Civil service veteran recalls meetings with Quaid-e-Azam

Islamabad – Quaid-e-Azam was a charismatic personality who changed the course of history and inspired millions with his political struggle, said Roedad Khan, who met the Quaid on numerous occasions and saw how he influenced his followers and united them on a single platform for creation of Pakistan.

Khan, in his nineties, said, “I saw the Quaid for the first time at Manto Park on March 23, 1940 as a tall, handsome and intelligent man with great leadership qualities. He with his sincere words spell bound all the listeners who were ready to believe his words and follow him even without knowing what he was saying.”

“On my bicycle, I reached Manto Park to listen to the visionary thoughts of the Quaid”, said Roedad Khan, former civil servant, who is among the few still alive individuals who saw creation of Pakistan and observed Quaid’s struggle very closely.

Roedad Khan said that he was studying at Aligarh Muslim University from 1942 to 1944 when he met Quaid-e-Azam for the second time. Aligarh Muslim University was close to Quaid-e-Azam’s heart and he used to visit the university students twice a year.

Again when I was a sub-ordinate judge, I heard about the Quaid’s arrival in Peshawar in 1946. I took leave from my office and rushed to the venue and saw a number of Pakhtuns sitting there to listen to the Quaid, the civil service veteran said. “I was surprised at level of trust and love those Pakhtuns had for the Quaid who completely agreed with each and every word of the Quaid although they were unable to comprehend completely as Quaid’s Urdu was not good,” he recalled.

He said that just check their utter devotion to the Quaid’s words and uninterrupted applause. When I talked to a few of them, they said, “We don’t understand the language but whatever the Quaid is saying is right”.

Again in 1948, Quaid-e-Azam addressed the civil servants at Government House, Peshawar and said, “Ministers will come and go but you will remain there. You are the backbone of the administration. Let me tell you the politicians will force you to commit wrongdoings but you have to resist them.” “I am aware of that, while resisting the pressure, you will suffer and may be transferred to far-flung areas but I want you to make sacrifice for Pakistan. Your biggest problem will be corruption not at the level of `patwaris’ and `thanedars’ but mega corruption by those who at the height of power,” Quaid said.

Quaid continued, “Your next biggest problem will be provincialism but remember, you are Pakistani first and after that you are Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi and Pakhtun. Your identity is Pakistan.”

He said that during a radio broadcast after creation of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam while addressing the Americans said, “The constitution of Pakistan will be made by the assembly and Pakistan will be a sovereign, independent, and progressive country. Pakistan will be a democratic state; it will function in accordance with egalitarian principles of Islam”.

Roedad Khan said, “Quaid clearly said in 1943 that if feudal landlords and politicians will dominate Pakistan, then I will not have this Pakistan”.

Former prime ministers, Khawaja Nazimuddin, Liaquat Ali Khan, Feroz Khan Noon and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy were incorruptible persons and we need such incorruptible persons today at the administration level, he said.

Roedad Khan said that youth and independent judiciary were two rays of hope for creating a stronger Pakistan.

Roedad Khan, born on September 28, 1923, is a Pakistani politician and former civil servant. He was a leading figure in Pakistan from the start to the end of the Cold War. During his long career, Khan was one of the most senior civil servants of Pakistan. Roedad Khan worked with five presidents of Pakistan including Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry, Zia-ul-Haq and Ghulam Ishaq Khan.


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