BASHING GENERAL ZIA UL HAQUE ALL THE TIME
IN HIS OWN WAY HE DID MOST FOR CULTURE
Brought Ideology back into fashion lore
The civil servant Masud Nabi Noor Sahib was Secretary Culture and he called at the museum. The President wanted to inaugurate a show of M.A. Rahman Chughtai. I was impressed, but I did not accept the idea. The Military Secretary to President Zia ul Haque rang us many times. Desire that we publish special edition of our book for the President’s gift policy to other countries and Heads of State. In India an auction house is selling copy of Amal e Chughtai gifted by President Zia to someone in India, at a phenomenal sum of Nine lakh rupees. But I knew more.
He inaugurated exhibitions at Alhamra. He organized show of Pakistani paintings at Hirshorn Museum in USA. He visited Metropolitan Museum and requested Stuart Cary Welch to open a Pakistani room there for which President Zia promised the museum a cool million dollars. Stuart Cary Welch visited the President in Islamabad who presented him with a carpet. A committee was made here to receive the American scholar in town (Hilton Hotel), enlist his support for propagation of Pakistani culture. Yasmeen Lari was there and would remember it well, as was B.A. Qureshi Sahib . And everybody starts bashing President Zia, as a paragon of Anti-Culture.
Tell me one thing about Art and Culture that recent democratic regimes did here for Artists. Nothing! And yet three Martial Law regimes fascinated with Pakistani Art, did more than all the others. Although the approach of all three was different in their own way. We have short memories. We remember what the media wants us to remember, we forget the rest. President Zia ul Haque was presumably son of a mere Maulana of a mosque. That he could adapt himself, and see so much, which was normally beyond his capacity, is a credit to him and his memory.
Why is there so much venom against him? He brought the term Pakistani Ideology back into the forefront. He achieved an unparralleled victory in neighbouring country by driving out foreign forces, but he also gave Pakistan a memory of its past. The education of Quaid e Azam and Zia ul Haque was vastly different, and strangely in their obsession for an Islamic State, they were both not that different. The foreign lobbies like to paint Jinnah Secular and Zia a villain. Both were not that, and most of us know that too. No time to pick up arguments with well paid and well prepared real villains of Pakistan. People who want to rob us of our Islamic Identity of life.