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Archive for category Our Heroes




Unsung Father of Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb


Dr.Pervez Hoodbhoy












Photo illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi

Photo illustration by Minhaj Ahmed Rafi



When Riazuddin—that was his full name—died in September


At age 82 in Islamabad, international science organizations extolled his contributions to high-energy physics. But in Pakistan, except for a few newspaper lines and a small reference held a month later at Quaid-e-Azam University, where he had taught for decades, his passing was little noticed. In fact, very few Pakistanis have heard of the self-effacing and modest scientist who drove the early design and development of Pakistan’s nuclear program.

Riazuddin never laid any claim to fathering the bomb—a job that requires the efforts of many—and after setting the nuclear ball rolling, he stepped aside. But without his theoretical work, Pakistan’s much celebrated bomb makers, who knew little of the sophisticated physics critically needed to understand a fission explosion, would have been shooting in the dark.

A bomb maker and peacenik, conformist and rebel, quiet but firm, religious yet liberal, Riazuddin was one of a kind. Mentored by Dr. Abdus Salam, his seminal role in designing the bomb is known to none except a select few.

Spurred By Salam

Born in 1930, Riazuddin and his twin brother, Fayyazuddin, were often mistaken for each other. Like other lower middle class Muslim children living in religiously divided Ludhiana, they attended the Islamia High School run by the Anjuman-i-Islamia philanthropy. The school had no notable alumni, and was similar to the town’s single public and two Hindu-run schools. Nothing suggested that these two boys squatting on floor mats, laboriously writing Urdu alphabets on wooden tablets, were to become anything special.

In March 1947, as the creation of Pakistan from India drew close, communal riots engulfed the Punjab. Neighbor turned against neighbor; the soil was drenched with blood as entire populations migrated from one side to the other. Riazuddin’s family entered Pakistan from the Wagah border in early October. The brothers enrolled at Lahore’s MAO College but soon moved to Government College, where they performed well but not spectacularly so. A teacher suggested that Riazuddin study physics rather than engineering. Riazuddin agreed, and Fayyazuddin followed.

This rather uninteresting situation changed dramatically in 1951 when Salam came to town. Then 25, Salam was a rising star in the world of high-brow physics having just solved an important problem in quantum field theory, a newly emerging subject that was beyond the comprehension of all but the top-ranking physicists of the time. For his research on “overlapping divergences,” Salam was awarded the Adams Prize and offered a professorship at Cambridge University. He declined the offer and signed up instead as a professor of mathematics at Government College.

In Lahore, one of Salam’s first initiatives was to introduce a course in quantum mechanics at Punjab University. Drawn by his reputation, students flocked to it; but only Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin could survive the tough mathematics involved. A disheartened Salam never taught the course again. But he had already identified the twins to be the best and brightest of those he encountered. Riazuddin was later invited to become his Ph.D. student at Cambridge. Helped by Salam, Fayyazuddin went to Imperial College London a couple of years later.

The rest is history. As a student at MIT in the 1970s, I would sometimes be asked by my professors if I knew Riazuddin, to which I replied yes with some pride. His Ph.D. thesis in 1958 on certain regularities underlying nuclear forces had been noticed as a piece of important work, but his subsequent works elevated him to the ranks of the world’s better known physicists. His 1968 book, Theory of Weak Interactions in Particle Physics, coauthored with C. P. Ryan and Robert E. Marshak, became a bible for physicists.

Another exceptionally important piece of work by Riazuddin was done together with Fayyazuddin, who became a prominent physicist in his own right. This work became widely known in physics literature as the Kawarabayashi-Suzuki-Riazuddin-Fayyazuddin Relation. The Pakistani and Japanese authors had done their respective work separately. Kawarabayashi and Suzuki acknowledged that they only became aware of Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin’s work after they had completed their own. The Relation has stood the test of experiment, but even today continues to tantalize physicists—because it works so much better than it really should.

Atomic Enterprise

The story of Pakistan’s bomb, at the least its early beginnings, is well known by now. In the aftermath of Pakistan’s humiliating defeat in December 1971, President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto convened a meeting in Multan on Jan. 20, 1972, to which the country’s preeminent scientists were invited. Bhutto exhorted them to make an atomic bomb, a desire he had first articulated in 1965. Now, it would be a means of avenging national humiliation. I. H. Usmani, then chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, opined that making the bomb was beyond Pakistan’s reach. Bhutto did not want to hear that. Usmani was unceremoniously replaced by Munir Ahmad Khan, an ambitious young engineer with more diplomatic and personal skills than engineering or scientific expertise.

Usmani’s apprehension was reasonable. In 1972, the atomic bomb appeared well out of Pakistan’s reach. Creating the weapons that laid Hiroshima and Nagasaki to waste had required enormous effort and resources. The Manhattan Project, with its secret beginning in 1939, eventually employed nearly 130,000 people and cost about $26 billion. Some of the finest minds in physics gave their undivided attention to splitting the atom and, in the process, generated new technologies and scientific ideas. Even if Pakistan could somehow marshal the physical resources, how on earth could it get the required intellectual resources?

Time was on Pakistan’s side. Every passing year was putting the bomb within the grasp of more and more nations. Once concealed under multiple layers of secrecy, the science behind the bomb slowly started to make its way out into the open in scientific literature. By the 1970s an enormous amount of such information was accessible; and physicists with sufficient breadth of understanding could do the jobWhen Pakistan exploded its bomb in 1998, Riazuddin was pleased but not joyous. Riazuddin, who was then Pakistan’s leading physicist, was abroad pursuing a scientific collaboration at the time of the Multan meeting. But his twin, Fayyazuddin, was present on the occasion. He shared with me his recollections of Multan: Bhutto’s call to action was not as emotive as were his public speeches. But, he recalled with some amusement, how the assembled scientists sought to outbid each other as though at an auction. Tumbling over one another, each rose to declare that he could make the bomb even faster than the last speaker. At that time none had any idea of what this work entailed. A professor of experimental physics at Government College, Rafi Chaudhry, emphatically claimed that only experimental physicists could make the bomb. To this, Salam—who was there at Bhutto’s special invitation—responded by saying that the nuclear programs of the U.S., Britain, India, and other countries had all been headed by theoretical physicists.

Soon thereafter, perhaps around September 1972, Salam summoned Riazuddin to his office at the International Center for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. He had decided that Riazuddin was to design the bomb and, immediately upon his return to Islamabad, must create a group of theoretical physicists who would explore various technical aspects: the conceptual design for a nuclear device, calculation of the critical size of the fissile core, working out of a triggering mechanism, and finding the explosive yield for a variety of theoretical designs. Salam had already discussed the matter with Munir Ahmad Khan, with whom he had a warm relationship. Riazuddin should be given this task, Salam said. Khan agreed; and Riazuddin dutifully complied.

Riazuddin set about his assigned task by scouring available literature. He first went through the declassified Manhattan Project report. His scientific visits to the U.S. became more frequent. In 1973, he patiently studied documents at the Library of Congress, and purchased photocopies of a substantial number of unclassified or declassified reports from the Technical Information Service in Virginia. Of particular value was a series of lectures, declassified in 1965, delivered by nuclear physicist Robert Serber. The primer, addressed to members of the Los Alamos Laboratory, proved immensely valuable. While it did not contain detailed, classified information, it laid out all the conceptual issues and turned out to be an excellent starting point for Pakistan’s novice bomb designers. The total cost was only a few hundred dollars.

Armed with his recent findings, Riazuddin returned to brainstorm in 1973 with his colleagues at Islamabad University (later renamed Quaid-e-Azam University). By this time I was a junior faculty member there. The rest of us were dimly aware that something big was going on. We knew that the university was being used as a front organization for buying banned equipment. But it took decades for the whole truth to emerge.

From Riazuddin’s group, even those physicists who were in the know slowly dropped out. Fayyazuddin was not interested but Masud Ahmad, who had just obtained his Ph.D. in physics under the twins, became the second member of Riazuddin’s team. He went on to head a much bigger group eventually and was decorated with the Hilal-e-Imtiaz after the 1998 nuclear tests. The third member was Tufail Naseem, who assisted in programming the huge IBM360 located in the mathematics building.

The calculations Riazuddin carried out were tedious and complex. The plutonium route had been closed for now and Munir Ahmad Khan had tasked him with the following problem: his bomb must use the absolute minimum amount of highly-enriched uranium, and certainly no more than 20 kilograms. As a particle physicist he had a reasonable understanding of nuclear physics, but knew no hydrodynamics or how matter behaved under extreme compression. This knowledge is crucial for designing an implosion bomb because the high explosive surrounding the bomb’s core creates a shockwave that makes jelly out of even the toughest metal. These unfamiliar things had to be learned from books and papers. Like any good theoretical physicist, Riazuddin refused to accept what the computer churned out until he could verify it by using some clever analytical techniques.

Kicking the Closet

Pakistan’s successful nuclear tests of May 1998 were the joint result of many who worked on its myriad aspects—mining, conversion of uranium to uranium hexafluoride gas, enrichment, metallization, explosives, device fabrication, testing equipment, etc. But everything really starts with the design, the very first step of any complex project.

Arguably, the Chinese bomb design that Pakistan received sometime in the 1980s—and which the Americans say had been passed on by Dr. A. Q. Khan to the Libyans and Iranians—made the work easier. I do not think the Americans are lying when they say they confiscated the detailed bomb drawings in 2004 together with other nuclear materials from the ship BBC Cargo. In fact, around 1994 or 1995, Munir Ahmad Khan whispered to me confidentially, while we sipped tea in his drawing room, that the Americans had angrily told him that Pakistan possessed detailed Chinese blueprints and drawings. But even these drawings would have been nearly useless without a sound understanding of the underlying theory. The Libyans, given the same drawings, could do nothing with them. Moreover, tuning weapons for different yields or exploring different warhead options without sound theoretical physics would have been impossible.

Pakistan erupted in mass jubilation on May 28, 1998—the day the bomb came out of the nuclear closet. Pakistani videos and TV programs of the time show Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif congratulating cheering citizens. The euphoric press compared this historic moment with the birth of Pakistan in 1947. Pakistan’s bomb makers became national heroes. School children were handed free badges with mushroom clouds, poetry competitions around the bomb were organized, and bomb and missile replicas were planted in cities up and down the land (most of these replicas were removed during the Musharraf years). The bomb had attained mythical status; it became an article of faith for the guarantee of national security into perpetuity.

Riazuddin was pleased but not joyous. He accepted quiet congratulations from his former colleagues, with whom he had ceased to have a working relationship many years ago, and he also accepted a high government award, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz. For Riazuddin, the bomb was a necessary evil, and a cause for worry. Pakistan and India were heading toward a debilitating and dangerous arms race. What could be done about it?

Some weeks after the 1998 tests, Riazuddin wrote to Sharif pleading that Pakistan should now sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty. The first would prohibit more test explosions, which in any case were not essential, while the second would limit the size of the nuclear arsenal and prevent a sharp upward spiral in warhead numbers, costs, and dangers. As quid pro quo, he said, Pakistan should insist on nuclear-power technology transfer from the West. He received no reply. Quite possibly Sharif did not know how much the bomb owed to Riazuddin.

Nuclear Burden

Riazuddin and Dr. Abdus Salam. Courtesy of FayyazuddinRiazuddin and Dr. Abdus Salam. Courtesy of Fayyazuddin

Many Pakistanis think that Salam was opposed to making the bomb. Some say he played no role in it. This is wrong—he did want Pakistan to have the bomb, but felt that he had more important things to do than work out its minute details. The job of theoretical physicists like Salam is to uncover nature’s secrets at the very deepest level; they think that applications of such discoveries, if any, matter less. Even if they had not developed the world’s first atomic bomb, Robert Oppenheimer, Edward Teller, Hans Bethe, and Enrico Fermi would still have been enshrined in the history of physics for discovering fundamental principles.

Information from multiple sources suggests to me that Salam did not do any bomb calculations himself. As a frontrunner in the world of physics, he was after bigger fish, not merely retracing the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors. And so he tasked his student, Riazuddin, with setting up a group of theoretical physicists. Although he lost power and influence in Pakistan after 1974, Salam continued to favor the bomb and to strongly push for its development. Those involved in bomb-design calculations were frequently invited to Trieste to use its ample library facilities. Earlier, Salam had advised the PAEC to purchase a plutonium reprocessing plant from France. That deal fell through after the Indian tests of 1974 and the growing suspicion that Pakistan would travel India’s route.

Riazuddin recalls that around December 1973 he had accompanied Salam and Munir Ahmad Khan to the Wah Explosive Factory and met its head, Lt. Gen. Qamar Ali Mirza. He saw TNT for the first time, and recognized from the Manhattan Project report that an explosive called Composition B was used. The Directorate of Technical Development group, created by Munir Ahmad Khan, and later headed by Riazuddin, carried out experimental work on the high explosives needed for triggering implosion, explosive lenses, fast detonators, as well as on the necessary neutronics and electronics.

Riazuddin was gentle and unassuming, the sort who couldn’t hurt a fly. So what made him go for designing nuclear weapons, each of which could easily snuff out a hundred thousand lives? Was he like Oppenheimer, who had felt uncomfortable after Hiroshima and subsequently refused to work on the bomb?

I do not think so. Apart from the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Riazuddin accepted various government awards given to him by the government for his “services to the nation,” a euphemism for his bomb work. His unpublished notes, which I have seen, also do not reveal regret; in fact, these exhibit some measure of satisfaction over having done the job right. His mentor and ideal, Salam, was a very different personality. Unlike Riazuddin, he was articulate, assertive, and fully capable of defending his turf. Two very different people agreed that the bomb must be built. Why?

One can only guess at the motivations: it is generally true that scientists who participate in defense-related work achieve positions of much greater importance and wield much clout. (Certainly, Oppenheimer and Teller were the most sought after scientists in their days. Salam also admired Homi Jehangir Bhabha, a fine physicist and fierce nationalist who was the force behind India’s nuclear program.) In those days one could be an Ahmadi and a Pakistani nationalist, and Salam was both. He bought into the idea of rapidly modernizing the nation under Gen. Ayub Khan, becoming the government’s science adviser. 

Riazuddin was accused of being an Ahmadi. Why else was he so close to Salam?

It is interesting to compare the attitudes of Pakistan’s various bomb makers. Dr. A. Q. Khan and Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, Pakistan’s much celebrated scientists, frequently articulate in public their strong, visceral anti-Hindu feelings. This can perhaps be understood from the gut-wrenching partition of India, when Hindus and Sikhs and Muslims mass-slaughtered each other. On the other hand, Salam and Riazuddin never exhibited such hatreds—even though Jhang, Salam’s birthplace, and Ludhiana, Riazuddin and Fayyazuddin’s birthplace, had seen some of the worst atrocities. Was their attitude different from that of other nuclear scientists because of their exposure to the wider world of science?

Salam coauthored works with several scientists who were Hindu. While in Italy, one of his most productive scientific collaborations was with Jogesh C. Pati of the University of Maryland, resulting in the famous Pati-Salam Model for proton decay. When Salam received the Nobel Prize for physics in 1979, India immediately conferred on him a national award. (I suspect few of Salam’s Indian colleagues knew of his nuclear past.) Pakistan’s then-president Gen. Zia-ul-Haq would grudgingly honor him a year later.

That Salam eventually distanced himself from Pakistan’s nuclear program is no mystery. He had no option. Parliament’s 1974 decision to declare Ahmadis heretics was a sharp turning point for him and his community. Every religious minority in Pakistan is hounded and harassed, but none is more relentlessly persecuted than the Ahmadis. In retrospect, they had erred fatally by raising the demand for Pakistan.

The older Salam was a different Salam. Although I had met him a few times beginning in 1971, it wasn’t until 1984 that we actually engaged. On the one hand, he had grown more attached to his faith, a fact that led to some tension in our conversations during my visits to Trieste; on the other, he became more inclined toward advocating world peace, disarmament, and turning “swords into ploughshares.” By the late 1980s, I think he would have preferred to forget his initial contributions to the bomb.

Riazuddin was not an Ahmadi, but was accused of being one—a well-tested and easy way for jealous detractors to defame and endanger a rival. Why else, they argued, was he so close to Salam? Riazuddin shrugged off the allegation. But his world, like Salam’s, had also opened wide through international travels. Riazuddin’s scientific collaborators were many—American, British, Italian, and Indian. This stands in sharp contrast with A. Q. Khan and Mubarakmand, neither of whom had Indian collaborators. Their work, although also essential for bomb making, was entirely concentrated on the engineering and managerial aspects.

Quiet Rebel

By nature a conformist rather than a dissident, Riazuddin was a religious man who said his prayers five times a day. His instincts were to agree and obey rather than argue. But he was also a technology enthusiast. His expectation, which seemed a tad unrealistic to me, was that the advanced technology demanded by the bomb would automatically usher in a new technological age for Pakistan and strongly boost local research and development. To his chagrin, nothing of the sort happened. Instead, even components that could be made locally were imported and reverse engineering was rewarded. Worse, undocumented financial transactions led to massive corruption within the nuclear establishment. His bomb-related budget in the 1970s had been just a few thousand dollars, of which he had to give complete accounts to the PAEC. But later, undocumented millions would be spent without a trace.

Clashes with the establishment became frequent after Riazuddin became director of the National Center for Physics at Quaid-e-Azam University. He sought to make the center a nucleus for Pakistani and international scientists. It would, he hoped, provide intellectual leadership, have an open atmosphere, and would be closely modeled along the lines of Salam’s center in Trieste. But, with real controls resting elsewhere, the center eventually became a mere appendage of the national-security establishment, staffed by retired colonels and brigadiers, and forced to bow to their pressures. Not unexpectedly, its role in nurturing physics has been minimal.

Crisis followed crisis. One of particular seriousness involved me as well. In 2006, for unclear reasons, Riazuddin’s bosses took fancy to a particular kind of machine known as a Van de Graaf accelerator or Pelletron. This had been used in the early days of nuclear research and, although it had doubtful research utility, came with a hefty price tag of over Rs. 400 million. They decided to extract this sum from the Higher Education Commission, which was then flush. Upon reading in the newspapers that this albatross was purchased in the name of my department, I immediately protested with HEC’s top management, who defended the plan and told me that Riazuddin had signed off on the proposal. Horrified, I called Riazuddin. He admitted that he had succumbed to pressure “from above.”

But to his credit Riazuddin decided then to stand up and fight to prevent the import of a useless piece of costly junk. The peeved czars of the nuclear establishment brought in their troops—nearly 150 technical personnel from the PAEC, Kahuta Research Laboratory, and the National Engineering and Scientific Commission filled the auditorium of the physics department of Quaid-e-Azam University in 2007. None among them knew anything about the scientific purposes of the Pelletron, nor cared. They came solely with instructions to abuse and insult Riazuddin and myself, often using crude language. The short of it: the Pelletron was imported and installed. It stands at the center as a monument to shortsightedness and willful wastage, with no significant scientific output. A second one, installed at Government College, Lahore, saw a similar fate. Riazuddin paid the price for his dissidence: he lost his job.

A quintessential scientist who patiently worked on his calculations until almost the very end, Riazuddin published his last physics research paper in 2013—a remarkable feat for an 82-year-old. For one who had helped set Pakistan on its nuclear path, the farewell Riazuddin got from a bomb-loving nation was surprisingly low key. The country’s powerful nuclear and security establishment was clearly not willing to celebrate a man who had rebelled against it.

Pakistan Think Tank Article Selection Editor:Khaled Nizami

Note: This article was written in 2013 by Dr. Hoodbhoy is the Zohra and Z. Z. Ahmed distinguished professor of physics and mathematics at Forman Christian College University, Lahore. From Dec. 7, 2013, issue.

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A Man of Respect:A Nation in Reverence Called him “Sahib”: Edhi Sahib












Edhi Foundation runs the world’s largest ambulance service and operates free nursing homes, orphanages, clinics, women’s shelters, and rehab centers for drug addicts and mentally ill individuals.Edhi is a social activist and spending all his life to helping other people.

Since 1997, organization has held the Guinness record for world largest volunteer ambulance organization.

Honors and awards for Abdul Sattar Edhi:

International awards:

  • Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service (1986)
  • Lenin Peace Prize (1988)
  • Paul Harris Fellow from Rotatory International Foundation, (1993)
  • Peace Prize from (USSR former) for services in the Armenian earthquake disaster, (1998)
  • Largest Voluntary Ambulance Organization of the World – Guinness Book of World Records (2000)
  • Hamdan Award for volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services (2000) UAE
  • International Balzan Prize (2000) for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood, Italy
  • Peace and Harmony Award (Delhi), 2001
  • Peace Award (Mumbai), 2004
  • Peace Award (Hyderabad Deccan), 2005
  • Wolf of Bhogio Peace Award (Italy), 2005
  • Gandhi Peace Award (Delhi),2007
  • UNESCO Madan jeet sing Peace Award (Paris),2007
  • Peace Award Seoul (South Korea), 2008
  • Honorary Doctorate degree from the Institute of Business Administration Karachi (2006).
  • UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize (2009)
  • Peace Award (London), 2011

National awards

  • Silver Jubilee Shield by College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan
  • The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sind, Pakistan, (1989)
  • Nishan-e-Imtiaz, civil decoration from Government of Pakistan (1989)
  • Recognition of meritorious services to oppressed humanity during eighties by Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Government of Pakistan, (1989)
  • Pakistan Civic Award from the Pakistan Civic Society (1992)
  • Shield of Honor by Pakistan Army (E & C)
  • Khidmat Award by Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society

Source: (Wikipedia ,Edhi.org)



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Despite US concerns, Pakistan Announced to test Fire its first ICBM in 2014

Despite US concerns, Pakistan Announced to test Fire its first ICBM 2014





The Pakistani military has declared that the country is ready to test-fire its first indigenously developed ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic missile) named “Taimur” despite the Heavy concerns of the United States, Europen Union & the country’s Arch-rival India. The Pakistan’s Powerful Military has issued the statement at a time Whitehouse is doing its level best to persuade the country to confine its Nuclear and Missile Program. According to the Statement released by a senior official from the Pakistan’s Military public relation wing, The ICBM will be able to cover a range of up to 7,500 km which will make the Islamabad capable of hitting its opponents anywhere in the Entire Asia, Europe and some Part of Africa, Australia and the USA.

Senior Defense Experts believe, That the test will send a strong message to the united states as they are cooperating with the country’s arch-rival India in the fields of defense and Technology which is Boosting the professional capabilities of the Indian Armed forces, what Pakistan consider a potential threat to its security & sovereignty. The Missile test will also influence the Pakistan’s campaign of avoiding India get the Permanent seat in the UNSC.

The Pakistan’s First ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) “Taimur” missile, is reportedly 19-meter tall, weighing 46 tonnes and it can hold nuclear warheads with up to 2.1 tonnes.
Last year, Pakistan had successfully tested fired A nuclear Ballistic missile Shaheen-3 which has the capability to strike Anywhere in India & in the whole middle east including Israel.

Although, The Pakistani Govt had denied the Arms race or Arms competition with Economically strong India, But the recent missile and armed drones tests from the Pakistani Army shows the country is not ready to accept India as a regional military power.

Most Recently, A survey released by New york times shows, Pakistan as the largest producer of Nuclear weapons, Missiles & other latest automatic weapons, The survey also claimed that the country may become the third largest nuclear power by 2025.

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Tribute to Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed by Agha Iqrar Haroon





Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed

Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed:Recipient Nishan-i-Haider




I remember it was winter of 1973 when five more names and photos were added in our Urdu reading book. These photos were of great men who gave their lives to save our motherland.
Their photos were added along with their biography and tales of their gallantry and courage. One of these names was Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed from 20 Lancers (Armoured Corps), Pakistan Army. Other names were Rashid Minhas Shaheed (Fighter Conversion Unit, Pakistan Air Force Pilot Officer), Shabbir Sharif Shaheed (6 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army), Muhammad Akram Shaheed (4 Frontier Force Regiment, Pakistan Army and Muhammad Mahfuz Shaheed (15 Punjab Regiment, Pakistan Army).
I remember that my teacher Madam Nargis could not stop her tears while reading one para from the story of Sawar Muhammad. These tears were actually tributes to Sawar Shaheed who gave his life to protect his motherland. Our teacher told us that she felt a great honour of being a daughter of such a nation who had sons like Sawar Shaheed. I remember almost every student in my class had tears when she was narrating the story of Sawar Muhammad and other brave men of our Army.
Since my childhood, I visited the grave of Sawar Muhammad in Dhok Sawar Muhammad Hussain near Mandra twice. My generation had its childhood before the radical Islam gripped my country therefore visiting graves of relatives and national heroes was a part of routine of once life. Since my young age, I had been visiting graves of Shabbir Sharif Shaheed and Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed. Grave of Shabbir Sharif Shaheed was on my way to my college (Miani Sahib graveyard) and visiting Raja Aziz Bhatti grave was a part of routine of Defence day celebrations though his grave was located out of main city of Lahore. My elder brother used to take children of family to Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed grave almost every year.

Tribute to Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed
Grave of Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua Shaheed

Sawar Muhammad Hussain Janjua was born on 18 June 1949 in Dhok Pir Bakhsh (now Dhok Muhammad Hussain Janjua) near Jatli in Gujar Khan Punjab. He joined Pakistan Army as a driver on 3 September 1966 when he was just 17 years old. He was in the 20th Lancers Armoured regiment of Pakistan Army.
According to information, his regiment was engaged to repulse Indian attack at Zafarwal Shakarghar and Sawar Shaheed kept delivering ammunition to the frontline soldiers on December 5, 1971 under intense shelling and direct fire from enemy tanks and infantry. He kept providing ammunition to his company for next 5 days while forgetting risk and fires around him. According to other soldiers, he spotted on December 10 that the Indians were digging a minefield near the village of Harar Khurd Punjab along the minefield laid out by Pakistan Army. He immediately informed the second- in-command of his unit but did not wait for soldiers to reach the spot and he directed accurate fire at the enemy resulting in the destruction of sixteen enemy tanks and he was hit in the chest by a burst of machine-gun fire and embraced Shahadat at the age of 22.
Sawar Muhammad Hussain had the distinction of being the first Jawan (a rank of foot soldier in Pakistan Army) to be awarded the highest award Nishan-e-Haider for his gallantry. Sarwar Shaheed College in Gujar Khan is named after Muhammad Sarwar. It was founded as a school and later upgraded to college. It is located on Lahore-Rawalpindi GT Road (N-5) and approach is through this road only.

Nishan-e-Haider or Nishan-e-Hyder was established in 1957 after Pakistan became a Republic, however, it was instituted retrospectively from Independence in 1947. It is awarded to military personnel, regardless of rank, for extraordinary bravery in combat. The award is considered to be the highest military award and has only been awarded to those who have sacrificed their life for the country.

Being a teacher and journalist, I always share my views with my readers and students about War and Peace. Peace is the best option because war brings only destruction and death. However, if a war is imposed on a nation— then it must stand united and remember only one thing—Protection of the Motherland if we do not wish to be “Nameless Nation” in the pages of history.
Written by Agha Iqrar Haroon



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Elections must be declared null and void for Pakistan to come on track.


Elections must be declared null and void for Pakistan to come on track.

,  a veteran columnist in Pakistan and editor of Blue Chip magazine.





















Those who say that the protestors are derailing democracy are too ignorant to understand that Pakistan has never had democracy, only a charade of it. 

Article 218(3) of the Constitution of the (not so) ‘Islamic’ Republic of Pakistan states: “It shall be the duty of the Election Commission to organise and conduct the election and to make such arrangements as are necessary to ensure that the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against”.

The Election Commission’s overdue post-election report is damning. This is the evidence you need to know that the May 11, 2013 general elections were rigged, not least because they met none of these constitutional criteria of honesty, justice, fairness and lawfulness. Now we have found the fire behind the smoke. This report is the proverbial smoking gun’ we were looking for.

‘His Highness’ Nawaz Sharif, as the UN mistakenly called him, unwittingly but correctly reflects the man’s mindset. Now ‘His Highness’ – ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ – doesn’t have a toe to stand on, leave alone a leg. His legal and moral authority stands completely eroded, yet he hangs in there like a dictator whose legitimacy hangs by the flimsy thread of a Supreme Court judgment well after his ‘sell-by’ date. Like a dictator, he fears that if he resigns the demons will come visiting and he will have to undergo ruthless accountability. Not good for government in the short-term but very good for our political evolution in the medium-term as people keep learning the hard way and hopefully don’t make such mistakes again of following poor leaderships. The longer it takes the messier will Nawaz Sharif’s exit be.

How can the products of illegal elections – national and provincial assemblies, federal and provincial governments – continue to persist when they were illegally elected? The ECP’s report is a review of the opinions about the elections of the ECP staff and foreign observers comprising the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES). One “stakeholder” told a newspaper: “the final report, prepared by the European Union’s Election Observation Mission and the Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) – a coalition of over 30 NGOs working to observe the general elections – is a far more systematic and methodologically sound document in terms of analysis of the entire electoral process. However, this does not mean that the post-election report is a flawed document. In fact, it contains several instances, albeit anecdotal, of irregularities committed during the elections. But many of these are attributable to incompetence or lack of training rather than any organised conspiracy to rig the elections.”

Had Nawaz Sharif agreed to audit votes in four constituencies that Imran Khan initially demanded, this gridlock could well have been avoided. Imran went to every judicial forum available and was spurned

So there you have it, the smoking gun. Any degree of “incompetence or lack of training” forsooth, it was the ECP’s constitutional duty to overcome these eminently solvable problems and ensure that “the election is conducted honestly, justly, fairly and in accordance with law, and that corrupt practices are guarded against.” It failed signally. Why it did and how and what was the quantum of rigging and what the degree of lack of training and incompetence and who did it can be investigated and corrected later, but the May 11, 2013 elections should be declared null and void, electoral reforms conducted and elections held again after a population census five years overdue. Without a census and the updating of electoral rolls, the delimitation of constituencies and, if necessary, an increase in the number of seats in the national and provincial assemblies any new elections will also remain wanting. After Nawaz has gone, today’s slogan “Go Nawaz Go” should become “Accountability Before Elections, Reforms Before Elections” – ‘Pehlay ethisab, phir intikhab’ and ‘Pehlay Islahat, phir intikhab’. That has to be the logical conclusion. The fact is that Pakistan is further away from democracy than it ever has been. “Go Nawaz Go” conversely means “Come Democracy Come” for the first time ever.

Add this ECP admission to the government’s admission in the national assembly by its interior minister’s officially un-contradicted statement that 60-70,000 votes cannot be verified in any constituency and it is double certainty that elections were hugely rigged. Now you have a double-barrelled smoking gun. What more do you need? What are you waiting for? Some judicial commission to ‘prove’ that the ballot was rigged? What price a judicial commission when the then chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry with some retired judges and the judiciary’s returning officers in each constituency are accused of allegedly rigging elections? This is the chance for the Supreme Court to redeem its honour by taking suo motu notice of the ECP report and order the dissolution of the national and provincial assembles forthwith, fresh elections under a caretaker government and a reconstituted ECP comprising acceptable people who first and foremost are “sagacious, righteous, non-profligate, honest and ameen [trustworthy]…” before they can determine whether any electoral candidate meets these criteria as required by Articles 62 and 63 of the Constitution. All that is needed are “a few good men” and we can bring a 180-degree turn in Pakistan’s direction from the nadir to the zenith. Don’t tell me that Pakistan is bereft a few good men? There are ample, but our anti-democracy political system doesn’t let them emerge. To come to the surface they must have oodles of illegal wealth, lack of morality, be liars and have the ability to rig elections.

If the Supreme Court fails to discharge this duty, we will have bloody anarchy because the army quite correctly seems to be in no mood to intervene. Let the politicians and judiciary sort out their mess. However, if it comes to saving the state it will act for that is what it is sworn to do. The judges will then be racing to take oath under another provisional constitutional order and everyone will be casting their nets wide to find some connection to General Raheel Sharif – “his wife’s cousin was in school with my wife’s sister” and crap like that, looking to cultivate his friends and underlings. Don’t bleat then that you didn’t bring it upon itself.

Nawaz Sharif was party to the rigging because he was petrified of Imran Khan even before the elections. Once other parties saw what was happening, they too rigged the polls in their turfs. They overdid it. The die was cast. Not just Imran Khan rebelled, but every other party including Nawaz’s PML-N complained about wholesale rigging.

Had Nawaz Sharif agreed to audit votes in four constituencies that Imran Khan initially demanded, this gridlock could well have been avoided. Imran went to every judicial forum available and was spurned. Finally he decided to lead a march to Islamabad and start adharna in what the government has questionably designated the ‘Red Zone’ opposite state buildings until Nawaz Sharif’s resignation as prime minister. Ditto Dr Tahirul Qadri.

Qadri’s imminent return to do exactly what Imran was threatening and on the same dates made Gang Sharif even more fearful and witless. Morbid fear made them irrational. What followed made things worse: the Lahore massacre, hijacking of Qadri’s plane, blocking roads in Lahore, Islamabad and on the Grand Trunk Road, attacking Imran’s procession in Gujranwala, but the two marches got to Islamabad anyway, demonstrating the will of the people. When the people rise like a tidal wave there is no power on earth that can stop them. If the Grand Trunk Road could speak what tales it would have to tell, starting from the incredible Sher Shah Suri who built it, the first motorway in the world from Khyber to Calcutta, the greatest ruler our subcontinent has ever had. He also laid the foundation of the postal and revenue services and the mapping of India and gave land titles and for which the Mughals are wrongly credit by amateur historians. The Mughals only built upon these reforms as later the British did. What the Mughals were good at was pomp and panoply, building mosques, mausoleums and gardens, beautiful no doubt but they did precious little for the people. For those of you who imagine that the majority of the people of this subcontinent have ever known a decent living, the news is that they never have. Hopefully it will start now, but at the rate that we multiply like rabbits procreating ourselves to death, don’t get too excited.

Imran’s Plan-B has started unfolding. Qadri’s will soon. Imran is holding massive rallies in every major city and returning to Islamabad. They have shaken the government to its core

Good Lord. Where did I start and where have I gone? The dharnas have been going on since August 13. That’s a long time for anyone to still believe that this is not serious, that people have been misled and paid to come or there are ‘hidden hands’ behind them under the usual ‘London Plan’. Why give so much importance to a meeting? Would you call it the ‘London Plan’ when the name ‘Pakistan’ was announced in London’s Waldorf Hotel last century, and the five people involved conspirators? Denial only harms you, not the one you are denying. As Jesus said: “God, forgive them for they know not what they do” – or words to that effect.

Imran’s Plan-B has started unfolding. Qadri’s will soon. Imran is holding massive rallies in every major city and returning to Islamabad. They have shaken the government to its core. Some energy. I always wonder: Imran is only a couple of years younger than me, how does he do it? It is energy born of commitment, strong faith, incredible determination, un-purchaseability, courage, and above all belief that he is a man of destiny. Such people are not easily beaten, something that a businessman like Nawaz Sharif cannot understand because he believes that everyone and everything has a price tag. Thus he is facing Imran’s bouncers whistling past his nose at 90 mph. For how long can he duck and weave?

Nawaz may hang in there for a time, the protestors may go home but the movement will continue and reach its logical conclusion. The only way he can get out in one piece is by resigning or joining Imran Khan’s party, which would be quite a sight. The King leading the revolution against himself, what? Impossible, given the huge egos involved.

Ah, democracy. Those who say that the protestors are derailing democracy are too ignorant to understand that Pakistan has never had democracy, only a charade of it. The people’s success will usher democracy for the first time in this benighted country. Revolution, a much-abused word because it is least understood, has actually started. When you have the rich demonstrating for the rights of the poor, that is a mental revolution of an awesome kind. Democracy and revolution are work in progress, work that never stops, always evolves.



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