THAT Pakistanis are quick on the draw has been proven yet again by a member of parliament who has multiple identities.

Retired Capt Mohammad Safdar is a former army officer. Husband of the rising political star Maryam Nawaz, he is also the son-in-law of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the latter a born-again democrat lately known for championing progressive causes.

But to the captain’s credit, he is always able to create situations that bring out his individual traits for ready public appreciation.

Of late, he has once again attracted attention by being the spirit behind a National Assembly resolution.

Led by him, a group of MNAs — duly representative of all the dominant shades in parliament — has come up with a resolution asking that the physics department at the Quaid-i-Azam University be named after Abu al-Fath Abd-al Rehman Mansour-al-Khazini. This was apparently the nation’s way of honouring the student of the famous Muslim scholar Al Biruni.

But to the likely ‘horror’ of the prime movers of the resolution, some Pakistanis mistook this for an attempt to rename the Abdus Salam Centre for Physics.

The centre had been named after the outstanding Pakistani scientist and Nobel laureate by none other than Mr Sharif in 2016.

Now, whereas it is true that Capt Safdar has previously expressed his displeasure, on the basis of faith, at the centre being named after Dr Salam, teachers have said that it was not to be confused with the university’s physics department, and that the two were separate entities.

“The centre is an autonomous body affiliated with QAU, while the department of physics is part of QAU,” the senior university dean told this paper.

It would be naïve of anyone to think that the parliamentarians who signed the resolution did not understand this simple distinction.

As for Capt Safdar, he stands absolved of all ‘charges’ in this case. His resolution clearly asks for renaming the physics department at QAU.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2018

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