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 Pakistan Movement veterans share stories of Partition  

Thursday, November 12, 2009

By By our correspondent 


Three veterans of the Pakistan Movement came together at the Shanaakht Festival’s ‘Meri Kahani, Meri Zabani’ event to share their heart rendering tales of the eras of partition and post-partition.


Sami Khan, a retired DIG, had the honor of serving the founder of the country as his security guard during his last days, and vividly recollected the Quaid’s final days. “We brought Jinnah Saheb to Karachi via a plane from Quetta. I also remember how sunbeams would fall on the Quaid’s face, and his nurse would raise her hand to prevent that from happening, given that the Quaid was very weak, and unable to do anything,” he said.


Khan narrated that the Quaid was transported in an ambulance, which unfortunately stalled near Kharadar, ostensibly due to technical problems. “We had to wait for half-an-hour for another ambulance, because there were only three ambulances in the city at that time,” he said.


Jinnah was then taken to his house, where doctors visited him. “After that, all ministers and the then-prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan were called to his house. At 10:10 pm, Liaquat Ali Khan came out of Jinnah Saheb’s room and wept on the shoulders of another minister. He broke the news that the Quaid had passed away, after which everyone started crying like babies. Many were saying ‘Baba Hum Ko Chor Kar Chalay Gaye’ (our father has left us alone),” Khan said.


He also remembered the time when he woke up at 4 in the morning and hundreds of mourners were present at the house. No one said a single word, and everyone wept for Jinnah.


Mirza Jameel’s brother, Mirza Manzoor, who has the honour of making the first painting of Jinnah which now hangs at every governmental office, also shared his stories. “When I migrated to Pakistan in 1949, there was no scope for me as an art director. So I got a printing press and started a printing house. This later became a publishing house and is known today as ‘Elite Publishing’,” he said. He is also the founder of the Urdu-Nastalique font for computers.


The third guest was Sameen Khan. He had been active in student’s politics at the time, and took part in the movement for independence. Sameen Khan was the youngest participant at the last All-India Muslim League conference. He was involved in constitutional reforms, and also participated in the Afghan War in the 1980s.


Recalling the early days right after the Partition, he said, “We used to go to the cinema, the Grand Hotel, and the Metropolis Hotel in the early 1950s.” Sameen Khan also narrated incidents of how he met Jinnah, and wrote letters to him.


The event was hosted by Durraya Kazi, head of the University of Karachi visual studies department.

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