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Biography of Sir Abdullah Haroon launched

March 11, 2006

LAHORE, March 10: Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi and other speakers paid tribute to the late Sir Abdullah Haroon at the launch of his biography here on Friday.

The launching ceremony of the book titled ‘Haji Sir Abdullah Haroon’ written in English by his daughter Doulat Haroon Hidayatullah and reprinted by Oxford University Press was held at a hotel with the chief minister as chief guest.

The chief minister said that Sir Abdullah Haroon was a great leader who had worked hard for the cause of the Muslims of the sub-continent for a separate homeland. His life of continuous struggle starting from a humble beginning to become one of the most successful politicians and businessmen of the sub-continent was a message for the youth of Pakistan to emulate him to attain success in life. He said that he was a man of vision both as a politician and businessman. He had taken an active part in the Khilafat Movement and later worked hard to organise Muslim League in Sindh.

He said that he was also a pioneer of newspapers when 85 years ago he started publishing a newspaper ‘Al-Wahid’ and later his family published Pakistan’s leading English newspaper ‘Dawn’. In the industrial field he had set first sugar mill in Sindh. He said that Sir Abdullah Haroon promoted Islamic values and he had been quoted as saying that he was inspired from the character and teachings of Hazrat Ali and regarded him as his ideal. He said that he had wealth accompanied with vision and he had been spending on various charities and helping the poor and the needy. He loved humanity and served it to his best, he added.

Dr Javid Iqbal said that Haji Abdullah Haroon’s life was full of struggle. His father had died early in his life and he was brought up by his mother. He joined the business of his uncle and entered in politics in 1901 when he was 29 years old. He was an activist first as a Congress leader and later as Muslim League leader. He had also campaigned for the separation of Sindh province from Bombay and succeeded. As Muslim League leader, he organized the party in Sindh. He had also attended the Allahabad session of the Muslim League that was presided over by Allama Iqbal. He had also attended the Lahore session of the Muslim League which passed a resolution demanding separate zones of Muslim majority provinces as a homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent.

He said he had not lived to see Pakistan coming into as he had died on April 27, 1942. He said that the Pakistan Movement Workers Trust had awarded him a gold medal posthumously for his meritorious service during the Pakistan Movement under the leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam but none of his dependents had turned up to receive the medal. He requested the chief minister to give the medal to his grand maternal daughter Charmiane Hidayatullah who was present at the ceremony. The chief minister gave the medal to her on behalf of the Trust.

Industrialist Syed Babar Ali said that Haji Sir Abdullah Haroon was a prominent Muslim League leader who had worked under the leadership of the Quaid-i-Azam. The Quaid had reposed great confidence in him. He had taken an active part in Sindh politics and played an important role in popularising Muslim League in the province. He was a successful businessman and spent generously in charity by opening a large number of schools, dispensaries and hospitals. ‘Pakistan will be far better place if there are such persons like Haji Haroon,’ he wished.

Chief Minister’s adviser Saadia Shahzad said that Haji Sir Abdullah Haroon was a source of inspiration for his people. He had great concern for the woeful plight of Muslims of the subcontinent, particularly womenfolk and he had worked to ameliorate their conditions. She advised the youth to emulate him to serve his people. He had worked hard for Muslim League in Sindh and for separation of Sindh from Bombay province.

Oxford University Press Managing Director Ameena Saiyed in her introductory address said that the book that was a reprint of an earlier work was for the purpose of keeping alive significant writings from the past. It was an important document not only for the citizens of Karachi but also for the people of Pakistan and a source of history for researchers and scholars. He was an exemplary personality; a self-made man, a wonderful son, a highly successful businessman, a generous philanthropist and a stalwart of the Pakistan movement.

As regards the author of the book, she said that Begum Doulat Haroon Hidayatullah was born in 1915 as the eldest child of Sir Abdullah and Lady Nusrat Haroon. She was the founder member of APWA and was later appointed its life president after the death of Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan. Like her father, she donated generously to social causes and strongly believed in service above self. The biography includes selected quotes from Abdullah Haroon’s communications, speeches, statements and other documents that throw light on the struggle for independence. The book was also launched in Karachi earlier this year.