NA speaker pays tribute to Quaid-e-Azam portrait painter Saeed Akhtar

ISLAMABAD, Aug 13 (APP):National Assembly (NA) Speaker Raja Pervez Ashraf on Saturday paid tribute to Saeed Akhtar, the famous portrait painter of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Addressing the convention of former and present parliamentarians on the occasion of Diamond Jubilee celebrations, he said it was also one of the most beautiful events in the history of my political struggle as he sees many such faces whose efforts and sacrifices had protected the right of expression and sanctity of speech in the beloved country.

The NA speaker said the father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam, the first President of the Legislative Assembly, had declared this House as the Federal Legislature with full and absolute powers.

He said in today’s ceremony, he wanted to repeat the historic words of Quaid-e-Azam about this House as saying that; “I sincerely hope that with your support and co-operation, we shall make this Constituent Assembly an example to the world. The Constituent Assembly has two main functions to perform. The first is the very onerous and responsible task of framing our Constitution of Pakistan and the second of functioning as a full and complete sovereign body as the federal legislature of Pakistan.”

He said he wanted to remind these words of the founder of Pakistan which he said three days before the establishment of Pakistan as he (Quaid-e-Azam) had decided this principle before the establishment of the state that not only the entire power of framing, arrangement and amendment of the Constitution of Pakistan was vested in the august house but also the source of all state power was this house.

Raja Pervez Ashraf said in this event, he also saw the faces of the creators of the 1973 consensus Constitution adding this Constitution was the chain of integrity, unity and development of the federation of Pakistan.

He further said this was the Constitution which the great scholars of their time Maulana Mufti Mehmood, Abdul Wali Khan, Noor Ul Amin, Sher Baz Mazari, Maulana Shah Ahmad Noorani, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, Professor Ghafoor Ahmed, Dr Abdul Hai Baloch and all political schools of thought, including Sardar Shaukat Hayat, leaders outside the assembly including the leaders of democracy, Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, Ghous Bakhsh Bizenjo and Abdul Samad Achakzai, had full support and patronage.

He said now we had a sacred trust and it was our duty to fulfill the right of this sacred trust adding “We had to be the voice of the people, nobles, laborers, farmers, traders, non-Muslim Pakistanis, women, youth and innocent children, defenders and the practical guarantors of their rights.

We should no longer be limited to legislation, but should exercise the right to public representation by effectively using our primary parliamentary oversight function, he added.

He said Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto wrote in his letter to his daughter Shaheed Benazir Bhutto from the prison, “You cannot be big unless you are prepared to kiss the ground. You cannot defend the soil unless you know the smell of that soil. I know the smell of our soil. I know the rhythm of our rivers. I know the beat of our drums. The theories, the dogmas and the scripts stand outside the gates of history. The dominant factor is the aspiration of the people and the ability to seek total identification with it?”

“It was the reason that while organizing the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, this Parliament took special care to ensure true representation of the people and you witnessed that for the first time in the 75-year history, the dignity and honor of Pakistan, our non-Muslim Pakistanis, guarantee of Pakistan’s development, women of Pakistan and real future of Pakistan, children of Pakistan, were invited to this august house and sat on the same seats which in fact, were reserved for their elected representatives,” the speaker added.

The voice of the poor Christian living in the slums to the woman who earns her livelihood by hard work and the child of the helpless laborer working in the vegetable market resounded in this House. Where the most worthy and capable children from the first class schools of Pakistan came, the extremely intelligent and talented children from government schools, welfare institutions and street education also came to this House to express their views without risk.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in her book “Reconciliation, Islam, Democracy and the West” had wrote; “Democratic success is not in winning elections and forming a government, but in putting shoes on the feet of the poor cotton-picking peasant woman.”
He said this should be the center of our democratic struggle.

He said apparently it was a small but actually huge step to bring history to its rightful place taken by this assembly. Thirty-five years ago today, the renowned artist of the country, Saeed Akhtar, was entrusted with the task of creating a portrait of the Quaid-e-Azam for the first directly elected legislative house, he added.

He said in the shadow of Saeed Akhtar’s artwork, the first directly elected assembly not only took oath but also made the Constitution, the first elected Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Muhammad Khan Junejo also took oath under the same picture in 1977 and 1985 assemblies.

He said when this new House was built in 1986, the image remained in the State Bank building, which was later destroyed due to the events of time.

The NA Secretariat was fighting the case for getting this picture for the last 12 years which finally succeeded after he became the speaker and under his personal supervision this picture was restored not only with the advice of Saeed Akhtar but finally after thirty five years, the original picture had been re-displayed in this esteemed House, he added.

He said this picture was the witness of our constitutional and democratic history and its original location was this House, so after three decades, this picture had been displayed back in the House this day.