World needs obstacle free trade: The Qatar challenge
ON THE eve of the fourth WTO ministerial meeting in Qatar, the European Union’s number one priority in trade policy, the launch of a New Round of multilateral trade negotiations, has taken on primary importance. Whilst disagreements on the agenda may remain, there is a greater sense of urgency and a realization of how much is at stake than at any time in the last two years. In stark contrast to the atmosphere that reigned prior to Seattle, we are now converging towards a common goal.
Since the uncertainty and anxiety triggered by September 11, it is all the more important that we inject some much-needed rays of light into today’s economic gloom. Launching a trade round will send a positive signal at a critical time when good news is thin on the ground. The prospect of further trade liberalization creating the conditions for economic growth to cushion a downturn and the need to guard against protectionism is just what is needed at this critical time. The urgency of the situation may not have been so evident a year ago.
But beyond this purely economic rationale, reinforcing multilateral organizations capable of making a unique contribution to global governance is just as important. For all its faults, and, inevitably, faults there are, the WTO is at the very heart of the multilateral system. It is precisely in times of trouble that we most need global institutions that bind us together — North and South, developed and developing countries — through common goals and shared interests. Trade can create conditions for greater political stability in the future. It is an essential tool of development, and a weapon for peace.
Trade must resolutely remain at the service of economically, socially and environmentally sustainable development. It can help reduce the conflict potential resulting from social exclusion, environmental degradation or unequal access to limited natural resources, all of which fuel discontent.
Building and improving upon what has been achieved since the end of the last Round in 1995 should now be a priority for the international community. It is no coincidence that WTO membership is increasing all the time, most notably with the accession of China, which we shall welcome into the fold at the ministerial. And more such as Russia are keen to follow.
Since Seattle, the EU has called for a round in order to fulfil three needs.
The need to bring developing countries into the heart of the multilateral trading system: Developing countries have genuine concerns about the world’s trading system as it stands. They have real problems implementing the commitments they entered into in the Uruguay Round. The text currently discussed in Geneva reflects our willingness to understand this. Justifiably, developing countries want better access into the EU. We are ready to deliver on this in a negotiation including in agriculture. Our unilateral decision to liberalize “everything but Arms” from the 49 poorest countries in the world is a tangible example of our willingness to address these concerns. A number of poorer countries also wish to address the issue of anti-dumping. Whilst not a priority for us we’re willing to do so.
The need to address the WTO’s “regulatory deficit”: Whilst the WTO’s rule book has not been updated since 1995, trade liberalization has moved on apace. Proper and adequate rules may enable us to address many of the legitimate concerns expressed by civil society. The quicker we address these issues the better it will be for all concerned. The days when trade was limited to the bread and butter of agriculture and industrial products are truly over. The WTO should establish some basic principles that encourage competition and investment for the benefit of all members. Investment brings growth, employment, and transfer of capital and technology. Developing countries need it as much as greater access into our markets in order to ensure they reap the benefits of globalization. Equally, how better to respond to allegations that the WTO is the lapdog of the multinationals than through establishing some principles on competition? A level playing field in competition is every bit as pertinent as a tariff cut at the border. Competition issues have become international issues because anti-competitive practices are increasingly international in nature.
The need to put trade at the service of sustainable development: We need to address the interface between trade and other policies, such as environment or consumer protection or social policies. We want to clarify these rules so as to put beyond all doubt any misconceptions that the WTO is, or risks becoming, inimical to such issues. On trade and social standards, the EU supports international dialogue including the WTO under the auspices of the International Labour Organization (ILO) to ensure that the positive social impacts of trade are maximized. We oppose the use of sanctions; progress must be via consensus, not coercion.
Globalization has two faces. On the one hand, growing commercial interaction has helped stimulate economic growth through increased competition, the exploitation of economies of scale and the diffusion of new technologies. Consumers world-wide have been provided with a better choice of goods at lower prices. On the other hand, unfettered liberalization can have negative consequences for the environment, for traditional cultures and social structures. Global market capitalism is inherently unstable, and it tends to increase inequalities within and between countries, unless there are sound domestic policies in place to ensure that everyone benefits from the gains of liberalization.
The challenge we face is clear: to exploit the economic gains that globalization brings while guarding against its destabilizing effects, and addressing the inequalities it produces. A new round of WTO negotiations is the clearest means to ensure that members liberalize further, agree to remove obstacles to trade, and build up a body of rules that guard against discrimination and inequality. This may seem a tall order but with effort and political will on all sides, the WTO can deliver.
The writer is the European Union Commissioner for Trade.
Propaganda war & Pakistan’s N-plan: DATELINE NEW YORK
THE United States is convinced that its war against “terrorism” is a righteous campaign against the evil forces which made devastating attacks on the US soil, but it is weary that its message is being convoluted as more and more people in the Muslim world believe that the US is waging a war against Islam.
The administration says that while the war in Afghanistan, perceived as being slow and ineffective, is on the right track, the public opinion in the Muslim world is against it. How can that be? asked US President George Bush. He pointed out that in the 1990s four wars conducted by the US were aimed at saving the Muslims from imminent destruction and genocide.
The war in the Gulf against Iraq was to dislodge Saddam Hussain’s forces from Kuwait and thwart his armies from entering Saudi Arabia; in Somalia they went in to help the dying Somali population; In Bosnia they saved the Muslim population from genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign waged by the Serbs and then again in the Balkans they launched saturation bombings against the Serbs to save the Muslim country of Kosovo from being overrun by the forces of Slobodan Milosevic of the former Yugoslavia.
But despite all the American pronouncements the messages flowing from Al Jazeera TV on behalf of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban seem to reverberate more positively within the Muslim world. Osama has held the US and its allies responsible for the sorry state of affairs in the Muslim world. He made two points.
He wants the US to stop helping Israel in its war against the Palestinian people’s struggle and to get out of Saudi Arabia.
Fareed Zakaria, editor-in-chief of the Newsweek magazine, appearing on various TV shows, says: “The quickest way for the US to win the propaganda war is to win the war in Afghanistan quickly.” Nothing succeeds like success, he observes.
But that is easier said than done. Even the American public, which is on board with their president, believes that the war is too slow and the results are dismal. The Taliban, though weakened and battered, have shown resilience and strength to withstand the onslaught of the mighty American forces. The US forces have not succeeded in dislodging them, nor have captured their number one enemy despite six weeks of campaign.
MUSLIM DIASPORA: On the other hand, the Muslim diaspora in the US, which could be the considered reflective of public opinion in the Muslim world, is overwhelmingly convinced that the despicable attacks on the United States is the work of Israeli intelligence agency “Mossad”. This is too sophisticated and precise operation to be the work of Al Qaeda. They believe that the Mossad, through its agents in the Arab world, enlisted help of Arab dupes to work with them without their knowledge to carry out the operation.
With one stroke, they have got the US waging the war on the Muslim world, they maintained, adding that ultimately their aim was to capture and control Pakistan’s nuclear programme so that it could not be used against Israel if a nuclear war erupted in the region.
An recent article in the New Yorkers magazine by Seymour Hersh said the US and Israeli commandos were training together to capture Pakistan’s nuclear facility in case President Musharraf was dislodged and the fundamentalist forces took over. The Hersh article has reinforced the majority views of the Muslims that the Israeli Mossad agency was behind the attacks.
Seymour Hersh is one of Israel’s biggest detractors. He has written extensively about Israel’s nuclear programme in his book The Samson Option, saying that Israel has amassed the biggest nuclear stockpile outside of United States and could target Muslim countries, as well as the western nations, if it believes that its integrity is being undermined. He even suggested that during the 1973 Ramazan war Israel became so weary of the the Nixon administration’s foot-dragging in helping it win the war against the Arabs that it decided it would make a target of capitals like London, Moscow and Washington in case it risked being destroyed.
SAMSON OPTION: The Samson Option is the proverbial case of: “If I am going down, I’ll take you with me.” The book tells how Israel became a secret nuclear power during the Cold War, with the help of the US. “It also tells how that secret was shared and, at times, wilfully ignored by the top political and military officials of the US since the Eisenhower years.” Hersh recalls the events that shaped the Israeli programme, though he never strays far from US interests and involvement. In his opinion, the Israeli nuclear programme could not have existed without the continuous aid of the US. He also pays attention to the political climate between the two allies, and how different presidents could effect the balance of information flowing between Israel and the US.
Although Israel denied Hersh’s assertions when the book came out, but his findings stand to this day and his assertions about Israel’s phobia with other countries’ nuclear programme was validated when Israeli in 1982 destroyed Iraq’s nuclear plant and then with the revelation that American spy Jonathan Pollard sold US intelligence secrets on Pakistan and other nations’ nuclear programme. Pollard, who was arrested and given life sentence, has sought asylum in Israel and every Israeli prime minister from Begin to Barak has asked the US president to release Pollard and allow him to get asylum in Israel. Recently former president Clinton was pushed to brink to release Pollard in order to get Israel to sign on a peace treaty with the Palestinians. However, the US intelligence community rebelled and prevailed upon Clinton not to release Pollard.
Hence, in view of the above revelation, Pakistanis in particular believe that Israel has targeted Pakistan’s nuclear programme, deeming it a threat if it falls in the hands of the fundamentalists.
Last month US Secretary of State Colin Powell proposed that the United States provide training for Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. “During his visit, Powell offered us that kind of support to train Pakistanis in America on the safeguarding of nuclear installations,” said Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar. Asked whether Pakistan had accepted, Sattar responded: “Who would refuse?” The report said that neither Pakistan nor the US had released details.
Powell, speaking on Wednesday in Washington, said President Musharraf “understands the importance of ensuring that all elements of his nuclear programme are safe and secure.” Musharraf “knows that if he needs any technical assistance in how to improve that security level, we would be more than willing to help in any way that we can,” Powell added. Pakistan’s nuclear programme is perhaps safe for now. But what the future holds is anybody’s guess.
Criterion of righteousness: FRIDAY FEATURE
UNFORTUNATELY many traditional scholars have led a large number of Muslims to believe that a righteous person is one who prays five times, pays zakat, fasts, performs haj etc. in short one who fulfils all the five duties (rites) enjoined on him as a Muslim. These functions are reckoned as the measure of righteous deeds and the more one adheres to them the more righteous (saleh) one is deemed. In the eyes of such persons, what one is doing apart from these religious duties has little bearing on the character of the person or his reward.
However, when we look into the Quran which is our first guiding reference, we find verse 277 of Surah Baqra which says “Those who believe. And do deeds of righteousness and establish regular prayers and regular charity will have their reward. With their Lord, on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.” (2:277). From this verse it is abundantly clear that deeds of righteousness is something other than salat and zakat.
To understand the several shades of meaning of saleh from the Quran we refer to verses 189 and 190 of Surah Arafat which are: “It is He who created you from a single cell, and from it created its male, that you may live as companions. Then when he approached her she bore a light burden and so she carried on easily. When she became heavy, they called upon Allah, their Lord saying “If you grant us a righteous child we shall be thankful. He then gave them a righteous (healthy) child. But they considered it to be given not only by Him, but also by associates whom they set up with Him. But Allah is exalted above those associates (7:189,190).
From these verses it is clear that for a child to be “saleh” means that it should be healthy, with firm limbs and body and without defect. After conception the parents are more concerned about these aspects rather than the desire that the would-be child should be pious. A saleh nation is one which is concerned more about the character of its individuals. As long as the Muslims were positive in all respects, they were ruling the world. Verse 11 of Surah Saba also shows that righteous deeds do not mean piety.
The five well known rites form a very small part of other deeds performed during one’s life time. During his day-to-day life most of one’s time is used in his work performed for one’s living and dealings in one’s social, business and professional life. Prayers which is a daily religious function may take hardly one to two hours of one’s time.
We Muslims believe that Allah on the day of judgment will take account of a grain of corn and a drop of water and every second of our life. “Then shall anyone who has done an atom’s weight of good see it and anyone who has done an atom’s weight of evil shall see it (99/7&8). Now we are only stressing the performance of rites and lay scant attention to other aspects of life.
The purpose of prayers is the preparation for doing righteous deeds. It is like a mason or carpenter sharpening his tools and instruments before commencing his actual task. A student, an office and factory worker, a labourer, a shopkeeper, a housewife, a farmer is to do his or her duty full and faithfully. An individual who is in conformity with the above is a righteous person.
On a wider scale the same is true for groups of people or nations. The Quran has laid the basic principles. We had prescribed in the Book of Psalms after the reminder and admonition that my righteous servants will inherit the earth (21:105). However, we are dismayed to find that we are not ruling the world. An interpretation which is given by some quarters is that this promise is not for this world but it is for the triumph in the world which is to come in the hereafter. Actually the first followers of the prophet (peace be upon him) conquered one third of the known world in a period of about ten years. We remained dominant in the world to some degree for several centuries.
The Almighty Allah while exercising His law of retribution does not discriminate between the believers and the non-believers. If the faithfuls become corrupt and indifferent to the divine teachings Allah will give more importance to those who are righteous. As per Quran 2:12 “Surely the believers and the Jews, Christians and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the last day and whosoever does right shall have his reward with his Lord and will neither have fear nor regret.”
When we no longer remained righteous our control of this world was given to others. Says the Quran. “And we have destroyed generations before you, when they did wrong and their messengers brought them the clear proofs, but they would not believe. Thus we reward the wicked sinners. Then we made you successors on earth, after them, to see how you would behave.” (10:13 & 14). It will appear from the above that the law of Almighty Allah is very simple and just and it is for all times and for all people. Those who are righteous, performing good deeds, are the ones who will rule this earth.
Both in this world and in the hereafter, performance of people and nations is and will be evaluated, not on how well religious rites are performed but more than that on ow they led their total life which comprise 24 hours of a day. Unfortunately the false notion is that righteousness is restricted to religious rites laying scant stress on duties in day to day life. A righteous deed is being performed each moment of our life and we must make efforts to act righteously in our social, business and professional life. Here we find a strange situation all around us.
The countries and nations we deem as disbelievers and not righteous are found to be making progress leading a good and prosperous life, in fact ruling the world. Why is it so? we are told by some religious scholars that the righteous people have to lead a miserable life in this world and they will get the reward in the hereafter which is exclusively reserved for them.
This is a great fallacy. Surah Alnoor observer “Allah promised those of you who have believed and done the righteous deeds that He will surely make them successors in he lands and He made those who come before them successors, and that He will establish firmly for them their religion, which He chose for them, and that He will give them, as a substitute for their fear, security. They worship Me and do not associate anything with Me He who disbelieves afterwards those are the real sinners” (24:55). We as righteous people are not to remain content with the good life promised in the hereafter, but must strive to the best of our ability to excel in this world also.
Going an extra mile for a friend!: CITYSCAPE
A LONE Pakistani flag flutters over an unassuming entrance to an equally unassuming building housing the Pakistani Consulate not far from 5th Avenue in Manhattan, New York. There is neither a chair nor a guard posted outside. When General Pervez Musharraf announced his decision to support the United States’ military action against Afghanistan there was hardly a sane voice contesting his decision. The most widely asked question in Karachi was “What other option the General had?”
Americans are universally blamed for picking up smaller countries and never some one of their own size, and after the grizzly terrorist attacks of September 11 resulting in the death of about 5,000 innocent people they needed an instant villain. Some say that their continuing action against Afghanistan is therefore completely understandable.
Many predicted the scenario for the coming days, including a relentless bombing over helpless and innocent Afghans. Trying to avoid being on the wrong side of the only surviving superpower is also understandable. But some of the actions by Karachi’s administration in the name of security arrangements for select foreign nationals, baffling even the most schizophrenic, appear simply indefensible.
From the day one Karachi has been turned into a city under siege. The Karachiites may not have seen any heightened security arrangements for official buildings or national assets, yet Abdullah Haroon Road that leads to the US Consulate was immediately closed for public. Several city blocks, in fact the whole neighbourhoods around the US Consulate, the British High Commission and many other missions, including Italian, German, French and Japan, or anything that bears any connection with these countries, have been completely barricaded, turning parts of the former district south into a no-go area that reminds the Karachiites of less fortunate areas in the 1990s.
Americans were probably so embarrassed by these so-called security arrangements that they issued a statement praising the Karachi police for their untiring efforts. To ensure fool-proof security arrangements for the US Consulate, the grapevine has it that the Karachi police also demanded of the city government to ban the general public from entering Frere Gardens and Frere Hall. The request was however reportedly turned down.
Meanwhile, business at the unfortunate commercial entities located in the affected areas is reportedly down by up to 90 per cent. According to the city’s Hotel and Restaurant’s Association, one of the five-star hotels has shut down three out of four of its restaurants. Another one has been under siege since the beginning of the current ordeal. Others are not doing any meaningful business either. The newly-constructed shopping mall, with scores of shops, restaurants and food chains near Jehangir Kothari parade in Clifton, a favourite haunt for many Karachiites, also gives a deserted look these days as the major access from Do-Talwar remains closed for several weeks.
However, the Karachi police seem to have found a novel way of blocking roads. For the first time the residents have seen the innovative use of huge sea-faring metal containers for blocking of main roads and even bylanes. Only the people living in the besieged neighbourhoods and the businesses taking the painful toll may know the actual pain. Parents dropping and picking up their children at Jesus & Mary, Grammar and other schools in adjoining areas have to go through a daily nightmare with barely one road opened leading to the schools. That road was already in a pitiful condition and gives a pathetic sight inflicted with numerous potholes. Attendance at Clifton’s celebrated Aunty’s park has also dropped to a mere nought.
The Karachiites hardly approve of the merciless takeover of their adjoining open spaces, streets and footpaths by the G-7 consulates. People may not know whom to blame for such violations. But they do wonder if the Karachi Building Control Authority and the District Administration have ever bothered to chastize any of these consulates for the total yet illegal takeover of their neighbourhoods, marred with barriers and obstructions or the imposing high walls and grills? Or the authorities that take sadistic pleasure in beating up poor peddlers of Karachi at every street corner have tacitly allowed these powers to turn the prime city locations into military camps. Even the local security personnel posted outside these missions seem to give an impression that Marines have landed in Karachi!
To add insult to injury there are few diplomats left at the consulates in the city that we have been so diligently guarding. The agony of above blatant violations becomes unbearable as one realizes that at least in the case of the United States the consulate had long stopped performing the function for which they continue to possess a precious city property. Karachiites wanting to travel to the USA must first make a journey to Islamabad to request for a visa.
No one would like to jeopardize the safety and security of the diplomats and other foreign nationals living and working in Karachi. But to be held as hostage for or by them is hardly acceptable. Either we are considered to be a horde of mindless sheep or the people responsible for the above acts have lost their balance. Surely the Pakistani consul-general in New York would not even dream of getting an extra ounce from that city’s grieving mayor. Needless to say, such arrangements or rather impediments similar to those routinely witnessed in Karachi are not possible in most of the civilized cities of the world. This is hardly going an extra mile for a friend! Let us hope history does not condemn us merely as colonial subjects - a people with no self- respect.
A humorist par excellence: LITERARY ROUND-UP
Of HUMOUR it has been said that among literary forms it is the subtlest and the chanciest, for it cannot be accidental that for every humourist we have a thousand poets, novelists, essayists, writers of short stories, dramatists and columnists. Even bad humourists are a gifted lot for to be able to see the funny side of things one would need a broad humanity of heart with the capacity for amusement and a measure of self knowledge.
Humour is not just the most significant activity of the human brain, it is also the most human of its capabilities. It is essentially bipedic though certain quadrupeds and some few among other fauna are also known to enjoy its cruder forms. In essence it is a matter of so chastening and softening and sharpening of one’s sensibilities that one is able to identify oneself with the error and frailty of another. Then only the funny side of things becomes visible on the far end of ridicule and sarcasm. In Mushtaq Yousafi, whose life work in this rare genre got him the Kamal-i-Fun award, instituted a couple of years back by the Pakistan Academy of Letters, this sense of abundant humanity has been widely acknowledged by eminent critics and fellow humourists.
“What I specially adore in Yousafi is his boundless love”, said Syed Zamir Jaffri. But how does he turn this boundless love into humour and save it from sinking into the kind of pathetic sentimentality we so often find happening in the hands of lesser humourists, who must state and restate the lesson till the smile, brought on by the incongruity of the situation, fades into a that’s-enough grin? Yousafi does not let that happen. Because it is not love alone that goes into his craft. His perception has been chiselled into a choice of words and phrases that soften the fall of his subject on the slippery floor of the comic situation. What imparts excellence to his work is the thorough fermentation he allows raw comedy to brew in, filter and distil before bottling. Ibne Insha who said this was Yousafi’s reign in the realm of humour, could himself write on with apparent ease and make his wit blossom in a seemingly straight yarn, offers a very interesting study in their respective techniques.
The element of surprise, which Aristotle has called the secret to humour, abounds in Yousafi’s writing: “No one can stop interest and cancer from growing ... For God’s sake learn to control your anger and bladder ... Only crows, turtles, vultures, donkeys and those animals live to their natural age that religion forbids to eat ... My health has been bad and company good.” This abundant supply of surprises is scattered in his writings like dandelions in summer grass.
Yousafi blends the many artifices available to a humourist but it is on “how you say it” and not as much on “what you say” that he lays the greater stress. This is important because the nature of humour is basically cultural and, in a narrower sense, even personal, considered in the context of one’s brought-up. So the issue that bothers many as to who is influenced by whom is a rather superfluous quest as far as humour is concerned. Out of his innate politeness to the insistent questioner Yousafi does mention Mark Twain, Burgess, Patras, Rashid Ahmad Siddiqi and some others among influences he has imbibed, but the components of Yousufi’s forte are entirely his own.
There is a very useful book on Yousufi’s art and personality that Tariq Habib, a research scholar has compiled which one may call a basic reader on the humourist. It has valuable material comprising interviews by Asif Farrukhi and the compiler himself, pen pictures by Syed Zamir Jafri, Shanul Haq Haqqi, and Ashfaq Ahmad Virk, critical essays by Dr Ahsan Faruqi, Muzzaffar Ali Syed, Nazir Siddiqi, Majnun Gorakhpuri, Ibne Insha, Dr Jamil Jalbi, Dr Zaheer Fatehpuri, Razia Fasih Ahmad, Prof Mujtaba Hussain, Dr Mohammad Ali Siddiqi, Amjad Islam, Abdullah Shah, Prof Ale Ahmad Saroor, Mohammad Khalid Akhtar, Ahmad Nadim Qasmi, Jillani Kamran, Prof Mohammad Hassan, Dr Tehseen Firaqi, Nami Ansari, Dr Mazhar Ahmad,Idris Siddiqi, Tayyab Munir, Dr Safdar Jafri and Prof Mohammad Kamran. Those who have Mushtaq Ahmad Yousafi’s books must also get a copy of this compendium. It is titled, Mushtaq Ahmad Yousafi — Chiragh Tale se Aabe Gum tak.
Kishwar Naheed has kicked up untimely dust on the joyous occasion of the belated awards. Excellence in arts is not a matter of human rights and least of all of gender equality. But when awards become an annual ritual and trophies must be distributed on the basis of national, provincial and district quotas, then the need to genderise the recipients and find equal number of women to match the male beneficiaries becomes a justifiable right.
Literary awards therefore should not be allowed on any basis other than merit. We should not do to literature what Nigar Awards have done to our cinema. If an award worthy work is not available then let the award wait for another time. This is what the Nobel Academy should have done this year. Both of its Peace and Literature awards could have waited for genuine claimants.
Yet, it is gracious to suppress the groan when the judges fail to come up to your expectations. For polemics you have all the time in the world. What the Academy should not do is succumb to the demands of polemical agitation. In this respect the Nobel Academy has an eminently emulatable practice. It keeps the most impatient of its hopefuls on the tenterhooks of expectations for years on end and seldom obliges. Its academicians methinks are all men. So, ‘Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more....
Reviving the Junagarh issue: BACKGROUNDER
NOVEMBER 9 is a black day in the subcontinent’s history when India, crossing all ethical norms and international boundaries, attacked the independent state of Junagarh as the latter announced its affiliation with Pakistan.
Junagarh was the most prosperous and developed state of the subcontinent before the partition. It spread over a fertile and lush green area measuring 3,336 square miles. On its northwest was Kathiawar and on the north was the Arabian Sea. Its golden beaches extended over 84 miles.
At that time, the state had 16 seaports, of which Verawal was the most important. There were 999 cities and towns. Junagarh city was the capital of the state. Situated between the range of Janar and Datar mountains 70 miles away from sea, it was among the beautiful sights of the subcontinent.
The state was famous for being home to wildlife, specially the Asian lions. Its forests were extended over 494 square miles. The state had its own army, known as Mahabat Khanjee Infantry, whose forces had fought and distinguished themselves in the WWI and WWII.
Agriculturally also it was very rich and specially produced cotton, wheat, rice, sugarcane, bamboo, mango, coconut and tobacco. It had its own system of rail networks.
Education was free for all the citizens, and the provision of medical facilities was the responsibility of the state. The government would provide food on a daily basis to the needy and the deserving.
When Junagarh was attacked, most of the states were ruled by the Hindus but still there were some, such as Hyderabad, Bhopal, Tonak, Rampur, Junagarh and Manwadar, which were ruled by the Muslims. When the Rajwars of Rajasthan showed an inclination to confederate with Pakistan, Mountbatten, under the pressure of the Congress, prevented them from doing so and forcibly included the Muslim majority area of Gurdaspur in India.
Before partition of the subcontinent there were 562 states ruled by nawabs and maharajas. After the end of the British raj they were granted freedom to either keep their independent state or merge with Pakistan or India. Sir Mahabat Khanji III, who was the ruler of Junagarh state, took his Muslim and Hindu citizens into confidence and announced the affiliation of the state with Pakistan on Sept 15, 1947. As such, a accord was reached between Nawab Mahabat Khanji and Quaid-i-Azam. According to this agreement, communication, defence and foreign affairs portfolios came under the control of the government of Pakistan.
Till Sept 15, 1947, all was quiet and peaceful but as soon as this accord was announced, the Indian leadership turned against it. M. K. Gandhi was the first Indian leader who declared that there were remains of Somnat in that state and, therefore, Pakistan would have to leave it. Soon the Indian press published news against the accord and the violent statements of Gandhi and interior minister Patel. They met the editors of Gujrati newspapers who published the matter against the Muslim cause. This led to Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat and Kathiawar.
S. D. Gandhi, the nephew of M. K. Gandhi, was the editor of the Banday Maataram which Patel selected for the completion of his conspiracy. A temporary government was formed in Bombay. S. D. Gandhi headed the programme against the Muslims. This so-called government came to Rajkot and invaded the Junagarh House and converted it into their headquarter. The Indian government patronized the temporary government to keep the world in dark. The Indian army then cordoned off the borders of the state and sealed the railway and other communication links, which led to a shortage of food.
At the request of the state, the government of Pakistan provided food through its naval fleet but the situation worsened day by day. Shortly clashes at the border erupted, and the state made a request to Pakistan to help it by sending 5,000 army personnel. It also promised to bear the expenses of these army personnel but Pakistan could not provide help. On Nov 9, 1947, the Indian army, with heavy artillery and other weapons, entered the state, massacring thousands of Muslims. This bloody war continued for a long time.
The Muslims had lost their lives and wealth. The beautiful cities of Bantwa, Kutiyana, Manawadar, Wanthali and Mangro were destroyed. Nehru said: “Whenever the situation becomes better the Indian forces will be called out.” But that was mere lip-service.
At that time Nawab Mahabat Khanji was in Karachi to sign the accord. He could not go back after this situation. A large number of citizens from Junagarh started migrating to Pakistan, specially to Karachi.
The government of Pakistan consulted the UN on India’s illegal occupation of Junagarh but after the death of Liaquat Ali Khan the matter was never raised at the UN. And so the Junagarh case was buried under the files. Moreover, the government of Pakistan forgot about the accord with the state and took away the privileges it had given to the Nawab of Junagarh.
It also ended the legal right of those who had migrated from the Junagarh state to get citizenship. It has also forgotten the state which is constitutionally and legally a part of Pakistan. Those who have migrated from Junagarh have taken part in the development and progress of Pakistan but remain deprived of their rights.
November 9 reminds us of the illegal occupation of our land by India, the atrocities of the Indian government and the discriminatory attitude of the Pakistan government over the issue of Junagarh state. Today, we demand of the government of Pakistan to follow the accord, reached between Quaid-i-Azam and Nawab Mahabat Khanji, own the responsibility of the defence of the Junagarh state, and raise the issue at the UN and other forums.
Pakistan should take the advantage of its present international political position and put pressure on international forces to give Junagarh the right to independence. This is a golden chance to resolve the issues of Kashmir and Junagarh. In the meantime, Pakistan should confer all rights on the citizens of Junagarh, as these are part of the accord.
The forgotten heritage
SIALKOT: It’s almost a year now that the rehabilitation of Iqbal Manzil, the birth place of poet Muhammad Iqbal, was launched on the directives of President Gen Pervez Musharraf. But, no serious effort has yet been made in this direction.
Col Sikandar Sultan Ghuman (retired), the head of a special committee formed by the then deputy commissioner to carry out the task, wasted the year waiting for the directions from the authorities concerned to launch the project. The government had also sought suggestions from the Sialkot district administration for saving this dilapidated ‘national heritage’ which are still awaited. So far as the finances are concerned, the local business community had promised to fund the project and still standing by its words. The newly set up district government has reportedly ignored the project altogether.
The government had purchased the 139-year-old building from the heirs of Allama Iqbal and handed it over to the archaeology de