‘Rohingyas and Pakistan’
THIS is with reference to Sandipan Khan’s letter (Aug 24) in response to my earlier letter on ‘Rohingyas and Pakistan’. He has made it appear that Afghan refugees came to Pakistan following the invastion of the USSR in Afghanistan in 1979 only due to Gen Zia’s policy.
He must be reminded that apart from the 4.5 million Afghans who sought refuge here, some three million had also gone to Iran.
Many went to India and elsewhere. Was that anyone’s policy?
He ought to have realised that nobody could have stopped the refugees from going wherever they hoped to find safety. A big
factor was the presence of their Pakhtun relatives in Pakistan.
Additionally, Mr Khan seems completely unaware of the fact that it is the nearly three million Bengali Muslims from Bangladesh that I had referred to who have come here as economic migrants and not Urdu-speaking Biharis.
Mr Khan also made it appear that it was Gandhi who had persuaded the Indian Muslims to initiate the Khilafat Movement in support of the Turkey-based Islamic Caliphate.
One of the founding fathers of Pakistan, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, has noted in his book, ‘The Emergency of Pakistan’: “It was the dynamic leadership of the Ali brothers — Maulana Muhammad and Shaukat Ali — Abul Kalam Azad and other religious leaders which stirred the deep disquiet of the Muslim masses (about the threat to the caliphate) into the white-hot glow of intense emotion. That more than 18,000 Muslims left hearth and home and migrated to Afghanistan in religious protest against the British policy towards the caliphate indicates the temper of the time.”
Gandhi only came into the picture much later and did cleverly manage to use this outrage to combine with the Hindu community’s desire for freedom to create a joint demand of self-rule for Indians from British colonialists. But it ended just after a couple of years in 1922 — without accomplishing its aim.