It is not often that the naming of a local street or square becomes a matter of national or even international importance. Yet that is what has happened with the Fawwara Chowk in Shadman colony of Lahore. The district administration decided last September to name the place after Bhagat Singh, an Indian freedom fighter, who was hanged there in 1931 for the murder of a British police officer. To counter this move, some residents of the area have demanded that the place be named after Chaudhry Rahmat Ali, while others have named it as Hurmat-e-Rasul Chowk. The administration’s decision to rename the chowk after an Indian “shaheed” was not, of course, a spontaneous initiative. The Indian “civil society” groups have been pressing Pakistan for years to do so. They made a big breakthrough when Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar “extracted” a promise last March from Nawaz Sharif to name the chowk after Bhagat Singh. Nawaz, of course, had no authority or popular mandate to give this commitment. But once the decision had been taken by him, the Punjab bureaucracy rushed to carry out his wishes.An article carried last month by a Pakistani daily called Bhagat Singh “one of us”, because he was born in present-day Pakistan and was educated here. The argument that the people of undivided India were “one” because they lived on the same soil was exactly that which the Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha advanced in opposing the demand for Pakistan. It was forcefully rejected by the Quaid-i-Azam and by the Muslim masses, who voted overwhelmingly for Pakistan. The fact that a section of our self-styled “liberal” classes are mouthing the same views as those who opposed the partition of India shows how ignorant they are of the country’s history. Anyone who does not agree with them is accused of bigotry and being a closet supporter of the Taliban.The committee, which approved the proposal to rename the chowk after Bhagat Singh, seems to have been misled by one of its members, who claimed that the Quaid-i-Azam had defended Bhagat Singh in a speech in the Central Legislative Assembly of India in September 1929. The truth is that in this speech, the Quaid said emphatically that he did not approve of the action of Bhagat Singh. A Pakistani daily and the Indian news agency, PTI, have also carried reports quoting a member of the subcommittee on naming of chowks, as saying that the Quaid-i-Azam “too appreciated Bhagat Singh in his speech on September 13, 1947.” This is pure concoction and there is no record of any such speech by the ‘Father of the Nation’. The story is evidently part of an orchestrated disinformation campaign. That the committee, which approved Bhagat Singh’s name, was wearing ideological blinkers is evident also from three other facts.First, the committee proposed naming one of the chowks after the Mughal Emperor Akbar, the founder of Din-e-Ilahi, but did not propose naming any place after Aurangzeb, the defender of Islamic orthodoxy, or of the other Mughal emperors or Muslim sultans of India. They were not just rulers or conquerors, but were also empire-builders and they planted Muslim culture and civilisation in India to which Pakistan is the heir. The least the committee should have done is to honour those who left a special imprint on Lahore, among them Mahmud Ghaznavi, Shahabuddin Ghori, Qutbuddin Aibak and the Mughal emperors Babar, Jahangir, Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb and Bahadur Shah. Mahmud Ghaznavi established Muslim rule in Punjab in 1021 and put Lahore on the map. Under his successors, it became a seat of learning and attracted Islamic scholars from Ghazni, among them Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajweri. Shahabuddin Ghori took Lahore from the last of the Ghaznavi rulers of Lahore in 1186, while Qutbuddin Aibak became the first Muslim king of India and made Lahore his capital. Second, while recommending the naming of 26 places after figures from the past, the committee ignored the proposal to honour the Kashmiri freedom fighter, Maqbool Butt, who was hanged by India in 1984 and the Kashmiri human rights campaigner, Jalil Andrabi, who was tortured and killed by the Indian army in 1996. Nor did the committee find any other Kashmiri shaheed among the more than 100,000, who have been martyred by the Indian occupation forces, to be worthy of the honour.  Third, the committee recommended naming the Canal Road underpass after Joginder Nath Mandal. Mandal was a member of Pakistan’s first Constituent Assembly and first Cabinet in 1947. While serving in the Cabinet, he left for India in September 1950 “for medical treatment” and two weeks later released in Calcutta a letter addressed to Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan resigning from his post in protest against the adoption of the Objective Resolution and the designation of Islam as the state religion and against what he alleged was the mistreatment of Hindus. Earlier this month, Markandey Katju, former Judge of the Indian Supreme Court and present Chairman of the Press Council of India, said it was a “harsh truth” that 80 percent of the Hindus and the same proportion of the Muslims are “communal”. After having made that hardly earth-shaking “discovery” - which amounts to admitting that coexistence between the two is full of hazards, especially for the minority group - he went on to assert, quite illogically, that the ‘Two Nation Theory’ is “bogus”. Katju is not some right-wing saffron-robed Hindu fanatic, but belongs to the middle of mainstream thinking in India’s ruling Brahmin-dominated elite. He is only more outspoken than the rest of them, which is why what he says is worthy of notice.There are three things Katju said that merit our attention: (a) that Pakistan is not a “legitimate country”; (b) that the only solution to the Kashmir problem is reunification of Pakistan and India; and (c) that many of his “Pakistani friends” agree now that the ‘Two Nation Theory’ is “nonsense”. He must have been thinking of people like those who approved the proposal to name the Fawwara Chowk after Bhagat Singh.The writer is a former member of the Pakistan Foreign Service.