The slogan was audible and it was forceful:
"Aik bahadur aadmi; javed hashmi, javed hashmi”
The ‘General Elections – 2008’ brought laurels for Makhdoom Muhammad Javed Hashmi. His victory is not only a political success but also the reward of his commitment, perseverance, endurance and his political excellence. He won three out of the four National Assembly seats for which he contested. In the costituency NA-55, Rawalpindi-VI Javed Hashmi defeated Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed – a very strong political stalwart of the area. He also won from NA-123, Lahore-VI and NA-149, Multan – II.
Javed Hashmi wrote a book titled ‘Main Baaghi Houn’ (Yes! I am a rebel) while he was in jail; convicted in a sedition case. Hashmi’s book clearly says that he was jailed because he demanded a commission to be formed to investigate the Kargil issue, the restoration of democracy and opposed the army’s role in politics.
Born on January 1, 1948 in Makhdoom Rashid, Multan; Makhdoom Javed Hashmi is an “agriculturist” by profession. He graduated from the University of the Punjab in ‘Masters in Political Science’, and later in ‘Philosophy’. He joined politics in 1985, and has been elected to the National Assembly for the terms of 1985-1988, 1990-1993, 1993-1997, and 1997-1999. From 1997-1999, he served as “Federal Minister for Health” in Nawaz Sharif's cabinet during his second term. Earlier he had served as a “Minister of State for Youth Affairs”. He is one of the active leaders of the “Alliance for Restoration of Democracy”, which campaigns for the establishment of democracy in the country.
After the overthrow of the Pakistan Muslim League Government in 1999 in a coup de'tat orchestrated by General Pervez Musharraf, he became one of the most vocal critics of the military regime.
On October 29, 2003, he was arrested from Parliamentary Lodges on charges of inciting mutiny. Earlier, in a press conference on October 20, 2003, he had read a letter that he received in mail, signed anonymously by some military officers at GHQ calling for an investigation into the corruption in the armed forces and criticizing General Pervez Musharraf and his relationship with George W. Bush. His trial was held in the Central Jail, Adiala instead of a ‘District and Sessions court’, which raised doubts among human rights groups about its fairness. On April 12, 2004 he was sentenced to 23 years in prison for inciting mutiny in the army, forgery, and defamation.
The verdict has widely been considered as a willful miscarriage of justice by the government. All opposition parties in Pakistan, including Pakistan Peoples’ Party of the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, 6 party-alliance Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, regarded it to be politically motivated by the ruling military with malicious intent, declaring him to be a political prisoner.
On August 3, 2007, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court of Pakistan under Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry granted him bail after serving approximately three and a half years in prison. Javed was released from the Central Jail Kotlakhpat in Lahore on August 4, 2007.
He was again placed under arrest at the declaration of a state of emergency on November 3, 2007.
It is believed that Hashmi was personally asked by Party Chairman Nawaz Sharif to contest from Rawalpindi for the National Assembly seat, where Shiekh Rasheed of the PML[Q] was undefeated since 1988. Makhdoom Javed Hashmi won 3 seats, one from Pindi another from Lahore and yet another from Multan in the National Assembly Elections. Hashmi defeated PML-Q's political stalwart Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed in Rawalpindi. Hashmi's group - the PML-N dominated the national and provincial assembly in Punjab. They finished second behind the PPPP and are expected to make a coalition with its one time fierce rivals. It is expected that Hashmi will be rewarded for his loyalty to the PML-N and he is expected to get an important post.
Javed Hashmi defeated Sheikh Rashid Ahmed in Rawalpindi. Javed Hashmi is from Multan, but not new for Rawalpindi. Nawaz Sharif knew what it meant to beat Shiekh Rashid and that is why he chose his best man to contest him. Javed Hashmi is an old buddy to the people of Rawalpindi. He had a good nexus with Sheikh Rashid in the early 1970s. While Javed Hashmi was President of Punjab University Students’ Union, Sheikh Rashid Ahmad was President of Gordon College Students’ Union. Javed Hashmi, a popular student leader, used to get rousing welcome by students and people of Rawalpindi. Together, they led protest rallies against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Rawalpindi. However, these general elections made the friends of yesterday the rivals of today.
Makhdoom Javed Hashmi is a brave man, indeed. He fought for democracy and fair play and is still on the war footing; he is a LEADER, in the very true sense of the word.
(Profile by: Talha Abbasi)