Try asking the apolitical youth of pakistan about Iftakhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and even they will connect with the man, through the lawyer’s movement. where as not many could relate to Sir Chaudhry Muhammad Zafarullah khan, the former President of the International court of justice, who rendered a great service to Pakistan in particular and the Muslim world in general.
Zafarullah khan’s name is buried in the lowest abyss of pakistan’s historical archives just like many unsung heroes of the past. It is a pity that subcontinent’s smartest legal mind is hardly acknowledged for his efforts, leave alone being remembered on his death anniversary, which happens to be on the 1st of September.
To a large extent, this bizarre indifference has got to do with his religious affiliation as an Ahmadi.
Zafarullah, the Jurist with a Midas touch, had an illustrious career worth sharing. Considered destiny’s child he was born in a small town of Daska. His mother dreamt of him becoming the chief justice one day. Zafarullah commemorated the unrelenting faith of his mother posthumously in his book titled ‘ Meri Walda’ (my mother).
Recounting his prodigious academic achievements would be difficult. Rather it would suffice that he studied at Government College Lahore under the tutelage of Allama Iqbal, only to be called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn after completing his Law degree with distinction from the King’s college London.
Lincoln’s inn was not zafarullah’s only affiliation with Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as it is clearly evident from history that he was a close aide of Quaid e Azam and had his approval on most instances. He first rubbed shoulders with the likes of Jinnah and Gandhi during the round table conferences on Indian reforms in London.
On the behest of Quaid-e-Azam, he represented the Muslim League before Radcliffe Boundary Commission. His immaculate role during that tricky phase of partition was highly commendable. Many notables had gone on record to pay tribute to the great man’s devotion towards the cause of a separate homeland for the muslims.
In pre partition era, his services as a true Muslim leagean can’t be ignored as well. He was the legal brain behind drafting the Lahore resolution of 1940, apart from representing the muslims of India as the member of viceroy’s council.
Post independence, he was cherry-picked by none other than Qauid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, as Pakistan’s first foreign affairs Minister. He fought for the rights of the suppressed nations especially the muslim countries during his tenure.
As the head of the delegation, he represented Pakistan in United Nations’ General Assembly and advocated the stand of the Muslim world on the Palestinian issue. His 1947 speech at the UN Security Council for the palestinian cause sets yardstick for being the most eloquent case put forth in favour of Palestinians thus far. In recognition of his efforts he was awarded the highest civilian honour by Syria, Egypt and Jordan alike.
Transcript of Zafaraullah Khan’s speech in UN SecurityCouncilhttp://aleemkhan.files.wordpress.com/2007/07/sir-zafarullah-khan-speech.pdf
At the UN Security Council, he strongly proposed the liberation of the occupied Kashmir, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, North Ireland, Eritrea and Indonesia. Even as president of the UN General Assembly, he left no stone unturned to propound a strong case of Kashmir. In the process, he met a number of dignitaries including President Kennedy to bring Kashmir issue to the fore.
Not many muslim world diplomats could emulate his indomitable spirit for rallying the cause of the Third World nations.
His rise from a judge to the president (chief justice) of the International court of Justice in the Hague, later in his career, was phenomenal. This feat was only once achieved in the history by any Pakistani. Another feather in his cap was his knighthood as ‘Sir’ by the British empire, which is a rarity for a subcontinental great.
Interestingly, he had also Performed Umrah and Hajj in his lifetime and had written numerous books on Islam and Pakistan as a historian.
A politician and jurist of highest pedigree, he was Quaid’s most trusted luteinant and an ambassador of Muslim world on various international forums. I believe his success was not digested by many in Pakistan. For that matter his achievements, that are so vital for Pakistan, were tabled rather than being adorned as part of our educational syllabus to showcase an honest past of our nation.
Keeping faith aside, for a change if we could just honor his services towards Pakistan, then as a nation, we would have certainly moved a step ahead in the right direction.