Shah questions PML-N’s hue and cry over NAB action in Punjab

  • Hameed Nizami paid glowing tribute on 54th death anniversary
  • Speakers call Nawa-i-Waqt founder ‘the epitome of journalism’, highlight his services to nation

Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khursheed Shah said on Thursday that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had not raised clamor when the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was targeting politicians in Sindh, but the ruling party had gone berserk when the accountability watchdog set its eyes on corruption cases in Punjab.

“Perhaps NAB has forgotten that Punjab is a ‘sacred crow’ as compared to smaller provinces,” Shah said sarcastically in his presidential address during a ceremony held at Aiwan-e-Iqbal to pay tribute to prominent Pakistan Movement worker and daily Nawa-i-Waqt founder Hameed Nizami on his 54th death anniversary.

Shah recalled that one Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) prime minister had been executed while another premier from the party had been disqualified by the Supreme Court, but it still it did not make a deal out of it.

The opposition leader claimed that the state institutions had been weakened, while the victory of over 50 per cent independent candidates in the local government (LG) elections showed a tremendous decline in popularity of the leading political parties. He was of the view that a stronger opposition was necessary for a stronger democracy, and the worst democracy was better than the best dictatorship.

About Punjab’s Orange Line Train project, the opposition leader said he had no reservations over the project, but added that if these funds been allocated to education and health sectors, many under-privileged areas would have been in a better condition today.

Paying tribute to Hameed Nizami, Shah said that there was a considerable difference in the journalism of Hameed Nizami and the journalism of present time.

“Hameed Nizami’s journalism paved the way for the creation of Pakistan, while the media of today is mostly involved in non-issues,” he added. He criticised the media, saying, “Our media gave several days to dissect the statement of Pakistan People’s Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, but forgot the real issues completely.”

Highlighting the services of the veteran journalist, senior journalist Salman Ghani said, “Hameed Nizami, the epitome of journalism, fought at two fronts: firstly, in the Pakistan Movement by setting an example for the students after he had been elected the first general secretary of Punjab’s Muslim Students’ Federation (MSF), and secondly by launching his prestigious newspaper which played a vital role in the creation of Pakistan.”

Ghani said in his opinion Hameed Nizami had been exhorted to play a pivotal role in the making of Pakistan by Allama Iqbal himself when the former met him in Lahore. Ghani also recalled that Nizami had never compromised on his journalistic ethics, recalling that “it was he who had refused to budge before dictator Ayub Khan by plainly telling him that he (Ayb) could put a ban on his newspaper, but couldn’t stop him from playing a proactive role for the revival of democracy”.

Paying homage to the Nawa-i-Waqt founder, daily Jurrat Editor Jamil Athar said that after the creation of Pakistan, Hameed Nizami was the first person who gathered the courage to criticise the rulers (of that time) because of their policies. He said Pakistan should be proud of having a journalist of the stature of Hameed Nizami, adding that the respect of the office of editor had been further elevated by him.

Athar further said that Nizami had been a true role model for today’s journalists since he had always spoken the truth through his articles and “encouraged others to follow the suit come what may”.

Expressing similar views, columnist and analyst Orya Maqbool Jan said that the media of today had become hostage to the corporate culture and the leading businessmen had overtaken the industry. He said Hameed Nizami did real journalism, as he himself was the owner and worker of his newspaper.

In his address, veteran journalist Sajjad Mir said that it was Hameed Nizami who had laid the foundation of the real opposition in the country. He also called upon the students and researchers to peruse the editorials of Hameed Nizami, saying these write-ups were a vital part of “our history”.

Enumerating journalistic works of the Pakistan Movement worker, Punjab government’s spokesperson Zaeem Hussain Qadri said that Hameed Nizami had not launched Nawa-i-Waqt for business purposes but he actually laid its foundation on the basis of an ideology (for a separate homeland for the Muslims).

He said that the creation of Pakistan might have been delayed in the absence of Nawa-i-Waqt as this newspaper had diligently played its role in the formation of Pakistan. He also praised Arif Nizami, the son of late Hameed Nizami, saying he was aptly pursuing the mission of his father and was being considered as the sanest voice in media today.

Speaking at the event, Aiwan-e-Iqbal Chairman and Pakistan Today Editor Arif Nizami recalled an incident from 1966 when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had to preside over the death anniversary of Hameed Nizami at the YMCA building in Lahore.

“Bhutto had tendered his resignation as the foreign minister in the aftermath of the Tashkent Declaration and when he showed up, the Mall Road got flooded with people who wanted to have a glimpse of him. A ladder was managed to bring him out of the crowd at the time,” he added. Nizami also thanked Khurshid Shah for gracing the ceremony and lauded his services as the opposition leader.