US Politicians Applaud Pakistani Political Thinker
By Hazem Kira
Newark, CA


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:


Jo 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 interdependent world.
“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 observed:
“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 organizations.
“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 read:
“Presented to Mr. Abid Hassan Minto in recognition of his lifelong struggle against militarism, feudalism, neocolonialism and imperialism.
“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.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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