Tuesday Dec 01, 2020
With a recitation of Habib Jalib's "dartay hain bandookon walay aik nehatti larki se", musician Shahram Azhar paid tribute to the two women who steered last night's Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) jalsa in Multan.
"Dedicated to the courageous women leading the struggle for democracy in Pakistan," wrote Azhar in a tweet. "Following in the footsteps of Asma Jahangir and Benazir Bhutto."
Azhar was referring to Maryam Nawaz and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari leading the Opposition rallies in Multan. Interestingly, Jalib wrote the poem for Aseefa's mother.
Azhar is the lead singer of the band Laal - a semi-classical pop band with a socialist ideology.
Their first album Umeed-e-Sahar became the unofficial anthem for the Lawyers' Movement in Pakistan. Their songs comprised poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Jalib and senior lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan.
Aitzaz spearheaded the popular mass movement which was launched against former president Pervez Musharraf’s action in March 2007 when he unconstitutionally suspended the then-chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry.
The singer had also worked with Geo News during those tumultuous times in the country when the political forces were campaigning for the restoration of democracy in the country.
A revolutionary poet, Jalib was a left-wing activist and politician who strongly opposed martial law, authoritarianism and state oppression, and was imprisoned several times for his view. He was a friend and supporter of PPP founder and former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Following Bhutto's execution in April 1979, Benazir and her mother Nusrat Bhutto were imprisoned for six months. They were briefly released then put under house arrest for another six months.
The two women were arrested again in March 1981 after the Al Zulfikar group, led by her brothers Murtaza and Shahnawaz, orchestrated the Pakistan International Airlines hijacking. Nusrat was released in July 1981 but Benazir was moved between Karachi and Sukkur prisons. She was kept in solitary confinement for much of her imprisonment.
In December 1981, Benazir was placed under house arrest. As international pressure mounted for her release, the former premier was released and flown to Geneva in January of 1984. She moved to the United Kingdom and remained in self-exile till April 1986 when she returned to Pakistan.
Upon her return, Jalib wrote the ghazal Nihatti Larki.
Jalib, who was imprisoned under Zia's rule, was released by Benazir when she came to power. The poet was disappointed by the state of the nation during her tenure, and famously wrote:
Wohi halaat hein faqeeron ke,
Din phiray hain faqat waziron ke.
Har Bilawal hai des ka maqrooz,
Paon nangay hain Benazeeron ke.