BY: |Hamid Mir|

I have to fulfill a promise today. I made this pledge to Mr. Malik Hakmeen in his life but sadly he left this world in the start of 2019 and I am fulfilling my promise post his demise.

I met Mr. Malik in 1988 when used to be the chief whip of PPP in Punjab. Nawaz Sharif was the Prime Minister and Rana Shoukat Mehmood the opposition leader. Rana SanaUllah, Ghazanfar Gul, Wasi Zafar and Fazal Hussain Rahi (deceased) were those diehards of PPP who did not let PM Nawaz and his Finance Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi boss the proceedings.

Malik Hakmeen Khan remained very active in and outside the assembly. When Mr. Malik used to leave his opposers speechless then they would pass a snide remark against him that, ‘you are the person who said that you will spread a network of jails in the province as minister for Jails.’ Malik used to calmly reply, go and look up the records of the assembly, I never said such a thing.

Do not hurl false accusations against me but the naysayers would reply that all party workers were aware of this truth and needed no proof of it’s validity. I also used to sometimes jokingly ask Mr. Malik that how did this statement get juxtaposed with him?

He would reply, This is all thanks to a dear friend and whenever I take jibes from the opposition, in or outside the assembly I can’t bring myself to give up the identity of the friend, but I am hopeful that he will himself reveal the truth to the world someday. I merely said that I will spread a network of Jail reforms in the country but the friend ran a headline as spreading of a jail network with no mention of reforms.

This friend was named, Abbas Athar. He was the Chief News Editor of daily ‘Massawat’ and spokesman of PPP. Malik Hakmeen Khan was the Minister of Jails, Housing and Planning’s. One day Abbas Athar and the managing director of a newspaper arranged and interview with Malik Hakmeen and created a mess by misreporting the actual statement.

Mr. Malik refuted the headline but this refusal could not make it to the newspaper his own political party ran. This is the same Abbas Athar who cherry picked the famous slogan of “Idhar Hum, Udhar Tum” from one of Zulfikar Bhutto’s speech for the daily Azad. Bhutto refuted the headline but it remains a undying part of his legacy as a truth. The same was true for Malik Hakmeen.

Malik Hakmeen found out that Anwar Aziz and Athar Abbas were very close friends, Anwar Aziz was a guy who knew a plethora of couplets and poems verbatim and hence was the life of the party.

Abbas Athar too was a poet and respect Mr. Chaudhry tremendously. Malik Hakmeen utilizing his personal allowance changed Chaudhry’s name to that of Athar Abbas and filed a petition against him. Many a proceedings were held in this regard later on and Abbas Athar testified guilty to his crimes with a smile on his face. Malik Hakmeen at once ordered the death penalty for the guilty but the judge Aziz Chaudhry turned the death penalty to life in jail and will be known as the moral prisoner of Malik Hakmeen Khan.

“One day Abbas Athar and the managing director of a newspaper arranged interview with Malik Hakmeen and created a mess by misreporting the actual statement.”

Erstwhile, Abbas Athar in a column said that Malik Hakmeen was not guilty but a while later he passed away. Whenever Mr. Malik met me he used to say, nephew, you too should seek absolution of the sins committed by your ancestor,write explanatory column against me or clear me by inviting in your TV program, because the thing which i haven’t said transferred from one generation to an another generation and on route towards Third generation. I promised with MR Malik that i will write a column on him. In 2016, Malik published his autobiography titled “Khaar Raazey Siyasat Kai Shab-o-Ruz” and told me that I’ve added Abbas Athar’s column in this book which he wrote for his confession.

I decided many times to write column on Malik Sahab’s Book, but postponed it on many occasions due to some big events. Last week i met Anwar Aziz Chaudhary in the Walima reception of Muhammad Malik’s son which reminds me of Malik Hakmeen and i thought it’s time to fulfill the promise made with Malik Hakmeen. Chaudhary asked me about what am I thinking? But due to the rush of guests i couldn’t talk to him. After few days of it Malik Hakmeen passed away from this world. Malik elected member of the Punjab Assembly three times and remained senator one time. He has one award which only few politicians have. He affiliated with the party for the lifetime through which he started politics.

Malik was kept in the same cell of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Koth Lakhpat Jail in Zia’s regime. One day Jail authorities sent Zia’s message to Malik that he will be released and will be given Ministry car, the only thing you have to say that the firing in Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi was made on the orders of Bhutto. Malik denied to give statement. A very few people knows that Malik had a good relations with Air Marshal Asghar Khan. These relations were made during movement for the restoration of democracy (MRD). Lieutenant General retired Asad Durrani contacted Malik Hakmeen before 1990 elections and offered him money to leave PPP. Malik told all this story to Benezir Bhutto and Asghar Khan. After facing defeat in 1990 elections he decided to expose the rigging.

Things changed suddenly after few years. When Benazir Bhutto elected as Prime Minister Malik made her contact with Asghar Khan and Asghar filed petition in the apex court which got popular with Asghar Khan case. SC had announced its verdict in Asghar Khan case but no implementation has been made on it so far. But Malik Hakmeen and Asghar Khan have done their jobs. Today in Pakistan everyone is making noise regarding corruption. Malik made so many housing colonies and distributed plots among people as Punjab’s provincial minister for Housing.

No allegation was raised against him as a minister, but when he denied to switch his loyalty in exchange of money, he faced defeat in elections. Now, you should think for yourself who and how forced out an honest person Malik Hakmeen from politics? It is unfair to blame intelligence agencies or Army for the failure we are facing in politics. Politicians, Media and judiciary all played an equal role.

All did mistakes and politician like Malik Hakmeen is the evidence of our faults. Military dictators restrain him, judiciary didn’t provided him justice and for the whole life he faced the crime which he never did. Journalists should remain careful before writing or speaking against someone.

Forgive me Malik Hakmeen as i wrote this column after your death.