IT was painful to see that the death anniversary of Shaheed-i-Millat Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, the first prime minister of Pakistan, that fell on Oct 16 mostly went unnoticed, as media — both electronic and print — ignored the occasion.

The contributions of Liaquat Ali Khan cannot, and should not, be forgotten or ignored. To manage and run the newly-born country was a herculean task. Our enemies were doubtful about the sustainability and survival of Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru even went on predicting that Pakistan would not be able to survive for more than six months.

Liaquat Ali Khan, during his four years as the prime minister, laid the foundation of a prosperous Pakistan. He put our economy, defence and administration on a sound footing. He established the Pakistan Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC), which later proved to be the backbone of our industrial growth. The national economy was so sound at the time that the rupee was much stronger than its Indian counterpart.

In those difficult days, he went to New Dehli in 1950 to sign the Liaquat-Nehru pact for the safety of minorities in the two countries. He stood firm against Indian aggression and showed his famous fist in his public speech at Karachi’s Jahangir Park on Aug 14, 1951. I have the honour of having attended that public particular meeting along with my elder brother as an eighth grade student.

The man was also the architect of Pakistan-China friendship as during his tenure Pakistan recognised China soon after the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. The whole world was scared of the US after it dropped nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Aug 7 and 9, 1945. In such a scary scenario, Liaquat Ali Khan defied the American pressure and stood firmly to defend the national interest of Pakistan by establishing friendly and diplomatic relations with China.

His love and concern for Pakistan can be judged and visualised by his last words ‘Khuda Pakistan ki hifazat karay’.

In view of all these facts and his sacrifices both before and after the inception of Pakistan and till his martyrdom on Oct 16, 1951, he is rightly called ‘the builder of Pakistan’.

He deserves recognition and appreciation on every occasion, but particularly on Oct 16 so as to educate the younger generation about the sacrifices of our forefathers for the betterment and solidarity of Pakistan.

Lt-Col (r) Syed Ifitikhar Ahmed

Published in Dawn, October 21st, 2020