ATP Quiz: Guess Who This Is

Posted on January 21, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Quiz, History, People
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Adil Najam

Many would consider this person as one of the most important Pakistanis, living or dead. However, he (yes, that is a clue, it is a male) is/was controversial to some, and revered by others. From the quotes I give below, can you guess who he is?

I certainly hope that people – including the silent types who never comment – will give a shot to guess who this person might be. Some may recognize him immediately; others, I am sure, will be surprised. But do, please, give it a try. And do spread the word to others who are not regular ATP readers but may be able to guess.

So, without further ado, here are some quotes… him talking about his life (some words have been removed because they would make it too easy to guess). Can you guess who he is?

My father shaved off my hair every time he returned home and the community awarded me the nickname Roti

My early childhood was peaceful, and without trauma; nothing untoward or dramatic had occurred until by eleventh year, when the school bell chimed. I was tying my books together and felt a discomfort that made me look up, it worsened when I noticed that school master staring with sweat beads sliding down his forehead. I looked away nervously, feigning concentration on my work, unable to understand the alien expression that distorted his face from somewhere within. I felt his fiery red eyes lingering upon me – at last I scrambled off and ran all the way home… [Later, one day he gestured for me to follow him out of class] when he looked back and smiled I recognized the expression of the other day and my heart began to pound. I sensed evil, despite it I followed for a few steps, then bolted in the opposite direction. I ran, tripping, falling, then charging without stopping until finally puffing and panting, gasping for breath I reached home and flopped down on the doorstep. I pulled off my shirt and wiped the sweat from my face… although I related the incident to non one, I left the madrassah in class four.

I have included this very personal bit because it may hold the key to at least partly explaining who he became. Speaking of which…

In the year 1962, without considering the consequences, I reacted against the political octopus and jumped into the arena by standing for membership of basic democracy [introduced by Ayub Khan]… accusations were hurled and reinforced in a desperate attempt to curtail my rise. I was projected as a communist, a womaniser, a thief, and most of all an illiterate… Nonetheless I won, becoming [a] member of parliament at the age of twenty nice. In 1964 I supported Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s sister, Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah against President Ayub Khan, and although she lost, I again won the membership from Mithadar. At Nishtar Park, I attended a meeting held by President Ayub Khan. When he finished informing the people of his grand plans for Pakistan and his ‘selfless battle for the masses,’ I stood up and proclaimed, “You are lying. This is not the truth.” The outburst was countered with silence. Later, I heard the comment of a minister, “Nations have many disgruntled men, lazy at work and bitter with life. The little man needs no comment.”

In 1967, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto appeared on the political scene. He revived hope in the hearts of a disillusioned public and his slogan of Roti Kapra aur Makaan inspired him to awaken to themselves. Like many others I too was impressed… [After meeting him, however, I told my friends,] “I had hoped for leadership of a purer quality, one that rose about compromising the truth and was committed to selfless public service.” …in 1970 I stood as an independent candidate, at both national and provincial levels… This time it was not an impulsive decision, it was, however, a grueling and consuming one. In a free and fair election, Bhutto’s charismatic personality swept the People’s Party to a landslide victory and I lost both the National and the Provincial Assemblies….[Later] when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was served with a sentence to death by hanging I was shaken by the enormity of the decision and the precedent it would set… The grotesque manner in which he was put to death magnified the tragedy and deeply affected almost everyone.

In 1982 General Zia announced a cabinet based on the Islamic Shura to conduct the affairs of state according to Islamic principles. This was obviously easier said than done…. the general was hardly of a calibre that could put such a complicated matter into original perspective… and implement it. When he offered me the privilege of becoming a member [of the Shura] I declined…. But he insisted, assuring cooperation in my demands [for change]…. That we were now becoming Ulema, about to dispense Islamic justice did not fool me but, I accepted the position. I wished to personally witness the manner in which decisions were taken for the people, or rather, were not taken. I was curious to stand in a room where the fate of Pakistan could change and I needed to know why it never happened…. Most of all I wondered what would happen to me.

Let me leave the story here, and see if you can guess. There is much more to the story that I will come to later. In many ways, this is not the main story of his life anyhow. But more on that, also, later.

26 Comments on “ATP Quiz: Guess Who This Is”

  1. Poo Poo head says:
    January 21st, 2007 4:48 pm

    Shaikh Rasheed Ahmed ???

  2. Poo Poo head says:
    January 21st, 2007 4:53 pm

    Sorry , it could not be Shaikh Rasheed, I just read first para and thought it could be him :-) . Later I relaized he has never lost an election :-)

  3. Baber says:
    January 21st, 2007 5:18 pm

    Dr. Abdul Sattar Edhi?

  4. Samdani says:
    January 21st, 2007 6:35 pm

    Could it be Nawab Akbar Bugti?
    Probably not Mohammad Ali Junejo?

  5. A. says:
    January 21st, 2007 6:44 pm

    Altaf Hussein

  6. Samdani says:
    January 21st, 2007 7:08 pm

    Altaf Hussain! That WOULD be interesting indeed. But I do not think he was part of Zia’s Majlis e Shoora, was he? Although their politics was clearly tied together.

  7. hakim says:
    January 21st, 2007 7:55 pm

    Muhammad Khan Junejo?? Gohar Ayub Khan??

  8. Jamal K. says:
    January 22nd, 2007 12:17 am

    I would be surprised if it is Edhi. I never heard about his being in politics. He actually stayed away even when Benazir offered him the mayor job of Karachi.

    My vote now is for Pir Sahib Pagaro. This fits him very well.

    Maybe we can get some more clues from Adil Najam?

  9. razahaider says:
    January 21st, 2007 10:53 pm

    The post indicates that he was 29 in 1962 which puts the date of birth at 1933. Too old for altaf hussein and too young for Bugti. Based on age and political pedigree, Junejo would be more plausible. However, the statement
    “I was projected as a communist, a womaniser, a thief, and most of all an illiterate” doesn’t jive.
    Very interesting, cant wait to find out who this is….

  10. The Pakistanian says:
    January 21st, 2007 11:08 pm

    Based on the contents in the post I am going to make 2 guesses, if it is someone other than these two, I need to take a course in Pakistani political history.

    1. Pir Sahab Pagara
    2. Sardar Mumtaz Ali Bhutto.

  11. Razi says:
    January 21st, 2007 11:37 pm

    I believe the person is none other than Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi. The paragraphs above are from his biography.

  12. MQ says:
    January 22nd, 2007 1:07 am

    Being a student in a madrassa suggests an underprivileged background. Therefore, Bugti, Bhutto or Pagara or with people with similar background won’t qualify.

  13. PatExpat says:
    January 22nd, 2007 2:38 am

    None of the names suggested so far fit the description. We may need more hints.

  14. younas says:
    January 22nd, 2007 5:25 am

    read his biography “A mirror to the blind” you will know who he is , I always keep a copy handy a holi( not holy before you accuse me of anti blah blah) book ” Bible of Pakistan” , should be called

  15. mo says:
    January 22nd, 2007 6:26 am

    no idea…who is it?

  16. YLH says:
    January 22nd, 2007 6:39 am

    Abdul Sattar Edhi I believe. Mithadhar is a dead give away.

  17. January 22nd, 2007 6:40 am

    It is no other then Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi as i was also not sure if it was Pir Sahab Pagara or Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi. But there were activities & news out there againt Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi that he is a communist and was alleged to be a theif and a womenizer.

    Secondly he was born aroun early 1930s and also he took part in politics, as he mentioned of this in a TV show with anwar maqsood i guess [not sure may be mustansir hussain tarrar]. Anyways…

    So it’s my calculated huntch that its Maulana Abdus Sattar Edhi. lets see what Adil Najam says.

  18. Aqeel Syed says:
    January 22nd, 2007 7:57 am

    He studied in Madrasa, so no fudel background.
    He won his first election from Methadar. So, he is from Karachi.
    He is too old, people condsider him an illitrate person. So who exactly he is???
    My mind is spining ($_$)

  19. prophecy says:
    January 22nd, 2007 9:27 am

    Abdus Sattar Edhi

  20. Babar says:
    January 22nd, 2007 9:31 am

    Adil – great job in building up the story. I would put Edhi in the top 10 of “most influential Pakistanis ever”.

  21. January 22nd, 2007 10:16 am

    [...] Headers « ATP Quiz: Guess Who This Is [...]

  22. January 22nd, 2007 10:19 am

    Friends, we now have a second (continuation) post on this with more hints. So we will close the comments here and move the discussion to that post (click here).

  23. January 23rd, 2007 3:29 am

    [...] I have really enjoyed this ATP Quiz thread (here and here). I had hoped that this method will get people more engaged than just writing a post on Edhi sahibs work. I also really wanted people to read and think about the passages that I had included from his autobiography – Edhi: A Mirror to the Blind. They are thought provoking passages and worthy of our attention. I was surprised by many things in the book, and it is obvious from the comments that so were you. A lot of you actually got the answer fairly early on but it was interesting to see how some of the facts were so surprising and so contrary to our popular perception of the man that it kept many others wondering. So, first of all, thank you for your participation and your patience. [...]

  24. January 23rd, 2007 11:46 am

    [...] My posts over the last few days have all been designed to build up to this (here, here and here). Irrespective of whether Abdul Sattar Edhi is a Pakistani or not, irrespective of how much most Pakistanis hold his selfless zeal in reverence – and irrespective also of all the ways in which a few have tried to malign him – I believe that Abdul Sattar Edhi deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. [...]

  25. Hameeduddin Khan says:
    December 16th, 2007 11:05 am

    Yes, I support Mr. Edhi for Nobal pr.

  26. November 25th, 2010 3:34 pm

    Does the suitability of his candidature really need any promotion or marketing? I am convinced that the Nobel committee is fully aware and cognizant of his achievements. I donot understand why they have taken so much time to award him this prize , and will genuinely fulfill and satisfy the terms and condition of the committees, criteria. I strongly recommend Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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