Tag Archives: Abdul Ghaffar Khan

Was Jinnah A Democrat?

A continuation from “Was Jinnah secular?” and “Did Jinnah want Pakistan?”.

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

There are many people who criticize Jinnah – quite incorrectly in my opinion- of having laid the foundations for subsequent periods of authoritarian military rule. They allege that Jinnah’s decision to become the Governor General was the first blow to parliamentary democracy in Pakistan. Unable to distinguish the argument of constitutional purists pleading the ceremonial and executive roles of president and prime minister i.e. head of state and head of government from that of democratic argument about the sovereignty of parliament, these authors etc make the fatal error of not making an effort in understanding both the constitution in place and the environment under which Jinnah exercised his constitutional authority. By confusing the two, they make a mockery not just of the latter issue, but history itself. In the process they end up abusing the one person in Pakistan’s history who can truly be called a liberal democrat in every sense of the word. Continue reading

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NWFP HISTORY 5: Bacha Khan and his legacy

by Yasser Latif Hamdani

Other than Jinnah and to a certain extent Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Abdul Ghaffar Khan aka Bacha Khan is the only politician in Pakistani history to have sustained a following beyond his death. The tall Pushtun – who adopted Non-violence as a creed in a very violent society- is still remembered fondly by the Pushtuns as Fakhr-e-Afghan. In India he is remembered as the Frontier Gandhi for his close association with the Indian leader. In many ways he was more committed (even if at times inconsistently) to the so called Gandhian values of non-violence than Gandhi who was at the end of the day a shrewd politician before a non-violent saint. And yet this is precisely why this great leader of the Pushtuns was not able to achieve much. Continue reading

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