It was around midnight November 23/24, 1971 when the four of us landed at Karachi on our way to Colombo and onward to the erstwhile East Pakistan. We had about eight hours in Karachi. The options were many from the cabaret at the Metropole to a walk on the beach. The serenity of the sojourn led us to the mausoleum of the Baba, Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. I humbly presented myself and more humbly submitted, ‘Baba! We are grateful to you for the gift, Pakistan. But we are good children. We are not going to live forever under the burden of your immense favour. We are about to return one half. Pray for us that we keep the other half.

We were four young majors who had volunteered to join the fighting in the Eastern wing where the chips were already down. Every one of us was leaving a young wife and a toddler or two behind. It was perhaps the second last flight between the two wings joined together by the brotherhood in Islam.

Today, once again I was reminded of the founder in a rather tragic setting. He has been dragged in the petty political squabbles by small minded politicians fighting for their survival against a determined ‘National Accountability Bureau’, (NAB).

Captain Safdar had the audacity to babble cheap and meaningless slogans coined by an absconder right inside the Quaid’s mausoleum. The other musketeer who has attained notorious fame for his silly knavery is Khawaja Safdar the name sake of our gallant Casanova. He could not settle for anyone lesser than Quaid himself to compare with a group of common vultures on the radar of the NAB.

Comparing Jinnah with his party’s ordinary thieves is not only a huge profanity, it is sheer lack of shame in a person who often keeps waffling about the sense of shame in others. The Quaid gave his life-long hard-earned money and property to the nation. Though he drew only a symbolic one Rupee as salary, he had enough money of his own to live in luxury. He led a highly austere life regarding his personal wealth also to be the property of his nation. And here is one of your party chiefs who sends a donation of millions of pounds (coming from abroad for the widows and the orphans after the earthquake), direct to his personal account to be whisked away to the safety of foreign lands.

The tale of laurels won by the bunch of thugs—the duo of Safdars is long and abominable. That is beyond the scope of this limited piece to recount. But who will show these unimaginative and uncouth gladiators the limits of decency? Who will censure them for the profanity they seem to perpetrate without a demur? Who will teach captain Safdar to observe the sanctity of the tomb of the father of the nation? And who will take Khawaja Asif to task for creating an uncalled-for and unholy analogy? The Supreme Court of Pakistan might deem it necessary to intervene and call upon these rouges to offer an unconditional apology to the nation. Have they not committed a graver offence in vandalising the founder of Pakistan than the contempt of the court?

As an ardent admirer and a great lover of the Quaid, I can only plead with the politicians to please have pity on the founder and stop dragging him in your petty wrangles.

Askari Raza Malik

The writer is a Major General (retd), Pakistan Army.