Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s burial: Relatives still have a year to bring remains back
By Shahzad Raza
ISLAMABAD: Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s relatives still have one year to bring his mortal remains back to Pakistan under a licence from the British Department of Constitutional Affairs.
A copy of the licence from the British Department of Constitutional Affairs obtained by Daily Times reveals that relatives can exhume the body of late Chaudhry Rehmat Ali and bring it back to Pakistan before July 22, 2006. Lord Falconer, principle secretary of state, issued the ‘Licence for the removal of mortal remains’ on July 22, 2005.
Sources close to the relatives of the late Muslim leader said that the only issue that spoiled the plan to bring back Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s mortal remains was the dispute over the burial place. The late leader’s relatives wanted to bury him in Faisalabad, but some people wanted him to be buried in Lahore at the premises of Chaudhry Rehmat Ali Trust, sources added.
Azad bin Haider, Pakistan Muslim League (PML) leader, proposed that Chaudhry Rehmat Ali should be buried near the mausoleum of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in Karachi.
Chaudhry Rehmat Ali died in 1951 and was buried in Cambridge City Cemetery by an Egyptian student, Ezzat Hindia. Several efforts were made by various Pakistanis since 1970 to bring back his mortal remains, but failed. The UK authorities rejected all applications, saying the applicants must prove they were close relatives of late Chaudhry Rehmat Ali. They were also asked to seek permission from Hindia, who was the owner of Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s grave.
Chaudhry Umer Din, an admirer of Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, contacted the latter’s relatives in Faisalabad and prepared a family tree of the late leader who invented the word Pakistan. He approached PML President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain to convince the British authorities.
When Shujaat became prime minister, he asked Senator Tariq Azeem, PML information secretary, and Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri to help Mr Din get permission from the UK authorities. Last month, the UK authorities accepted the application by Din and also waived the condition of first taking permission from Hindia because he could not be traced.
Sources said the mortal remains could have been buried at the premises of Chaudhry Rehmat Ali Trust in Lahore, but Maulana Shafi Josh, a trustee, said that no one could be buried at the trust premises under the trust’s deed.
Chaudhry Rehmat Ali’s relatives and admirers approached the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to clarify whether they could change the trust’s deed to bury the late Muslim leader at the trust premises, but the LDA is yet to reply.