Friday, 13 January 2017

Understanding Pakistan: Episode 2

Episode 2: "Tweedledee and Tweedledum"  was our look at Pakistan's turbulent and forgotten decade after partition. Specifically the post Liaqat Ali Khan assassination phase.

The views expressed in this episode are personal and do not reflect the views of
Any corrections, amendments and suggestions are gratefully received. 

Title background:  Tweedledee and Tweedledum were characters from Lewis Carrolls "Alice in Wonderland"

They are based on the nursery rhyme
Tweedledum and Tweedledee.          Agreed to have a battle;   For Tweedledum said TweedledeeHad spoiled his nice new rattle.Just then flew down a monstrous crow,As black as a tar-barrel;Which frightened both the heroes so, They quite forgot their quarrel

Tweedledee and Tweedledum as seen in Disneys cartoon version of the book

The reference  by Ayub Khan was a sarcastic comment about the revolving door of politicians being dismissed and appointed in the space of months and years during this era.

There is some fairness to the comment on first look, there were five Prime Ministers in five years from 1953-1958. But if you scratch the surface there are only four real people to observe. Ghulam Mohammed, Iskandier Mirza, Ayub Khan and Husseyn Suhrawardy.

The key moment in the revolving door process was Ghulam Mohammed's dismissal of Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin invoking Raj era laws. In his order he wrote

".the cabinet of Khawaja Nazimuddin has proved entirely inadequate to grapple with the difficulties facing the country. In the emergency which has arisen I have felt it incumbent upon me to ask the cabinet to relinquish office so that a new cabinet fitted to discharge its obligations towards Pakistan may be formed."
Reference to Suharwardys contrarian stance in politics. Despite the popularity of anti west sentiment he was critical of leftist politics.

"if we say anything in favour of America or the UK we are called “stooges of imperialism” and if we say anything in favour of Russia we are called “independent”'.

When it came to the 1956 Suez crisis he was even more dismissive of pro Egyptian sentiment.

'The question is asked: why don't we get together rather than be tied to a big power like the UK or America? My answer to that is that zero plus zero plus zero plus zero is after all equal to zero. We have, therefore, to go farther afield rather than get all the zeros together'
Reference Hypocrites to the core
Ardeshir Cowasjee — Dec 18, 2010

Production work:

This episode was especially challenging in that it is such a poorly written about era. It also had a lot going on in terms of events for us to cover. There was a conscious decision to avoid revisiting issues like the passage of the Objective resolution, the assassination of Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan, and Pakistan's first martial law in Punjab. These events have been covered countless times in books, articles and TV debates by people far more qualified than us. 

Saying that, we will be revisiting the Rawalpindi conspiracy in detail by hopefully interviewing people who have researched the attempted coup. 

From a technical point of view:

We have a few limitations, with myself being based in the U.K and Aamer based in the USA. Also sound quality is an issue from a background sound point of view. You maybe able to hear Aamers son in the background in places! 


-I incorrectly refer to a Cabinet of excellence, Aamer correctly uses the word " Cabinet of talents"
- Akbar Khan was promoted to Major General and Chief of General Staff at the time of Rawalpindi conspiracy ;
- reference Gandhis quote about Suharwardy incorrectly: exact quote was
"Jinnah – there is your statesman; Liaquat – there is your politician; Suhrawardy – there is your leader.”


Shahid Saeed  commemorates Husseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, 1892-1963 The Friday Times 21-27 January 2011 link 

-The Idea of Pakistan Paperback – 30 Aug 2006
by Stephen P. Cohen

- Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy: A Biography by Begum Shaista Ikramullah Oxford University Press-1991

-Iskander Mirza, rise and fall of a president By Aḥmad Salīm.

- Pakistan: History and Politics 1947-1971 (Oxford Pakistan Paperbacks) Paperback – 6 Dec 2007
by M. Rafique Afzal (Author)

- referencing provincial election rigging
Report of the Electoral Reforms Commission, Government of Pakistan, 1956

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