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Intellectuals in Pakistan

May 23, 2012


THIS refers to the letter ‘The new intellectuals’ by Shahzeb Khan (April 17). I would like some points to be clarified on historical and rational grounds.

The point that there is or was absence of genuine intellectuals in Pakistan is spurious reasoning and does not hold water.

If the genuine intellectual is he ‘who not only interprets the world, but actively changes it’, then Pakistan has never been empty of intellectuals.

Here myriads of Pakistani intellectuals can be named in every notable field such as history, law, education, science, religion, etc., like Dr Ishtiaq Hussain Qureshi, Mubarak Ali, Justice M.R. Kayani, Justice Rana Bhagwandas, Allama I.I. Kazi, Dr Nabi Bux Baloch, Hakeem Muhammad Saeed, Dr Samar Mubarakmand, Akhter Hameed Khan (social scientist), Mualana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, Maulana Abul Ala Maududi, Israr Ahmed, Javed Ghamidi, etc.

In purely Pakistani products are Aitzaz Ahsan, Ansar Burney, Syed Rehan Azmi (Guinness Book of World Records recorded him as seventh speediest writer of poetry in the world in 1997). The list goes on. The world is glad to recognise this but we are still in self-deception.

Another point that the Muslim League did not have high intellectual acumen is no more but display of poor knowledge from the history of Pakistan Movement. Here is the list again: Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, A.K Fazalul Haq, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Ghazanfar Ali Khan, I.I. Chundrigar, Abdur Rab Nishter, Joginder Nath Mandal, M. Zafarullah Khan, Rana Liaquat Ali Khan, Syed Shamsul Hassan, Pir Ali Muhammad Rashdi, Bahadur Yar Jung, Ghulam Ali Kamboh, etc. Were they not intellectual? They were not, if you consider popularity as intellectualship. They are not as popular as Nehru. One can ask whether making a country, creating a nation, building and sustaining a moth-eaten and resourceless state is intellectualship or giving not due share to that country is.

Finally, if our country is not on the ‘right track’, it does not mean it has no intelligentsia. We should not place Greece’s national problems as a proof for denial of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle’s wisdom and intellect.

Pakistan is not intellectually poor but poorly managed. As far as our comparison with India is concerned,  we always find the grass to be greener on the other side.