THATTA: Former Sindh culture minister Sassui Palijo has said that the vital evidence about Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s birth and early schooling in Jherruck, a tiny town in Thatta district, had been stolen during her tenure to destroy the case.

She was speaking as the chief guest at a programme held in Jherruck late on Thursday evening to mark the Quaid’s 138th birth anniversary.

The event was organised by the Quaid-i-Azam Yadgar Committee (QAYC) and attended, among others, by historian Dr Mohammed Ali Manjhi.

Ms Palijo told the audience that during her tenure as culture minister, she had prepared a complete case supported by authentic documents proving that the Father of the Nation was born in Jherruck and was enrolled in the Govt Primary School in the town while his close relatives also lived here.

She said she also tabled the case in the Sindh Assembly and presented a Class-VII textbook of the year 1955 authored by Dr Mohammed Bin Umar Dawoodpoto. She said the book contained a lesson that mentioned that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was born and enrolled in the school, where he got his primary education.

The former minister claimed that the then Hyderabad commissioner Masroor Hassan Khan paid a visit to the school apparently to verify the facts but “took away the general register of the school under a conspiracy to destroy the evidence”.

She recalled that after a long debate, the assembly unanimously agreed to constitute a committee to conduct research, collect more facts and prepare a report to help the government set the record straight. However, she regretted, the setting up of the committee hit delays due to the reasons that never came to light.

Expressing her serious concern over religious extremism and manipulated socio-political situation of the country, Ms Palijo said it was unfortunate that Pakistan was never allowed to become a secular state although the Quaid-i-Azam had declared the new state to be so.

“His successors who kept pursuing their personal agenda, or that of their like-minded people, did not allow secularism to flourish in Pakistan with the result that the country today is in the grip of terrorism, extremism and social ills,” she observed.

She said that the PPP and all other secular forces believed in co-existence so far as religious communities were concerned. She said that all citizens should get an equal treatment irrespective of their faith and belief. He made mention of many efforts repeatedly made by certain organisations, including the QAYC, and said that the committee had convened a seminar titled ‘Jinnah and Jhirk (old name of Jherruck)’ which was chaired by Dr Ghulam Ali Allana.

At the seminar, held on Jan 13, 2001, historians and intellectuals had demanded that the town be recognised as the Quaid’s birthplace in the light of the historical facts.

QAYC chairman Mushtaq Mallah said according to the research made by the committee, the town comprised a civilised population of Muslims, Hindus and followers of some other minority communities. They lived in an exceptionally congenial atmosphere, he said.

Historian Dr Manjhi told the audience that ‘Wazir Mansion’, officially claimed to be the Quaid’s birthplace, never existed until many years after he was born [here in Jherruck].

Dr Manjhi recalled that, the then Sindh chief minister, Syed Abdullah Shah, had also constituted a fact-finding committee headed by Dr Habibullah Siddiqui, who collected and compiled facts in his comprehensive report supported by some audio visual evidence. “Such evidence is preserved by the QAYC,” he said.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2014

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