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Haji Adeel…Last amongst the moral crusaders

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By Mohammed Riaz

A shining chapter of political finesse came to an end with the death of Haji Mohammad Adeel, the last of a political breed, which never opted for expediency even under gallows. Politics was in his built. He lived a life plagued with political hardships that is why he had a masking agitator inside him. But, he never lost moral sense. In Senate, he spoke undauntedly against the dictatorial measures of the law enforcement agencies in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Tribal belt and paid much for his words. He upheld the banner of morality and party flag alike throughout his political career. He was not a paratrooper. He came from the grassroots. Contested lower-rung party elections and won the upper slot with the passage of time.

When I would pinch him on party affairs (When Begum Nasim Wali Khan’s gang was technically knocked out from the party), he wore an impish smile on his lips. “You cannot make me controversial by grilling me on this issue. Political parties confront inner differences, but they resolve them at proper forums. We are not some sort of League. We are followers of Bacha Khan.”  He had one foot in the party politics and other in the politics of Peshawar-based business community, but he dealt them as two separate domains.  He was trying to groom his one son, Jibran, as his political heir, but the hapless man died of asthmatic complications in his youth.  It had not only left an indelible mark on his heart, it broke him down completely. His eyes would brim with tears, whenever he spoke about him. To keep his memory alive, he built a library in his name.

He was not a political chauvinist. He was a social activist too. He would help even those, who were opposed to his political thought. Despite securing considerable space in newspapers, he had always a complaint of being ignored by the press.  Whenever we met in a seminar or at a press conference, he would try to embarrass me by hurling sardonic remarks. “Tomorrow, Dawn will give us scanty coverage of two lines.” He was a pure secular in his approach that is why he was blunt in his expression of his views on certain issues. He was a pious Muslim, but opposed to all forms religious exploitations. He was a great critique of sectarian killings in the city and always held Gen. Ziaul Haq responsible for this curse.

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His father, Hakeem Abdul Jalil, was in the forefront of Independence Movement for the Subcontinent of India and a close comrade of Khan known Khan Abdul Ghaffar as Bacha Khan.  In his large and extended clan and chain of relations, many faces are entrenched in different political organizations, but he would bank on the struggle of his father and Khudai Khidmatgar Tehreek (Movement of Servants of God).  But, he never exploited it for political gains. Instead, he had to vacate and abandons a shop in cantonment area (Saddar) owing to his political views.

During the Musharraf tenure, once he got his one foot wounded, when scaled over the outer wall of the Peshawar Press Club.  Police were waiting outside the club to arrest him, but some adventurist reporters advised him to jump over the wall, which he did, but embraced a lifelong pain in his foot.  At the Senate Public Account Committee meeting, where lashed out at the information officials, he out of the context targeted me for his foot wound.  The same evening I invited him at dinner.  As usual, he arrived in time and spoke at length on the shenanigans of some of his colleagues, who used elected forums for petty gains.  May Allah rest him in peace. He was the last amongst flickering lamps of moral politics.

Writer is former MD Associated Press of Pakistan and  Presently  ad hoc President of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists

riazdawn@gmail.com

 

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