Moulana Muhammed lsmail Zabeeh is one of the founding fathers of Pakistan.
His whole life is an epitome of total devotion and self less service to
the cause of Muslim Ummah and the Pakistan Movement. He was born in 1913
in Gawaliar but was brought up at Kanpur. The Moulana hailed from a well
known scholarly family of Hazara. His father Akhundzada Moulana Ghulam
Yahya Hazarvi was a great religious scholar who succeeded Moulana Ashraf
Thanvi as head of Jamia llahiyat when the latter left Kanpur and settled
at Thana Bhawan at the beginning of the 20th century. Moulana Zabeeh studied
at Jamia llahiyat Kanpur, Darul-Uloom Deoband and Jamia Milliah Delhi
under some of the luminous scholars of that time including Dr. Zakir Hussain.
2. He entered political life at the tender age of 14 when in 1927 he took
active part in "civil disobedience" and anti British "quit-India"
movements. He proved to be an outstanding scholar during his young days
and authored a few classic treatises on travelogues and religion. He also
rendered some of the classic Persian books into Urdu language which were
published by Khawaja Hasan Nizami's monthly magazines, "Paishwa"
and "Maulvi" at Delhi. He embarked on his singular journalistic
career by bringing out from Bombay a humorous periodical "Bombay
Punch" in early 1930's. He then moved to Kanpur and published a literary
monthly Urdu magazine, "Arif" which prided in publishing original
poetry of Moulana Hasrat Mohani and scholarly writings of Moulana Azad
Moulana Zabeeh rose to political eminence in 1930's when at the young
age of 17 he authored a historic report 'Kanpur Riots' covering the tragic
Kanpur ethnic riot of 1931. This report became a touching saga and an
authentic reference to the atrocities committed by the vast Hindu majority
toward the Muslim minority of Kanpur.
4. In 1937 he was the youngest delegate to the All India Muslim League
Session at Lucknow. He also remained Publicity Secretary of All India
Majlis-e-Ahrar in 1938. Upon arrest of its President Moulana Ataullah
Shah Bukhari, Moulana Zabeeh acted as President of All India Majlis-e-Ahrar
5. Moulana Zabeeh was put behind the bars with the top Indian leaders
many a time by the British. In 1941, soon after his release from a long
spell of jail, he brought out weekly "Quami Akhbar" from Kanpur
which was soon to become one of the leading daily newspapers and exerted
a formidable influence upon the Muslims of UP in their struggle toward
a free homeland. His political sagacity and prodigious journalistic talent
was soon to catch the attention of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who
appointed him as the Head of the publicity campaign of the All India Muslim
league, UP in the crucial 1946 elections. Due to his extremely effective,
persuasive and powerful publicity campaign in favour of Muslim League
candidates which he partly financed from his own pocket that Muslim League
won almost all the 67 Muslim seats in UP. He was also made lncharge of
historic election of Quaid-e-Millat Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan from Hapur
constituency against formidable Congress candidate Moulana Muhammad Ahmad
Kazmi. History has recorded that he conducted Quaid-e-Millat's election
campaign in such an outstanding and forceful manner that the victory of
Liaquat Ali Khan became one of the most historic fiats of his electioneering
prowess. This election victory proved to be a turning point in Pakistan
Movement - a detailed account of this historic campaign is vividly portrayed
by (Late) Musarrat Hussain Zubairi [Former Federal Secretary Communications,
undivided India and subsequently Pakistan] in his autobiography "A
Voyage Through History".
6. Moulana Zabeeh became a close associate of Quaid-e-Azam whose adoration
and association he was to honour all his life through his prolific writings.
7. After migration in 1947 he, in association with Raees Ahmad Jaffery,
started an Urdu daily "Khursheed" from Karachi. In 1949 he brought
out the first English newspaper "Voice of Sindh" from Hyderabad.
The present Sindh Text Book Board Press at Hyderabad, Sindh was gifted
to the Sindh Government by him in 1952 on the explicit request of the
then Chief Commissioner, Karachi Mr. Hashirn Raza.
8. On the insistence of his great friend Major General Jahanzeb (Late)
the then Ruler of Swat he moved from Hyderabad and settled in Swat in
1953 and authored the first authentic book on "Swat Titled".
9. He finally settled in 1954 at Peshawar where on the request of his
journalist friend Usman Azad (Late) he launched daily "Anjam"
of Karachi from his residence at Peshawar. On conversion of Anjam to daily
'Mashriq' he acted as its Chief Editor for some time in 1960's.
10. One of the most outstanding contributions of Moulana lsmail Zabeeh
was 'that, together with editors Altaf Hussain of 'Dawn' and Hameed Nizami
of 'Nawa-i-Waqt', he convened the first All India Muslim Newspaper Editors
Convention at the Arabic College, Delhi which was inaugurated by Quaid-e-Azam
and presided by Quaid-e-Millat. In May, 1947. When the Editors Conference
shifted to Lahore from Delhi after partition, Hameed Nizami became its
first Secretary General. The professional newspaper editors body in Pakistan
today thus owes its existence largely to the imaginative initiative of
Moulana lsmail Zabeeh.
11. Moulana Zabeeh had spent many years in jail in UP. A huge record of
his writings, copies of old newspapers and the publicity material of the
Muslim league was all burnt by the UP state government and he was virtually
exiled from India by the Congress Government. When he wanted to visit
India for offering Fateha at the graves of his parents, he was told that
he could never enter India.
12. His name is abidingly associated with lslamabad. He was among the
first Pakistanis to propose the setting up of the nation's capital in
this region and name it as lslamabad. Capital Park F-9 Sector was named
after Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah in December, 1995 by the then Prime Minister
of Pakistan on the behest and insistence of Moulana lsmail Zabeeh. Due
to the untiring, efforts of Moulana Zabeeh to keep the memories of the
freedom fighters alive in the minds of the present and future generations
numerous roads have been dedicated after the Pioneers of Pakistan movement.
13. Moulana lsmail Zabeeh never yearned for any worldly reward. He never
asked for any personal favour from any government. He found it unbearable
to live under the obligation of others.
the dignitaries including heads of the State and the Government called
on him at his residence they would always be carried by the depth of his
intellect, unflinching loyalty to Pakistan ideology and the Quaid and
his abiding concern for the common man.
15. Moulana lsmail Zabeeh authored several books, including a travelogue
on Afghanistan and remained an important figure in Pakistan's intellectual
circles. His voluminous books are considered rare and authentic pieces
of research on a city (i.e. lslamabad) he helped select as the capital
of Pakistan. He wrote many books of literary and historic significance
16. Moulana Zabeeh died on 27 September 2001 at lslamabad where he had
settled for the last 10 years, after a protracted illness spanning over
a decade, and was laid to rest at lslamabad main graveyard. Pakistan Television,
leading social and literary associations held country wide references
in the memory of this great freedom fighter. Almost all the leading newspapers
published editorials on the life and achievements of Moulana. According
to the editorial carried by daily "The Nation" of September
"Moulana Ismail Zabeeh's death will be widely mourned, for in him
we have not only lost an important writer and researcher, but also one
who worked in close proximity with the Quaid-e-Azam, and who was a witness
to the thoughts, principles and political practices that we greatly miss
in the present socio-political milieu. His life, on the other hand, needs
to be honoured and emulated because at the end of the day, he left this
world much richer by his valuable research and intellectual legacy, than
when he entered in nearly nine decades earlier".
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Post Office Foundation Press, (Security Division) Karachi.