Jinnah’s family barely survives in Quaid’s city – This is an old report and it will be great if some one can update the status?
The old man was running frantically towards a public bus, holding flowers in his one hand. He grabbed after some effort iron bar, jumped on footboard and finally landed in the bus. Exhausted and tired, he was looking disoriented; after a while he managed to breathe normally, since the bus was full of passengers, he kept standing. Every time it took any turn, he twisted with the bus.
I recognized him instantly: the old frail man was great grand son of Father of the Nation, Quaid-I-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Mohammad Aslam Jinnah. Aslam is struggling with life in a city where his great grand father was born and buried. He makes no complaint as he commutes back and forth in public transport. This city has more than 1.5 million vehicles; there is none for the poor relatives of Quaid-I-Azam, who bestowed this nation with every luxury one can imagine.
Aslam’s wife is suffering from cancer, she had surgery and she needs medicines worth many thousand every month. He is self- respecting man; he can never ask for any favour. Hence quietly he lives on the edge with his family in a two room rented flat in North Nazimabad. The only man who helped this family without asking was Mohammad Mian Soomro, the Senate Chairman. He arranged for the operation of Aslam’s wife. Mohammad Aslam is poor and broken relative of Jinnah Family. Some rich fellows refuse to acknowledge their existence and challenge their claim of Jinnah’s kin. This is wholly unfair and unjustified.
Mohammad Aslam never wants any share in the property left over by Quaid-I-Azam, he just wants to show to the world he is after material things, and he is content with life. His resources are terribly meager; his family hardly survives on what he earns. He supplies homemade paper bags to scores of shopkeepers in the old city area, where his great grand father was born. His wife is sick while daughter is mentally deranged; his sister Khurshid Begum lives in Golimar neighbourhood. She lost her only son, Sikandar Jinnah, after he was tortured to death in Soldier Bazaar police station. That death perhaps shook the whole city except Nawaz Sharif and his burly men. After almost a decade has passed, Khurshid Begum is still struggling to secure justice and bring those policemen to the books who allegedly murdered her son.
This is tragic and pathetic, every now and then, Jinnah’s family commutes to city court where they ponder on this case for hours, then another hearing is usually fixed. This happens almost in every hearing no judgement is expected in the near future. The family pays expenses for travel and stay at the court. They wait and wait and wait for the justice, which they hope to get in their lifetime.
The only favour, authorities have done to Aslam Jinnah is the provision of a car, which takes his family back and forth to Quaid’s mausoleum on the national days including 23rd March, 14th August, 25th December and 11th September. This is usually an uphill task for Aslam. He goes to protocol department of Sindh Government, books car for the day and comes back while on his way back he buys flowers to lay on Quaid’s mausoleum When I saw him last Wednesday, he was going back to his house after buying flowers. On national days, Aslam usually wears black sherwani; this has become old and wrinkled like his face. He never minds atrocities of life. ‘I accept this as my fate.
I have no regret. One thing is sure I will never ask for any favour from anybody.’ Aslam and his family members adorn front and back pages of national newspapers and news items on various TV channels. This is the only luxury this family enjoys, so far.
What can be done for Aslam and his sister Khurshid, who barely survive in this largely brutal and cruel Pakistan, where those who were deadly against the country minted money and got away with it. Even now the opponents of Pakistan Ideology thrives well while the Founder’s family suffers silently in agony and pain.
The Governor of Sindh, Dr Ishratul Ibad should find some time from his busy schedule to visit Jinnah’s family. He has done so much for the neglected poets, writers, journalists and artists. How could he ignore the family, which has done so much for this country. The plight of Aslam Jinnah and his sister Khurshid Begum deserve real attention by all. They should not be left to suffer, mainly because they are poor and helpless. If they will get any justice is anybody’s guess.
Aslam Jinnah ‘s destination had arrived; he stood on footboard for a while. He begged conductor to stop the bus at bus stop. He smiled, ‘don’t worry Chacha, it will stop.’ The driver merely slowed the bus, Aslam Jinnah quickly jumped. He staggered for a while but he did not let flowers to drop. Those flowers he laid on Quaid’s mausoleum on 23rd March 2006. Another national day passed by as Jinnah’s family suffers silently. This is their fate, perhaps.
From The Nation 25 March 2006