Abdul Samad Achakzai and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan

By: Hamid Mir      Published: 01:20 PM, 21 Dec, 2020
Abdul Samad Achakzai and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan
Abdul Samad Achakzai and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan

Is Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai's son aware of the editorials and poems written by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan about his respected father? Maulana Zafar Ali Khan is called the father of journalism. He used to publish the daily Zamindar from Lahore. The newspaper’s publication was suspended 15 times for criticizing the British Raj. And twelve years of Maulana's life were spent in jails for speaking the truth.

Punjab Governor Michael O'Dwyer, in a report sent to his government in London had written that Zafar Ali Khan and Muhammad Ali Jauhar had come out of their mother's womb with the mission of rebellion and British enmity was in their innate nature.

When Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai was arrested in 1934, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan wrote a poem on February 9, 1934 called ‘Inqalab-e-Balochistan’ which was published on the front page of Zamindar Lahore. In this poem he said:

Abdul Aziz Kurd par Ayubion ko fakhar

Abdul Samad ki zaat par nazah Achakzai

Phir kr rhay hain Badhshahon say Muqabla

Pathar jinhon nay pait par bandhy kai kai

(The Ayubbids are proud of Abdul Aziz Kurd, Achakzai are proud of Abdul Samad’s personality. They are again competing against the kings. Those who tied many stones over their stomach)

Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd and Abdul Samad Achakzai addressed the Baloch Conference in Hyderabad. Mir Abdul Aziz Kurd wrote an article against Agent to Governor General Balochistan in "Zamindar" newspaper. On 22 March 1934 edition of Zamindar newspaper, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan wrote about the captives in his poem entitled "Mujahideen of Balochistan":

Hain us kay Zoumeon mein Kurd awr Achakzai

Wo Shan-e-Balochistan ye Aan-e-Balochistan

(The greats (of Balochistan) include Kurd and Aachakzai, the honour and pride of Balochistan)

Both the poems are there in Maulana Zafar Ali Khan's book "Nagaristan". Maulana Zafar Ali Khan was a supporter of the Muslim League and Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai a backer of the Congress but both wanted freedom from British slavery. Maulana Zafar Ali Khan knew them both through Mir Yusuf Aziz Magsi.

Mir Yusuf Aziz Magsi was the first to raise voice for Balochistan in the Lahore newspapers. That was the time when Urdu newspapers in Lahore were the mouthpiece of freedom fighters all over India, including Jammu and Kashmir and Balochistan. Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai also took its declaration from Lahore when he started his own Urdu newspaper called Istiqlal.

That was the same Lahore where on December 13, 2020, Abdul Samad Achakzai's successor Mahmood Khan Achakzai, while addressing a public gathering of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), made some complaints against the people of Lahore which were not entirely true.

He said that people of Lahore also gave some support to the British and together they helped the British to occupy the Afghan homeland along with the rest of India. Achakzai also mentioned General Ayub Khan in his speech. Ayub Khan was a Tarin Pathan, and Achakzai himself said that General Yahya Khan was a Qazlbash Pathan.

TV channels did not broadcast his full speech, otherwise, people would have understood the context in which he complained to the people of Lahore. His speech was condemned by government ministers and his father was repeatedly called a traitor. His speech is still being discussed in the newspapers. Some columnists are retaliating against all Achakzais by quoting some books, which is not appropriate.

Just as, there were heroes among the Punjabis like Ahmad Khan Kharal and Bhagat Singh who sacrificed their lives in the struggle against the British, there were heroes among the Baloch, Pakhtuns, Sindhis, Kashmiris and other nationalities we can be proud of.

Spreading hatred and making baseless accusations is the easiest thing to do. It is quite difficult to find authentic references from history and bring out the truth. Let's do the difficult work now.

It is very important to tell Mahmood Khan Achakzai who were the people of Lahore who gave "a little" support to the British.

It is also important to tell them whether Lahoris and Punjabis took the initiative in attacking Afghanistan or the Afghans took the initiative in attacking Punjab. Everyone knows where Mahmud Ghaznavi came from, but the people of Lahore have never been prejudiced against or hostile towards Afghans. Hazrat Ali Hajvery, an Afghan from Ghazni, was given utmost respect by the people of Lahore and even today the real identity of Lahore is "Data Ki Nagri".

If we read Prof. Dr Ashiq Muhammad Khan Durrani's "History of Afghanistan", we come to know that Ahmad Shah Abdali attacked Hindustan nine times. Of all attacks, one was carried out at the invitation of Hazrat Shah Waliullah Dehlavi to save the Muslims from the tyranny of the Marhatta, but when ‘Abdali Baba’ invaded Lahore, there was a Muslim government in Lahore and no threat to Islam. Mir Moin-ul-Mulk, the ruler of Lahore, surrendered to Ahmad Shah Abdali after some resistance and then Lahore, Multan also became part of the kingdom of Afghanistan.

When Ahmad Shah Abdali conducted the last invasion in India in 1760, Ali Khan Qazalbash was with him. Ali Khan's grandson Ali Raza joined the British and in 1839 became the chief agent of Kabul. When the British were defeated in Afghanistan, he came to Lahore. In the rebellion of 1857, Ali Raza fully supported the British side.

You can read the details of the revolt of the local soldiers in Mian Mir Cantonment of Lahore in Prof. Azizuddin Ahmed's book "Punjab and Bairuni Hamlawar" but Ali Raza helped the British side and that account could be read in the famous book of Wakil Anjum titled Siasat ky Firoun (Pharaohs of Politics). The British gave Ali Raza the title of Sardar Bahadur and his son Nawazish Ali the title of Nawab. A person named Nawab Muzaffar Ali Qazalbash later joined the Unionist Party. General Yahya Khan was also a Qazalbash and he made Muzaffar Ali Qazalbash his Finance Minister.

Mir Gul Khan Naseer's book "Tareekh-e-Balochistan" mentions the Kakars who attacked the British in Quetta in 1840 and the British helped Salu Khan Achakzai of Qila Abdullah to subdue them. This does not mean that all Achakzais were supporting the British. When Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai started supporting ruler of Afghanistan Ghazi Amanullah, Allama Iqbal and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan were also supporting Ghazi Amanullah in Punjab. Abdul Samad Achakzai and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan were arrested again and again at that time.

Maulana Zafar Ali Khan's Urdu newspaper not only became the voice of Abdul Samad Achakzai but the whole of Balochistan. After the formation of Pakistan, Abdul Samad Khan Achakzai joined NAP but later formed a separate party. In 1970, he became a member of the Balochistan Assembly. He took an oath of allegiance to Pakistan, so it is reprehensible to abuse him even today just in the opposition of Mahmood Khan Achakzai.

Abdul Samad Achakzai was in opposition to the NAP-JUI coalition government in Balochistan. When Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto sacked the provincial government of Balochistan, Achakzai was martyred in a bomb attack, at the time when Akbar Bugti was the Balochistan Governor.

PTI ministers are requested to criticise Mahmood Khan Achakzai but spread no further hatred by using inappropriate language about Abdul Samad Achakzai. Mahmood Khan Achakzai is requested to criticise Punjab but should not speak half-truth. He should speak the complete truth.

The people of Lahore did not take the initiative in attacking his Afghan homeland. We named missiles after those who took initiative to attack Lahore, as Ghauri Missile and Ghaznavi Missile.