It is time that history not be distorted by cult like politicians and our establishment to justify their own acts. It is the most recent voluntary pledge of loyalty by prominent and affluent individuals to another country, which basically is abandonment of loyalty to Pakistan. One can understand the compulsions of those who are forced to seek their bread and butter, which poor governance and abuse of merit and rule of law has denied them, not, the seeking of foreign passports by those who benefited the most, socially, politically and financially and yet want to continue to dominate our power corridors.

Before World War II, subcontinent was an occupied colony, like many others in Asia and Africa. After years of political struggle waged by men like Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal the British occupiers, weakened and devastated by ravages of war, were forced to give up their occupation and leave the subcontinent creating two separate sovereign nations, Pakistan and India through an act of parliament. Residents of all British colonies, desirous to embark on foreign travels were forced to seek a British passport.

Even Palestinians living today in occupied Gaza and West Bank, who want to travel abroad to wage their political struggle for liberation have to acquire a travel document issued by the occupying Israeli state. It is totally out of sync to draw parallels between British travel documents issued to leaders of Muslim League and Congress and voluntary acquiring British nationality by any citizen of India or Pakistan, who chooses to self exile and seeks foreign nationality, instead of political asylum on legitimate grounds.

Ayatollah Khomeini was imprisoned for 18 months and then forced to exile by the Shah of Iran in 1964. He first sought refuge in Turkey, then went to Iraq and finally sought political asylum in France, from where he continued to denounce the Shah and lead a struggle for 15 years, without seeking any foreign nationality or social welfare benefits. He returned to Iran in 1979 and forced the Shah to go into exile. Khomeini lived and died in Iran as an Iranian national. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah, like other British subjects under colonial rule, was forced to seek a British passport by extraordinary circumstances such as those faced by Palestinian leadership under occupation. From 1940 onwards the Quaid never used British travel document, nor left the country, he lived and died in Pakistan.

There were many Muslims living in Muslim minority areas, which form part of India and numerous Muslims residing in Muslim majority areas that form Pakistan today, who opposed creation of Pakistan and willingly pledged their loyalty to Raj and British monarchy. They either never wanted British to leave India, or were in favor of living in undivided India. Some of them favored a confederation of states within India, and were opposed to creation of a sovereign independent Pakistan. Perhaps their love and commitment to assets and lands located in India was more than their commitment to Pakistan. While Quaid-i-Azam never blinked an eye to forgo his properties like Malabar Hill villa in Bombay, others chose to cling to their assets.

The Quaid gave priority to formulation of constitution, immediately after creation of Pakistan, for which he constituted an assembly of all those who were elected in 1946 elections. It is unfortunate that those who succeeded him, after his unfortunate death, deliberately delayed finalization of a constitution, a vital document on which foundations of a modern state was to be built, in an effort to create constituencies for themselves. Instead what happened was plunder of vast evacuee property through fake claims. The first Pakistan Passport was issued much later after the Quaid’s death and the Constitution finalized only in 1956, which formally declared Pakistan as a republic breaking all links with British monarchy.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, January 12.