Senator Dr S M Zafar
HOW is one to know a friend? Certainly not by duration of time, neither can friendship be bought or got by serves rendered. Nor it depends on phrases of flattery or reference to achievements of the other or yours. It is more than these yet may contain all; however, it is superior to them all.
I and late Zahid Malik were known to each other for decades. But our friendship came about silently and surely. Not when I defended him in 1989 when he was arrested by Federal Investigation Agency on the allegation that in his book “Dr. A Q Khan – Islamic Bomb” he had disclosed secret of STATE. I met him in the police station and when he informed me that the investigating officer wanted him to “admit” otherwise he would be given the highest punishment including hanging under the provision of ‘Official Secret Act’ and ‘Pakistan Penal Code’. When I asked why he is disturbed, he told me in a whisper that FIA investigator has threatened him that if he did not confess and apalogise, the charge will also include that after having got the secret from Dr A Q Khan, he (Zahid Malik) ‘sold it to some other country’. I assured him that he will be acquitted in the case and he should not confess at all. No doubt he was anxious but he stood by his ‘no’. I defended him before the High Court, got an immediate bail and later secured his acquittal.
Nor can I say that our friendship developed when we went together to New Dehli, India in March 2005 and stayed for four (4) days in a delegation of PML-Q, I as a Senior Vice President of the Party and Zahid Malik as a journalist with Chaudhry Shuja’at Hussain as the President of the League. Both of us met the President of India A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Chairperson of the Congress Sonia Gandhi. After each meeting, Zahid Malik would come to me and express his appreciation on some of my questions and statements to these dignitaries which he believed projected correctly the views and interests of Pakistan.
No doubt I am grateful to Late Zahid Malik that he nominated me to visit Azerbaijan to present on behalf of Pakistan Observer a shield to the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, His Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev. Myself and my wife were given royal reception in the capital city.
When Zahid Malik founded Nazriya Pakistan Council (Trust), he included me amongst the Board of Trustees. He was able to collect elite from Islamabad and meetings of the Board were held regularly.
The accumulated effect of all these was no more than developing close relationship between us. So what constituted friendship? I am a pacca optimist about future of Pakistan. So was late Zahid Malik. Whenever we were together we will find logical reasons why we see light at the end of the tunnel. Our hope and optimism never dwindled and we supported each other in our faith in Pakistan.
When I heard that he had cancer, I was shocked, so were many of his admirers. His son Gauhar Zahid informed me that the cancer was galloping. I went to see him at his residence a day or two before the Chinese government had offered him treatment in Beijing where he was likely to travel. I was surprised to see a person who had been informed by the doctors in Pakistan that he may not live more than six months, he was standing outside the gate of his house to receive me without any sign of worry of the impending death. He talked confidently and then took me into the inner chamber of the house to meet his wife and family. I must say, meeting him and seeing him in this state after knowing of galloping cancer, anyone who met him must have admired and felt envious of his accepting the final destiny. Later, I learnt that he resigned from the Presidentship of Nazryia Pakistan Council and nominated Dr Naeem Ghani in his place.
Zahid Malik had tremendous creative energy – not only the energy in himself but which he injected into all who were associated with him. The building of Nazriya Pakistan Council standing in Fatima Jinnah Park is a tribute to him. It is a product of Zahid Malik and his book ‘Subjects of Quran’, translated in many languages, is a part of his energy. Of course Pakistan Observer which has always projected the best of Pakistan and refutes anything that is falsely attributed to it, is his mission and I am sure it will go on doing the same service to the memory of the founder of ‘Nazriya Pakistan’, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah.