Recollections and reflections COVER POINT by Jamsheed Marker

COVER POINT by Jamsheed Marker

Recollections and reflections COVER POINT by Jamsheed Marker

Reviewed by, Naeem Baig    

Liberty is not a means to a higher political end.

It is itself the highest political end. Lord Acton

“The other two issues formed the core of the brief of the unofficial negotiations conducted in Pakistan between Zia and two senior US officials, Richard Armitage, Assistant Secretary  for International Security in the Department of Defence, and Richard Murphy, Assistant Secretary for near East and South Asia in the State Department. , both of whom were my good friends. As I was informed, the meetings were scheduled for two separate days, the agenda for the first being the Nuclear issue and for the second the implementation of Geneva Accords. At the first meeting, Zia looked us in the eyes and said, “We are not making such a weapon”, and we knew that he was lying to us. At the second meeting, he told us that he intended to induct weapons into Afghanistan, and coolly dismissed our observation that it would be violating the Geneva Agreement that he had just signed. He said “Islam allowed him to lie for a good cause.” The Americans’ correct and caustic comment was that ‘on both occasions the {…} lied to us’ for the good cause of Islam.  

… Zia, the consummate political manipulator, now found himself simultaneously engulfed in a series of major problems. The first was the prevailing turbulence within Pakistan, with dismissal of Junejo, and the return of Benazir Bhutto; the second was increasing political hostility that prevailed in the US, as in Pakistan, over Zia’s statements and actions. “

A quote from the book (page 145/146 Chapter Zia Ul Haq: May-August 88), another quote from book (Benazir Bhutto 1988-90, 1993-96 page 167)

During this period I was astonished to note that accessibility accorded to the Americans as they attended the meeting at the Prime Minister’s office and the participation for brief for the forthcoming official visit to the United States. Even subjects as sensitive as nuclear issue were in the discussion. It became clear to me (with a barely concealed sense of relief) that the Prime Minister was not fully aware of the nuances of the situation. The old Pathan tiger, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, had kept it under close lock and key and was guarding the contents like the fierce watchdog that he always was.”     

“Cover Point” written by Jamsheed Marker and prefaced by Stanley Wolpert, published in 2016 by Oxford Pakistan, is a book you can’t ignore as a somber reader of the history particularly of Pakistan. Jamsheed Marker, a distinguished veteran of well known ‘Parsi’ family and peaceful followers of Prophet Zoroaster of Iran, who has had settled in Quetta long ago prior to the partition of India.

“What took Pakistan from its turbulent but pristine formation in 1947 to its present condition? Marker asks at the end of his long, clear view of Pakistan from his cover point. “I’m quite certain that its founder … Jinnah would find it difficult to recognize, much less accept, the country in its present form.’  Stanley Wolpert writes in his preface of this book.

In the introduction chapter of this book, Marker himself describes, “In the course of writing this book, I have constantly been reminded of the immortal exhortation of the Greek philosopher Parmenides of Elea: ‘Heed not the blind eye, echoing ear, nor yet the tongue; but bring to this great debate the test of reason.’”

As Marker himself expresses, I do agree with him that the reader is urged to view this book as neither history not biography. It is a plain series of sketches illustrated from his personal observations of long standing as a member of elite entrepreneur family in Bombay and Karachi since pre-partition and later as a Diplomat in Foreign Services of Pakistan since 1965.

Amid the course of reading this book, I couldn’t stop myself to bring an instant review about the wonderful historic notes describing as his reflections by Jamsheed marker for two reasons. The first as I’d personally come to know the Marker family from my Baluchistan University days (69-73) and, afterwards when I was posted in Quetta as a Banker. The other vital reason Kursheed Marker’s (the elder brother of Author) compassionate and generous contribution towards air of tranquility and harmony as the elite minorities had with generally poor inhabitants. I remember those were the days when nobody had an impression or discrimination about ethnic or sectarian differences among Pakistanis particularly in Quetta where large number of minorities were living together since ages without thinking any injustice or bigotry.   

Jamsheed Marker has truthfully portrayed the reflections of his outlook and observations. As part of the same era I have been witnessing it as a political student and a professional banker.  It was unfortunate in the history of Pakistan while discussing sketches of its leaders that once they have achieved office; they were all exposed to the element of greed, pride and feeling of infallibility, which further fuelled with flattery and sycophancy from the bureaucracy both in Military and Civil institutions. And this phenomenon ultimately has led us to financial corruption and disastrous decisions.

The book is published by Oxford Press Pakistan in 2016 and it has fourteen chapters right from the early days of Independence from Liaqat Ali Khan to Gen. Pervez Musharraf having the essence of wonderful read about the truthful history of those years though in a euphemism manner.      

About نعیم بیگ 140 Articles
ممتاز افسانہ نگار، ناول نگار اور دانش ور، نعیم بیگ، مارچ ۱۹۵۲ء میں لاہور میں پیدا ہوئے۔ گُوجراں والا اور لاہور کے کالجوں میں زیرِ تعلیم رہنے کے بعد بلوچستان یونی ورسٹی سے گریجویشن اور قانون کی ڈگری حاصل کی۔ ۱۹۷۵ میں بینکاری کے شعبہ میں قدم رکھا۔ لاہور سے وائس پریذیڈنٹ اور ڈپٹی جنرل مینیجر کے عہدے سے مستعفی ہوئے۔ بعد ازاں انہوں نے ایک طویل عرصہ بیرون ملک گزارا، جہاں بینکاری اور انجینئرنگ مینجمنٹ کے شعبوں میں بین الاقوامی کمپنیوں کے ساتھ کام کرتے رہے۔ نعیم بیگ کو ہمیشہ ادب سے گہرا لگاؤ رہا اور وہ جزو وقتی لکھاری کے طور پر ہَمہ وقت مختلف اخبارات اور جرائد میں اردو اور انگریزی میں مضامین لکھتے رہے۔ نعیم بیگ کئی ایک عالمی ادارے بَہ شمول، عالمی رائٹرز گِلڈ اور ہیومن رائٹس واچ کے ممبر ہیں۔