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Prof Dr Khaleeq Ahmed Siddiqui — Writer, critic and educationist
Prof Dr Khaleeq Ahmed Siddiqui — Writer, critic and educationist

Q. What are you currently reading?

A: I am reading Tahdis-i-Naimat by Sir Chaudhry Mohammad Zafarullah Khan, a jurist and the first foreign minister of Pakistan. He served as railways minister in British-held India and was also part of the Radcliffe Commission, which was responsible for drawing the borders of India and Pakistan in 1947.

He was the first Pakistani who led the International Court of Justice. In this book, he talks about the Radcliffe Commission and the Gurdaspur district in India, which was the only land route to Kashmir.

He talks about the conspiracies drawn by Lord Mountbatten to make Kashmir an issue between India and Pakistan.

He says Lord Mountbatten gave a copy of the map of the Indian subcontinent to the commission and tasked it to draw the boundaries between India and Pakistan based on that map. One can find many historical truths in this book, with references.

The report for the census in India in 1941 is also included in the book, according to which Muslims comprised 51pc of the population of Gurdaspur. According to the rules, the district should have been included in Pakistan.

Q: Is there a book you particularly enjoyed reading?

A: I recently read Tazkira by Inayatullah Khan Mashriqi, who was also known as Allama Mashriqi. The writer was a great mathematician but wasted his talents by coming into politics. He would have been a Nobel laureate if he had not come into politics.

The book is about the relationship between science and the Quran. The writer talks about Algebra and Physics and urges people to read the Quran carefully. He also explains economics and the circulation of money in society.

I also enjoy reading the works of Asadullah Khan Ghalib, who describes human emotions very well. His work is incomparable.

Q: What do you plan to read next?

A: I have gone through most Urdu and Persian classics. I had read the seven books of the Tilism-i-Hoshruba when I was in the 10th grade and I wanted to read it again at the age of 85 as it is the most powerful dastaan in the Urdu language. I am looking for the book and someone told me I may be able to find it in Karachi.

I also wanted to read Arabian Nights and will get a copy soon.

Q: Do you think there is a great Pakistani writer?

A: I think Mushtaq Yousafi is a great writer and his writing style is very different. He is known as a humorist and his style of writing captivates readers.

Shaukat Thanvi, Shafiqueur Rehman and many others can be called great writers in fiction.

Mustansar Hussain Tarar is good writer and no other writer can describe scenic beauty as well as he does.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2017