The Key is “Betrayal” Rise Mamnoun Hussain! Let Pakistan Rise with you!
Pakistan has elected a new President – Mamnoun Hussain. Memnun is a Turkish word which means ‘grateful’. Memnun Oldum is ‘Thank You” in Turkish. But memnun is more than a word; it describes a personality. I served in CENTO in Turkey for more than three years (1966-70) and was inspired by the Turkish institution of ‘gratitude’. During the First World War, the Muslims in India were the subjects of the British Empire but they were so incensed by the threat of the end of khilafa in Istanbul that Muslim volunteers from the sub-continent travelled to Turkey in tens of thousands via Afghanistan and Central Asian Republic (then a part of the Russian Empire). The majority perished on the way; only a few thousands reached Turkey. In the meantime, Germany had been defeated. Its ally in the First World War – the Ottoman Empire – was also vanquished despite the heroic fight in Gallipoli Peninsula. Sultan Abdul Hamid – the khalifa and sultan – had surrendered to the Greek forces and signed a humiliating truce. But The Harb i Istiklal – Peoples’ Resistance – had started under the general-ship of Mutafa Kemal Pasha. The Muslims from India who were able to get there in time did take part in battles alongside their Turkish brethren to defeat the Greek forces and establish the frontiers of Turkey that exist today.
The Muslims from India had failed to defend the khilafa which was abolished by the Turks themselves. Their role and impact in the Harb i Istiklal was peripheral. Hardly anyone returned. They married Turkish widows and were totally assimilated. I met children of Pakistani fathers and Turkish mothers who showed great pride in the role of their ancestors. The Turkish people have never tired of expressing gratitude for the help by Pakistanis during the First World War. Every Turk makes it a point to tell Pakistani visitors, “They have many friends but only one Kardesh (brother) which is Pakistan”. I have often wondered if we really deserve the adulation and affection that the Turkish people have for Pakistan! I was never sure but I now believe that we do. When the Ottoman Empire and Khilafa was being dismembered, the Arabs were fighting alongside the British. When Muslims of India – mostly from UP, Punjab and NWFP – travelled through Afghanistan on their way to Turkey, they were looted and sometimes even murdered. Muslims of India were British subjects and Britain was fighting the Ottoman Empire and yet they felt they had a religious duty of ‘jihad’ to go and fight alongside Turks. Why was their decision so different to that of the rest of Muslim Ummah? After years of reflection, I think I know the answer. The answer is that Pakistan is indeed darussalam (a country where Muslims find peace and security) because they enjoy political as well as cultural sovereignty and the state (particularly its armed forces) considers it their duty to rise to the occasion whenever and wherever the lives, livelihood and honour of Muslim peoples is under threat. Mamnoun Hussain
Pakistan is part of the territory of the erstwhile Muslim empires in South Asia where Muslims were in majority. Theses territories included present day Pakistan, Afghanistan and the State of Jammu and Kashmir which was consolidated into a single state by Ahmed Shah Abdali in his Durrani Empire. The State of Afghanistan believed that it was the rightful successor to the all the territories of the Durrani Empire which were taken away from them by the British. That is why it was the only country to oppose the admission of Pakistan as member of the UN. But Afghanistan was never a sovereign country – its rulers were in the pay of foreign masters who provided regular sum to maintain their palaces and police. King Zahir Shah received money from India as well as Russia for decades until he was overthrown. He maintained a stance of animosity towards Pakistan and indifference towards the plight of Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir. The Afghans do have a point but the ground realities point the other way. To be the successor of the Durrani Empire they had to win another victory in another Battle of Panipat like the founder of the Durrani Empire. But Pakistan took clear and forthright decisions to deserve the right to be the successor of the Durrani Empire. It entered its forces in Jammu and Kashmir in 1948 and is still championing the cause of Kashmiri Muslims. It designed the strategy, provided training and man power, and mobilised global support for jihad (resistance) for the liberation of Afghanistan not once but twice. As Afghanistan moves towards a second liberation, there is still a need for the same alacrity and wisdom which helped Pakistan persevere in its duty as Darussalam. It would not be too long before the people of Jammu and Kashmir are liberated in another Battle of Panipat not necessarily at Panipat.
Pakistanis also have the quality of ‘gratefulness’ that I appreciate so much in the people of Turkey. We have a relationship of gratitude with Saudi Arabia which provided free oil during the years that Pakistan was under US sanctions after having carried out nuclear tests in response to Indian tests. Turkey supplied Pakistan with American ammunition during the 1965 War. I travelled in one of the PIA flights from Ankara to Karachi during the War. We remember with gratitude that Iran bought around 80 of F-86 American aircraft for Pakistan when we were under embargo by the US after 1965 Indo Pakistan War. We remember that China gave an ultimatum to India during the 1965 War on the pretext of some sheep having transgressed the frontier. At that time the USA was the “most allied ally of Pakistan” and yet it flexed it diplomatic muscle in support of India. That was the first overt betrayal by the US of Pakistan but there is long history of covert betrayals by the US. But Pakistan has never acted against US interests; this is because of gratitude for the help we received from the USA. Pakistan does not betray; it is always grateful for favours even gestures. It was able to fight the war of liberation in Afghanistan against Soviet occupation despite having been betrayed by the US during 1965 as well 1971 Indo-Pakistan Wars. Pakistan was not consulted on Afghanistan after 9/11 and the US formulated policies in utter disregards of its real friends and in deference to ‘make believe’ friends. Is the US listening to Pakistan now? I cannot say! Betrayals might win battles but not wars. The Arabs betrayed the Ottoman rulers; they are still suffering the consequences. Afghan monarchs kept their country poor and their people backward and themselves well healed. But it is the poor and the backward that have defeated super powers. If India wishes to come into the fray with some Channakian scheme it has better think twice because it is faced with a people who are grateful even for small favours and does not forgive those who betray.
No Pakistani leader can be popular unless he possesses the quality that is the hallmark of the people Pakistan. We are ever grateful to friends who help us in time of need and distress. The friendship and trust of China, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia are the only family silver we treasure. Let no Mian forget that