This is part of a limited, annual, series, “14 Days, 14 Stories”, about ordinary Pakistanis who are doing extraordinary things in order to give back to Pakistan.
We all dream of a Pakistan where there is absolute peace, democracy and equality, this octogenarian uncle from Lahore is a physical manifestation of that dream.
Ikram Ul Haque, an 88 year old Pakistani, has been standing at Liberty Chowk, Lahore almost thrice a week with a placard saying “Hamain Jinnah Ka Pakistan Chahye” roughly for the past five years.
An active part of the Pakistan Workers Movement, this is Ikram Ul Haque’s way of exhibiting his concern for the country that’s currently inundated with sectarian violence, apathy and terrorism. Most of the people honk, wave and gesture at him while passing by in their cars, motorcycles or just on foot to acknowledge his presence there and Haque never minds.
Mr. Haque retired from his position as Managing Director of the Pakistan State Oil in 1988. He is a graduate of Dayal Singh College. However, he put his education there on hold to join the Muslim Student Federation in 1944.
He has witnessed the partition of subcontinent first hand and helped refugees affected by the Hindu Muslim riots
He, along with his fellows from Dayal Singh College, FC College and Islamia College, grouped together to help the people in need.
Haque says he’s deeply concerned about how the country has diverted from the original mandate it was built on, mainly because of the nawab culture and landowners who have monopolized the agricultural land in the country.
While he acknowledges that he has spent a privileged life, himself, he says that not everyone is as lucky and that the children of the poor are still unable to get proper education.
Mr. Haque is sometimes accompanied by other members of the Pakistan Workers Movement
His companions distribute pamphlets where Ikram Ul Haque has written down all his demands rather desires.
Ikram further says he tries to come out as often as he can if his health (or wife) allows him to. He also has a response for people who ask him why he felt the need to ask for “Jinnah ka Pakistan” now and not earlier when he was young and similar conditions prevailed. He says that he is here now and wants nothing but a Pakistan that Jinnah dreamed of.
He says that he’s just here to remind people what they have forgotten about themselves, about Jinnah’s mandate and about the county they live in. You can find him at Liberty Chowk in Lahore with his placard and his chair, mostly on Tuesdays.
For more stories from our series about extraordinary Pakistanis check out ‘14 Days, 14 Stories‘.