as “Taliban Khan” because of his pacifist stance regarding the war in North-West Pakistan. He believes in negotiations with Taliban and the pull out of the Pakistan Army from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). He is against US drone strikes and plans to disengage Pakistan from the US-led war on terror. Khan also opposes almost all military operations, including the Siege of Lal Masjid.

In August 2012, the Pakistani Taliban issued death threats if he went ahead with his march to their tribal stronghold along the Afghan border to protest US drone attacks, because he calls himself a “liberal” – a term they associate with a lack of religious belief. On 1 October 2012, prior to his plan to address a rally in South Waziristan, senior commanders of Pakistani Taliban said after a meeting headed by the Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud that they now offered Khan security assistance for the rally because of Khan’s opposition to drone attacks in Pakistan, reversing their previous stance.

In 2014, when Pakistani Taliban announced armed struggle against Ismaili Muslims (denouncing them as non-Muslims) and the Kalash people, Khan released a statement describing “forced conversions as un-Islamic”.  He has also condemned the incidents of forced conversion of Hindu girls in Sindh. Khan views the Kashmir issue as a humanitarian issue, as opposed to a territorial dispute between two countries (India and Pakistan). He also proposed secret talks to settle the issue as he thinks the vested interests on both sides will try to subvert them. He ruled out a military solution to the conflict and denied the possibility of a fourth war between India and Pakistan over the disputed mountainous region.

On 8 January 2015, Khan visited the embassies of Iran and Saudi Arabia in Islamabad and met their head of commissions to understand their stances about the conflict which engulfed both nations after the execution of Sheikh Nimr by Saudi Arabia. He urged the Government of Pakistan to play a positive role to resolve the matter between both countries.  In April 2015, after parliament passed a unanimous resolution keeping Pakistan out of the War in Yemen, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) as part of opposition, took credit for the decision. Khan might not be able to stick to his previous stance, as Saudi loans and investment are crucial amid the precarious state of Pakistan’s economy. In July 2018, the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank activated its $4.5 billion oil financing facility for Pakistan.

After the result of 2018 Pakistani general election, Imran Khan said he would try to remake Pakistan based on the ideology of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Political career

  • Khan was offered political position few times during his cricketing career.
  • In 1987, then-President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq offered him a political position in Pakistan Muslim League (PML) which he declined. He was also invited by Nawaz Sharif to join his political party.
  • In late 1994, he joined a pressure group led by former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Hamid Gul and Muhammad Ali Durrani who was head of Pasban, a breakaway youth wing of Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan.
  • The same year, he also showed his interest in joining politics. On 25 April 1996, Khan founded a political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
  • He ran for the seat of National Assembly of Pakistan in 1997 Pakistani General Election as a candidate of PTI from two constituencies – NA-53, Mianwali and NA-94, Lahore – but was unsuccessful and lost both the seats to candidates of PML (N).
  • Khan supported General Pervez Musharraf’s military coup in 1999, believing Musharraf would “end corruption, clear out the political mafias”. According to Khan, he was Musharraf’s choice for prime minister in 2002 but turned down the offer.
  • Khan participated in the October 2002 Pakistani General Election that took place across 272 constituencies and was prepared to form a coalition if his party did not get a majority of the vote. He was elected from Mianwali.
  • In the 2002 referendum, Khan supported military dictator General Musharraf, while all mainstream democratic parties declared that referendum as unconstitutional.
  • He has also served as a part of the Standing Committees on Kashmir and Public Accounts.
  • On 6 May 2005, Khan was mentioned in The New Yorker as being the “most directly responsible” for drawing attention in the Muslim world to the Newsweek story about the alleged desecration of the Qur’an in a US military prison at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.
  • In June 2007, Khan faced political opponents in and outside the parliament.
  • On 2 October 2007, as part of the All Parties Democratic Movement, Khan joined 85 other MPs to resign from Parliament in protest of the presidential election scheduled for 6 October, which General Musharraf was contesting without resigning as army chief.
  • On 3 November 2007, Khan was put under house arrest, after President Musharraf declared a state of emergency in Pakistan.
  • Later Khan escaped and went into hiding. He eventually came out of hiding on 14 November to join a student protest at the University of the Punjab. At the rally, Khan was captured by student activists from the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba and roughly treated. He was arrested during the protest and was sent to the Dera Ghazi Khan jail in the Punjab province where he spent a few days before being released.
  • On 30 October 2011, Khan addressed more than 100,000 supporters in Lahore, challenging the policies of the government, calling that new change a “tsunami” against the ruling parties. Another successful public gathering of hundreds of thousands of supporters was held in Karachi on 25 December 2011. Since then Khan became a real threat to the ruling parties and a future political prospect in Pakistan. According to a International Republican Institute’s survey, Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf tops the list of popular parties in Pakistan both at the national and provincial level.
  • On 6 October 2012, Khan joined a vehicle caravan of protesters from Islamabad to the village of Kotai in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region against US drone missile strikes.
  • On 23 March 2013, Khan introduced the Naya Pakistan Resolution (New Pakistan) at the start of his election campaign.
  • On 29 April The Observer termed Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf as the main opposition to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
  • Between 2011 and 2013, Khan and Nawaz Sharif began to engage each other in a bitter feud. The rivalry between the two leaders grew in late 2011 when Khan addressed his largest crowd at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore. From 26 April 2013, in the run up to the elections, both the PML-N and the PTI started to criticise each other.

2013 elections campaign

On 21 April 2013, Khan launched his final public relations campaign for the 2013 elections from Lahore where he addressed thousands of supporters at the Mall. Khan announced that he would pull Pakistan out of the US-led war on terror and bring peace to the Pashtun tribal belt. He addressed different public meetings in various cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other parts of country where he announced that PTI will introduce a uniform education system in which the children of rich and poor will have equal opportunities. Khan ended his south Punjab campaign by addressing rallies in various Seraiki belt cities.

Khan ended the campaign by addressing a rally of supporters in Islamabad via a video link while lying on a bed at a hospital in Lahore. The last survey before the elections by The Herald showed 24.98 percent of voters nationally planned to vote for his party, just a whisker behind former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N. On 7 May, just four days before the elections, Khan was rushed to Shaukat Khanum hospital in Lahore after he tumbled from a forklift at the edge of a stage and fell headfirst to the ground.  Pakistan’s 2013 elections were held on 11 May 2013 throughout the country. The elections resulted in a clear majority of Pakistan Muslim League (N). Khan’s PTI emerged as the second largest party by popular vote nationally including in Karachi. Khan’s party PTI won 30 directly elected parliamentary seats and became third largest party in National Assembly behind Pakistan People’s Party, which was second.

In Opposition

  • Khan led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf became the opposition party in Punjab and Sindh. Khan became the parliamentary leader of his party. On 31 July 2013 Khan was issued a contempt of court notice for allegedly criticising the superior judiciary, and his use of the word shameful for the judiciary. The notice was discharged after Khan submitted before the Supreme Court that he criticised the lower judiciary for their actions during the May 2013 general election while those judicial officers were working as returning officers. Khan’s party swooped the militancy-hit northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), and formed the provincial government. PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented a balanced, tax-free budget for the fiscal year 2013–14.
  • Khan believed that terrorist activities by Pakistani Taliban can be stopped through dialogue with them and even offered to open an office in KPK province. He accused the US of sabotaging peace efforts with the Pakistani Taliban by killing its leader Hakimullah Mehsud. He demanded government to block NATO supply line in retaliation for killing of the TTP leader.
  • On 13 November 2013, Khan, being party leader, ordered Pervez Khattak to dismiss ministers of Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) who were allegedly involved in corruption. Bakht Baidar and Ibrar Hussan Kamoli of Qaumi Watan Party, ministers for Manpower & Industry and Forest & Environment respectively, were dismissed. Khan ordered Chief Minister KPK to end the alliance with QWP. Chief Minister KPK also dismissed Minister for Communication and Works of PTI Yousuf Ayub Khan due to a fake degree.
  • A year after elections, on 11 May 2014, Khan alleged that 2013 general elections were rigged in favour of the ruling PML (N). On 14 August 2014, Imran Khan led a rally of supporters from Lahore to Islamabad, demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s resignation and investigation into alleged electoral fraud. On its way to the capital Khan’s convoy was attacked by stones from PML (N) supporters in Gujranwala; however, there were no fatalities. Khan was reported to be attacked with guns which forced him to travel in a bullet-proof vehicle.
  • On 15 August, Khan-led protesters entered the capital and a few days later marched into the high-security Red Zone; on 1 September 2014, according to Al Jazeera, protesters attempted to storm Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s official residence, which prompted the outbreak of violence. Three people died and more than 595 people were injured, including 115 police officers. Prior to the violence that resulted in deaths, Khan asked his followers to take law into their own hands.
  • By September, Khan had entered into a de facto alliance with Canadian-Pakistani cleric Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri; both have aimed to mobilise their supporters for regime change. Khan entered into an agreement with Sharif administration to establish a three-member high-powered judicial commission which would be formed under a presidential ordinance. The commission would make its final report public. If the commission finds a country-wide pattern of rigging proved, the prime minister would dissolve the national and provincial assemblies in terms of the articles 58(1) and 112(1) of the Constitution – thereby meaning that the premier would also appoint the caretaker setup in consultation with the leader of opposition and fresh elections would be held. He also met Syed Mustafa Kamal, when he was in the opposition.

2018 general election

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Imran Khan contested the general election from

  • NA-35 (Bannu)
  • NA-53 (Islamabad-II)
  • NA-95 (Mianwali-I)
  • NA-131 (Lahore-IX)
  • NA-243 (Karachi East-II).

According to early, official results, Khan led the poll, although his opposition, mainly PML-N, alleged large-scale vote rigging and administrative malpractices.

On 27 July, election officials declared that Khan’s party had won 110 of the 269 seats, giving PTI a plurality in the National Assembly.

At the conclusion of the count on 28 July, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) announced that the PTI had won a total of 116 of the 270 seats contested.

Khan became the first person in the history of Pakistan general elections who contested and won in all five constituencies, surpassing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who contested in four but won in three constituencies in 1970.

Election controversies

A number of opposition parties have alleged “massive rigging” in Khan’s favour amid allegations of military interference in the general elections. Nawaz Sharif and his PML-N party, in particular, claimed that a conspiracy between the judiciary and military had influenced the election in favour of Khan and PTI. The Election Commission, however, rejected allegations of rigging and Sharif and his PML-N later conceded victory to Khan, despite lingering ‘reservations’ regarding the result. Two days after the 2018 general elections were held, the chief observer of the European Union Election Observation Mission to Pakistan Michael Gahler confirmed that the overall situation of the general election was satisfactory.

Victory speech

During his victory speech, he laid out the policy outlines for his future government. Khan said his inspiration is to build Pakistan as a humanitarian state based on principles of first Islamic state of Medina. He described that his future government will put poor and commoners of the country at first and all policies will be geared towards elevating the standards of living of the lesser fortunate. He promised an investigation into rigging allegations. He said that he wanted united Pakistan and would refrain from victimising his political opponents. Everyone will be equal under law. He promised a simple and less costly government devoid of showy pompousness in which prime minister house will be converted into an educational institute and governor houses will be used for public benefit.

On foreign policy, he aimed to learn from China and hoped to have better relations with Afghanistan, United States, and India. On Middle East, he said his government will strive to have a balanced relationship with Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Nominations and appointments

On 6 August 2018, PTI officially nominated him as the candidate for prime minister. Delivering a speech during his nomination, he said that he will present himself for public accountability for an hour every week in which he will answer questions put forward by masses.

After the election, Khan made some appointments and nominations for national and provincial level public office holders as the head of winning party.

  • Asad Umar was designated finance minister in future government of Khan in the center.
  • Khan nominated Imran Ismail for Governor of Sindh
  • Mahmood Khan as future Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
  • Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar as Governor of Punjab
  • Asad Qaiser as Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan
  • Shah Farman as Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In Balochistan, his party decided to support Balochistan Awami Party which nominated

  • Jam Kamal Khan for chief minister
  • Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, former chief minister,  for speaker.

His party nominated

  • Pakistan Muslim League (Q) leader and former Deputy Prime Minister of Pakistan, Pervaiz Elahi for the slot of Speaker of the Punjab Assembly.
  • Abdul Razak Dawood was nominated to be the advisor to prime minister on economic affairs.
  • Qasim Khan Suri was nominated for deputy speaker of national assembly slot.
  • Mushtaq Ahmed Ghani and Mehmood Jan were nominated as speaker and deputy speaker of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assembly respectively.
  • Dost Muhammad Mazari was nominated as Deputy Speaker for the Provincial Assembly of Punjab.

Khan nominated Sardar Usman Buzdar for Chief Minister of Punjab. Announcing the nomination, Khan said that he chose Buzdar because he belongs to the most backward area of Punjab. According to some sources, Buzdar was nominated as a makeshift arrangement because it will be easier to remove a lesser known individual when Shah Mehmood Qureshi is ready to become Chief Minister.

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Prime Minister of Pakistan

 

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On 17 August 2018, Khan secured 176 votes and became 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan while his contender and leader of opposition Shehbaz Sharif received 96 votes. He took oath of office on 18 August 2018. Khan ordered top level reshuffling in the country’s bureaucracy, including the appointment of Sikandar Sultan Raja as Railways Secretary, Rizwan Ahmed as Maritime Secretary and Sohail Mahmood as Foreign Secretary. His first major appointment in the Pakistan Army was that of Lieutenant General Asim Munir to the key slot of Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence.

Khan announced his cabinet soon after taking oath, choosing to keep the Ministry of Interior to himself. Most of his appointees were previously ministers during Musharraf era and some served in Pakistan Peoples Party government which followed Musharraf era.

Khan has stated that despite the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Pakistan must prioritise good relations with Saudi Arabia due to an economic crisis. He also added that U.S. sanctions against Iran are affecting neighbouring Pakistan, stating “The last thing the Muslim World needs is another conflict. The Trump administration is moving towards that direction.” Khan has prioritised close ties with China, saying he “did not know” much about concentration camps for China’s Muslims.

Wealth

  • In 2012, Khan had net worth of ₨22.9 million (US$160,000) which decreased to ₨14 million (US$99,000) in the election year 2013 and then gradually increased to ₨33.3 million (US$240,000) in 2014.
  • In 2015 Khan’s assets were valued ₨1.33 billion (US$9.4 million).
  • As of 2017, his net worth is ₨1.4 billion (US$9.9 million).

Assets

Khan owns

  • a 300 kanal mansion in Bani Gala, Islamabad worth ₨750 million (US$5.3 million).
  • He has a house in Zaman Park, Lahore worth ₨29 million (US$210,000).
  • Khan has also been an investor, investing more than ₨40 million (US$280,000) in various businesses.
  • He is also owner of agriculture land of 39 kanals at Talhar, Islamabad
  • 530 kanals at Khanewal.
  • he has a share in 363 kanals of agricultural land which he inherited.
  • Other assets include furniture of ₨0.6 million (US$4,200)
  • livestock of ₨0.2 million (US$1,400)

However he has no vehicle registered in his name.

Bani Gala mansion

Khan owns a 300 kanal mansion in Bani Gala, Islamabad worth ₨750 million (US$5.3 million). Khan bought acres of land in Bani Gala on top of a hill and built a mansion on it. The mansion is located within a gated enclosure and is accessible through a private driveway. It is the permanent residence of Imran Khan.

 Tax

In July 2017, Federal Board of Revenue Pakistan revealed the tax directory of Pakistani MP’s. According to FBR, Khan paid ₨76,200 (US$540) of tax in 2015 and ₨1.59 lakh (US$1,100) in 2016.

 Public image

After the May 2013 elections, Mohammed Hanif writing for The Guardian termed Khan’s support as appealing “to the educated middle classes but Pakistan’s main problem is that there aren’t enough educated urban middle-class citizens in the country“.

Pankaj Mishra writing for The New York Times in 2012, characterised Khan as a “cogent picture out of his—and Pakistan’s—clashing identities” adding that “his identification with the suffering masses and his attacks on his affluent, English-speaking peers have long been mocked in the living rooms of Lahore and Karachi as the hypocritical ravings of “Im the Dim” and “Taliban Khan”—the two favoured monikers for him.”

Mishra concluded with “like all populist politicians, Khan appears to offer something to everyone. Yet the great differences between his constituencies—socially liberal, upper-middle-class Pakistanis and the deeply conservative residents of Pakistan’s tribal areas—seem irreconcilable.”

On 18 March 2012, Salman Rushdie criticised Khan for refusing to attend the India Today Conference because of Rushdie’s attendance. Khan cited the “immeasurable hurt” that Rushdie’s writings have caused Muslims around the world. Rushdie, in turn, suggested that Khan was a “dictator in waiting.”

In 2011, While writing for The Washington Post, Richard Leiby termed Khan as an underdog adding that he “often sounds like a pro-democracy liberal but is well-known for his coziness with conservative Islamist parties.”

Ayesha Siddiqa, in September 2014, writing for The Express Tribune, claimed that “while we can all sympathise with Khan’s right to change the political tone, it would be worthwhile for him to envision how he would, if he did become the prime minister of this country, put the genie back into the bottle.”

H. M. Naqvi termed Khan as a “sort of a Ron Paul figure”, adding that “there is no taint of corruption and there is his anti-establishment message.”

During the 1970s and 1980s, Khan was a popular sex symbol. He became known as a socialite in English high society, and sported a playboy image amongst the British press and paparazzi due to his “non-stop partying” at London nightclubs such as Annabel’s and Tramp, though he claims to have hated English pubs and never drank alcohol.

British heiress Sita White, daughter of Gordon White, Baron White of Hull, became the mother of his alleged lovechild daughter, Tyrian Jade White. A judge in the US ruled him to be the father of Tyrian, but Khan has denied paternity publicly.

Later in 2007, Election Commission of Pakistan ruled in favour of Khan and dismissed the ex parte judgment of the US court, on grounds that it was neither admissible in evidence before any court or tribunal in Pakistan nor executable against him. About his lifestyle as a bachelor, he has often said that, “I never claim to have led an angelic life.”

  • Declan Walsh in The Guardian newspaper in England in 2005 described Khan as a “miserable politician,” observing that, “Khan’s ideas and affiliations since entering politics in 1996 have swerved and skidded like a rickshaw in a rainshower… He preaches democracy one day but gives a vote to reactionary mullahs the next.”
  • Khan has also been accused by some opponents and critics of hypocrisy and opportunism, including what has been called his life’s “playboy to puritan U-turn.”
  • Political commentator Najam Sethi, stated that, “A lot of the Imran Khan story is about backtracking on a lot of things he said earlier, which is why this doesn’t inspire people.”
  • Author Fatima Bhutto has criticised Khan for “incredible coziness not with the military but with dictatorship” as well as some of his political decisions.

In popular culture

During his cricketing days, Khan featured in many advertisements and television commercials as a celebrity brand endorser. These included Pepsi Pakistan, Brooke Bond, Thumbs Up (along with Sunil Gavaskar), and the Indian soap brand Cinthol, at a time when Bollywood legend Vinod Khanna was also endorsing the same product. His popularity in India was such that it was “unmatched in an era when there were no smartphones to take selfies. He was mobbed everywhere he went.” The late veteran Bollywood actor Dev Anand even offered him a role in his sports action-thriller movie Awwal Number (1990), that of a cricket star in decline opposite an upcoming cricketer essayed by Aamir Khan, and as he refused, citing his lack of acting skills, the role eventually went to Aditya Pancholi. In 2010, a Pakistani production house produced a biographical film based on Khan’s life, titled Kaptaan: The Making of a Legend. The title, which is Urdu for ‘Captain’, depicts Khan’s captaincy and career with the Pakistan cricket team which led them to victory in the 1992 cricket world cup, as well as events which shaped his life; from being ridiculed in cricket to being labelled a playboy; from the death of his mother to his efforts and endeavours in building the first cancer hospital in Pakistan; from being the first Chancellor of the University of Bradford to the building of Namal University.

Personal life

He had numerous relationships during his bachelor life. He was then known as a hedonistic bachelor and a playboy who was active on the London nightclub circuit. He had numerous girlfriends during his bachelor life. Many are unknown and were called ‘mysterious blondes’ by British newspaper The Times.

Some of his out of marriage relationships included relationship with

  1. Zeenat Aman,
  2. Emma Sergeant
  3. Susie Murray-Philipson
  4. Sita White
  5. Sarah Crawley
  6. Stephanie Beacham
  7. Goldie Hawn
  8. Kristiane Backer
  9. Susannah Constantine
  10. Marie Helvin
  11. Caroline Kellett
  12. Liza Campbell,
  13. Anastasia Cooke
  14. Hannah Mary Rothschild
  15. Jerry Hall
  16. Lulu Blacker
  • His first girlfriend, Emma Sergeant, an artist and the daughter of British investor Sir Patrick Sergeant, introduced him to socialites. They first met in 1982 and subsequently visited Pakistan. She accompanied him on various Pakistani cricket team tours including in Peshawar and Australian tour. After long separations, his relationship with Sergeant was broken in 1986. He then had a short relationship with Susie Murray-Philipson whom he invited to Pakistan and had dinner with in 1982.She also made various artistic portraits of Khan during their relationship.
  • In a book published in 2009, Christopher Sandford claimed that former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and Imran Khan had a close relationship when both were students in Oxford. He wrote that Bhutto at the age of 21 first became close to Khan in 1975. They remained in a relationship for about two months. His mother also tried to have an arranged marriage between them. He further claimed that they had a “romantic relationship”, which was refuted by Khan who said they were only friends.
  • His most well known relationship was with heiress Sita White, daughter of British industrialist Gordon White, Baron White of Hull. They remained in the relationship for about six years having met in 1987–88. According to Sita White, Khan agreed for a child in a 1991 meeting. Tyrian Jade was born on 15 June 1992 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center but Khan, according to White’s allegation, refused to accept her because she was a girl. Khan had urged White to go for an abortion. Tyrian looked extraordinarily like Khan. Later in 1997, Los Angeles court announced the verdict which was put by his former partner Sita White and her lawyer Gloria Allred that Imran Khan is the father of a five-year-old girl named Tyrian-Jade White.
  • His former wife Reham Khan alleged Khan told her that Tyrian was not the only child fathered by him out of wedlock, there were four others, some of them had Indian mothers and the oldest of his children is 34 years old. In a later interview, Reham conceded that she did not know where these children were, who they were and whether Khan was only boasting about it, and said that she “didn’t even know if it is true also because you can never make out whether he tells the truth.” In 2004, after Sita’s death, Khan agreed to accept Tyrian as his child and welcomed her to join their house.
  • On 16 May 1995, at the age of 43, Khan married 21-year-old Jemima Goldsmith, in a two-minute ceremony conducted in Urdu in Paris. A month later, on 21 June, they were married again in a civil ceremony at the Richmond registry office in England. Jemima converted to Islam. The couple have two sons, Sulaiman Isa and Kasim.
  • Rumours circulated that the couple’s marriage was in crisis. Goldsmith denied the rumours by publishing an advertisement in Pakistani newspapers. On 22 June 2004, it was announced that the couple had divorced, ending the nine-year marriage because it was “difficult for Jemima to adapt to life in Pakistan”.
  • In January 2015, it was announced that Khan married British-Pakistani journalist Reham Khan in a private Nikah ceremony at his residence in Islamabad. However, Reham Khan later states in her autobiography that they in fact got married in October 2014 but the announcement only came in January the year after. On 22 October, they announced their intention to file for divorce.
  • In mid-2016, late 2017 and early 2018, reports emerged that Khan had married his spiritual mentor (murshid), Bushra Bibi. Khan, PTI aides and members of the Manika family denied the rumour. Khan termed the media “unethical” for spreading the rumour, and PTI filed a complaint against the news channels that had aired it.
  • On 7 January 2018, however, the PTI central secretariat issued a statement that said Khan had proposed to Manika, but she had not yet accepted his proposal.
  • On 18 February 2018, PTI confirmed Khan has married Manika.
  • According to Khan, his life has been influenced by Sufism for three decades, and this is what drew him closer to his wife.
  • Khan resides in his sprawling farmhouse at Bani Gala. In November 2009, Khan underwent emergency surgery at Lahore’s Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital to remove an obstruction in his small intestine.
  • He owns five pet dogs, who reside on his estate.

Controversies

On 1 August 2017, Ayesha Gulalai came forward with allegations of harassment against Khan and claimed that she had been receiving offensive messages from him since October 2013. In an interview, Khan said that he suspected that the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) had used Gulalai for the allegations of harassment against him. Later, Ayesha Gulalai said that she will forgive Khan if he apologises.

On 19 February 2019, Imran Khan gave a speech regarding the 2019 Pulwama attack in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir; he was criticised by the Indian media on not offering condolences to the Indian soldiers but was praised worldwide for his efforts in bringing the conflict to an end by releasing the captured Indian air pilot to India as a gesture of peace .

Literary work

Khan has published six works of non-fiction, including an autobiography co-written with Patrick Murphy. He periodically writes editorials on cricket and Pakistani politics in several leading Pakistani and British newspapers. It was revealed in 2008 that Khan’s second book, Indus Journey: A Personal View of Pakistan, had required heavy editing from the publisher. The publisher Jeremy Lewis revealed in a memoir that when he asked Khan to show his writing for publication, “He handed me a leather-bound notebook or diary containing a few jottings and autobiographical snippets. It took me, at most, five minutes to read them; and that, it soon became apparent, was all we had to go on.”

  • Khan, Imran (1975). West and East. Macmillan Publishers. ISBN 978-0-3339-0059-8.
  • Khan, Imran; Murphy, Patrick (1983). Imran: The autobiography of Imran Khan. Pelham Books. ISBN 978-0-7207-1489-0.
  • Khan, Imran (1989). Imran Khan’s cricket skills. London : Golden Press in association with Hamlyn. ISBN 978-0-600-56349-5.
  • Khan, Imran (1991). Indus Journey: A Personal View of Pakistan. Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-3527-0.
  • Khan, Imran (1992). All Round View. Mandarin. ISBN 978-0-7493-1499-6.
  • Khan, Imran (1993). Warrior Race: A Journey Through the Land of the Tribal Pathans. Chatto & Windus. ISBN 978-0-7011-3890-5.
  • Khan, Imran (2011). Pakistan: A Personal History. Bantam Press. ISBN 978-0-593-06774-1.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.org

War Inquiry Commission 1971

Hamood-ur-Rahman Commission Report

After the fall of Dhaka, eight days later, on Dec 24, 1971, the President of Pakistan Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto set up the War Inquiry Commission, commonly known as the Hamood-ur-Rehman Commission. It examined 213 witnesses, mostly Pakistani army officers, hundreds of classified documents and army signals between East and West Pakistan. The final report was submitted in November 1974, detailing how political, administrative, military, and moral failings were responsible for the surrender in East Pakistan.

The Findings

The report said:

  1. The process of moral degeneration among the senior ranks of the armed forces was set in motion by their involvement in martial law duties in 1958; that these tendencies reappeared and were in fact intensified when martial law was imposed once again in March 1969 by General Yahya Khan.
  2. Due to corruption arising out of the performance of martial law duties, lust for wine and woman, and greed for lands and houses, a large number of senior army officers, particularly those occupying the highest positions, had not only lost the will to fight but also the professional competence necessary for taking the vital and critical decisions demanded of them for the successful prosecution of war, the Commission observed.
  3. According to the Commission, these perversions led to the army brass willfully subverting public life in Pakistan. In furtherance of their common purpose they did actually try to influence political parties by threats, inducements and even bribes to support their designs, both for bringing some of the political parties and the elected members of National Assembly to refuse to attend the session of the National Assembly scheduled to be held at Dhaka on March 3, 1971.
  4. A fully civil government could not be formed in East Pakistan as had been announced by the ex-President namely Dr. Malik- an old politician who had a weak personality. He could not annoy the Martial Law Administrator (Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi) because of the unsettled conditions obtaining in the Eastern Wing. Gen. Niazi, on the other hand cherished and liked power, but did not have the breadth of vision or ability to understand political implications. He did not display much respect for the civilian Governor; the Army virtually continued to control civil administration. The Commission discovered.
  5. The installation of a civilian governor in September 1971 was merely to hoodwink public opinion at home and abroad. Poor Dr. Malik and his ministers were figureheads only, the Commission observed.
  6. Real decisions in all important matters still lay with the army. In the first picture of the new Cabinet, Maj. Gen. Farman Ali was prominently visible sitting on the right side of the Governor, although he was not a member of the Cabinet.
  7. The rot began at the very top from the East Pakistan army’s commander, Lt-General A.A.K.Niazi, who the commission said acquired a notorious reputation for sexual immorality and indulgence in the smuggling of paan (betel leaf) from East to West Pakistan. The inevitable consequence was that he failed to inspire respect and confidence in the minds of his subordinates with absolute absence of leadership qualities and determination; he also encouraged laxity in discipline and moral standards among the officers and men under his command, the Commission determined.

The Recommendations

The Commission recommended public trial of the following officers:

  1. General Yahya Khan, former Commander-in-Chief
  2. General Abdul Hamid Khan, ex-Chief of Staff to the President
  3. Lt. Gen. S.G.M.M. Pirzada, ex-Personal Staff Officer to the President
  4. Lt. Gen. Gul Hasan ex Chief of General Staff
  5. Maj. Gen. Ghulam Umar ex Second-in -Command of NSC
  6. Maj Gen A. O. Mitha ex Deputy Corps Commander
  7. Lt. Gen. Irshad Ahmad Khan, ex-Commander 1 Corps
  8. Maj Gen Abid Zahid, ex-GOC 15 Div.
  9. Maj. Gen B.M. Mustafa, ex-GOC 18 Div.

The Commission recommended court martial of the following officers:

  1. Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, ex Commander, Eastern Command
  2. Maj Gen. Mohammad Jamshed, ex-GOC 36 (ad-hoc) Division,
  3. Maj Gen. M. Rahim Khan, ex-GOC 39 (ad-hoc) Division.
  4. Brig. G.M. Baqir Siddiqui, ex COS, Eastern Command, Dhaka
  5. Brig. Mohammad Hayat, ex Commander. 107 Brigade. (9 Div.)
  6. Brig. Mohammad Aslam Niazi, ex Commander 53 Brigade (39 Ad-hoc Div.)

The Commission recommended departmental action against the following officers:

  1. Brig. S.A. Ansari, ex-Commander, 23 Brigade
  2. Brig. Manzoor Ahmad, ex-Commander 57 Brigade, 9 Div.
  3. Brig. Abdul Qadir Khan, ex-Commander, 93 Brigade, 36 Div.

The Commission observed that the suitability of the following officers for continued retention in military service would not be justified:

  1. Maj. Gen. M.H. Ansari, GOC 9 Div.
  2. Maj. Gen. Qazi Abdul Majid, GOC 14 Div.
  3. Maj Gen Nazar Hussain Shah, GOC 16 Div.
  4. Maj. Gen. Rao Farman Ali, ex Adviser to the Governor of East Pakistan.
  5. Plus 19 Brigadiers.

The Commission further recommended that armed services should devise ways and means to ensure:

  1. That moral values are not allowed to be compromised by disgraceful behaviour particularly at higher levels;
  2. That moral rectitude is given due weightage along with professional qualities in the matter of promotion to higher ranks;
  3. That syllabi of academic studies at the military academies and other service institutions should include courses designed to inculcate in the young minds respect for religious, democratic and political institutions;
  4. That use of alcoholic drinks should be banned in military messes and functions;
  5. That serious notice should be taken of notorious sexual behaviour and other corrupt practices.

The Action:

  1. Nothing ever happened. The army’s role in dismembering Pakistan after its greatest military debacle was largely ignored by successive Pakistani governments and many of those indicted by the Commission were instead rewarded with military and political sinecures.
  2. Bhutto, reportedly, as Prime Minister personally ordered that each and every copy of The Report be burnt.
  3. A copy of the Final Report was however saved, which was leaked and published in Indian magazine India Today in August 2000. The following day, Pakistani newspaper Dawn also carried the report.
  4. General Pervez Musharraf stated in October 2000 that the incidents in 1971 were a political as well as a military debacle, and that calls for generals to be tried were not fair.

The Aftermath

Had action been initiated against the accused, as recommended by the Commission, the nation could have averted the coup d’état of Zia-ul-Haq whose 11-year rule of infamy completely devastated the political as well as the socio-economic fabric of the state and society. Besides many irreversibles, it led to radicalization of the society, which is now clearly visible. The policies of that era invited foreign intervention which is so deep rooted now. And the role of intelligence agencies from media management to missing persons is so pervasive. We could have also averted the illegitimate takeover of Pervez Musharraf and whatever followed thereafter.

Fast Forward to 2018:

  1. The security establishment plays the most important overt and covert role in ruling this country. It also defines the contours of national interest.
  2. The security establishment is in full control of our economic, defence and foreign policy. The political government is in no position to make organic changes in policy formulation.
  3. Actual annual defence budget exceeding rupees 1100 billion (some estimates exceed rupees 2000 billion) is allocated on direction from the military and there is no parliamentary oversight.
  4. According to human rights groups, more than 5000 persons are missing in Pakistan and nobody has any access to them.
  5. Wiki leaks reports that in March 2009 the Chief of the Army Staff considered removing the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and replacing him with the leader of ANP.

The elected Prime Minister and his daughter are in jail after a trial which has lost its credibility after the statement of a judge of the High Court that the army and the ISI manipulated the trial and influenced the courts. Drastic censorship, harassment and intimidation is the order of the day, may it be media, civil society or political leadership. The entire world media including China have termed the 2018 elections as a farce. The country is split on pro and anti-establishment camps which is most stark in the province of Punjab. Terrorist organizations have been allowed to contest elections and sectarian outfits are running political campaigns. Terrorists, whose backbone was claimed to have been broken are back in business and scores have been killed in recent terrorist attacks. First time in the history of Punjab, anti-army slogans have been raised on roads.

How long can this country survive in its present form is the million-dollar question?

Courtesy of:

The Aftermath by Waseem Altaf

The Misunderstood Premier

 

Liaquat Ali Khan (1895-1951)

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An influential politician and everything else that he was, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan loved gadgets of all kinds and was an avid photographer. Here he is seen getting ready to take a snap of his beloved wife, Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan, during his state visit to the United States of America in May 1950. | Photo: Dawn / White Star Archives

Liaquat Ali Khan was as pivotal to the consolidation of Pakistan as the Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was central to the creation of Pakistan. He became the country’s first prime minister not simply because he was a trusted lieutenant of Jinnah, but by his proven leadership skills in having led the Muslim League bloc in the interim government before partition. Liaquat, having left all his property in India, refused to file a claim to which he was entitled as a ‘refugee’. The Nawabzada reduced his standard of life and set about building institutions in the new country. Such was the stuff the man was made of.

 

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Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Miss Fatima Jinnah (left) arriving in December 1946 at the Gul-e-Rana residence of Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan and Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan (right) in New Delhi to attend a reception given in honour of Mr Jinnah. | Photo: The Press Information Department, Ministry of Information, Broadcasting & National Heritage, Islamabad.
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Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan with Begum Rana Liaquat and their two sons Akbar (left) and Ashraf (right). | Photo: Dawn / White Star Archives

The course of Pakistan’s journey can be seen meandering its way from a prime minister proverbial for his probity and down to his successors who every now and then faced investigations related to their wealth. It is no wonder, then, that after Pakistan had turned the corner in terms of consolidation, questions began to be raised regarding the constituency of Liaquat in Pakistan.

His tenure as prime minister is seen by certain quarters as having set a controversial path for the nation to follow. There have been two basic contentions. The first one relates to his decision to move away from what used to be the Soviet Union. The decision also had its reverberations in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy case.

The first step in this direction was taken on May 3, 1948, when it was announced that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Pakistan were to exchange ambassadors. On the occasion, Liaquat stated: “It has been the desire of Pakistan to have friendly relations with all the nations of the world, and the decision to exchange ambassadors with Russia is in consequence of that policy.”

The invitation for Liaquat to visit Moscow came a year later, on June 2, 1949, through the Soviet ambassador to Iran. Russia thereafter insisted that ambassadors be exchanged prior to Liaquat’s visit. Although on June 9, Sir Zafrullah Khan tried to stall the move, Liaquat proceeded regardless. The Pakistani ambassador was appointed on December 31, 1949, while the Soviet ambassador was appointed on March 22, 1950.

In June 1949, the USSR ‘advanced’ the date of the invitation, from August 20 to August 14. Liaquat could not agree to the date as it happened to be the first Independence Day of Pakistan after the Quaid-i-Azam’s demise. Subsequently came an invitation from the US and Liaquat proceeded there in May 1950.

Liaquat mentioned the Soviet invitation when leaving for the US, while he was on the US soil, and on his return home. A year later, Liaquat, while addressing a press conference in Karachi, explained the position thus:

I cannot go [to Moscow] until those people who invited me fix a date and ask me to go on such date … The invitation came. Later, they suggested August 14, 1949. I replied that this is our Independence Day. I can come on any day after that; after that they have not replied”.

I am not the first to challenge the ‘myth’ of the Moscow invitation. Others, including Irtiza Husain, Mansur Alam and Shahid Amin, have preceded me. Syed Ashfaque Husain Naqvi, a diplomat based in Tehran at the time, rejected the allegation that Liaquat had cadged an invitation.

And this is what Dr. Samiullah Koreshi, who was posted at Moscow, related in his book ‘Diplomats and Diplomacy’: “Mr. Shuaib Qureshi was the first ambassador to USSR [in 1949] … He called on Andre Gromyko, then deputy foreign minister, to tell him that the prime minister had dispatched him post haste so that he could make all arrangements for his visit to Moscow in response to their invitation.

[Gromyko replied] ‘Our invitation to your prime minister? Oh, you mean your proposal that he come here’.”

Thereafter, the Soviet government did not revert to the subject.

The point is that the change of date having been made by the Soviets and Liaquat having conveyed his reservations clearly, Pakistan cannot be accused of having tried to pit one world power against the other, or of having picked up any of the two. He simply went ahead with the invitation that was valid and cannot be charged with failure to make use of the one that was not there on the table.

The other controversy regarding Liaquat’s tenure relates to the Objectives Resolution which is blamed for having opened the door for the subsequent Islamisation of General Ziaul Haq. Regardless of if Pakistan was to be an Islamic state, the Pakistan movement clearly shows that it was not meant to be a territory with an ideology, but an ideology with a territory. Securing human rights and survival for a community suffering from religious discrimination is of ideological, and not of territorial, import.

 

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The man that Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan was. No one ever doubted that the resolve behind the smile was ironclad. | Photo: Dawn / White Star Archives

The Objectives Resolution moved by Liaquat is denounced as a regressive document by which he allegedly sought to nullify the secular vision of the Quaid-i-Azam. To determine the veracity of the charge, we need to see three documents.

The first is the draft by the religious parties’ alliance. It read:

“The Sovereignty of Pakistan belongs to Allah alone, and the Government of Pakistan has no right other than to enforce the will of Allah. The basic law of Pakistan is the Shariah of Islam. All those laws repugnant to Islam are to be revoked, and, in future, no such laws can be passed. The Government of Pakistan shall exercise its authority within the limits prescribed by Islamic Shariah.”

Now compare this draft with the one presented by Liaquat. It read:

“Whereas the sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust. This Constituent Assembly representing the people of Pakistan, resolves to frame a constitution of the sovereign independent state of Pakistan wherein the state shall exercise its power and authority through the chosen representatives of the people.”

What is the difference between the two drafts? The one presented by the ulema negates democracy, while Liaquat’s draft asserts it. Without democracy, even a minority sect can rule over a majority sect; a situation that has thrown the whole of the Middle East into confusion today.

The third document is the speech of Liaquat in the Constituent Assembly that he delivered on March 7, 1949, on the subject.

“I assure the minorities that we are fully conscious of the fact that if the minorities are able to contribute to the sum total of human knowledge and thought, it will redound to the credit of Pakistan and will enrich the life of the nation. Therefore, the minorities may look forward, not only to a period of the fullest freedom, but also to an understanding and appreciation on the part of the majority … Sir, there are many interests for which the minorities desire protection. This protection this Resolution seeks to provide. We are fully conscious of the fact that they do not find themselves in their present plight for any fault of their own. It is also true that we are not responsible by any means for their present position. But now that they are our citizens, it will be our special effort to bring them up to the level of other citizens so that they may bear the responsibilities imposed by their being citizens of a free and progressive State …”

It is true that members of the Pakistan National Congress had raised objections to the Resolution, but, among many others, it had the support of Sir Zafrullah Khan and Mian Ifthikharuddin who represented two divergent schools of thought and became part of religious and political minority in later years. And this is a proof of Liaquat’s sincere intentions in moving the Objectives Resolution and of the tinkering that the Resolution suffered afterwards.

Besides, Liaquat had held out the assurance that the Objectives Resolution would not become a substantive part of the Constitution. This, and other linguistic jugglery, was done much later by General Ziaul Haq. Therefore, it is unjustifiable to blame Liaquat for the excesses caused by the dictator that opened the door for even more abuse than he himself probably thought of.

Whatever the critics might say, Liaquat was what he was. It was a real achievement on his part that he could set Pakistan on the course to industrialization. Western countries, seeking to ensure Pakistan’s demise, refused to supply even on payment, machinery and parts. They wanted Pakistan to be subservient to India. Liaquat nevertheless could procure the necessary equipment from East European countries in return for hard cash. Sishir Chandra Chattopadhaya had stated on the floor of the Constituent Assembly that the link between East Bengal and Calcutta could not be broken. Liaquat broke the link.

He refused to devalue currency when Britain and India did so. In the face of the Indian threat not to lift jute at the new price, Liaquat went to the growers, directly pleading with them not to sell at the old rate. If need be, the government of Pakistan would lift the entire stock, he assured the growers. The jute mills of Calcutta could not run without jute from East Bengal and, ultimately, the owners purchased at the new rate. This single decision enabled Liaquat to derive full benefit from the boom created by the Korean War, and the country, which had been written off as nonviable, became more than solvent.

The British, since 1857, had imposed certain standards for the recruitment of soldiers. Liaquat removed them and started the induction of Bengalis in Pakistan Army. Similarly, there was only one ICS officer from East Pakistan, Nurun-Nabi Choudhry. Liaquat immediately fixed a 50 per cent quota for East Bengal civil servants to generate parity.

 

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Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan (extreme right) sitting in mourning as the body of the slain Prime Minister, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, lay in state before the burial. He was assassinated on October 16, 1951, during a public rally at Rawalpindi’s Company Bagh which was later renamed Liaquat Bagh. | Photo: Dawn / White Star Archives

The critics of Liaquat survived, but Liaquat did not. And he died in circumstances that have never allowed anyone to pinpoint the actual killer … or killers. Liaquat’s life and actions generated controversies when there should have been none, and his death remains a controversy that failed to generate much interest where it mattered. Liaquat deserved better.

Featured Image: Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan signing his assent after having been sworn in as Pakistan’s first Prime Minister on August 15, 1947, in the presence of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (right) on the grounds of the Governor General House in Karachi. | Photo: Dawn / White Star Archives

Courtesy:

Dawn: The misunderstood Premier, Liaquat Ali Khan (1895-1951) by Dr. Muhammad Reza Kazimi.” The writer is a historian and biographer of Liaquat Ali Khan.

 

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HBL has been an indelible part of the nation’s fabric since independence, enabling the dreams of millions of Pakistanis. At HBL, we salute the dreamers and dedicate the nation’s 70th anniversary to you. Jahan Khwab, Wahan HBL