Country’s founder persuaded to return to politics by London Imam

The Mercury (News August 19, 2009)

For the Record
Source & Credit: The Mercury, UK
By Julia Lewis for The Mercury


The uncle of a Thamesmead man could be said to have been indirectly responsible for the creation of Pakistan.

August 14, Pakistan Independence Day, is a date of great significance for Pakistani’s everywhere. But it had a particular resonance for Matiullah Dard, of Hill View Drive.

Matiullah Dard is vice-chairman of Baxley Multi-Faith Forum and Thamesmead Inter-Faith Forum.

It was Mr. Dard’s uncle, Maulana Abdur Raheem Dard, who persuaded Mohammad Ali Jinah, the founder and first leader of Pakistan, to leave London to go and further the cause of Muslims back home in India.

Jinnah, himself a Muslim, had been involved in politics in India and was particularly concerned about the situation of Muslims in the predominately Hindu country.

In the early 1930s, having despaired of any progress being made in getting the two communities to live together peacefully, he left India and worked as a barrister in London.

At the time, Mr Dard’s uncle, who died in 1955, was Imam at the London Mosque in Southfield and he had been instructed by the spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslims, Hadhrat Khaliftul Masih II, to persuade Jinnah to return home to take part in Politics again.

Imam Dard and Jinnah became good friends and met regularly to talk about the situation in India but it was difficult to convince him.

Mr. Dard, 74, said: “Jinnah was a very stern man. Even Lord Mountbatten said he was a difficult man to deal with.

“He was really obstinate. He did not change his mind easily.

“My uncle told me about the whole incident. He said he asked Mr. Jinnah many time why he was living in London and why he quit politics.”

Then one day the Imam made a remark that finally hit home with the politician.

Mr. Dard said: “My uncle suggested that if he did not go back to India he would be a traitor to the Muslim cause. That affected him very much.

“He was stunned and remained silent for a while. Then he asked what he should do.

“Mr. Jinnah respected my uncle very much.”

In a speech he subsequently made at the London Mosque, Jinnah acknowledged the Imam’s role in his decision to return to political life, saying: “The eloquent persuasion of the Imam left me no escape.”

Jinnah returned to India in 1934 and became Governor general  of Pakistan when it became an independent state on August 14, 1047.

Mr. Dard said: “I am very happy and proud that I am related to the man who sent Jinnah back to make something of Pakistan.

“If he had not gone back, there would have been no Pakistan.”

— Transcribed from the print version of The Mercury (News August 19, 2009)


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