Museum tells the story of Pakistan at 72

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The partition of the Indian subcontinent of India forced migration of several hundred thousand people between the new states of Pakistan and India.
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Muhammad Ali Jinah being introduced to Muslim League leaders at Quetta on a visit to Baluchistan.
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Muhammad Ali Jinah with his sister, Fatima Jinah and wife Rati Bi.
Updated 13 August 2019

Museum tells the story of Pakistan at 72

  • National History Museum in Lahore chronicles country’s birth and struggle
  • Pakistan and India never tell the truth about Partition, academic says

LAHORE: Established by the Punjab government, the National History Museum at the Greater Iqbal Park shows all aspects of the country’s history not only after its creation, but also throws light on the struggle of Muslims ruling the subcontinent for centuries prior to Partition.

The mega project was envisaged to keep new generations of Pakistanis informed about the struggle of their forefathers for a separate country.

The museum narrates the tales from the independence movement and the first few years of the newborn state. The historic events, important statistics and speeches of the leaders of the movement have been displayed at the digital library of the National History Museum while another section displays pictures and mementos from the British colonial era.

“I have crossed the 65th year of my life and have come here with my grandson. Every wall, every corner introduces with us to a new phase of the struggle of our elders The pain they bore, they did so for the peace of their people,” Nisha Begum, a visitor, told Arab News.

A portion of the museum showcases the stories with the help of archival content, including newspaper articles, personal letters and first hand accounts.

This portion also shows the scenes of great migration of August 1947. Britain left the subcontinent after 90 years, dividing it into two separate countries. Millions of Muslims started journey to West and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) while millions of Hindus and Sikhs headed in the opposite direction. Unprecedented violence — Hindus and Sikhs on one side and Muslims on the other — was witnessed.

“The carnage was especially intense, with massacres, arson, forced conversions, mass abductions, and savage sexual violence. Some seventy-five thousand women were raped, and many of them were then disfigured or dismembered,” an article from The New Yorker recalled in June 2015.

“I have seen those black days with my eyes. I was little child at that time. I saw trains pelted with dead bodies. The Muslims sacrificed their lives for a peaceful land but the politicians wasted the struggle. The looters have taken control and the noble lost their dignity,” Salahud Din, 82, told Arab News.

Few historians believe that the truth was told to the people of India and Pakistan.




Muhammad Ali Jinah with the central leaders of the All India Muslim League.

“Partition had resulted in the biggest forced migration in history and as many as 14 million people, including 10 million from Punjab, were forcefully evicted. Although historians have failed to narrate the violence, some masterpieces of Urdu literature have highlighted the women’s experiences during Partition,” said historian Dr. Ali Usman Qasmi.

The veterans, however see the 72-year journey of Pakistan with disappointment and hope at the same time.

“The 72-year journey of Pakistan is very pathetic. A few years after its creation, the country entered the clutches of army dictators, and we failed to set up of the country as per our needs. Dictators used the country for personnel gains, depriving the people of their legitimate rights,” said veteran journalist Khadim Hussain, 84.

“I saw the moment of creation of Pakistan. The people sacrificed their lives, properties and relations in the hope of good but successive martial rule destroyed everything. Even a popular leader like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto failed to complete his agenda.”

Gen. Khawaja Ziauddin Abbassi has a different point of view: “Despite having nuclear weapons Pakistan never put the world in danger. It always behaved sensibly. The Pakistani army played important role not only in the development of the country but also contributed for peace at international level.

“Pakistan was created in the name of Islam but unjustified distribution of resources among different segments of society kept the poor away from its blessings.”

The veteran politician Raja Zafrul Haq, who took part in the independence movement, says that Pakistan is a story of success and failure at the same time.

“We lost credibility and international level because of weak system and discontinuity in democratic systems.”


Afghan president vows to crush Daesh after deadly Kabul wedding strike

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attends a state ceremony for the Afghan Independence Day in Kabul on Monday. (Reuters)
Updated 12 min 50 sec ago

Afghan president vows to crush Daesh after deadly Kabul wedding strike

  • ‘We have collapsed from the inside,’ says attack survivor

KABUL: Afghan President Ashraf Ghani vowed to wipe out Daesh, after a deadly attack on a wedding party in Kabul killed more than 60 people. The suicide bombing also injured 200 others late on Saturday evening.
Ghani, whose government is facing intense criticism for failing to deter attacks by sympathizers of Daesh and the Taliban, also announced the postponement of 100th anniversary celebrations of the country’s independence from Britain that were due to take place.
“We will eliminate Daesh hideouts all around the country … the fight against Daesh will be intensified,” Ghani said during a brief state ceremony to mark independence, even though formal festivities were put on hold.
The government had allocated millions of dollars and set aside two years for planning the event. “We postponed celebrations to honor the victims, but we will take the revenge of our people,” he added.
Daesh claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attack, which happened while guests and family members of the bride and groom were in segregated halls for men and women.
Most of the victims were Shiite and ethnic Hazaras. Daesh considers them to be heretics and has targeted them in recent years.
“I think many of us are merely alive by appearance and physically. Mentally, we are all dead. We have collapsed from the inside,” Zaman Shah, a 25-year-old survivor who lost three brothers in the attack, told Arab News.
The bomber blew himself up in the men’s hall. The groom was with the bride in the women’s section and survived, but both lost at least 25 family members.
Six children from one family perished. Other families lost loved ones too.
“I lost two of my brothers and four nephews, life has no meaning for me anymore,” Ahmad Fawad told reporters. “Postponing the independence anniversary will not cure our grief, this government is weak and useless and cannot protect people.”
Hasmat Hussien, another survivor, lost eight close members of his family and relatives in the attack. “We do not know why this calamity has befallen us. You cannot understand or comprehend our grief, misery and pain. We have not managed to sleep or eat for nearly two days now,” he said.
Amir Mohammad a 50-year-old man whose son died and had two others wounded in the attack, said: “Life has become meaningless for my family. These people who were targeted were poor, ordinary civilians, not government authorities or generals.”
The suicide bombing took place even as the US and the Taliban near a peace deal that could eventually lead to the complete withdrawal of foreign troops and end decades of conflict.
The Taliban, for its part, has pledged not to allow any group to use Afghanistan for attacks against any country.
“The US is making a peace deal with the Taliban, but we fear Daesh will be the next group that will expand its activities and there will be fighting for an uncertain future,” Kabul shopkeeper Rahim Dad said. “There will be peace with one group, but war with another. That means we won’t have peace, even if America and the Taliban make peace,” he added.
Ghani blamed the Taliban for the attack, saying it had given rise to extremist networks such as Daesh.
The Taliban, whose fighters have battled Daesh in some parts of the country, condemned the attack and showed sympathy with the victims.
US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has led the US side in peace talks with the Taliban since last year, tweeted Sunday that it was time to step up efforts to end fighting.
But the peace talks have faltered, mostly because the Taliban refuses to engage with Ghani’s government.
“We condemn Daesh (Daesh) and yesterday’s heinous attack on a Kabul wedding hall that killed scores of innocent Afghan families,” Khalilzad tweeted. “We must accelerate the #AfghanPeaceProcess including intra-Afghan negotiations. Success here will put Afghans in a much stronger position to defeat Daesh.”
There was tight security in major cities as thousands of Afghans poured onto the streets to mark the 100th independence anniversary.
But blasts in the eastern city of Jalalabad disrupted the day. Officials said at least 50 people were wounded. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blasts in the city, parts of which have been a Daesh bastion.