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In Quest Of A Dream

Ghulam Akbar

Ghulam Akbar


 

The 1962 non-party elections resulted in the emergence of factions— some led by influential persons and the others formed on the basis of provincial loyalties. There was also the usual host of landowning independents. At in the first session of the new Assembly held in June 1962, the new Constitution was duly ratified. Within a month Ayub Khan assented to a bill permitting the formation of political parties. By September 1912 the Muslim League (Convention) had been organized as the official government party. Earlier in August it had been announced by some veteran Muslim League members that a council of the party would meet on September 29. To pre-empt them, arrangements were made for a meeting of the Muslim League at Karachi (about which I have written earlier). It was September 4, 1962. I was at that time getting entrenched in my marketing job. I had attended that convention in Habib ur Rahman Chapta’s company as mentioned earlier. It was in that Convention that the old war horse and schemer Chaudhry Khaliq ur zaman was somehow elected as the Chief Organiser of the party which subsequently came to be known as Convention Muslim League. In reaction, the ‘other’ Muslim Leaguers later held their council meeting which led to the formation of the opposition Council Muslim League.
MuslQammer Abbass Ankaim League (Convention) was created for the purpose of becoming Ayub Khan’s party. It comprised ministers, Assembly members, and other followers of the government, including a number of sycophants wishing to acknowledge their loyalty to the general. This in my opinion has been the dark side of all dictatorships. Even the best get infiltrated by and with opportunists, agents of vested interests and masters of the art of sycophancy. Till that point of time I think General Ayub Khan’s image in the public esteem was largely positive. It was the politicization of his authoritarian style that led to a gradual decline in Ayub Khan’s popularity. I too by then had lost much of my enthusiasm for the Messiah role of the all-powerful dictator.
The conventionists had 78 members in the Assembly and held the majority. In November 1962, the opposition elected Ayub Khan’s brother Sardar Bahadur Khan, as its leader. His deputies were Masih ur Rahman from the Eastern wing, and Khan Bux Marri from the Western. Interestingly, of the 60 members in the opposition, 55 were from East Pakistan (compressing over 70 percent of the representatives of the Eastern Wing).
After appointing himself President in 1958, Ayub Khan had chosen General Musa as his successor as Commander-in-Chief of the Army. This choice was largely motivated by Ayub Khan’s belief that General Musa posed no threat to him. Musa had risen from the ranks as a soldier, and possessed completely unambitious and submissive nature.
I have a feeling that if Ayub Khan had taken some more time in transferring the base of his power from the Military to the conventional politicians, his achievements would have been far greater than are credited to him. By creating the Convention Muslim League, Ayub Khan committed himself to sharing some power with that very class (politicians) which he in his earlier days of power had held responsible for all the ailments prevailing in the society.
This was the national scenario in which I was struggling to create for me a career which would, on the one hand provide me economic security and on the other hand be helpful or instrumental in the pursuit of my nationalistic dreams and longings.
My eldest son Inam Akbar was born at Karachi on the 28th of June 1963.
Well over a year had passed since I had landed in the city of the Quaid to explore the world of advertising, not as a part of it but as a media marketing executive.
At that time the Media constituted of a handful of newspapers which all competed with one another for winning the support of the advertisers and the advertising agencies. Pakistan Times of Lahore and Rawalpindi and Dawn of Karachi were the most powerful names, followed by Jang, Observer Dacca, Kohistan and Nawai Waqt.
In one year I had been able to lift Kohistan from an unknown entity (in the Karachi market) to a recognized frontline national daily.
For this I had built personal relations with a number of admen—including (as already mentioned) C.A Rauf, Mohammad Mushtaque, Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor and S.H. Hashmi. With the last-named I was to enjoy a life-long relationship as friends and virtually brothers.
The other three were quite senior to me and enjoyed the reputation of being virtually the fathers of advertising in Pakistan. Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor had been handling the advertising of two key industries of the country— Hamdard and Tibet. C.A. Rauf’s Lintas handled the products of the Lever Brothers (Lux, Lifebuoy, Rexona, Sunlight, and Dalda etc).
As mentioned earlier Rauf Sahib and Mushtaq Sahib had undertaken the tough task of cementing the differences between Nasim Hijazi Sahib and Enayatullah Sahib. Sheikh Hamid Mahmood who had been Managing Editor of Nawai Waqt before Majeed Nazami Sahib had taken control on the death of Hameed Nizami, had been assigned the arbitrators role.
Habibur Rahman Chapta had been transferred to Lahore.
What was to happen as the consequence of the mediatory role of Rauf Sahib and Mushtaq Sahib, and the arbitration conducted by Sheikh Mahmood, was to seal the fate of Daily Kohistan.
I had learnt that Enayatullah Sahib had flown to U.K. handing over the charge of the newspaper’s management to Mamoon Jan. His condition had been that no key changes would be made in the structure.
One morning I learnt that Sheikh Hamid Mahmood, the appointed arbitrator had taken over as the Managing Editor and the defacto Chief Executive of the company.
It was quite a shock for me. It meant that the much-dreaded divide had occurred. The company had been split into two groups—the minority group led by Enayatullah Sahib.
Rauf Sahib called me to his office in Osman Chambers.
He was visibly disturbed and angry.
“What has Naseem Sahib done? This is the worst thing that could happen. Naseem Sahib may be the spirit behind Kohistan but Enayat Sahib is the mind and the drive.”
I was quiet in reply.
“Can you not use your influence on your uncle Akbar? Isn’t there any way this madness-this atrocity can be averted?”
“I wish something could be done,” I replied after a while. “But in my opinion you are the only person who exercises influence on both.”
“My influence has misfired. Sheikh Hamid Mahmood has betrayed my trust. I stand humiliated in the eyes of Enayatullah Sahib. He before accepting Sheikh Hamid Mahmood as arbitrator, had told me that he had little faith in the goodness of Sheikh’s intentions.”
A day later I received Sheikh Hamid Mahmood’s call. That was my first communication with the man who in the subsequent years was to head the media cell of the PPP in the mid-seventies.
“Your performance at Karachi has been excellent, as the figures speak,” he said after initial introductory talk. “I would have loved you to stay there, but as some key executives have resigned here, your services are far more urgently required in the head office. Can you find a replacement for you in Karachi at the earliest and join me here at Lahore within a week or so?”

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