Foreign aid & Pak models
I look back on our history, even quite recent history. Aligarh University spread over miles and miles . Nothing was built on any foreign aid. . The magnificent buildings, lecture halls , laboratories, Girls college, girls boarding house, vast play grounds, the great Students Union like Oxford UnionAll were constructed by donations of Muslim of the Subcontinent., from one end to the other, bearing on each room the name of the donor on a marble stone slab , some I remembers still. There were many Arbabs from Peshawar, Choudhries from Dhaka and Barsisal , Talpurs of Sindh, Nawabs and Talukadars of Oudh, of UP like Nawab Bhikampur, Bohri Head of Community Mulla Saifuddin Khoas memons of Bombay, seths of Madras. The budget was subsidized by Nizam of Hyderabad, Nawab of Rampur, the richest Shia prince on whose charity functioned most of Shia institutionsm Nawqab of Bhopal, . Not one foreigner, no Lord, no British tycoon. The Nizam financed educational institutions, paid stipends and scholarships, and Rampur Ruler did the sam for all Shia institutions, Imam bargahs, etc. Bhopal subsidized even publications of Iqbal the national poet, and so on . Junagarhs ruler did a lot for Muslim education in Sindh. Incidentally so did the Hindu seths and princes for the Hindus. No forign aid at all was used in Muslim or Hindu educational, social or philanthrophist organizations. All this changed after Independence. We became baggers.
I had wondred whether the urge for community’s welfare has died in Pakistan. There were signs that still there are some who are carrying on the duty silently. I learnt that the Karachi rich businessmen , mostly Memons, Khojas, Bohras and former Bombay industrialists settled in Pakistan contribute through their zakat about 80% or a little more all the mosques and madressahs, widows and orphanages, according to quite reliable sources. . No publicity. This zakat also goes to the under privileged and charitable organizations. Like Edhi Trust . I learnt chi of a citizen’s committee which serves food to those living on road side or as destitutes and runs schools for about hundred thousand children . I wanted to get more details but they did not want to indulge in publicity.
Coming to home grounds, Islamabad-Pindi region. One gentleman whom I had known as a Principal in some College invited me to address the students at their annual function, at Khana Pull suburb of Islamabad. I thought this must be some shanty school. Who else would invite me. Normally they would invite some big mouth from a political party who will go there and give a talk on the great achievements of his Party. I was driven to the schools by Ali Reza who manages the Trust. When the car entered his College having about a thousand or more students it opened my eyes. It appeared as if I was visiting some institution in a western country, well organized. The College must be spread on over fifty acres or even more. Magnificent building recently constructed. What classes and arrangements . I never had such schools in my life. I entered the Assembly Hall and it was superb. It was all better than I had at Aligarh. The students were well disciplined the lodging rooms for the resident schools were recently built with bed and pillows and quilt and every thing provided. I asked the Principal what is he expenditure He said a million Rupees per month. There were students from all over Pakistan including Sindh, Baluchistan, KPK, AJK, GB reasonably well represented. It has four Boys Schools and college, three Girls Schools, all services provided including health car, they run in all 17 scholls, medical Units, vocational units, Mosques and Islamic centers, etc. I might say I have never seen this high standard any where The crowning statement about their philanthropic work is that Their brochure on their organization states “ Ali Trust Pakistan the “family trust does not accept any donation from outside” My hat off to such committed philanthropist family and its head. Not a penny of foreign aid.
There are two ladies charitable organizations who are doing creditable social uplift and women empowerment through their cottage industry. One is Bahbud founded by the lady Akhter Riazuddin , an intellectual , and her associates It has branches in Lahore, Multan and Karachi besides Islamabad and Pindi. However, it gets some financial aid from foreign countries, Japan, Us, Germany , Canadian, etc.
The other small level women’s organization is Shahida Azim’s Mashal ( Candle of Hope) and her associates , set up in what used to be a village of mud houses but now becoming a kind of small suburb. These organizations are run by an elected executive committee of highly motivated ladies,. It is remarkable how they have on their little resources build a complex for handicrafts, a girls High School, medical help center, a handicraft center, a dispensary for the women of the village even a maternity center. However, they receive some small foreign assistance.