US Politicians Applaud
Pakistani Political Thinker
By Hazem Kira
L to R : Abid Hassan Minto, Jeff
Barbosa, Jo Cazenave and Trisha Tahmasbi
Professor Abid Hassan Minto,
a visiting Pakistani jurist, intellectual, and political thinker
has received raving welcome messages from the entire gambit
of elected officials in the San Francisco, Bay Area. The list
includes Congressman Pete Stark, Senator Liz Figueroa, Assemblyman
Alberto Torrico, Mayor of Freemont Bob Wasserman, Jo Chamberlain
National Co-Chair of Green Party, and Mark Hinkle spokesperson
for the Libertarian Party of California.
Mr. Minto was unanimously complimented for his integrity,
lifelong struggle against dictatorship, leadership aimed at
rational reordering of the Pakistani society, work with Nelson
Mandela to get rich and powerful nations of the world to comply
with international law, and above all, to create a popular
movement to end feudalism in Pakistan.
He was equally praised for his principled opposition to domestic
oppression as well as foreign domination. “He is not
a liberal who opposes the military-feudal complex but welcomes
foreign troops and imperial control. He is opposed to both”,
one observer said.
These letters of felicitation were presented to Mr. Minto
at the beginning of a strategy meeting organized by the Pakistan
American Democratic Forum (PADF). The PADF was founded in
1982 to help restore democracy and rule of law in Pakistan.
Those present at the meeting were visibly buoyed up by these
laudatory messages from US politicians for a Pakistani political
thinker who has never compromised on his principles and has
always opposed colonial and neocolonial enterprises ranging
form Vietnam to Iraq. A summary of these messages follows.
Congressman Pete Stark (D-CA) wrote:
Chamberlain and Peter Camejo
“Welcome to the Bay Area….
I join in saluting your continued work for human rights and
respect for international law by all countries. Your partnership
with Nelson Mandela in the International Lawyers Association
is noteworthy and our contributions to promote the well being
of others continue to make a positive difference.
“You have been a source of inspiration to Pakistanis
and Pakistani-Americans and described as a ‘teacher
of teachers’. I know firsthand, Dr. Agha Saeed attributes
his commitment to excellence in leadership to your tutelage.
It is my understanding many of your former students are now
recognized leaders throughout the world so your legacy of
public service and dedication to human rights is of vast importance.
“The causes you have championed over the last fifty
years in your roles as jurist, constitutional expert, teacher,
writer, thinker, literary critic and political leader, are
certainly worthy of recognition. You have demonstrated the
courage of conviction and persistence against militarism,
nepotism, feudalism and other societal ills that keep others
from establishing a democracy and achieving personal freedom
to the fullest.
“I am confident your meeting today, hosted by Pakistan
American Democratic Forum, will be productive and encourage
our Bay Area leadership to continue to champion the cause
of respect of internal law and the cherished values of peace,
freedom, democracy and human rights in Pakistan and beyond.
State Senator Liz Figueroa wrote:
“Dr. Agha Saeed speaks
highly of you and your lifelong work as a public intellectual
who has advocated for rule of law, due process, equal justice
and alleviation of poverty in Pakistan. It is my hope that
the struggle for human rights, women’s rights, and the
rights of the minorities and the working classes will see
great advancement in future.
“Your work in the public area to create respect for
international law by all countries is admirable. Countries
across the globe are dealing with many of the same challenges,
poor health care systems, limited educational opportunities
and poverty. I have traveled to several countries and realize
that creating and maintaining international institutions is
vital to overcoming the obstacles we face in an increasingly
“I applaud your efforts in fighting oppression, economic
exploitation and human rights violations.”
Expressing profound appreciation for Mr. Minto’s trip
to the United States, Alberto Torrico, Assemblymember from
the 20th District, wrote:
Abid Hassan Minto and Jo Chamberlain
“You have demonstrated
unwavering commitment by working diligently for poverty alleviation,
due process, and equal justice in Pakistan, and I commend
you for your courage and conviction. Your effort and dedication
to the value of democracy is truly admirable.
“I would also like to extend great thanks to the Pakistan
American Democratic Forum for hosting this important event,
and enabling Bay Area residents to learn about the causes
you have championed over the last fifty years.
“It is an honor and pleasure to recognize your exceptional
contributions and lifelong devotion to peace, justice, and
human rights. Congratulations and may you continue to have
positive impact in all your endeavors”
Representing the Libertarian Party of California, Mark Hinkle
“I join my constituents in applauding you for your lifelong
struggle against military rule, economic exploitation, and
oppressive social policies….
“We are aware that
the political parties that you have led during the last fifty
years have always worked for peace between India and Pakistan.
Peace was always a key component of the manifestoes of these
“We are also aware that you have worked with Mr. Nelson
Mandela in the International Lawyers’ Association to
help create respect for international law by all countries,
big and small, rich and poor. You continue to play a pivotal
role in creating awareness that international institutions
like the United Nations need to be democratized.”
The central themes of all these message was summed by Bob
Wesserman, mayor of Freemont, CA: “ I applaud you and
want to express my appreciation for dedication in making this
world a better place. Many thanks for all your contribution.”
Mr. Minto was also the recipient of the Pakistan American
Democratic Forum’s 2005 Faiz Ahmed Faiz Award which
“Presented to Mr. Abid Hassan Minto in recognition of
his lifelong struggle against militarism, feudalism, neocolonialism
“Cognizant of the fact that you have spent fifty years,
half a century, leading nationwide movements for poverty alleviation,
rule of law, due process and equal justice in Pakistan, we
salute you for your continued struggle for human rights, women’s
rights, minority rights and rights of the working classes.”
San Francisco, California
July 12, 2005
The plaque was read to the audience by the nationally known
progressive leader Peter Camejo and presented to Mr. Minto
by Prof. Laurence Michalak, former vice chair of the Middle
East Studies Center at UC Berkeley.
Prof. Michalak compared the life and career of Mr. Abid Minto
to those “courageous” 20th century figures that
are willing to pay the price of personal suffering and sacrifice
to enhance public good.