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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