Tag Archives: obituary

The Death of Jinnah, The New York Times Obituary

In this post, we take a trip down the memory lane. Below we are reproducing the obituary of Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah that was published in the New York Times on September 13, 1948.

In a first glance, there is nothing in this obituary that we don’t know of today. The narrative may seem slightly odd for many among us who have gotten used to a fast paced narrative in the internet blog age. Yet, this narrative sheds light on Jinnah as the West saw him in the years immediately post partition of the Sub Continent. For starters, it seems that Jinnah’s death was quite an unexpected event for many observers at that time.

The obituary speculates on a succession struggle for Jinnah, the brain and the heart of the “Moslem” League. Unfortunately, the void that Jinnah left behind was never filled by any of his successors, or their successors, or the ones afterwards. That succession struggle did not play out on the political lines that the author had outlined. The struggle for Jinnah’s mantle assumed ideological proportions in the newly established state of Pakistan; a struggle that still plays out in the hearts and minds of Pakistanis. How Jinnah’s mantle will be inherited will define the course of Pakistan itself.

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Filed under Identity, Jinnah, Jinnah's Pakistan, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, Partition, south asia, USA

Mr. Jinnah As “The Hindu” Saw Him

This extraordinary article from the Indian Newspaper The Hindu was forwarded to us by the blogger Red Diary from Lahore.  While we obviously don’t agree with everything that was said,  but this shows a magnanimity that is generally absent now.   I wonder if The Hindu would have been described as treacherous for pointing out the obvious qualities of head and heart that Mr. Jinnah possessed.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah as The Hindu saw him In the light of the controversy generated by Jaswant Singh’s book, Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence (Rupa & Co., New Delhi, 669 pages),we reproduceThe Hindu’s editorial of September 13, 1948 titled ‘Mr. Jinnah.’It was published two days after the death of the founder of Pakistan. ’ —

2009082155840901At his bitterest he never forgot that firm friendship between India and Pakistan was indispensable

The news of the sudden death of Mr. Jinnah will be received with widespread regret in this country. Till barely a twelvemonth ago he was, next to Gandhiji, the most powerful leader in undivided India. And not only among his fellow-Muslims but among members of all communities there was great admiration for his sterling personal qualities even while the goal which he pursued with increasing fanaticism was deplored. For more than half the period of nearly forty years in which he was a towering figure in our public life he identified himself so completely with the struggle that the Indian National Congress carried on for freedom that he came to be as nearly a popular idol as it was possible for a man so aristocratic and aloof by temperament to be. During the last years of his life, as the architect of Pakistan, he achieved a unique authority in his own Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

Late Aslam Khattak: A man for all seasons

Today we are publishing an obituary of the late Muhammad Aslam Khan Khattak authored by Ms. by Zeenath Jahan. We are grateful to Ms Jahan for sending this piece for the Pak Tea House. Mr. Khattak’s demise ends an era. (Raza Rumi, ed.)

My uncle, Muhammad Aslam Khan Khattak passed away on the 10th of October 2008. I had written this article some years ago after talking to him about the highlights of his life; and I wrote all he said, not a word more, not a word less. “KhanBaba” as I called him, was a warm, loving man with the great ‘people skills’. May he rest in eternal Peace. Ameen

Mr. Aslam Khattak received me at his house in University Town, Peshawar, and led me to the front veranda. The veranda overlooks the garden that his late wife had tended with great care. He said he always feels her presence there. Taslim Aslam Khattak’s death last year had been a wrench. It took Aslam Khan some time to realize that after almost sixty years she had left him and their three daughters, forever. Continue reading


Filed under Citizens, Pakistan, Politics

GoodBye Mahmoud Darwish: Alwida Palestine

“I thought poetry could change everything, could change history and could humanize, and I think that the illusion is very necessary to push poets to be involved and to believe, but now I think that poetry changes only the poet.”

“We should not justify suicide bombers. We are against the suicide bombers, but we must understand what drives these young people to such actions. They want to liberate themselves from such a dark life. It is not ideological, it is despair.”

Mahmoud Darwish

“Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging…”

Noami Shihab Nye

9 August 2008 , a text message is delivered on my mobile, “Darwish” is dead! In my ears ring the poems of his friend Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ae erz e Watan— Ae erz e watan— kyon Noch Noch keh pehk diye , in aankon ne apne Neelum, chan chan–chan chan chan chan

Palestine is dying, the Palestine for which the progressives had waged a battle with history, from people without history, from people without name , from people without identity, from people without land , Arafat, George Habash, Darwish created everything . History, Name , Identity , land till the thugs came to loot and kill, to plunder and destroy what we had achieved . Continue reading


Filed under Literature, poetry

In memoriam: Benazir Bhutto —Aitzaz Ahsan

I will remember her for three qualities: a constant urge to reach out to her people, a willingness to take on Herculean challenges, and for her ability to forgive, even embrace, her enemies. These three qualities made her superhuman. And all three took her to her tragic, yet heroic death?

“The first thing I want to do is to release all political prisoners,” she announced as our meeting on November 30, 1988 began at Dr Zafar Niazi’s house in Islamabad. In the elections held after the death of General Zia-ul Haq, the PPP, despite all efforts of the agencies, had succeeded in the elections. After failing to prop up any rival, then-President Ghulam Ishaq had finally agreed that very day to accept her as prime minister of Pakistan.

The historic meeting of PPP leadership was being held to set top priorities for Bibi’s first government. It was here as prime minister-designate that she showed her mettle. So far her life and emotions had been premised on the bitter fact that her dearest father had been deposed, imprisoned, humiliated, falsely charged, hanged and then buried without due ceremony. But she brought to that meeting only her winning smile and the undiluted optimism of a political idealist. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan, Politics