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ahmadsalim

ahmadsalim

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Published by Qissa Khwani
'Historically correct '
copyright The News. Jang group
By Mohammad Shehzad
reproduced for educational purposes solely
'Historically correct '
copyright The News. Jang group
By Mohammad Shehzad
reproduced for educational purposes solely

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Published by: Qissa Khwani on Jan 17, 2012
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01/10/2013

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Historically correctJang The News 2003By Mohammad ShehzadWe have a lesson to learn--no federation could survive withoutextending the just rights to its unitsAhmed Salim insists to be known as a Punjabi poet--disregarding hisadmirers' claims that he is a historian. He has compiled more than 90books that reveal shenanigans of the rulers. His archives of historical documents have benefited researchers like Ayesha Jalal,Tariq Rehman and Ian Talbot.A gold-medallist in Philosophy from Punjab University, Salim is apolitical activist, a journalist, and a writer. In a recent interviewwith Political Economy he shared his views on the political history of Pakistan. Excerpts follow:PE: You are a member of the International Punjabi Conference (IPC).Why are its activities viewed as anti-Pakistan?AS: A section of Pakistani press has been propagating that Pakistan'sintegrity could be in danger if languages of the Sufis are promoted.We witnessed bloodshed over the Sindhi and Bengali issue. If ithappens again over Punjabi, it would not be a surprise for me. Thecountry disintegrated because we did not respect 'languages'. On 21February 1952, we witnessed 'Bengali Shaheed Minar' emerging and'Minare Pakistan' collapsing.The rulers should not repeat past mistakes and promote languages,which unite people. It disappointed me that Pakistan celebrated all UNdays with tremendous fervour but there was no enthusiasm on 22ndFebruary when the Mother Tongue Day was observed.PE: The coalition government of religious parties in NWFP has declaredUrdu as official language in the province. What is IPC's reaction inthis regard?AS: These religious parties have been betraying their people on thisissue. They did it in 1972. NAP had it in its manifesto that Bengaliand Pushto will become provincial languages in East Pakistan and NWFP,respectively. But they acted against the wishes of the people. Now,they have done it again.IPC, in its recent conference, has condemned it in a joint resolution.It has again reiterated that Punjabi should be the official languageof Punjab. Similarly, Sindhi, Balochi and Pushto should be theofficial languages of Sindh, Balochistan and NWFP, respectively.
 
PE: What prompted you to become an archivist?AS: I was collecting material for my book Toot'tee Banti Assemblian(1990). I could not find the relevant material despite running frompillar to post. My frustration took me to a junk-seller where I foundwhat I needed. Since then, I have been collecting reading materialfrom junk-sellers, which proved to be very useful. I was thusmotivated to build my own archives.When my friends came to know about my new passion, they starteddonating me their 'junk' material. I have stuffed my home with moundsof papers and have literally become roofless!PE: What do your archives comprise of?AS: 1000 books on Pakistan's political history; some 3000 books onevery province including East Pakistan; 3000 books on Indo-Pakculture, arts, society, history, etc. I have got complete unpublishedmaterial on various commissions set up by Ayub Khan. I have collectedpersonal papers of Sikandar Mirza (including his unpublishedautobiography), Masood Khaddarposh, G M Syed, Maulvi Tamizuddin andGhani Khan. I have leaflets, correspondence letters, reports andmemorandums of almost all political parties. Similarly, I have anarchive on all published material on water, agriculture, and allcensus reports (pre/post partition).My archives include complete material on Pakistan's Parliament (1947to date) and Punjab Assembly (1921-to date). Complete issues of DailyMashriq, Pakistan Times, Dawn, Jang, Imroz, Morning News, and manyothers. Archives of Illustrated Weekly of India and Illustrated Weeklyof Pakistan (1947 to mid '60s); Viewpoint (1975-1992); Newsline (1989onward); The Friday Times (complete file); Herald (1984 onward). Myarchives also contain material on various movements--labour, women,youth, children (pre/post partition) and some very rare books.PE: Who manages your archives?AS: I manage it myself. It costs me around Rs20,000 every month. Ihave to pay rent of two houses, one in Lahore and the other inIslamabad, and give salaries to the staffs. We have transformed thesearchives into an institution--South Asian Research & Resource Center(SARRC), which is open to public. I am making no profit out of it.Often, I provide free photocopies to needy students. People only payphotocopy charges. I would like to get SARRC registered. It isbecoming difficult to manage it professionally, as it has expanded toomuch. Rain, termite and other factors are damaging my archives. Everysix months, I have to discard a lot of valuable stuff.
 
PE: What made you write Pakistan Aur Mazhabi Aqliattein?AS: Creation of Pakistan was impossible without minorities' struggle.Instead of rewarding them, we stabbed in their back. We usurped theirrights that Jinnah had promised them. Liaquat Ali Khan made them'shoodars' in this country by playing up with the ObjectiveResolution. Jinnah had no objection if Pakistan was headed by a non-Muslim. The 1956 Constitution ruled this possibility out. Ayubinitially named the country as 'Republic of Pakistan' but due toclergy's pressure he had to add the word 'Islamic' as prefix.Similarly, Z A Bhutto tried to Islamise Pakistan by declaring 'Islam'as state's religion. The nasty Ziaul Haq outperformed all hispredecessors in marginalising minorities by masterminding 'separateelectorate'. This was like encouraging them to struggle for aChristian, Hindu, or Parsi Pakistan within Pakistan. My book exposesour rulers' macabre policies and acknowledging minorities'contribution.PE: How did Kalat accede to Pakistan?AS: Under the agreement of 4 August 1947 between Khan of Kalat, LordMountbatten and Jinnah, Kalat was supposed to be declared as anindependent state on 14 August 1947. Kalat announced its independenceon 14th August, which was endorsed by its Senate and General Assembly.On 1 April 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan obtained an instrument of accessionfrom Khan of Kalat on gunpoint with army's help. Jinnah was seriouslyill in those days. Jinnah had been contesting Kalat's independencecase as Khan of Kalat's lawyer.Khan's brother, Prince Abdul Karim refused to accept the accession andwaged an armed struggle. He was arrested. On 6 October 1958.Pakistan's army started bombarding Kalat, accusing that the Khan hadreneged on the accession instrument. The next day, martial law wasimposed. From then until the end of Ayub's regime, Balochistan wascontinuously bombarded. Nobody knew what an ugly role Pakistan armywas playing in the massacre of Balochis. The secret was made public bya few Baloch representatives in Ayub's parliament.In 1972, NAP formed the government in Balochistan. In the NWFP, theNAP formed a coalition government with Jamiate Ulemae Islam. Bhuttotransferred the power to both parties but the wicked establishment didnot accept it and Balochistan was again bombarded during 1973-1977.Bhutto asked Shah of Iran for warplanes, which bombarded the innocentBalochis.PE: Are Mohajirs really an oppressed community?

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