KARACHI, June 30: The launch of the updated edition of the Liaquat and World Affairs, a publication of the Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan Memorial Committee, compiled and edited by Muhammad Anees, was organised by the committee under the auspices of the library committee of the Arts Council of Pakistan here on Saturday.

The event also commemorated the 22nd death anniversary of Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan which fell earlier in the month on June 13.

Speaking very briefly at the launch, Liaquat Ali Khan’s younger son, Ashraf Liaquat, said that his father was often criticised for having visited the United States first instead of going to Russia.

“But the fact of the matter is that Russia was not giving the Pakistan government a date for the first prime minister’s visit as America invited it over.

“Even then the Pakistan delegation didn’t go there in the hope of getting aid. They went there to look into opportunities for trade, which is in sharp contrast with the intentions of our government officials visiting the US nowadays,” he said.

Journalist Safia Malik spoke about Begum Raana Liaquat Ali.

“She was quite unwell when I first met her. During my career I have interviewed women from all walks of life but Begum Sahiba was very different and in a league of her own in empowering other women and involving them in the progress of Pakistan.

“When giving interviews she would only pick up from 1933 onwards which is after her marriage to Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan.

As if all her achievements before her marriage held no significance. When women today are fighting to gain an identity of their own, she linked her own identity to her husband’s.

“The lady, like her husband, had a big heart. This family gave away their beautiful home in Delhi, Gul-i-Raana, to be turned into the Pakistan embassy after Partition. They filed no claims after coming here, too.”

Speaking about Liaquat Ali Khan’s foreign policy, former ambassador Birjees Hasan Khan said that it is only a myth that Pakistan’s relations with Russia were spoiled forever due to the first prime minister’s visiting the US before it. “We established very good relations with all countries including Russia and China and were respectable members of the entire world community,” he said.

Brig A.R. Siddiqui shared his fond memories of his various meetings with Liaquat Ali Khan, the first of which was as the secretary of his college union when he was a young student in 1944 and the last shortly before the prime minister’s assassination in 1951.

“I remember how he told us the first time we met him that a great future awaited us in Pakistan. Later, when we met again, he recongnised me and was glad to learn that I was a journalist with the Civil and Military Gazette. It is very unfortunate that the person who killed the first prime minister of Pakistan was also shot dead on the spot, hence putting a lid on all the evidence linked to the murder,” Brig Siddiqi regretted.

Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan Memorial Committee’s General Secretary Mahfooz un Nabi Khan, who conducted the programme, said that the book’s updated edition includes five new chapters contributed by Iqbal Akhund, Jamsheed Marker, Dr Masooma Hasan, Siddique Baloch and Dr M.B. Azmi, who has shared his historic memories with the readers through his revised chapter.


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