Gandhi, Bom­bay, Ja­land­har in Pak Gen­eral Elec­tion 2018

All the PM can­di­dates She­hbaz Sharif from PML (N), Bi­lawal Bhutto Zar­dari from PPP and Im­ran Khan from PTI have their strong con­nec­tion to In­dia.

Alive - - News - by Vivek Shukla

Sun was set­ting in as some vil­lagers at Jatti Umrah pind ( vil­lage) in Taran Taran dis­trict, less than 40 miles from Am­rit­sar, are dis­cussing gen­eral elec­tions of neigh­bour­ing Pak­istan in a lo­cal Gu­rud­wara. And if they were to vote, they would have set­tled for Shabaz Sharif's party, Pak­istan Mus­lim League (N) with­out even an iota of doubt. It is cer­tainly not due to the pro-poor or pro­farmer poli­cies of PML, but for some other rea­sons. Well, these vil­lagers iden­tify with Sharif as his fam­ily traces their roots to Jatti Umrah.

"Jatti Umrah is solidly be­hind Sharif clan not­with­stand­ing the fact that the Shabaz's elder brother and ex- Prime Min­is­ter of Pak­istan, Nawaz Sharif, is sen­tenced to ten years jail on cor­rup­tion charges, " says Man­mo­han Gre­wal, a lo­cal vil­lager and Pun­jabi writer, adding, " If PML(N)

wins the poll and Shah­baz Sharif be­comes the Prime Min­is­ter, there would be a big cel­e­bra­tion here. Sharif’s clan at­tach­ment with Jatti Umrah is so strong that they named their fam­ily home in La­hore as Jatti Umrah."

Well, the Pak­istan gen­eral elec­tion due on forth­com­ing 25 July has strong In­dian flavour and con­nec­tion. Not only Shah­baz Sharif, even Pak­istan Tehrik In­saf Party (PTI) head Im­ran Khan and Bi­lal Bhutto, head of Pak­istan Peo­ple’s Party (PPP), the other two Prime Min­is­ter post as­pi­rants, have Ja­land­har, Bom­bay and Ju­na­garh links.

As this is not enough, if the three big par­ties failed to get full ma­jor­ity in the 342 mem­bers’ house, they may seek the sup­port of Awami Na­tional Party (NAP) or var­i­ous fac­tions of Mut­tahida Qaumi Move­ment (MQM). NAP was es­tab­lished by Khan Ab­dul Wali Khan in 1968, a staunch Gand­hian and son of Sarhadi Gandhi Khan Ab­dul Ghaf­far Khan. Wali Khan used to meet Bapu of­ten with his fa­ther dur­ing the In­dian free­dom strug­gle. "NAP is to­tally com­mit­ted to the ideals of Gandhi ji and Khan Ab­dul Ghaf­far Khan,” Af­sandeyer Wali Khan told me­dia dur­ing his Delhi visit in 2011. Grand­son of Sarhadi Gandhi, his party is con­test­ing in Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa state of Pak­istan.

Im­ran ʻJa­land­hariʼ Khan

In­ter­est­ingly enough, As­fand­yar Wali's party is fac­ing acid test from some­body who still proudly talks about his Ja­land­har ties. Well, we are talk­ing about Crick­eter turned

politi­cian Im­ran Khan. Im­ran Khan's mother, Shaukhat Khanam, was a Ja­land­har girl. Im­ran ma­ter­nal grand­par­ents had a big house in Basti Dan­ish Manda in Ja­land­har. They were at the fore­front of build­ing Is­lamia Col­lege there in early 40s. "My mother's fam­ily was based in Ja­land­har for over 600 years. It was real trauma for them to re­lo­cate to La­hore. We had sev­eral rel­a­tives there in Ja­land­har; all of them were up­rooted then. For­mer In­dian test player Dr. Ja­hangir Khan and fa­ther of my cousin, Ma­jid Khan, ex cap­tain of

Pak­istan team, was our neigh­bour there in Ja­land­har," Im­ran Khan re­vealed to cou­ple of Delhi based scribes in 2004. That was the time when he vis­ited Ja­land­har too for the first time to see his roots. Noted po­lit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor of Pak­istan Asad Raza says that La­hore has a big con­cen­tra­tion of peo­ple orig­i­nally from Ja­land­har and other cities of Doaba re­gion like Hoshiarpur, Ka­purthala and Nawan­shahr. “They have some kind of un­writ­ten brother­hood. They are like to sup­port Im­ran Khan as they smell top post for their Ja­land­har­wala.”

Bit of In­dia in ev­ery Pak­istani

For­mer pres­i­dent of Pak­istan, Asif Ali Zar­dari, was spot on when he said in 2008,"There is a bit of In­dia in ev­ery Pak­istani". In­deed Zar­dari knows this fact per­haps more than any­body else. His son, Bi­lal Bhutto, heads PPP that was es­tab­lished by his pres­ti­gious Cath­dreal Col­lege of Bom­bay ed­u­cated grand-fa­ther Z.A.Bhutto.

Z.A.Bhutto was al­ways taunted by his de­trac­tors in Pak­istan for mov­ing to Pak­istan in 1950. In his book, ‘Zulfi, My Friend’, Piloo Mody writes, "In that mo­ment of shock (Gandhi’s death) I felt fa­ther­less, coun­try less and creed­less. The next few days were spent in ut­ter de­spon­dency. Through­out this pe­riod, it was Zulfi who con­soled me and nursed me out of my con­di­tion, shar­ing my sor­row, and in com­mis­er­at­ing with me, be­ing care­ful not to say or do any­thing which would up­set me in any way."

Bi­lal's great grand­fa­ther, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, was the Di­wan of Ju­na­grah state be­fore 1947. It was he who ad­vised Nawab of Ju­na­garh, Ma­ha­bat Khanji, to go with Pak­istan in­stead of In­dia even though Ju­na­garh has al­most 80 per cent Hindu

pop­u­la­tion. A plebiscite was even­tu­ally held to de­cide what the peo­ple wanted.

The re­sult was over­whelm­ingly in favour of In­dia and the va­garies of time and bit­ter past were for­got­ten when a spe­cial na­maz prayer was held at the Jama Masjid of Ju­na­garh for the eter­nal peace of Be­nazir Bhutto af­ter her gory killing in 2010.

UP to Karachi

While Mut­tahida Qaumi Move­ment (MQM), the party mainly of all those who mi­grated to Pak­istan post 1947 from UP, Delhi and Mad­hya Pradesh, is in a bad shape this time as it was split. Both MQM (Pak­istan) and MQM (Haqiqi) are fight­ing hard to make their pres­ence felt. Split apart, two things are very dear to them. A. Both MQM fac­tions con­sider self-ex­iled burly Altaf Hussain as their guid­ing force. B. They are du­ty­bound to fight for the just rights of mo­ha­jirs. While talk­ing about his fam­ily ties with Agra and Ali­garh, Altaf Hussain told yours truly in 2004, “I orig­i­nally hail fom Agra. My fa­ther was work­ing in Raja ki Mandi Rail­way sta­tion when par­ti­tion took place. Mo­ha­jirs can not for­get cities like Luc­know, Agra and Meerut of UP. They are proud of their rich past. Sadly, we feel cheated in Pak­istan as gov­ern­ment jobs are de­nied to mo­ha­jirs at all lev­els.

We are con­sid­ered as sec­ond class cit­i­zens in Pak­istan.” Mean­while, there is a gen­eral disen­chant­ment among them for the forth­com­ing poll. They may not even vote this time as big par­ties hardly care for them. They are very an­noyed with Shabaz Sharif as he brazenly said re­cently that he will turn paan-chew­ing Karachi into La­hore. Mo­ha­jirs say he was mak­ing mock­ery of paan lov­ing UPwal­las.

And as de­bate came to an end at the Jatti Umrah vil­lage gu­rud­wara, some of them started re­call­ing the 2013 visit of Shah­baz Sharif to this vil­lage and gu­rud­wara, which was the fam­ily home of Shar­ifs be­fore they moved across Red­cliffe line with heavy heart.

Im­ran Khan's mother, Shaukhat Khanam was a Ja­land­har girl.

Ab­dul Wali Khan was a staunch Gand­hian like his fa­ther KhanAb­dul Gaf­far Khan.

She­hbaz Sharif with his fa­ther's friends in an­ces­tral home town Jati Umra in Taran Taran dis­trict of Pun­jab in In­dia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.