• December 12, 2023

Dr. Iqbal Shedai: Alexandria to Beirut

Chapter 11: Dr. Iqbal Shedai's return travelogue

When this news reached Lahore my brother Mohammed Jamal Bhutta wrote to me that I should see other Arab countries and tell people about Pakistan. 

I had also decided to visit Leban, Syria, and Iraq.

 The Egyptian radio and press helped me a good deal. My name had become well known in the above-mentioned countries.

In Cairo, I used to meet nearly every day General Saleh Harb Pasha, presider of the SHUBBAN AL-MUSLIMEEN, who had become a great friend of Pakistan.

He introduced me to very many influential persons to whom I explained why we Indian Muslims separated from the Hindus.

The General helped me a good deal in my work He arranged through his party that I should give a talk about Pakistan in Alexandria on 29th August 1947.

The date was convenient for me as I had to take my boat from that port to Beirut. then the evening of 31st August There were some two thousand persons to hear me.

Most of them were intellectuals-professors, students, and journalists.

I spoke for more than two hours. My talk was translated into Arabic by an Egyptian young man who had studied in England.

It took an hour and a half. while in Cairo the late Dr. Abdul Wahab Azzam also helped me a good deal by introducing me to several intellectuals.

He was a great Muslim and a very learned man, when he was the Egyptian ambassador in Karachi, I also used to meet him.

In Cairo, I had many other notables among whom was Makram Obaid Akram, a Christian.

He, too, was anti-Pakistan but after hearing my arguments he understood why Indian Muslims wanted a country of their own. My meeting with him and my explanations were published in his paper.

I also met His Excellency Abdur Rahman Azzam Pasha, the Secretary General of the Arab League.

Well, I was very satisfied with my propaganda about Pakistan. All the mist on the name of Pakistan was cleared.

On 31st August 1947, I sailed by an Egyptian boat from Alexandria for Beirut. In the same boat was an Egyptian delegation which was to attend the Arab cultural conference which was to be held at Bait Mary, a very nice health resort some five miles from Beirut in the mountains.

Sayed Abdul Wahab Azzam also invited me to attend the conference as a guest, which I did.

From Alexandria I had sent a cable to my old friend Sayed Riad Al Sulh, then Prime Minister of Leban.

Our boat touched Cypress port in the morning, where we landed for sightseeing. Some members of the Egyptian delegation went to see Nicosia the capital of Cypress. Our boat left the port at about ten P.M. for Beirut, which we reached at about in the morning Sayed Riad Sulh had sent his private secretary to the port to receive me.

The secretary had also arranged for me a room in a hotel. The same afternoon-2nd September 1947, I met Sayed Riad Al Sulh in his office. He received me very affectionately and we talked about old things. He had already read about my activities from the Egyptian press. When I asked him if I could give talks about Pakistan, he advised me not to do anything in Lebanon as the Christians might be alarmed.

I told him that I would simply explain to my Lebanese friends what Pakistan meant and what it stood for. He said that I should go to Syria and start my propaganda from there. The Lebanese Muslims were under the influence of Syria and anything done or written there the Lebanese would accept. so after a stay of three days, I left for Damascus and put up in Hotel Omeyya.

When I left Cairo Sheikh Hasan Al Banna gave me a letter from Sayed Mustafa Imoun Sebai, the president of Akhwan l Muslimin in Damascus There were also some other persons whom I knew but they were Ministers and when a person sits in the chair of a minister he is changed and forgets his old comrades. But when he is “unemployed “he becomes a man and ………So I did not like to see any of the ministers whom I had known as “revolutionaries” in Europe.

The first and foremost thing was to make myself known to the public. I went to the center of the Akhwanul Muslimin but Sayed Sebai was not there. In the afternoon I went again and found him there. I gave him the letter of the Sheikh but he had already known my name through the Egyptian press and radio.

He was very cordial and affectionate with me. It was the 5th of September, 1947. he asked me if I would give a talk about Pakistan. I agreed to do so.
On the evening of 7th September at 9 P.M., I went to the party headquarters of Akhwanul Muslimin.

Sayed Sebai introduced me to Sayed Mohamed Mubarak who was his chief lieutenant. So we all went to the place where I had to give a talk about my country.

There were some three thousand persons assembled there. Naturally, I had to speak in English. Fortunately, on 6th September a Punjabi came to my hotel to meet me.

He was an Ahmadi of Rabwah school of thought. He was there as a Moballagh and could talk Arabic very fluently. I took him with me as my interpreter. I think it was a mistake which I committed because in those parts the Ahmadis were not liked but rather considered as British agents.

My brother had already written to me before I left Cairo that the Muslims were being butchered in East Punjab. When I began to speak, I had this butchery before my eyes. I was speaking and crying. The audience also began to cry. It was a pathetic speech. The interpreter did his best to explain my feelings to the audience. Those who understood English had their eyes Wet. The meeting went on till midnight.

The next morning the whole of Damascus press was full of the tragedy which was being played in India, especially in the east Punjab. The Hilal-i-Ahmer, the Ulemas, and other public bodies sent cables to Gandhi condemning the atrocities committed by the Hindus, to the innocent Muslims.
These public bodies also sent cables to Qaid-i-Azam showing their sympathy for the tragic happenings. But these cables never reached the Qaid.

Fruit chat researchers tried their best to keep the placement exactly in the original alphabet and tone to avoid any kind of unflattering change. Feel The sensation of a historic moment as it was.

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