What’s common between Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Abdus Salam and Abdul Khaliq?

Published: April 24, 2014
SHARES
Email

If Milkha was appreciated by being given an award, a book accolade and a movie tribute, I’m sure Abdul Khaliq could have been given at least an award for his achievements.

If Milkha was appreciated by being given an award, a book accolade and a movie tribute, I’m sure Abdul Khaliq could have been given at least an award for his achievements. If Milkha was appreciated by being given an award, a book accolade and a movie tribute, I’m sure Abdul Khaliq could have been given at least an award for his achievements.

They were never appreciated in Pakistan.

We are a profoundly aptitudinal nation and have produced the finest people in all fields of life, whether it is sports, music or science.

Take cricket for example. We have seen the likes of Hanif Muhammad, Zaheer Abbas, Wasim Akram, Sarfraz Nawaz, Javed Miandad, Imran Khan, Shoaib Akhtar, Inzamamul Haq and many other legends.

Moving on to hockey, we have had some of the best players in the world and we are the only nation that won the hockey World Cup title four times. Out of the 10 medals Pakistan has won in the Olympics, we won three in hockey. Sohail Abbas holds the current world record of 338 goals for most international goals scored by a player in the history of international field hockey. Our team has some other great players as well like Samiullah (left winger), Islahuddin Siddiqui (right winger), Hasan Sardar (center forward), Hanif Khan (right in), Kalimullah (right out) and Salim Sherwani (goalkeeper).

We also hold the unique record of 43 passes in one minute.

And it’s not just the sports of cricket and hockey that Pakistan is known for. We have had legendary players in squash as well with the likes of Jahangir Khan and Jansher Khan.

And in snooker, we have Muhammad Yousaf and Muhammad Asif who gained world denominations for us.

It is quite obvious that our country has produced some of the finest sportspeople in the world and we continue to do so. But the quandary is that we do not know how to appreciate them. And it’s not just sports personalities that we fail to appreciate and support.

We have developed the habit of snubbing all the people who work hard to make us proud – whether it is people in sports, showbiz, education or any other walk of life. Take Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan – a phenomenon himself in the field of music. But did we appreciate his talent? Well, a little, I guess but it was only after he went to India and became big there that we decided to take pride in the fact that he was one of us – a Pakistani.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only singer whom we ignored until India decided to parade them on the international front.

And then of course, there is the famous case of Dr Abdus Salam, the world’s first Muslim laureate who won the Nobel Prize in Physics. Did we give him his due respect? No, we didn’t and what is even more shameful is the fact that we shunned him, insulted him and defamed him for his religious view.

The man won a Nobel Prize for his country and we insulted him. What does that say about us?

I guess Abdul Qadeer Khan could not have said it better when he was asked about his biggest regret in life and he replied that his biggest regret was to have worked for the Pakistani nation. The man contributed to the development of the country’s nuclear weapons and we put him behind bars.

It is no surprise then, that he felt the way he did.

If these cases were not enough to make me feel ashamed, I then heard about Abdul Khaliq, the ‘fastest man of Asia’.  Abdul Khaliq who was from the village of Jand Awan, situated north-east of Chakwal city, was the sole athlete from Pakistan who raised his country’s flag high on the tracks during the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956 and in Rome in 1960. He won 100 gold medals in the national games, 26 gold medals and 23 silver medals in international games between 1954 and 1960. Some of his major achievements were:

Venue

Year

Medal

England

1954

Gold

Manila

1954

Gold

Delhi

1956

Gold

England

1956

Gold

Glasgow

1957

Gold

Tokyo

1958

Gold

Bradford

1959

Gold

England

1960

Gold

And what did we do for him?

Were there books written on his feats? A movie to laud his efforts? At least an award to acknowledge and appreciate his achievements?

Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

On the other hand, India’s Milkha Singh won five international gold medals from 1958 to 1964. His major feats include the following:

Venue

Year

Medal

Cardiff

1958

Gold

Tokyo

1958

Gold

Jakarta

1959

Gold

But unlike us, India not only awarded him the Padma Shri award which is the fourth highest award in the country, his daughter co-authored a book with him about his feats titled The Race of My Life and to add a cherry to the cake, Rakeysh Omprakash and Mehra directed the movie, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag as a tribute to the great athlete.

I am not denying or undermining Singh’s accomplishments; all I want to do is wake my nation up to the continuous stream of high achievers that we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to. If Milkha was appreciated by being given an award, a book accolade and a movie tribute, I’m sure Abdul Khaliq could have been given at least an award for his achievements.

Unfortunately, appreciation is something we lack as a nation. Instead, we choose to criticise, undermine and at worst completely ignore the efforts of those who make us proud.

But the one thing we do know how to do well is copy other nations. Then, why don’t we copy other nations in this act of appreciating and valuing our legendary heroes when they do so much to make us proud?

Zohaib Altaf

Zohaib Altaf

A student of BS mass communication at the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad. He likes to write on different social issues and he tweets as @Zohaib12Altaf (twitter.com/Zohaib12Altaf)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Nandita.

    It was Pakistani Gen Ayub Khan who honoured Milkha Singh and gave him the epithet ‘Flying Sikh’ after he defeated Abdul Khaliq in 1960 Indo-Pak sports meet. (If I remember correctly it was 1960, but then I may be wrong )

    BTW, there are Indian sports heroes who haven’t received their due as well.
    Indian or Pakistani, these sportsmen truly deserve accolades,awards and all our appreciation because in South Asia, excelling in sports is truly an achievement esp if the sport in question is not cricket.Recommend

  • IHateDisqus

    I thought this article was great until I came to the sentence about Abdul Qadeer Khan. Does nuclear proliferation, water car ring no bells for you?Recommend

  • Fahad Khan

    Abdul Khaliq was awarded the Presidential Award “Pride of Performance” in 1958 by President Ayub Khan. The author is not aware of the facts. Another negative blog post. The author needs to learn to use Google Search. (And BTW it is not ‘denomination’, it’s domination. Correction required.)Recommend

  • genesis

    Outside of cricket sports is dead in South Asia.Recommend

  • Sehrish

    Nice piece of infoRecommend

  • Yousuf

    Good piece of information but full of grammatical mistakes… especially the sentence structures while using parallelism.Recommend

  • Haris Javed

    *Sigh*Recommend

  • Hasan

    I agree to most of the content in the article with the exception of that sentence about A.Q. Khan. He really does not deserve the appreciation he got.

    Abdus Salam on the other hand deserves infinite more recognition than that lent to A.Q. Khan. Perhaps that in itself is a sign of how messed up the nation has become, we condemn a Nobel laureate for bringing shame to the country and hold a quack scientist, who backed the water car, as a hero and role model for budding researchers. Tch, tch…Recommend

  • Nandita.

    Dude, how many people in pakistan do you think even know who Abdul Khaliq was? He’s dead and long forgotten which is a bloody tragedy.It’s the same case in India. I can bet not many Indians know about Mary Kom ( even though she has been felicitated by the govt and has received the padma bhushan) and so many other sportsmen/women. tHE POINT Is : athletes and sportsmen toil hard to put their countries on the global map and many receive nothing in return.Some lucky ones become stars while the achievements of many others are not even acknowledged.
    As a sports enthusiast, I found this blog heart wrenching and let me just say that, there are still some of us who will always remember the Milkhas and the abdul Khaliq’s whether they receive recognition from govts or not.Recommend

  • raj

    the point is we don’t respect our heroes. There is nothing to brag about the spelling mistakes or some stats error. Is it enough to give them one award and forget what they did and instead give credit to the people who are even not from our country ?? Look at Mohd Asif (Snooker Champion). He is not getting his reward and is living a dreadful life after winning the championship. Does he deserve this ?Recommend

  • Brother Aly

    Since when was stealing nuclear secrets ever considered worthy of awards and then to proliferate the same arms to countries like Iran and North Korea. Yes he should be given a gold star being a sneaky thief.Recommend

  • gp65

    His point was that just like Milkha Singh got Padma Shree, Abdul Khaliq got President’s Pride of Performance. The movie that came more than 50 years after the fact is hardly an examle of the nation honoring its athlete. IT is however an unfortunate fact that no one other than cricketers gets much respect in either India or Pakistan.Recommend

  • Horain Khan

    a nice article ,i get lot of info through itRecommend

  • Parvez

    You made a point….and a very valid one.Recommend

  • Biswajeet Kapooria.

    If Milkha had taken off his 2 pound heavy head gear,..
    he would have been faster.Recommend

  • XYZ

    You have access to google. If you do, just google it and you would know the medals milkha has won. It is shameful and disgusting to see you rating khaliq above Milkha. He never was and will never be.Recommend

  • aibAruba Baig

    a very very fruitful articelRecommend

  • yajamal

    Good on You Nandidata.Recommend

  • Ali

    Abdul Khaliq was 10 times better than Milkha, he achieved in his prime what Milkha couldn’t in his whole career. Before Milkha Abdul Khaliq had defeated 3 Indian sprinters and lost to Milkha when he was towards the end of his career to a much younger opponent and lost in a 100 meter dash while all his life he had been specialist of 200 meters. Even after after that Milkha only beat him by 0.01 seconds while all the odds were against Abdul Khaliq.Recommend

  • Ali

    . 2 pound headgear lmao! At least watch the race before u comment. He was not wearing any headgear other than some threads to keep his hair altogether. But unless u seen the race in some bollywoood movie he prolly could have worn a 5 pound Pagh, a heavy jacket, ankle weights with a fractured leg and still win the race and than everyone starts dancing in some random location.Recommend

  • Faulitics

    haha! Saying a lot with a simple sighRecommend

  • M.A.S

    AQ Khan was a sheep. He never deserved and he should regret on that . But yes, Abdul Khaliq is the one left out for no reason. Its the media that needs to project. Not a common layman.Recommend

  • Raza Malik

    Pakistan was FC Barcelona of hockey @43 passes in a minute @tiki_taka_hockey :-pRecommend

  • Aisha

    He is lost legend and one of the greatest sports man Pak ever produced … We have proud on it. Thanks to write for him… We r thankful to u!Recommend

  • Okara bull

    That is really the exact plight of our sports culture due to cricket epidemic (epidemic) PakistanRecommend

  • Muntazir Abbas

    You can watch some pics and Videos of Abdul Khaliq. the link is https://www.facebook.com/abdulkhaliqasianbirdRecommend

  • Muntazir Abbas

    You can watch some pics and Videos of Abdul Khaliq. the link is https://www.facebook.com/abdulkhaliqasianbirdRecommend