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‘Bhagat Singh, a Pakistani Shaheed’

Mehtab Singh

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ISLAMABAD: The movement launched by lawyers and rights activists in Pakistan against the now-deposed Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry's suspension in March has been compared to revolutionary Bhagat Singh's struggle to oust the British.

At a seminar to mark the birth centenary of Bhagat Singh, writer Zahida Hina went a step further and described him as a "Pakistani Shaheed." Referring to the movement launched by lawyers to protest the removal of deposed judges, she said in Karachi last evening, "This is similar to Bhagat Singh's movement to oust the British."

Singh was born in Lyallpur, now Faisalabad, in 1907. He was hanged by the British in Lahore for shooting a police officer in 1931.

Stating that it was a great coincidence that the 150th anniversary of the 1857 War of Independence also falls this year, she exhorted Pakistanis to commemorate Singh's centenary as he was a `Pakistani' martyr.

Hina also accused the Pakistani Government of trying to "co-opt" Bhagat Singh's legacy.

"The present Governor of Punjab, a retired military man, has claimed that he was inspired by Bhagat Singh and has announced that a memorial commemorating the fiery young revolutionary would be unveiled in Lahore," the writer said, adding, "This is an insult - it is like Hitler unveiling a statue of Mandela or Gandhi."

"He was the pied piper of Punjab whose flute played the tune of freedom. He was not a bloodthirsty terrorist nor was he power-hungry. He was a thinker," she said of Bhagat Singh.

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