It was indeed a sigh of relief to see PM Nawaz Shariff visit Karachi and address Pakistani Hindu community to wish them Happy Diwali. Few people would remember that Jagan Nath Mandal, a leader of Scheduled Castes of Bengal was one of founding fathers of Pakistan who supported Quaid e Azam and movement for creation of Pakistan. After Partition he became member of Constituent Assembly and also served as its temporary Chairman for some time. J. N Mandal was Quaid’s choice as Minister for Law and Labor in addition to serving as secondary minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in his cabinet and served in that capacity till 1950. It is also a historical fact that when announcement of independence was made on night of 14 August, a Tarana written at request of Quaid e Azam by Jagan Nath Azad, an admirer of Allama Iqbal, who authored “Roedad e Iqbal” was broadcast from Radio Pakistan Lahore. The wordings of this tarana were “ “Zarre tere hein aaj sitaaron se taabnak, Ai sarzameen e Pak”.

We must assess what forced men like Jogendra Nath Mandal and Jagan Nath Azad to migrate to Bharat after demise of Quaid e Azam, and myopic vision of those who wielded power to delay finalization of Constitution till 1956. Quaid’s Pakistan was never created to be ruled by military dictators like Ayub, Zia or Musharraf, nor corrupt civilian politicians and bureaucrats instrumental in monumental corruption, massive abuse of power and transfer of its wealth to foreign countries, where they hold their assets and their families reside.

The Quaid’s vision of a modern democratic state with predominantly Muslim majority living in peace and harmony with members of other faith suffered a blow after his death. Pakistan’s Parsi, Christian, Hindu and Sikh community have served this country well and in spirit of Islamic tolerance and Quaid’s vision, it is time we treat them as equal citizens of Pakistan.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, November 11.