Monthly Archives: October 2011

In Memory of Ali Akber and Muhammad Hussain

Fatehyab Ali Khan is buried in Ali Bagh in Lyari, Karachi, Pakistan. Although he was not a Shia by birth, Fatehyab identified himself with the tragedy of the massacre of Prophet Muhammed’s (PBUH) family at Karbala. Ali Bagh is also the resting place of Khwaja Sarwar Hasan who was the founder of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs.

The secular and harmonious country which Mr Jinnah promised us on 11 August 1947 is sadly now in a tough predicament and the murder of two young brothers named Ali Akber and Muhammad Hussain who were the caretakers of Ali Bagh is a real tragedy.

Ali Akber and Muhammad Hussain were the sons of Abbas Bhai whose family has overseen the maintenance of Ali Bagh for generations. Both men were murdered, executed in fact, under the two Alams which adorn the famous Shia burial site of Ali Bagh. Now the family wish to emigrate to Iran where Shias are not threatened.

According to the Shia Post (please see the story entitled “Two Shia Brothers Killed in Karachi here) the murders were committed by terrorists of Nasabi-Wahabi organisation on 23 July 2011 (a Saturday night).

It is a great shame that there is such intolerance in Pakistan nowadays. The murderers of Shias seem to get away with their crimes which the state has thus far failed to control or bring to justice.

Just how long can such lawlessness and intolerance be tolerated? Muhammed Hasan who was not present when his brothers were murdered said that his family just do not know how to cope with their tragedy. He also said that the family wanted to live in a country where Shias were not murdered and where there was due process for citizens which enabled people to get legal remedies for their problems and grievances.

Ali Akbar and Muhammed Hussain's coffins

First barsi of Fatehyab Ali Khan held in Karachi

On 12 October 2011 a barsi (annual commemoration) was held for the late President of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party Mr Fatehyab Ali Khan (1936 – 2010) in the Mumtaz Mirza Studio in Karachi.

Fatehyab Ali Khan died on 26 September 2010 and the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party held the event in his memory on 12 October 2011.

The late president’s wife Dr Masuma Hasan was present at the event and Mr Meraj Mohammed Khan was the keynote speaker and the chief guest. The event was organised by Mr S M Altaf, Mr Ishrat Ghazali and numerous other advocates and party workers from across Pakistan’s expansive political milieu.

The event began with the speech of a young man called Bahadur Pashtun – who is a local worker and socialist political activist. Bahadur paid tribute to the model of politics which Fatehyab left for us to follow and the ways in which the great leader tried his best to represent the people before Pakistan’s political and economic masters.

As the event progressed several eulogising speakers praised Fatehyab for his honesty which they all saw as the great man’s enduring legacy for Pakistan.

The enthusiastic speakers explained that honest people – and those who had fought tooth and nail against dictatorship – in our country went unrewarded and the rich and corrupt prospered: this, it was argued, was not the country which our forefathers struggled and bled to create. Surely not!

The videos below in this post consist of the speeches made by Meraj and Agha Masood. The sound is a bit dull bit so please turn up the volume.

In their youth Fatehyab and Meraj both shot to unprecedented  prominence for opposing the Ayub regime – Pakistan’s first proper military dictatorship which usurped power in 1958 (after having been behind the scenes from 1954) – which the two brought to its knees through the activities of the National Students Federation.

Since Pakistan was a country founded by the Muslim League there was no opposition in Parliament and a void existed instead: this lacuna was, of course, famously filled by great men such as Fatehyab and his friends and followers.

Remembering his late comrade Meraj explained that Fatehyab Ali Khan’s politics was marked by his passion to bring Pakistan’s poor people into its mainstream politics to empower them and he did this by opposing dictatorships time and time again: first Ayub and then Zia. And he was consulted by many politicians, lawyers, and others for his acumen and knowledge on public law and constitutional instruments. (This was highlighted by Agha Masood in his speech and an article by Fatehyab on Pakistan’s constitution is available here.)

Meraj, moreover, explained that apart from being a national politician who led from the front, Fatehyab was also a great teacher and it was him who always did all the hard thinking in relation to how the regime would respond to civil disobedience and political agitation.

Foremost, Fatehyab was remembered for having taught Pakistanis the etiquette of politics and criticism (see video below).

Agha Masood is a prominent Pakistani journalist who is an anchor on Pakistan Television and other private news channels. He was a staunch supporter of Fatehyab’s politics and his very close friend. He was also Fatehyab’s student and the celebrated journalist admitted that he learned how to write a column from his late friend and mentor.

Agha’s speech is available here:

As Meraj’s speech was lengthy I have extracted the most notable parts of it.

The introduction to Meraj’s speech remembering his old comrade Fatehyab can be viewed here:

And the telling conclusion is available here:

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