Bhagwandas hailed for integrity, services for nation-building

ISLAMABAD: Executive President IPS Khalid Rahman addressing a memorial seminar organized here Monday. Dr Ramesh Kumar, Maulana Zahid-ur-Rashidi, Dr Qibla Ayaz, Advocate Akram Sheikh and Justice (Retd) Iftikhar Chaudhry are also seen in the picture.

ISLAMABAD: Many non-Muslim Pakistanis in recent history have played a crucial role in the nation-building as well as developing and strengthening the state institutions of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. It is imperative for the ideological development of the country’s youth to acquaint themselves with the instrumental role that personalities like Justice Rana Bhagwandas played in laying the foundations and setting the direction of legal, judicial, constitutional and socio-political development of the country, says a Press release.
This was the essence of a memorial seminar ‘Justice Rana Bhagwandas (1942-2015): Personality and Services’, which was held as part of the Pakistaniyaat sessions being co-organized by the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) and Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad. The earlier sessions as part of the seminar series have covered personalities such as Justice AR Cornelius, Allama Muhammad (Leopold) Asad and Dr Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi.
Held at the IPS premises, the seminar was addressed by Justice (Retd) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, former chief justice of Pakistan, Dr Qibla Ayaz, chairman CII, Khalid Rahman, Executive President IPS, Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, MNA, Maulana Abu Ammar Zahid-ur-Rashidi, religious scholar, senior lawyer Advocate Akram Sheikh, Mahesh Kumar, president, Islamabad Hindu Panchayat, and Subhash Chandar, the brother-in-law of Justice Rana Bhagwandas and Riyazul Haque, former senior bureaucrat and member IPS-National Academic Council. A special message from Senator Raja Zafar ul Haq was also read out by Syed Nadeem Farhat, senior research officer at IPS.
Recalling the services of Justice Rana Bhagwandas for the country, his contemporaries said that the former acting chief justice of Pakistan was known for his patriotism as well as for always acting in accordance with the law. Having a master’s degree in Islamic Studies, he was expertly-versed in Islamic jurisprudence. He was seen as a man of integrity and principle even among his contemporaries, setting the bar very high with his character and conduct, keeping himself balanced and impartial at all times, and always making his decisions on merit, without any tilt, tint or bias.
The speakers maintained that the contributions of non-Muslim national heroes such as Justice Rana Bhagwandas, Justice A.R. Cornelius and Justice Durab Patel who hailed from minority communities, yet elevated themselves to the highest ranks in judiciary on the back of their dedication and hard work, making meaningful contributions to the national development – must be recalled and recollected not only to serve as a source of guidance and inspiration but also to reinforce interfaith harmony.
The panelists also viewed that Pakistan, like any other country, faced its own set of interfaith and sectarian challenges, but it was heartening to see that the state policy has always remained very non-discriminatory in this regard. There does exist the presence of some extremist, radicalized segments in the country, the state’s system as well as the society however have repeatedly shown the resilience, capacity and tendency to address and respond to the issues faced by the minorities.