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Jamsheed Marker at his home in Karachi | Malika Abbas, White Star
Jamsheed Marker at his home in Karachi | Malika Abbas, White Star

Sitting with, and listening to, Jamsheed Marker is a fulfilling experience. History, diplomacy, anecdotes about politicians, music, culture, and a lot of cricket — he enlightens his audience in many ways. At 94, he possesses a remarkable memory and speaks coherently even though his physical weakness has bound him to a wheelchair.

Marker has been Pakistan’s ambassador in more countries than any other diplomat. He has a plethora of information and memories from those assignments in different capitals of the world. He has seen the formative phase of Pakistan from close quarters and is witness to some of the most decisive phases of the country’s history, the separation of East Pakistan being one.

Cricket has also been Marker’s passion. He dawned on the horizon of Pakistani cricket as its earliest commentator along with the redoubtable Omar Kureishi. The two had amazing chemistry that made cricket commentary in Pakistan as popular as the sport itself.

Marker, who comes from a Parsi business family, is a lover of music and the arts. He spends a lot of time in his study where walls are lined with bookracks, memorabilia, paintings and photographs.

Syed Jaffar Ahmed. A number of books have come out in the last 15 years or so that talk about Pakistan as a failed or failing state. After such a long and rich experience of living in Pakistan, how do you see its future?

Jamsheed Marker. During the creation of Pakistan, there were doubts whether the state would come into existence at all. I remember a party one evening at New Delhi Club where a group of people – Hindus, Muslims and Europeans – were arguing fiercely and plenty of whiskey was flowing around. This was sometime in July 1947. The subject was ‘how long Pakistan will last — six months or six years’. I heard [someone] saying, ‘They will come back begging to us within three months, asking us to take them back.’ Now that was the attitude of a lot of people. We had nothing. When I say nothing I mean minus, zero. It was just the iron will of this man [Muhammed Ali Jinnah] who really put this country out. He said, ‘There is no need to get scared; we will survive.’

"Liaquat Ali Khan was in complete command but he exercised his power in an exemplary fashion"

From Delhi, I came to Karachi. As I was driving [from the airport to the Cantt railway station], I saw those refugee camps. People in them were all bloodied. They had been through riots. They had no clothes or anything, just small broken-up suitcases. [But] you heard them shouting ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ from each refugee camp. The situation was such where you couldn’t be happy. You’d see children in their bloodied clothes crying and mothers on the roads yelling. But those people had unbelievable passion — all because of this one man. They were determined to survive any situation.

Ahmed. How did this resolve continue after Quaid-e-Azam died?

Marker. We had Liaquat [Ali Khan] who was a man of impeccable devotion for Pakistan. The things this man did –– you cannot believe that they can be done here. He left a lot of his property, thousands of acres, in his hometown [in India]. The house he had in Delhi was in the best locality. He knew what he had to do for Pakistan. He led from the front and he was totally, totally devoted. His last words were ‘Allah Pakistan ki hifazat kare’ (May God protect Pakistan).

Ahmed. How did you get to know Liaquat Ali Khan?

Marker. Karachi was a small city and everybody knew everybody else. We happened to have a friendship with begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan and the prime minister.

People were trying to destroy what we had and were trying to see what they can get out of it. All those flatterers one day came to Liaquat Ali Khan and said, ‘Sir, you should have an Englishman as a military secretary. You should have those British ADCs (aide-de-camps). These are your entitlements. [The flatterers] didn’t think we had the capability of handling [those duties].

Liaquat Ali Khan said, ‘I’m the prime minister. I decide these matters. I don’t need this kind of privilege. If I put an Englishman there, it’ll be because I think that is what is needed for Pakistan. I’m not moved or impressed by these goras in their uniforms.’

Marker at the United Nations | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker
Marker at the United Nations | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker

Ahmed. During the time of Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan, the bureaucracy had started taking over the power of the state. How did that happen?

Marker. Liaquat Ali Khan was in complete command but he exercised his power in an exemplary fashion. He said, ‘There has to be a system and we have to work under that.’ If we had two or three people more like Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan would have seen it through. Our leaders saw Pakistan as an opportunity for themselves, not as an opportunity for the people or the country.

Ahmed. When did you have your fist encounter with people in power?

Marker. It was in the late 1940s. I was in the naval selection board, working under the Government of India’s home department. Morarji Desai [who would become India’s prime minister later] was working as home minister [in the pre-Partition administration]. He came to inspect us in this small place called Porbandar near Pune. Our office used to be in an old Shivaji fort. [Desai] was Gujarati-speaking like me. He asked me what I thought of [independence]. In those days, we had Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs in our selection board so I told him to keep that intact but he said, ‘This will never go on because there is too much impartiality [in it].’ I asked why it couldn’t be done if there was will for it. He said we would have to find something better suited to the genius of our politicians than [to that of] our people.

He wanted me to work for him. He said to me, ‘What are your plans?’ I told him that I would go back to my home in Quetta as soon as I was released from the shackles of the government. My family was there and my business was there. My family had been living in Quetta for three generations. They had gone there with the British as contractors. He said, ‘Quetta might become Pakistan.’ I said, ‘Quetta will become Pakistan and I will go there. That is my intention.’

We had a family business of shipping and chemicals based in Keamari, Karachi. Right until 1952, I used to drive from Karachi to Quetta in my own car and I never experienced any security problems. We used to leave at around 10 pm, spend the night in Sukkur and go on to Sibi and then to Quetta. The whole journey was done by night because of the hot weather. We never feared anything. If there was ever any accident, 20 bus drivers would come along to help within 10 minutes. It was a totally different [environment].

"There was no concept of bribery at the time. Nobody could even think about it"

Ahmed. Who else were you in touch with among the leaders after Partition?

Marker. There was I I Chundrigar, Fazlur Rehman (the education minister), Khawaja Nazimuddin. They were all very dedicated people.

Ahmed. There is this perception about Nazimuddin that he never allowed himself to act as governor general while Liaquat Ali Khan was alive.

Marker. They were all a team. They used to get together and work hard to solve the problems. Nazimuddin was not the brightest of them, but he was an honest and modest man. There was no concept of bribery at the time. Nobody could even think about it. Like I told you before, Liaquat Ali Khan refused all the honours and [forsook] all his properties. A lot of Hindus left their properties here during Partition and the same happened on the other side. There was a law about evacuee properties. The government appointed people to distribute those properties to the ones who didn’t have anything.

Ahmed. There are allegations that false claims were made to get evacuee properties. That is how the process of corruption started. Is it true?

Marker. Yes, it started [then] and Liaquat Ali Khan tried his best to shut it down. I remember we used to meet at his house for an informal lunch. He was a very punctual man. Everything had to be done according to schedule. The time for lunch was 1 pm, and we were there on time but he was late by about half an hour. Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan was angry with him. When he walked in, Ra’ana said, ‘It’s very shameful that you kept your guest waiting. How can you do something like that?’ Liaquat Ali Khan was normally a very polite and calm man and that was the first time, perhaps the only time, I saw him in a fury. He said, ‘You don’t know what has happened to me. These bureaucrats will finish us.’

We came to know later that the property department’s secretary had brought a file to him, trying to get his signature for the allotment of land to Liaquat Ali Khan himself. When asked about it, the secretary said, ‘These are your entitlements. These are, in fact, much less than what you should have gotten.’ Liaquat Ali Khan looked out of the window of the prime minister’s house at the slums which were all over the country at the time. He took the file and threw it across the room. ‘Look here, go and see those slums outside. Look at the condition of those poor people. When you have taken care of all of them and resettled them, then you bring this file to me.’

Jamsheed Marker (L) with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (R) | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker
Jamsheed Marker (L) with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (R) | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker

Ahmed. How right was it for Pakistan to opt for joining the Western Bloc when Mohammad Ali Bogra was the prime minister, rather than adopting a non-aligned policy?

Marker. Everyone asks me this question. The answer is that, at the time, it was in our national interest to be friends with the Americans. The whole world was looking towards America because it was the only country with money. We beat the Indians to it. This was a great stroke of diplomacy. At the time, the Indians were furious that we had managed to secure the Americans first. [It] was a great success.

Ahmed. Don’t you think that a non-aligned policy would have been more useful for Pakistan?

Marker. Not under the circumstances then prevailing. The pressure from India was so great that this was the only way Pakistan could have stood up to the Indians.

Ahmed. Was the Indian threat real or did we make more of it than was necessary?

Marker. The threat was real. [The Indians] made it quite clear that they were out to break Pakistan one way or the other, by hook or by crook. Every attempt was made to demolish and destroy Pakistan. [India would have attacked Pakistan] if Krishna Menon had been successful in bringing around [Pandit Jawaharlal] Nehru, and if the Chinese had not thrown the Indians out [in the 1962 war]. I mean, he was completely Nehru’s man and he was a rare, evil genius and a Rasputin. There were many Indian Rasputins but he was the chief Rasputin.

It was also due to Quaid-e-Azam’s obduracy that no Hindu engineer, civil servant or politician opted for Pakistan. Though many Hindus lived in East Pakistan, we did not mentally [accept them as Pakistanis]. That was the beginning of the struggle between East and West Pakistan. Here, two things happened. The first was when Jinnah said Urdu would be the national language of Pakistan. I think it was a major blunder. One of the few he has made.

"We behaved abnormally, with contempt, towards the Bengalis. It was a very difficult situation to begin with."

It was a blunder which undid all the work that he had done for the creation [of Pakistan]. And then Miss [Fatima] Jinnah did the same kind of thing. [People in East Pakistan] were already in a very sensitive mood and there was already an attitude [in West Pakistan] of looking down upon the Bengalis. It was an attitude.

Once we were in Dhaka for a cricket match. I told all my friends to look at the enthusiasm of the crowd for the Pakistani team. I was in awe of that, with so many Bengalis [cheering for Pakistan]. But we did not have a single Bengali [player in our team]. It was the most colonial dismissal with which they said, ‘These Bengalis cannot play cricket.’ How the succession of [East] Bengal [from Pakistan happened] is another historical thing. Can you think of another country in which the majority secedes from the minority?

Ahmed. If this colonial mindset was there in the selection of the cricket team, don’t you think it was also there in the domains of politics and statecraft?

Marker. There was. We behaved abnormally, with contempt, towards the Bengalis. It was a very difficult situation to begin with. There was the issue of population [disparity], wherein the majority was being controlled by the minority. We never accepted [the Bengalis] wholeheartedly.

Ahmed. How do you look at the emergence of the military’s power in statecraft?

Marker. West Pakistan’s politicians brought it on themselves. They raised this tiger themselves and today we are facing the consequences of that. Before independence, it was very hard to find Muslim army officers. The senior ones were either Englishmen or Hindus. This tradition passed on after independence.

Marker with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker
Marker with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker

Ahmed. You have been Pakistan’s ambassador in more countries than perhaps any other ambassador…...

Marker. I always submitted my resignation each time the government changed ... I was not in the [Foreign] Service so I did not have to hack my way to the top [to become an ambassador].

Ahmed. In 1965, Pakistan had started gravitating towards China, and the United States had started to have a very sceptical view of Pakistan…...

Marker. Yes, and the [Americans] bullied us like hell. They bullied us over India, telling us that India is a good country and is our neighbour and that we should be friends with it.

Ahmed. Who was the architect of Pakistan’s relations with China?

Marker. [Huseyn Shaheed] Suhrawardy, unquestionably. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto [came to it later], going around wearing those Mao caps.

Ahmed. But Suhrawardy remained prime minister for only thirteen months in 1956 and 1957.

Marker. What is important about [relations with China] is that it did not change, but it was only redirected [when Bhutto became foreign minister].

"It did [annoy the world] and the Indians exploited that. They said Pakistan had a slave’s mentality towards the West."

Ahmed. What do you say about Suhrawardy’s position on the Suez Canal Crisis when he supported the West against Egypt?

Marker. He said the Arabs were zero plus zero plus zero and he was quite right. They were thoroughly useless.

Ahmed. But didn’t it annoy people around the world? Nationalistic feelings were on the rise at the time?

Marker. It did [annoy the world] and the Indians exploited that. They said Pakistan had a slave’s mentality towards the West.

Ahmed. In 1969, Bhutto wrote The Myth of Independence in which he observed that we went an extra mile to befriend the United States, yet the United States did not fully reciprocate. To what extent was his analysis correct?

Marker. Bhutto’s foreign policy for Pakistan was what was good for Bhutto. Deep down, he didn’t care about Pakistan ... [Even when he was running a pro-China foreign policy], he was accumulating support and recognition for himself. He got that recognition, even from China that [felt], ‘He could be our man.’

Ahmed. But Bhutto was not the only person running the state. He remained foreign minister for not more than three years. I mean, Ayub Khan was there. The military establishment was there and both were more powerful than the foreign minister.

Marker. They were very fiercely supported by Bhutto because he knew that was where the power rested in Pakistan –– in the General Headquarters.

Marker (far-left) and his wife (far-right) pose with Ronald and Nancy Reagan | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker
Marker (far-left) and his wife (far-right) pose with Ronald and Nancy Reagan | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker

Ahmed. Let’s move to the separation of East Pakistan. Who do you hold responsible for that?

Marker. It’s easy. There were three people: Yahya Khan, Bhutto and Shiekh Mujibur Rahman –– and each of them [for] his own reason. There’s no question about that.

Ahmed. Mujib was in Suhrawardy’s party so how did he become a breaker of Pakistan?

Marker. Because he had organised the Bengalis in the direction [of separation]. I was there when there was a fierce discussion between Mujibur Rahman and Suhrawardy [at an] informal get-together. Mujib attacked Suhrawardy and asked why he had accepted [electoral] parity [between the two wings of the country] in 1955. He said that East Pakistan had the majority and the power was all theirs to wield. He kept quoting the 1940 resolution — and correctly so as [to highlight the rights of East Pakistan].

I see no reason why, at the time, they could not have got together [to talk]. It would have worked, it would’ve been messy but there might not have been this horrible bloodshed.

Ahmed. Mujibur Rahman could have become the prime minister of all of Pakistan with the parliamentary majority he had.

Marker. I don’t think so. I think he was being maligned [so that he could not become the prime minister]. Although it was not horrible to think of him as our prime minister, but the kind of noise that was being made about him at the time was a wrong thing to do.

Ahmed. Do you think it would have been wrong if the country was given to him?

Marker. As long as he had maintained a coalition with the Baloch [political parties], that would have kept Pakistan together. A combination of Balochistan and [East] Bengal would have held Pakistan together. [But] Yahya was determined to remain in power and he had some assurance from Bhutto. Bhutto pursued [the idea that giving power to the Bengalis would upset the whole civil-military arrangement]. He realised that this was the only way in which he could have become the ruler of the country.

"The fact is that we surely used to have our relationship with China before [Bhutto] and afterwards, of course, it was Ziaul Haq [who took care of the nuclear programme]."

Ahmed. How do you look back at Bhutto’s tenure?

Marker. Three events turned the course of history in Pakistan. The first was Ayub Khan’s martial law which was entirely peaceful. People were happy. The second was when Bhutto came and changed the thinking of Pakistan. As a taxi driver in New York once told me, ‘Sir, he gave us our freedom to speak.’

And the third was Ziaul Haq’s [takeover of power]. He was a cold but patriotic man. Zia inflicted a lot of damage on Pakistan but he also stood up for our nuclear programme. If it weren’t for him and [Air Marshal] Nur Khan, [the nuclear programme] wouldn’t have been possible.

Ahmed. Wasn’t Bhutto the initiator of that programme?

Marker. That is what his soldiers claimed. He also claimed to be the initiator of relations with China. [Both] are key elements in the strengthening of Pakistan. But the fact is that we surely used to have our relationship with China before [Bhutto] and afterwards, of course, it was Ziaul Haq [who took care of the nuclear programme].

Ahmed. Coming back to my very first question, how do you look at Pakistan’s future? Marker. The people of Pakistan have been let down by political [leaders]. As long as that continues, we will continue to lurch. The other thing I am depressed about is that everyone feels that we ought to be friendly with India –– everyone except India. We have to stop this rivalry and avoid wasting resources [on it].

Ahmed. People talk about the Quaid’s speech of 1947 to argue that he envisaged a democratic, secular Pakistan. Do you think this is what our national narrative should be?

Marker. You can’t be talking of the 12th century at the present time and hope for it to be successful. There was this reception held at a banker’s conference during Ziaul Haq’s time where I asked a German how the conference was going. He said very badly. I said what happened and he said, ‘In the 20th century, we are talking of bringing banking procedures of the 14th century. We don’t see any benefit in it nor are we interested in it. If that’s the way you decide to go, then God help you.’

Marker with his wife | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker
Marker with his wife | Courtesy Jamsheed Marker

Ahmed. If Ziaul Haq promoted religious fundamentalism, why do you give him credit for good things?

Marker. One good thing, for which I give him credit for more than any other, is that he stood up to the Americans on the nuclear issue. Pakistan was playing in the hands of the Americans and had agreed to become the front line state vis-a-vis Afghanistan. It was either the sagacity of Ziaul Haq or the Americans preferred to overlook it, but that enabled us to complete the nuclear plant. It was Ziaul Haq’s determination to take whatever the Americans would throw at him as long as he could [continue work on the plant]. The Americans were in no way going to kill us for that.

Ahmed. There is a narrative that flows from Quaid’s August 11 speech — that the state will have nothing to do with religious affiliations of the citizens. Then there is another narrative that flows from Ziaul Haq — that takes us to a theocratic Pakistan. Where do you think the future lies?

Marker. I think it’s one of Pakistan’s greatest misfortunes that we have been forced into this fundamentalist mindset. Nowif we’re talking in terms of democracy, you have to accept that we are being driven by the force [of popular will]. If we reject it, that will mean a conflict. There has to be popular consent. And I fear we are losing the battle [for that]. We are taking these poor people to the wrong path. [We should take them] towards the secular part of the narrative.

Ahmed. How do you recall your days as a cricket commentator, working alongside the late Omar Kureishi?

Marker. He was a great friend of mine. He brought cricket not only to Pakistan but spread it to South Asia. It is incongruous [with our culture]. It is not one of our instinctive national games. It is an expensive game.

Ahmed. If I were to ask you about the three greatest Pakistani cricketers, who would you name?

Marker. I’m not following cricket these days. [Abdul Hafeez] Kardar, Fazal Mahmood and Imtiaz Ahmed are my favourites and, oh yes, the Little Master [Hanif Mohammed] too.

I have been disappointed, I must say, [with how the game has evolved]. In the old classic days, the players went on to the field like white sparrows, not dressed like clowns.

Ahmed. Cricket is not just about sport, it is also about values. How do you assess its evolution in the context of values?

Marker. Values were bound to change because cricket has not been able to sustain itself in the present. Look at how county cricket has changed in England. Nobody has time now. Somebody asked Danny Kaye, the American humorist and actor, about his experience after he had been to Lords to see a cricket match. He said, ‘I have seen cricket, and I know it isn’t true.'


This article was originally published in the Herald's February 2017 issue. To read more subscribe to the Herald in print.


The writer is a professor of politics and history, and holds a PhD in social and political sciences.

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Comments (76)

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Sameer Apr 04, 2017 02:59am

Dear God. Thank You Dawn for bring such an illuminating interview. This is a record from ones personnal experience,unbiased,unadulterated, and utterly geniune.May Jamshad have a long health life.

YOUKNOWIMRIGHT Apr 04, 2017 05:53am

I grew up listening to Jamsheed Marker and Omar Kureishi calling the cricket on Radio Pakistan. They were as good a duo as any overseas callers and helped develop my love for the game. I then was too young to know or care much about foreign and national affairs so it has been wonderful to read about Mr Marker's remarkable career at the centre of these events. Facilitations on your achievements, Mr Marker. You represent a bygone era and individuals that Pakistan could do well to emulate in order to drag the country of the morass it has dug for itself.

Sefal Khan Apr 04, 2017 07:13am

Wow - beautiful

Sefal Khan Apr 04, 2017 07:14am

Wow - beautiful

Adil Jadoon Apr 04, 2017 08:15am

Yes it is the people who must decide to rescue themselves or suffer the consequences.

Shabbir SHARIF Apr 04, 2017 08:26am

A respectable man, but more sounds like a GHQ's mouth piece.

vin Apr 04, 2017 09:27am

A book in itself of history and diplomacy but as he himself said past its due date.

Jim beam Apr 04, 2017 09:32am

There you go. Stop blaming India for breakup of Pakistan.

Bhushan Parimoo Apr 04, 2017 09:35am

informative

charlie Apr 04, 2017 10:14am

An absolutely amazing piece. Thank you Jamshed and Dawn for bringing this to light. We talk of early Islamic history - Liaqat Ali Khan's anecdote rivals any of those - what a great man and how Pakistan lost with his loss.

vin Apr 04, 2017 10:22am

Nehru was anti-west and wanted to be with Russia.

zafar Yousufzai Apr 04, 2017 10:23am

I met Jamsheed Marker in San Francisco as an ambassador of Pakistan back in mid 80. And, enjoyed reading this article with unspoken facts revealed by him. I feel his book would be a great source about birth of a new country and current Pakistan.

May God give him health and happiness.

Alexey Apr 04, 2017 10:24am

And look what good it did us...

SAM Apr 04, 2017 10:53am

People like Jamshed Marker and many others are the unsung heroes of Pakistan . Proud of our forefathers who not only made Pakistan a reality but a new vibrant Nation.

SAMEER Apr 04, 2017 10:53am

Isn't there anyone young or old who speaks truth in Pakistan.

Sharat gupta Apr 04, 2017 11:11am

Wonder full, to read, the experience & views of the man who was privy to eventful days of Pakistan. If only few of his kind would had been incharge of Pakistan's affairs, the country could have been very different.

Farhan Apr 04, 2017 11:13am

What a repository of history ! My earliest memory of him is seeing him on CNN in ths US immediately after Zia's plane crash. I think he was Pakistan's ambassador to the UN at the time. There was a lot of talk about Pakistan collapsing without Zia, about uncertainty, about possible splintering of Pakistan. He defended the country impeccably in his interview. I remember him saying something to the effect "these predictions of doom and gloom about Pakistan will not come true. Pakistan is here to stay."

Shroomish Apr 04, 2017 11:21am

Yes keep living in the past. Good luck with your nostalgia.

Fayzee Apr 04, 2017 11:24am

Excellent talking. So straightforward and courageous. History of Pakistan in brief.

Zubair Apr 04, 2017 11:34am

A fascinating take from a living legend and hero in what were extremely uncertain times for Pakistan. A concotion of talent, patriatism, anticipation, stubborness and integrity helped navigate Pakistan out of its infancy yet sadly all that remains from those critical success factors is stubborness after 30+ years of largely incompetant leadership governance and corruption. The poverty, injustice, nepotism, energy crisis and terrorism all feed off corruption from those in influence. To learn from history, we need the will of an integral leader with as close to zero tolerance as possible. Only Imran Khan demonstrates this amongst the deficient generation flock of leaders; but those who have led this country astray will never allow him to drive change on a domestic and international level because they fear his relentlessness will disrupt their corruption models and set examples of them before the people.

riz Apr 04, 2017 11:40am

waoo what a treat to read this, amazing,,

Khwarizmi Apr 04, 2017 12:11pm

My observation is that the Parsi community in Pakistan is a highly successful one, also in term of financial power.

Yankee Babu Apr 04, 2017 12:17pm

Excellant and very informative Eye opener what a contrast about our elite of now and of then, Those were unbelievable characters regardless of religion or ethnicity they played major role in forming this great nation of ours.

Plain thinking person Apr 04, 2017 12:27pm

Mr Marker,s perspective of the history of Pakistan is not clear. He indeed qualified the definition of ambassador as ' the honest man who lies abroad'.

Sami Apr 04, 2017 12:31pm

I wish I was born in the bygone era. Our future based on our current circumstances looks very bleak

Indian Apr 04, 2017 01:08pm

And rest is history. Look where India is and where Pakistan stands.

rahul1 Apr 04, 2017 01:12pm

Great person. Has done so much in life earlier but now witnesses so changes Pakistan is going through -

Ghosh Apr 04, 2017 01:20pm

One thing for sure (as it appears from his narrations), this man had great times during Liaquat Ali Khan and Zia !

Saqib Apr 04, 2017 01:27pm

Excellent reporting! Please, Please have another Q and A with Mr. Marker. In fact make it a regular feature. WE ARE HUNGRY FOR MORE.

BAXAR Apr 04, 2017 01:31pm

"The other thing I am depressed about is that everyone feels that we ought to be friendly with India –– everyone except India." Words to be written in gold, for those amateur foreign policy experts devising Pakistan's interest without background insight. Kudos to Herald for bringing a true diplomat and real Pakistani.

Pakistani Apr 04, 2017 01:32pm

Thank you for your service.

We are very thankful for Pakistanis like you

ak4pk Apr 04, 2017 01:50pm

A beautiful narrative and accurate too. One of my two favourite cricket commentators, though listening to them over the radio from hundreds of miles away, felt like we were spectators in the grounds. They infused passion for the game of cricket. Great pair!

aleem baig Apr 04, 2017 01:52pm

Salute to a great man! An excellent article and honest insight!

syedchaudhrygangadinkhan Apr 04, 2017 02:01pm

You didn't secure anything. US wanted you to help in fight against the soviets in Afghanistan and you like little puppies complied.

Goga Nalaik Apr 04, 2017 02:24pm

Loved the interview of this Legend Jamshed Marker. I could feel sincerity, clarity and passion with every word he speaks. A true lover of Pakistan.

Please do make a long video footage with him as it will surely serve our next generations.

Thank you Syed Jaffar Ahmed for posing the right questions that made this interview a memorable one!

Shiraz Apr 04, 2017 02:27pm

What an honest interview. People in league of Marker are what we miss today.

Harish dunakhe Apr 04, 2017 02:34pm

I am sure you had certain objective. It appears you wanted to please Pakistani readers. I hope sense would prevail on both sides of the border soon.

Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Apr 04, 2017 04:12pm

A great interview studded with some very nice pictures of the one and the only; Jamsheed Marker, a legend of diplomacy, cricket, history, traditions, norms, values, precedents and culture of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

As a school boy fascinated with playing cricket day in and day out, I still remember his wonderful, easy to understand, professional and traditional cricket commentary along with Omar Kureishi. In fact, they made an amazing pair of cricket commentators. Their outstanding work has gone a long way in promoting cricket in every nook and corner of the "land of the pure" as its # one sport and its recognition in the whole world.

May God Almighty grant him long life, better health and more wisdom in the days to come. My message to Jamsheed Marker at this crucial juncture in time and history is to "keep it up and hang on tough." May God Almighty bless you and your loved ones. Aameen, Tsum Aameen.

saad khan Apr 04, 2017 04:16pm

A through living history, nice to know that he is in Karachi and doing fine, good luck Sir for your life and health.

Rabail Apr 04, 2017 06:12pm

Really enjoyed reading it. May he have a long & healthy life ahead.

Zak Apr 04, 2017 06:14pm

Great ambassador of pakistan and his First Lady. Thank you both for your excellent service to pakistan.

Shahid Apr 04, 2017 06:40pm

Great article. Well organise. Great man of old days.

Sadaf Apr 04, 2017 06:51pm

A very informative interview.

ayza Apr 04, 2017 07:02pm

Thank you to the Honorable Jamshed Marker, S.J. Ahmed and dawn.com for this illuminating interview. Some relatives who lived in America who had social interaction with several of Pakistan's Ambassadors fondly recall that the most brilliant and successful Ambassadors in Washington, DC were Sahibzada Yaqub Ali Khan, Jamsheed Marker, and Syeda Abida Hussain.

An excellent in-depth view with the honorable Amb. Marker re Pakistan's historical challenges especially with India's long time obsessive antagonism towards Pakistan- even relevant today with Modi's extremist BJP.

As one who's family was close to M.A. Jinnah, with due respect to Mr. Marker is Quaid-e-Azam’s Urdu inclusion as Pakistan's national language. This wasn't a unilateral decision by Jinnah - only after thoughtful debate and discussion with several highly educated Cabinet members and astute Patriots was this decided. Urdu being the only language which could bond all Pakistanis vs other regional languages.

Pradeep Kumar Apr 04, 2017 07:56pm

This was one of the most detailed interview about Jamsheed Marker and that too at the age of 94 or 95 years of age. It gave details of what happened in Pakistan after independence. He was bold enough to recall the one mistake or blunder committed by Jinnah. What a memory! Loved reading it. Thanks Dawn

shahzad Apr 04, 2017 08:35pm

Seems we dont produce polished and gentlemen individuals like him anymore.

Anonymouseee Apr 04, 2017 09:00pm

Excellent excellent excellent article and interview by DAWN.

Long live Pakistan.

Pak Sarzameen Apr 04, 2017 09:32pm

This is an amazing interview! Lengthy and substantive. A real credit to both the interviewer and interviewee. I appreciate Ambassador Marker's candor and dedication to the original idea of Pakistan. Pakistan is fortunate to have had him in governmental service.

Prada Apr 04, 2017 10:33pm

Inspirational interview. Salute to Jamshed Marker.

Hopeful Apr 04, 2017 10:54pm

Another Parsi who has served Pakistan with honor. Well done Jamsheed.

Paksitani Apr 04, 2017 11:06pm

It is because of the services of these people that Pakistan become possible.

sohail osman ali Apr 04, 2017 11:48pm

Wonderful interview, covered a whole range of questions over Ambassador Jamsheed Marker's long life, and his answers were frank and to the point and very illuminating. He has not been well recently, and I hope and pray that he has a very speedy recovery so we can continue to learn so much of our history from his perspective.

Khalid (UK) Apr 04, 2017 11:54pm

Excellent and "inspiring", brings memories of "Cowasjee"

ravindra Apr 05, 2017 12:02am

@Khwarizmi , no its rather Parsi community in India which is more affluent and Tatas,Godrej,pollonji are towering beacons...especially Tata's 150bn $ salt to software congolmerate...

Masood Apr 05, 2017 12:50am

@Shabbir SHARIF : How wrong you are ! he is not a GHQ man, but a man decorating his experience on a platter, for this generation to see and learn. For a smart person only learns from their past mistakes.

aLi Shah Apr 05, 2017 12:58am

Absolute gold. This interview takes us through the life of a person who's seen it all, the country, and its movers and shakers. From its inception to the present day. Loved it.

Masood Apr 05, 2017 12:58am

@Harish dunakhe : You are WRONG: He is 96 years old and called a spade-a spade. People are usually TRUTHFUL only during the two stages of their lives. Before 2 and after 85.

Zak Apr 05, 2017 01:07am

@Harish dunakhe sense will prevail once kashmir conflict is resolved according to kashmiri wishes.

ASK Apr 05, 2017 01:20am

Long live JM. You have taught the people the correct history of Pakistan nowhere to be found in the present day.

Rex Major Apr 05, 2017 01:28am

@Zak :" Great ambassador of pakistan and his First Lady" First lady of an ambassador? How many did he have in all?

suresh Apr 05, 2017 02:14am

He was a poor Cricket commentator.Omar was much better. Jamshed was brought in because there were no English commentators in Pakistan then.

Whats in Name Apr 05, 2017 03:11am

Now whole pakistan is furious by thinking why we secure america first :)?

Shujaat Khan Apr 05, 2017 03:54am

A real Gentleman . Had the honor of meeting him in New York. Thanks Dawn keep up the good work.

DIGGER DOWN UNDER Apr 05, 2017 04:17am

What a wonderful interview of His Excellency Jamshed Marker! I only remember Jamshed Marker as a cricket commentator. These were the times when Jamshed Marker and Omar Qureishi used to mesmerize the non-English speaking and virtually uneducated people alike with their commentaries. The voices of these excellent excellent commentators used to pull hordes of people on the street wherever the radios were put on high volumes. People used to sit in the cafe's and restaurants for hours just to listen to the cricket commentary by the two greats. I would say that it was the Jamshed Marker and Omar Qureishi commentary that made cricket popular in Pakistan. So, Jamshed Marker, Omar Qureishi, Hafiz Kardar, Fazal Mohammed, Hanif, Wazir, Imitiaz, Alimuddin, Shujauddin, Khan Mohammed, Waqar Ahmed and others were all really the founders of cricket in Pakistnan.

Of course, Jamshed Marker made further great contribution to Pakistan society which is highly appreciated.

Incidentally, Jinnah's decision to nominate Urdu as a national language was based on the consideration that at the time Urdu was the only language which was spoken and understood throughout Indian and Pakistani subcontinent. Bengali folks spoke Urdu quite well and had no problem communicating with Urdu speaking people. It was the opportunisitc politicians at the time who made language an issue. This is understandable. Language, religeon, ethnicity, racism, terrorism, all can be used to gain power.

Congratulations to Syed Jaffar Ahmed and to Dawn for publishing such a beautiful interview.

amin Apr 05, 2017 04:57am

we are grateful for such a wonderful service to your country.

Mohammad Ali bajwa Apr 05, 2017 05:13am

Learnt something new from this beautiful article. Thank you.

A. M. Khawar Apr 05, 2017 05:20am

An excellent Interview with the Cricket Commentary icon and a well respected ambassador who represented Pakistan in a large number of countries across the globe. His insightful memories and unique perspective are simultaneously educational and intriguing. His vivid memories and strategic recap of the various phases of the 70 years Pakistan journey are educational and thought provoking. This interview demonstrates Jamsheed Marker’s capacity to express complex observations, experiences and conclusions in easy to understand simple language; this illustrates his enormous intellect. We are indeed indebted to this distinguished son of Pakistan for his immeasurable contributions over a number of decades. Thank you Jamsheed Marker. Thank you.

Fawad Apr 05, 2017 06:09am

Splendid piece! Jamsheed Marker through his experience had given a deep and riveting insight into Pakistan's history.

Hemant Apr 05, 2017 06:54am

India was ruled by Nehru who was socialist leader. He would not have supported any of the capitalist view point. I took Nehru, indira and Rajiv making the country fully aligned with Russia. Relation between sinks and USA changed after Atal Bihari vajapyee become PM. So this claim that Indians were upset is wishful, thinking...

TQ Apr 05, 2017 08:34am

Thank you Dawn and Jamsheed Sahib.

The comments of Jamsheed Sahib are excellent. One of the most important comment Jamsheed Sahib gave was regarding the Arabs: "Arabs were zero plus zero plus zero". That was so true then and so accurate now.

Salman Apr 05, 2017 09:45am

Very good interview. so much to learn from these direct accounts. Thank you Jamsheed sahab and Dawn for the interview. I wish if these interviews are more frequent.

farsar Apr 05, 2017 09:45am

@Jim beam This is a fact, ask Modi.

Venkata Appa Rao Apr 06, 2017 08:05am

Very many thanks to Ahmad sab for opening this window on history and taking us through

abdul Khan Apr 06, 2017 07:24pm

I cannot forget those days when we had only a radio to listen to cricket commentary and there was Jamshed Marker and Omar Quraishi
Thank you for your contribution to Pakistan and cricket in particular.

From India Apr 07, 2017 11:43pm

Good Article, would love to hear more from such a great personality.

DR. M. N. Baig Apr 11, 2017 01:26am

I was 4 years old in 1947 and though gossips and talked in my house I remember very well what is discussed here by Mr. Jamsheed Marker. I also remember Mr. Marker as a cricket commentator. Thank you Dawn for this fantastic interview. It took me back to memory lane.