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 Roots of Pakistan’s pro Iran Lobby

By Dr Shahid Qureshi  –:

Iran was the first country that recognized Pakistan in the United Nations and sadly Afghanistan was the only country that opposed. All the three countries are linked with each other for centuries in various ways. (Iran) Persia has its own romantic history and culture that influenced Indian sub-continent and that continued after 1947.

Pakistanis always see them as their brothers and friends but how the Iranian see Pakistan is an important question. Pak Embassy in Tehran attacked reported SANA on 19th February, 2009. “Protesting against Shia-Sunni clashes of Parachinar, more that hundred Iranian attacked on Pakistan Embassy. They held placards saying “Death to Wahabies”, “Death to Taliban”, “Death to Yazidyaat”, “Death to America” “Death to American allies”, etc. They, in no time started raising slogans and said all what was written on the banners. Later, the demonstrators started throwing stones on the Embassy building. All the front windows were broken by the demonstrators in the meanwhile a protester with the help of his two friends climbed at the main door of the Embassy and removed the Pakistani Flag. The flag was torn into pieces and was also burnt later on.

It is pertinent to mention here that all this happened in the presence of the Iranian Diplomatic and the regular police. The demonstrators threatened the Embassy officials and shouted at them saying just come out and to see what would be done to them. The most surprising of all is that there was no condemnation of the event nor condemnation of burning Pakistani flag was seen in any Iranian news paper. Iranian media also did not even bother to acknowledge the sad event.”

It is really painful to see Pakistani embassy attacked by a mob in Tehran and Pakistani flag disrespected, but it is even more painful when Pakistanis find Iran’s advocates in Pakistan and that is the free range Iranian lobby cultivated over the years in Pakistan.

It is seems a complete espionage story the ‘honey trapping’ of Colonel Iskander Mirza by Nahid Afghamy wife of Colonel Afghamy military attaché at Iranian Embassy in Pakistan. Iskander Mirza was great grandson of traitor Mir Jafar of Bengal who betrayed in the Battle of Plassey and laid foundations of 250 years of British Rule in India.

President Skindar Mirza with his wife and first lady of Pakistan Nahid Afghamy (former wife of Iranian Military Attache to Pakistan Col. Afgahmy)
President Skindar Mirza with his wife and first lady of Pakistan Nahid Afghamy (former wife of Iranian Military Attache to Pakistan Col. Afgahmy)

“Not much is known about Nahid’s background except that she was the wife of one Lieutenant Colonel Afghamy – the Military Attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Pakistan. Also not known are the time and the circumstances under which Colonel Iskander Mirza and Nahid Afghamy had first met. It is a matter of conjecture that perhaps as Military Attaché Colonel Afghamy had frequent dealings with the Pakistan Ministry of Defence and also with Secretary Iskander Mirza”.

On March 6th Iskander Mirza was elected as President and the constitution was promulgated on March 23, 1956. Three days later on March 26, 1956 with Nahid on his side Iskander Mirza took the oath as President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan… Thus in a passage of two years, mostly through palace intrigues and backroom dealings, an ex-soldier and a career bureaucrat rose from the level of a department head to the position of the Head of the State. And the Iranian born Nahid Afghamy, the wife of a Military Attaché lifted by a government Secretary of the host country, became the First Lady of Pakistan. For the next two and half years Nahid Mirza as wife of the President will play significant role in the national and international affairs of Pakistan.

Mir Jafar and his son Miran delivering the Treaty of 1757 to William Watts
Mir Jafar and his son Miran delivering the Treaty of 1757 to William Watts

The Mirza family was an extremely influential and wealthy feudal family in Bengal, with close ties with British monarchy. His father, Fateh Ali Mirza belong to the ruling house of Murshidabad, grandson of the first Nawab Mansur Ali Khan. His paternal ancestor was Mir Jafar, generally known to Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis as a quisling. Mir Jafar had played an integral role bringing down Siraj ud-Daulah of Bengal, with the British East India Company serving as the informant and leading provider of intelligence to company official Robert Clive.

To further add insult to injury his son was not too bad. In the month of October 1954 brings some more dramatic developments for Iskander Mirza. His son Humayun is in the USA getting ready to marry the daughter of Horace A. Hildreth, American Ambassador to Pakistan.

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President of Pakistan Skinder Mirza prostrating near the mazaar of Hazrat Imam Hussain | by Doc Kazi
President of Pakistan Skinder Mirza prostrating near the mazaar of Hazrat Imam Hussain | by Doc Kazi

According to Pakistani historians “Iskander Mirza lived in exile in London, England, until his death. It is reported that Mirza struggled financially while living in London trying to run a small Pakistan cuisine hotel.Here he lived in poverty until his death. His only regular income was an annual pension of £3,000 as a former military officer and president. People like the Ispahanis, Ardeshir Zahedi, the ambassador and later Foreign Minister of Iran, the Shah of Iran, Lord Inchcape, Lord Hume and other heads of European governments made his life in exile tolerable. At the London hospital where he died, he once said to his wife, Nahid: “We cannot afford medical treatment, so just let me die.

He died of a heart attack on November 13, 1969. President Yahya Khan denied him a burial in Pakistan. The Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi sent his personal plane to London to bring President Mirza’s body to Tehran, where he was given a state funeral. Hundreds of Iranians, including Prime Minister Abbas Hoveyda, and Pakistani expatriates in Iran bade farewell and offered their prayers.”

Young couple: Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his 2nd wife Nusrat Bhutto

The influence of Iranian (Shia) women on Pakistani politics did not stop as few years earlier another Iranian born Nusrat Isphani (Bhutto) become 2nd wife of Zulifqar Ali Bhutto who become President and Prime Minister of Pakistan and later his daughter Benazir and her husband Asif Ali Zardari until 2015.

“The late Begum Nusrat Bhutto, hailing from Iran’s wealthy Ispahani family, was one of the two Iranian-born first ladies that Pakistan has had since 1947. The first one, of course, was Begum Nahid Mirza, the second wife of Pakistan’s first President and fourth Governor General, Iskander Mirza. Both Iranian-born first ladies of Pakistan were of Kurdish descent and became the second wives of their husbands, who had then gone on to become the country’s Presidents. Nusrat Bhutto was a cousin of Nahid Mirza. Although Nusrat was 15 years younger to Nahid, she got married a few years earlier than her elder relative in September 1951”.

Farahnaz Ispahani with her Husband Mr. Husain Haqqani
Farahnaz Ispahani with her Husband Mr. Husain Haqqani

Well that series continued with Farahnaz Ispahani wife of Hussain Haqqani ‘memo gate’ character and former Pakistani ambassador to USA who reportedly issued thousands of visas to Blackwater and Xe Inc mercenaries and earning from Pakistan bashing in India. Surely those who (Zardari) installed him and kept his wife (Farah Isphani (MNA) Member National Assembly) in the President House for five years are equally responsible?

“The use minorities including of Shias as collaborators is nothing new in the colonial history. Both Mir Sadaiq who betrayed Tipu Sultan and Mir Jafar, who betrayed Nawab Sirajudullah in the Battle of Plassy in Bengal, supported and collaborated with British invaders were Shias. Fall of Bengal was the key to the 250 years British rule in India?

Historically, “Vengeful Shiites volunteered help to the Mongols in Mosul and other places along their march. The caliph’s vizier, or chief minister, was himself a Shiite of uncertain loyalty. Islamic opinion afterward held that the vizier, al-Alkamzi, vilely betrayed the caliph and conspired with the Mongols; an exhortation in Muslim school books used to say, “Let him be cursed of God who curses not al-Alkamzi.” As fighting began, Hulagu (Khan), acknowledging the importance of Shiite support, prudently posted guard detachments of a hundred Mongol horsemen at the most sacred Shiite shrines in Najef and Karbala” wrote Ian Frazier on 25th April, 2005 in The New Yorker.

The News reported on 28th July 2008, that, “The Hazaras in Quetta have been targeted repeatedly in the past. They suffered casualties which have been sectarian and ethnic biased”. It is reported that the Americans are using Shia Hazars as interpreters in Afghanistan against Taliban and that could have led to attacks on them?”

To counter the sectarian plan against Pakistan is (a) it is time to eliminate all abusive materials books, (b) all audio and video material against the holy personalities of Islam must be removed and banned (c) hate speech must be declared criminal offence (d) Government must introduce the ‘spouse policy’ for example in Kazakhstan foreign ministry officials are not allowed to marry a foreign nationals due to national security. (e) Pakistan must reduce the number of officials coming into Pakistan from neighbouring countries to same as Pakistanis are stationed in those countries (f) diplomatic protocols must be adhered too and diplomats must not be allowed to move around freely unless they reciprocate the same liberty to Pakistani officials in their country.

Pakistan is viewed as an important country with all kind of potentials. When it has many friends it also has many hidden and open enemies who keep any eye on Pakistan sometimes directly and sometimes via their friends coming to Pakistan in various guises.

“Iran may be bombastic but Pakistan has the Bomb”, wrote Douglas Bloomfield in The Jerusalem Post on 3rd September 2008, “Iran may boast of great strides in its pursuit of nuclear, missile and satellite technology, but analysts say its progress is no match for its overblown rhetoric. But Pakistan doesn’t need to boast. It already has a stockpile estimated at 60 or more nuclear warheads and North Korean ballistic missiles and US-made F-16s to deliver them.”

All in all Iran is back in the US good books after the nuclear deal, has restored diplomatic relations with Britain, signed over $30 billion deal with India, successfully eliminated its enemies Saddam Hussain in Iraq and Taliban in Afghanistan with the US help off course?

Moral of the story for Pakistan is ‘no one can ride on your back unless it is bent’.

(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior analyst with BBC and chief editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan and and Pakistan. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He wrote his MA thesis on ‘Political Thought of Imam Khomeini’ and visited Tehran University. He is PhD in ‘Political Psychology’ also studied Law at a British University. He also speaks at Cambridge University)

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