Join hands for health, education: Pak industrialist

BHOPAL-BORN industrialist from Pakistan, A Haseeb Khan, who heads a major pharmaceutical company, had left his birthplace some five decades back but he is still a Bhopali at heart.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2006 17:42 IST

BHOPAL-BORN industrialist from Pakistan, A Haseeb Khan, who heads a major pharmaceutical company, had left his birthplace some five decades back but he is still a Bhopali at heart.

On a visit to his hometown, Khan, who heads the Bhopal International Forum for promoting friendship and cultural relations between both countries, advocates strong ties between both countries in order to fight the growing Western dominance on economic and other fronts.

“We have absolutely the same culture and an example is that I find Urdu spoken in Bollywood movies much chaste than the language in Pakistani movies”, says Khan, chairman of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry, Karachi.
“The people who share the same culture, civilisation and language must join hands and the beginning should be made through partnership in health and education”.

Khan has built a model of private participation under which the slum children are imparted education at par with the public schools. “It had taken us six months to just convince the slum-dwellers that education for their children would be beneficial for the family’.

“Unless quality education and health facilities percolate down and their benefits reach the poor, the lower strata poor would never be able to compete with the elite,” he said.

He feels that section of Ulema is responsible for the backwardness of Indian Muslims, as the followers are taken in by rituals rather than following the spirit of the religion.

Khan minces no words when he says that as far as lack of people-to-people contact between both countries is concerned, the problem is at the government level. “The common man must be involved and it is no use to have a 2-3 day picnic-like meets annually to talk peace, as the South Asian countries have no other option but to come closer in this rapidly changing world economy where small players are getting wiped out”.

“The bureaucracy has kept things slow in every sphere in both countries but even they realise now that if things are not speeded up they would also get redundant in this post-liberalised world. It takes hours to get land for setting up industry in Dubai but in the sub-continent you don’t get visa for six months to visit the neighbouring country”.

Born in Bhopal in 1940, A Haseeb Khan’s family migrated to Pakistan in 1952. Apart from the Bhopal International Forum under the aegis of which cultural events are organised, Khan is a connoisseur of poetry and organises mushairas and cricket matches.

“I take culture very seriously and unfortunately both the countries have blocked the culture that alone can bring the people closer. Why can’t a Hindu love a Muslim or vice versa, should religion be an impediment?” he asks, reciting She’ri Bhopali’s couplet, ‘apne dil ki saadgi par rehm aata hai mujhe/ muskuraa kar baat jisne ki usike ho liye’

First Published: Nov 20, 2006 17:42 IST