Tag Archives: Kissan

In Memoriam: Fatehyab Ali Khan (1936 – 2010): 3rd Anniversary

Fatehyab Ali Khan, President of the Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party and a legendary figure in the public and national life of Pakistan, passed away on 26 September 2010. A visionary in politics, his relentless struggle for democracy, fundamental freedoms, justice in society and the rule of law forms a glowing chapter in the history of our country. His support for the cause of the oppressed and under-privileged will long be remembered.

Today is his third death anniversary and Mr Justice Rana Bhagwan Daas (R) and Senior journalist Mahmood Sham oversaw a debate competition held in Karachi University (please see further details below) in Fatehyab’s honour.

Fatehyab’s family migrated from Hyderabad Deccan to Pakistan after the Partition and settled in Shikarpur and Karachi. His bold stand against injustices in the local education system made him prominent at a very early age. Gifted with unusual organizing skills, persuasiveness and charm, he joined the National Students Federation and soon assumed leadership roles in the student community. He was elected as Vice President of Islamia College Students’ Union (at that time the president of the union used to be an official), President of Karachi University Students’ Union and Chairman of the Inter-Collegiate Body. He was a brilliant debater in both Urdu and English.

During the students’ movement against Ayub Khan’s martial law, when political parties were quiet spectators, Fatehyab shot to fame as a national figure and the leader of the movement. He was tried as Accused Number One and convicted by a military court in 1961. After he had served his sentence in Bahawalpur Central Jail, along with other activists, he was twice externed from all parts of the country, except Quetta. He was denied a passport to study abroad by the regime and ultimately took up law as his profession in Karachi.

Fatehyab was in the forefront of all movements against dictatorship in the country. His greatest contribution to politics came during the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD). He was a fearless fighter against Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship. The Mazdoor Kissan Party, of which he was president, was a member of the MRD alliance. On 12 August 1983, he courted arrest in Empress Market Karachi as part of MRD’s civil disobedience campaign. He worked tirelessly to organize and spread the movement and to develop a consensus for the alliance to work from a common platform in the future, which was not to be. The decade of the 1980s was a period of internments, externments, and numerous prison terms for Fatehyab. He was the only signatory of the MRD declaration who was tried and convicted by a military court. However, he never yielded to pressure and never compromised on his political principles.

Fatehyab served his prison terms in the 1980s in Karachi and Sukkur jails but whenever he found respite, he turned his attention to The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, of which he had become a member in 1972. In 1980, Ziaul Haq had taken over the Institute through a presidential ordinance, turning it virtually into a government department. Between prison terms, he led a determined and courageous legal campaign to get the Institute restored to its original independent and non-official status. After many setbacks, his persistence triumphed and the presidential ordinance was declared ultra vires of the Constitution by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1993.

In 1995, Fatehyab was elected as Chairman of the Institute’s Council, a position he held until 2009. As Chairman, he jealously guarded the independent character of the Institute, countering all pressure with the strength of his own personality. Free from traditional prejudices, Fatehyab was a great supporter of the rights of the marginalized, including the women’s movement, and stood by every initiative for women’s empowerment.

He was a prolific writer and has left behind a rich archive consisting of numerous constitutional petitions filed by him against martial law, articles on constitutional and international issues, political analyses and statements. These documents reflect not only his own commitment and contribution but also the dilemmas of the times in which he lived.

fatehyab Ali Khan invitation

Ishrat Ghazali, Advocate High Court, President Mazdoor Kissan Party, Karachi Division

E-mail: ghazaliishrat@gmail.com

Mob: 0300-2854142

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Supreme Court sacks Prime Minister

In an unprecedented show of judicial independence and strength, the Supreme Court of Pakistan has dismissed the Prime Minister Mr Yousaf Raza Gillani for contempt of court. In an earlier post this blog debated what Mr Gillani’s fate might be? Mr Kadri QC and I concluded that by breaching a court order and acting contemptuously, Mr Gillani was destined to get into trouble. And it seems that our prediction was correct! 

Mr Gillani was convicted of contempt and did not appeal the Supreme Court’s decision.

Stripping the prime minister of his office, a measure of last resort used by the judiciary to maintain constitutional order, was a difficult step to take and Mr Gillani’s successor will face the even harder task of writing to the Swiss authorities (pursuant to, and in implementation of, paragraphs 177 and 178 of the NRO Judgment) to restart the corruption cases against the President Asif Ali Zardari and his cronies.

In order to replace Mr Gillani, who will be departing from his official residence today, it is expected that the National Assembly will elect a new prime minister on Friday 22 June 2012.

Exercising its original constitutional jurisdiction, the Supreme Court ordered that:

Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani guilty of contempt of Court under Article 204(2) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 read with section 3 of the Contempt of Court Ordinance, 2003 and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment till rising of the Court under section 5 of the said Ordinance, and since no appeal was filed against this judgment, the conviction has attain finality. Therefore, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament) in terms of Article 63(1)(g) of the Constitution on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgment of this Court dated 26.04.2012 with all consequences, i.e. he has also ceased to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan with effect from the said date and the office of the Prime Minister shall be deemed to be vacant accordingly

The Pakistan Mazdoor Kissan Party is pleased with the Supreme Court’s approach to the issue of Mr Gillani’s contempt. No one is above the law: especially not the prime minister. Pakistan’s citizens deserve that people with public power should be held accountable for their actions. Our country’s politicians ought to respect the rule of law and refrain from using the law of the jungle for their own political ends.

A free and fair judiciary is in Pakistan’s interest and decisions such as this one, if consistently made and respected, might help our country restore constitutional order. It is hoped that such actions will help Pakistanis make strides towards freedom.

The people of Pakistan are universally embracing the ruling: they complain that Mr Gillani was not working in the interests of “good governance”. The people, who have no water, electricity, sanitation and food are rejoicing at the prime minister’s demise/dismissal because he failed to act in accordance the constitutional role allocated to his office.

The Court’s Short Order is available below

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:

In memoriam: Fatehyab Ali Khan 1936-2010

Fatehyab Ali Khan speaking in 1962

Fatehyab Ali Khan, Chairman of the Council of the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs from 1995 to 2009, passed away on 26 September 2010. He was a legendary figure in the public and national life of Pakistan. A visionary in politics, his struggle for democracy, fundamental freedoms, justice in society and the rule of law forms a glowing chapter in the history of our country. His support for the cause of the oppressed and under-privileged will long be remembered.

Fatehyab’s family migrated from Hyderabad Deccan to Pakistan after the Partition and settled in Shikarpur and Karachi. His bold stand against injustices in the local education system made him prominent at a very early age. Gifted with unusual organizing skills, persuasiveness and charm, he joined the National Students Federation and soon assumed leadership roles in the student community. He was elected as Vice President of Islamia College Students’ Union (at that time the president used to be an official), President of Karachi University Students’ Union and Chairman of the Inter-Collegiate Body. He was a brilliant debater. Continue reading

Aurat Foundation’s response to the floods

(By Dr Masuma Hasan, Chairman, Pakistan Institute of International Affairs)

The Indus River floods almost every year. After the flood recedes, the people living along its banks repair their homes and shops and pick up the threads of life again. In some years, the flooding is acute and the government, civil society and other donors mobilise to bring relief to those left homeless and destitute.

Dr Masuma Hasan

This year, the floods have been described by some, as the worst natural disaster in the history of mankind. Devastation? Tragedy? Calamity? None of these words truly describe the magnitude of what has struck disaster-prone Pakistan. As if terrorism and the war against it had not caused misery and displacement enough. It is estimated that 20 million people have been affected by the monsoon rains and the Indus flood which has broken dykes and embankments and submerged millions of acres of land. Hundreds of towns, villages and hamlets have been evacuated. People are on the move, desperately seeking a patch of dry ground and the means of survival.

The impact of this disaster will be felt for generations to come. The gains Pakistan’s economy, infrastructure, industry, health and education sectors had made have been washed away by the angry Indus. Heritage sites have been destroyed. Sludge covers the land, many feet deep. Crops, livestock and fodder have been lost, public and private records of governance, education, businesses and landownership have drowned. Stocks of grain and rice have been swept away. Who will sow the next crop? Epidemics and disease threaten our land. Continue reading

Congratulations to Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma

Prior to the Government of India Act 1935 British imperialists had ruled Burma as a part of India. Through the 1935 Act Burma was formally separated from “British” India and it failed to develop as a democratic state. The country gained independence from Britain on 4 January 1948 but it suffered a coup d’état on 2 March 1962 and the junta has ruled ever since. Continue reading

Blasphemy and the rule of law: Asia Bibi’s case

History

A barrister by trade Mr Jinnah shared with the profession its militant passion for espousing very precisely advocated arguments and it is not by chance that six decades after his death we can still hear his principles echo. In his first speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan Mr Jinnah provided his people with clues for future action. He described the evils which threatened Pakistan’s interests and suggested remedies which would aid its inhabitants in achieving the secular dream that he had dreamt for the newborn state.

Mr Jinnah

In his first address to the Constituent Assembly Mr Jinnah very famously declared that in Pakistan there could be “no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another”. He also reassured Pakistan’s citizens by his declaration that:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

Clearly Mr Jinnah’s Pakistan was very much about an impartial state which did not treat its minorities poorly and one which did not persecute them.

In his speech Mr Jinnah also reiterated his fears for the future. Pakistan, argued Mr Jinnah, would have to fight diseases such as “bribery, corruption, jobbery, nepotism and black marketing” and in order to win against such evils the post-colonial state would have to grant all its citizens equality and constitutional “human” rights.

Equally, even the later Objectives Resolution (considered to be the touchstone of the “Islamic” influence on Pakistan’s constitution) – which was passed in March 1949 under the aegis of Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan – clearly made provisions for the protection of the rights of minorities. Keeping with Mr Jinnah Nawabzada envisaged a nation: Continue reading

Khairpur Nathan Shah

By Arif Hasan (published in Dawn on 28 October 2010)

Muhammad Iqbal Memon, DCO Dadu invited me to visit Khairpur Nathan Shah to “advise” him on its “rehabilitation”. In the briefing held in Dadu on 10 October 2010, and attended by Imran Zafar Laghari (the MPA of the area) and Sikandar Panhwar (the TMO) , we learnt that the town had over 15,000 plus homes and shops, its water came from tube wells seven kilometres away as the local subsoil water was brackish, and that the sewage system consisted of open drains (as in the rest of the small towns of Sindh) and disposed into cesspools or pumped untreated into the saim nali through three disposal points. The absence of an underground sewage system is a major cause of disease and environmental pollution. The town is divided into thirteen community based paras or neighbourhoods. It has functioning educational and health institutions including degree colleges for both girls and boys. Continue reading

Human rights in Pakistan: what’s next?

To say the very least the Pakistani “human rights” lobby is comprehensively impotent in changing the diminishing fortunes of Pakistan’s poor and repressed people. Thus far, since their inception, the “fundamental rights” enumerated in Articles 9-28 of Pakistan’s 1973 Constitution have not been granted to the people. In fact military dictators and their civilian acolytes have done all that they could to murder democracy in its nascency in Pakistan. The crime, of course, has not gone unnoticed and in one instance  it has been exposed by Allen McGrath in his most excellent book The Destruction of Democracy in Pakistan in which he unequivocally holds Munir CJ as being the foremost accomplice of the Army’s designs in conclusively ousting the civilian leadership from running the country forever. Continue reading

For Abbu

On 22 September 2010 Fatehyab Ali Khan, my father, suffered a cardiac arrest in Karachi. On the 20 September I had been to see my rheumatologist in London and she had given me an injection in my right knee. In my last conversation with my father on 21 September 2010 I discussed my injection with him. He told me that he was not feeling well (“betay meri tabyit theek nahin hai”). I informed him that Dr Nutall who administered the injection to my right knee was beautiful and that she wore red lipstick which complemented her long brown hair. Even in his illness my father was tickled by my description of the doctor. Goodness knows he saw so many of them towards the end of his life. In June 2010 I saw my father for the last time. I made him promise that he won’t die. He told me that he would try but that he could not control time.

Regrettably, and very unexpectedly, because of the cardiac arrest of 22 September 2010, I lost my father on 26 September 2010. Fatehyab Ali Khan was 74 years of age when he died and most people who called to commiserate called his “a good innings”. I was making arrangements for him and my mother, Dr Masuma Hasan, to visit me in London soon. But alas this was not to be. My fear, which I sought to mitigate through prayer (odd for a non-religious person), finally materialised. I had lost a parent and it was daddy who went first. He had promised my mother this: that he would die first. He also said it did not matter who died first between him and my mother because either way throngs of people would attend the funeral. And this was to be the case at his.

Since I was working in London and unable to return home because my visa application is under consideration by the Secretary of State for the Home Department, I could not even return home to bury and mourn the loss of my father. Instead, I just sat in the new rented flat I moved into near London’s Turnpike Lane tube station crying as I made sense of the ton of belongings which I had placed in plastic bags for the purposes of moving house.

But I cannot say that I was entirely alone. People who I had never known called me from all over the world to share the loss of my father and to celebrate his achievements in fighting injustice in Pakistan.

Then there were those who I did know and who knew him. My childhood friend from our neighbourhood in Karachi Kubair Ahmed Shirazee offered me great advice and was a great source of strength for me in such testing times. Kubair’s older brother Agha Abid Shirazee was murdered in Karachi just the month before. Moreover, Kubair lost his father when he was very a very young lad.

My friend told me that “Asad don’t worry … uncle was a great dad, and the only thing for you to remember and cherish is that when you were growing up your father was always around and that is all that counts.

Moreover, in our eulogy we remembered how there were the parties in which Benazir Bhutto was the chief guest and how daddy did get quite angry with us when we polished off all the champagne! All the meetings which took place over the decades in our house in KDA Scheme 1 in Karachi where we played and grew up were also revisited by us in a central London local whose name momentarily escapes me.

So as a helpless person who could not participate in the last rites of his father, I thought of what I could do to honour the memory of one of the few national politicians in Pakistan who was honest?

Miraj Muhammed Khan said in his recent speech in the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs that Fatehyab  was a man who loved his principles and loved his wife Masuma; most importantly Miraj said that his old friend loved directly from the heart (“dil se mohabat karta tha”). I can add to that my father loved Pakistan, its people, its hustle and bustle, its frontier towns, and most of all its politics. He was also caring family man and loved his children and family.

It was him who set precedents in a despotic and dictatorial state which have enabled its downtrodden citizens to fight for their rights and to not be scared of standing in the path of some big general’s loaded gun: Both Ayub and Zia would no doubt be forced to agree. That too armed only with a copy of the 1973 Constitution as Mr IA Rehman wrote on his death.

In the Sindh High Court random people informed me that my father was a “legend and a hero” when I visited the bar room there with the great man himself in 2008. People just sat around us and asked for permission to be allowed to leave. It was not something which I, a cheeky and insolent younger son, had expected! Having abhorred and repudiated dictatorship for decades made him a national hero and Fatehyab Ali Khan will always be remembered for his contribution to Pakistan’s politics. He took great relish in introducing me to members of the Sindh High Court bar as a “barrister” because he had obtained admission in Cambridge University and Middle Temple to read law but was not allowed to travel because the government refused to issue him a passport because of his student politics. Revenge for him by introducing his younger son as a barrister was bitter sweet indeed.

In order to remedy my non-attendance at his funeral I have chosen to write in memory of Fatehyab Ali Khan on this site. I have chosen to keep the domain name as “mazdoorkissan” because this was the name of his NWFP Hashtnagar based party which is a secular and socialist outfit.

I will use this space not only to write about legal and democratic issues connected to Pakistan, but also global political and legal events which are inevitably connected to Pakistan’s future. I am sure that my father would have approved of this and I hope to write this blog to represent the views taken by moderate and right-minded Pakistanis.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to this website can contact me with their work and I will be happy to add it on as long as it resonates with democracy which for me is an acceptance of all people irrespective of their race, religion, and gender etc.

The contents of this space will represent the poor of Pakistan, its mazdoors and kissans and it is my objective that their voices will be heard from here.

Thanks.

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