Lahore – Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said that writing a book is not an easy task, especially writing an autobiography, because the pure story is told while it is still unfolding and hence is subject to subjective interpretations. He was addressing the launch of the autobiography of Masood Lilla, a former bureaucrat and social activist.
The former prime minister said he wrote his autobiography himself while in prison in Adiala. He said his late father used to say that good books were usually written by people in prison.
Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani compared his own autobiography to that of Masood Lilla and said that while he wrote his while incarcerated, Masood did so while in “exile”. Gilani said that without political stability, Pakistan cannot experience economic progress. The two are linked, he says.
The former prime minister said that while he ordered the release of senior judges and reached out to the opposition, in his first speech after taking office as prime minister, the current incumbent offered a “container” to the opposition in his first speech. Such an atmosphere of confrontation is not only harmful but also a major obstacle to national progress, he said.
Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said he dedicated his autobiography to the country’s “silent majority”. “But it is important that the ‘silent majority’ now speak out against the injustice, economic conditions and insecurity in the country. For a democracy, voices in the media and in written form are essential. Masood Lilla’s autobiography falls into this category, where a conscientious person not only wrote about his life but also about the social ills that need to be addressed, if we are to follow the dreams of the founding fathers of the country,” he mentioned.
Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani said Pakistan must focus on internal political stability as well as the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.
He said we should move on and not castigate ourselves as bad. Political dissent is part of the democratic order, but accusing opponents of dishonesty does not help democracy, he added. “Not everyone is a thief,” said the former prime minister. He told how he was imprisoned on the basis of certain audit paragraphs, and how later the public accounts committee of parliament led by his political opponents cleared him of those same audit objections. “It is necessary to strengthen our institutions” for our future, he said. The book launch function “Awaz e Masood Lilla” was held on Saturday, January 22, at a local hotel in Lahore.
The ceremony took place in the presence of Sardar Attiq, the former Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir. Sardar Attiq praised the book. He also recounted how the People’s Party government under Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani presented the cause of Kashmir internationally. He said that although his political party had been an opponent of the PPP, Prime Minister Gilani sent him to head the delegation to address the European Parliament on the Kashmir issue. Unfortunately, such attention was no longer the case now.
Sardar Attiq praised Masood Lilla’s efforts to make Pakistan and Kashmir heard in Canada. The book launch ceremony was also delivered by Farrukh Suhail Goindi, the eminent intellectual. He praised Masood Lilla for writing a candid and honest account of his life, as well as highlighting the issues facing the poor in Pakistan.
The ceremony brought together a large number of intellectuals, bureaucrats, doctors, media personalities, politicians and students of social issues.