This is my own story. On June 02, 1953 I came into this world. As the day coincided with the coronation of Queen Elizabeth the second, the city of Lahore was in a festive mood. We lived in Anarkali right on the intersection of Mall Road and the two Anarkalis. If my coordinates are not off, from the legendary Anarkali’s burial site within the Civil Secretariat, Old Anarkali is to her right while New is to her left. Till the decade of seventies it was the main bazaar of the city where almost everything from jewelry to betel leaf was sold.

It was the centre of the city which was rightly called the heart of Pakistan. Lahore had it all. There were luminaires all around. The first Asian Tiger was in the making with everyone focused on nation building. Quaid-e-Azam invited Dr. Rafi Chaudhry to establish the first High Tension Physics Lab of Asia at Government College. Shakir Ali an artist of international repute was Principal of National College of Arts while the famous educational institution of the region Government College was under Patras Bokhari.

In the later part of 19th century both my parent families migrated from Kashmir to Punjab. While my mother’s family settled in Mochi Darwaza in Lahore, my father’s side went to Ludhiana East Punjab. My father Nazir Ahmed Malik actively participated in the Pakistan Movement and was awarded the Tehrik-e-Pakistan Gold Medal in recognition for his efforts. On the mother’s side there was revolutionary fervour. My uncle (Mamu) Dr. Saleem Wahid Saleem recited his poems in the Muslim League Jalsas. At a very early age I was exposed to both entrepreneurship to earn an honest living and a revolution to change the world. With partition in August 1947 and two revolutions (Bolshevik, Chinese) interesting times lay ahead. Sir Syed’s Mission, Iqbal’s vision and Jinnah’s struggle were clearly visible as nation building was the top agenda.

There were several tea houses on the Mall where people from all walks of life intermingled. From writers, scholars, poets and politicians were all there. Cheneys Lunch Home was the first next was Coffee House then Pak Tea House, YMCA Restaurant, Gardenia, Lords and the two Shezans where important human interactions took place. Most public meetings were held at Nasir (Gol) Bagh or Bagh Baroon Mochi Darwaza.

My father the entrepreneur, re-established his watch business in Anarkali. All his life he worked very hard. Together with Sheikh Rehmatullah proprietor of the famous Sheikh Inayatullah and Sons they formed the Anjuman-e-Tajaran. The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) was located in a rented bungalow on Lawrence Road close to St. Anthony’s School that I regularly visited with my old man.

I studied at Cathedral High School (CHS) located across the street from the Lahore High Court (LHC). Walked down the Mall every day to school starting in January 1958 and graduating in May 1969, attended Government College for intermediate followed by engineering from Punjab University Old Campus. In addition to being the first generation of Pakistan we also qualified to be the children of Mall Road. Imran Khan also lived on the other end of the Mall, he went to Aitchison College which was close to his family home in Zaman Park. However, he too joined Cathedral School for his A levels. The school produced several other luminaires that includes; Justice Nasim Hasan Shah, Saqib Nisar the Ex-Chief Justice, Tariq Bajwa the Ex-Governor of State Bank, Dr Zafar Altaf a famous Agri Expert, Cricketer Wasim Akram to name a few.

October 1958 changed everything. At the age of 5 years I stood with my father the Muslim Leaguer at the Kims Gun on the Mall to receive the most popular leader of his time Khan Qayyum Khan. He was leading a long march for democracy as elections were round the corner. We waited and waited till the Zamina (flash newspaper) came out reporting that Khan Sahib has been arrested and taken to the dungeons of the Lahore Fort where he was humiliated. He was later released with the condition that he would retire from politics. Before his return to Peshawar I accompanied my father to see him. Khan Sahib was in bad shape, everyone tried to convince him to fight back but he had these words to say, “Hum Sharif Log aisi Siyasat Nahi Kar Saktay” (Individuals with noble background cannot do such dirty politics.)

My uncle the progressive poet started a hunger strike outside the civil secretariat. He had the following demands, Army to return to the barracks, investigation into the murder of the first Prime Minister and withdrawal of agencies tracking progressive writers. On the business side all import licenses were cancelled to be replaced with a frivolous and corruption laden Bonus Voucher scheme . Honest businessmen were hounded to play by their rules of loans and ‘Muk Muka’. Due to his sensitive nature my uncle never recovered from his confrontation with the state apparatus. He withdrew himself and kept writing as a hermit while his wife with his two sons went back to Aligarh to settle at her parents’ house. My father did not give up. He had to struggle hard, being an upright individual in a crooked world it was not an easy task. In his later years he sought litigation to fight back the evil empire that had neutralized the freedom struggle and its soldiers. Iqbal’s vision and Jinnah’s struggle had gone in vain.

Keeping the family traditions of academic pursuits from my mother’s side I went to USA for higher education in 1979. I returned in 1981 to serve the motherland but Pakistan under Zia’s dark ages had no room for progressive individuals. I left again to return in 1992 upon the insistence of my father who desired for me to contribute in nation building. Saindak Copper-Gold was my first project in Pakistan. I soon realized that the country was in the hands of corrupt and incompetent individuals who wanted to strengthen status-quo as it suited their vested interests. Since then it has been an uphill battle, constantly swimming against the tide to deliver. Since 2004 I have been involved in the development of Thar Coal as an energy resource. After 14 years in 2018 the black gold has finally been mined. Currently I am working to convert it into a clean 21st century fuel through gasification.

My father participated in the Pakistan Movement. He had to struggle in the free land where freedom has been a myth especially since the colonial establishment took control of the first Islamic democracy in 1958. Even after over seven decades real freedom has not been accomplished. Our faith in Pakistan is insurmountable in a few years I plan to retire to work on my autobiography.

I have found a river in the Salt Range that flows south to north as opposed to all other rivers that flow form the north. The opposite flow will be my inspiration to keep fighting for Iqbal’s and Jinnah’s Pakistan for which my family struggled. Our freedom remains incomplete till all colonial institutions, their leftovers and lackeys are cleansed and reformed to serve not to rule the people of the land. I now live on the 11th street in DHA. It has been a rewarding experience but the score does not truly reflect the struggle that I had to endure to make a difference but there are some regrets, we could have served the motherland much more had the vested interests not come in the way.