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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pioneers of Freedom (Series) (1997-9)

Mohammad Ayub Khuhro was one of the foremost leaders of the struggle for independence from British colonial rule and for the achievement of Pakistan. He was closely associated with the Quaid-e-Azam from 1928 onwards and was member of the Working Committee of All India Muslim League in the crucial years of 1942-1947.
Mohammad Ayub Khuhro was born on 14 August1901 in village Aqil in Larkana district of Sindh. He belonged to a landowning family. He went to the village school and then enrolled in Larkana Madressah. Here he became aware of the problems being faced by the poor Muslim agriculturists whose lands were being forcibly attached in settlement of inflated debts.
Khuhro felt deeply concerned and was determined to do something about the problem when he got the chance. From Larkana Madressah Khuhro went to Karachi to complete his education at the famous Sind Madressah-tul-Islam in Karachi and them to D.J. Arts college.
In 1920 he had to return home and look after the family affairs in Larkana when his father died. Here he soon entered politics by being elected to the District Local Board and then in 1923 was elected Member of the Bombay Legislative Council as Sindh had representation as it was part of the Bombay Presidency.
Here Khuhro took up the issues which were affecting the Muslims of Sindh such as backwardness in education, discrimination in the matter of jobs and services, as Muslims who were 75% of the population had negligible representation.
He also took up the cause of the Sindhi agriculturists who were suffering from indebtedness and losing their lands at a fast rate to Hindu moneylenders. He tried to get Land Alicnation and Debt Reconciliation Acts, which had helped the position of agriculturists in the Punjab. Also legislated for Sindh.
This proposal met with a great deal of opposition from money lender interests and from the bureaucracy. It would take many years and a great deal of hard work from Khuhro to get through legislation for the backward Muslim cultivators of Sindh.
Khuhro championed the Muslims during the Hindu Muslim riots of the late twenties and confronted the administration of the Commissioner-in-Sind. the absolute ruler of the province.
In the course of getting redress for the people. He decided that the only solution for the people of Sindh was to get their own administration and representative assembly. In 1928-29 when the Royal Statutory Commission on Indian Reforms (the Simon Commission) came to India to examine the constitutional position. Khuhro led a delegation to argue for the cause of establishing the separate autonomous province of Sindh.
The Simon Commission decided against the separation of Sindh from Bombay on financial grounds but Khuhro persisted. He made himself an expert on the financial aspects of the problem and worked on the financial enquiry committees and administrative committees set up to decide the feasibility of autonomy for Sindh.
In 1933 he went to London to give evidence in favour of separation to the Joint Parliamentary Committee set up to examine the question. He made a good case and the formation of the autonomous province of Sindh was announced in the Government of India Act of 1935. With the separation of Sindh from Bombay the cornerstone of Pakistan was well and truly laid.
Khuhro was one of the leaders who invited Mohammad Au Jinnah to preside over the 1938 session of the Sind Muslim League which not only established the party in Sindh but through its Resolution No. 5 paved the way for Pakistan.
Khuhro organised the only public meeting held in the interior of Sindh that was held during the tour of this province by Quaid-e-Azam and this was in Tajar Bagh. Larkana. It was a great success in spite of the ban on Muslim League public meetings by the Congress backed government of the province. Khuhro played a leading role in the organisation of Muslim League in Sindh and in the famous Masjid Manzil gah agitation which made Muslim League the champion of Muslim rights in Sindh. In March 1940 Khuhro was present on the stage at Lahore when the Pakistan Resolution was passed .
In 1942 Khuhro stood aside from his claim to be Premier of Sindh and agreed to be ordinary Minister so that Muslim League should be able to form a government in Sindh. This Muslim League Ministry was to last till independence in August 1947.
Khuhro worked tirelessly for Muslim League and for Pakistan and was the driving force behind the Muslim League victory in the Sindh Assembly elections of 1946 which enabled the Assembly to vote for Pakistan.
Khuhro became the first Premier of Sindh after independence. He was also responsible for the preparation of Karachi to become the first capital of Pakistan. He built the accommodation for the secretariat and found homes for the entire paraphernalia of Pakistan in the tiny capital of Sindh. Which had no more than 5 lakhs of people at this time.
After independence Khuhro stood for the federal principle and for the autonomy of the provinces. He suffered a get deal at the hands of autocrats and dictators who gained power in the country from time to time. He became Chief Minister of Sindh three times and Defence Minister of Pakistan in the last cabinet before the imposition of Martial Law in October 1958.
Khuhro worked for Miss Fatima Jinnah in the presidential elections of 1964. Known as the Iron man of Sindh\', he was not only an \'iron man fighting for the rights of the Muslims of Sindh but also and \'iron man\' in the cause of democracy.
Khuhro passed away on 20 October 1980 at the ripe old age of 79 at Karachi and was laid to rest in his ancestral village of Aqil.
Mohtarma Begum Salma Tassaduq Hussain was born in 1908 in District Gujranwala. She got her early education from her father Mian Fazal-e-Hussain a well known scholar of his times. She got married at the age of 16.
Till 1936 her life was purely that of a house-wife. It was them that the circumstances prevalent in the sub-continent forced her to start her career as a social worker in 1937.
Henceforth she worked under the guidance of the Quaid-e-Azam. She contested elections in 1946 and was elected as a member of the Punjab Assembly. These proved to be the most crucial elections which established that the Quaid-e-Azam represented the entire Muslim nation of the sub-continent. She was arrested in the course of the Civil Agitation during Unionist regime.
After the establishment of Pakistan the Quaid-e-Azam personally selected her as a member of the 1st Pakistan Delegation to the United Nations in 1947.
She acted as the Secretary of Punjab Muslim Women League from 1940-58. In 1946 she went to Bengal and Bihar during Communal riots and worked there for two months and visited the affected areas.
She remained Fellow of the University of Punjab from 1947-51, Member of Lahore Improvement Trust from 1949-51 and an Elected member of Lahore Municipal Corporation during 1949-56.
She was appointed Relief Secretary to the Provincial Muslim League Office in 1947 to receive the refugees coming from India to look after the wounded and the sick Muslim refugees and to arrange the burial of the dead bodies.
She visited Delhi is 1948 to participate in the deliberations of Council of State set up forthe recovery of abducted Muslim women from India. She then visited Delhi and Patiala and other parts of India for the recovery of muslim women and recovered nearly 9000 abducted muslim women and brought them back to Pakistan.
In 1952 she headed a delegation from Pakistan to Colombo Conference of the Non-Governmental Organizations organised by U.N.O.
In 1952 she also attended UNO session in Paris. In 1954 she was again elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly and presented the first bill on Family Laws (Shariat Bill). In 1956 when One Unit came into existence she was again elected to the West Pakistan Assembly. She visited Peoples Republic of China as member of the High Powered Pakistan Parliamentary Delegation. In 1958 she was appointed as the Deputy Minister for Labour in the Government of Punjab and did a lot for amelioration of labourers in the Country. She was appointed as a member of the Majlis-e-Shoora during the Zia Regime.
She had the honour to work on 31 committees on different subjects in the Punjab and West Pakistan Legislative Assemblies including Abducted Women\'s Committee, Children Emergency Fund, Jail Reforms Committee, Qaumi Razakaar (Women Section) Lahore Improvement Trust, Lahore Municipal Corporation and the Cinema Censer Board for a number of years and Vice President of the Provincial Assembly of the All Pakistan Women Association (APWA).
She is the author of three books namely \'Azadi-ka-Safar, \"Gulhay-e-Rang\' (a collection of poems written by her) and Coleoptera which is an Urdu translation of an English naval.
She was awarded numerous gold medals and certificates by all the successive regimes in Pakistan since its creation, in recognition of her services and sacrifices made by her for the country and its people and shall always be remembered.
She remained active in social and educational activities for the rest of her life. She breathed her last on August 7,1995.
To commemorate the Pioneers of Freedom (Series) Pakistan Post Office is issuing a set of two commemorative postage stamps of Re. 1/- each denomination in August 14,1997.