Articles Regarding Pakistan

The Afghanistan shockwave: 23 September, 2021 "The Nation"

On August 15, the Taliban swept across the whole of Afghanistan and Kabul fell without even a bullet fired. The Europeans and the Americans in particular were in disbelief. This is the project that the American military, NATO and European armies had been building for the last 20 long years. It is the longest war in American history but with a result similar to many other wars. The Afghan army surrendered, the air support was not even engaged. Military equipment worth billions, supplied to the Afghan army fell right into the hands of the Taliban. Indian supplied weapons and gunships against the Taliban were ironically used by them to take over Kabul as the final piece of victory. The Taliban took over and announced a peaceful takeover but panic overtook Afghanistan. Kabul airport was flooded with foreigners and Afghans who wanted to leave Afghanistan, leaving everything behind. The whole world witnessed scenes of violence, destitution, abandon and hatred. The image of an actual person falling off a US war plane will forever haunt the history of the United States, a grim nod to failings in Vietnam. Amid the chaos, the militant organisation ISIS made things worse by staging an attack that killed 13 American troops and scores of Afghan civilians.

In one of the most significant briefings after this, Blinkin came out and blamed Pakistan for the Afghanistan failure. Ironically, it was Donald Trump that had paved the way for Afghanistan withdrawal and negotiations with the Taliban. The process was facilitated by the Pakistan Government. The change of Government after Trump had confused the issue even more. With the disaster of Afghanistan, after 20 long years of human and financial losses, the Americans have lost face in international diplomacy. They are now the most unreliable partners in global co-operation. In Afghanistan, the Americans have left their allies and supporters to the mercy of the Taliban and mercy they have been shown, as a surprise. Panjshir Valley’s inhabitants, who were the first allies of the US forces and NATO after the 9/11 attacks and the invasion of Afghanistan, have been left without any support from the Americans against the Taliban. The Taliban have luckily shown restraint and with fewer casualties have taken over the valley and dialogue is in place. India in similar fashion, is in shock and mostly resorting to playing a blame-game against Pakistan. Billions of the Indian government’s investment and funding in Afghanistan have been lost. Indian support for the Afghan Government and fomenting anti-Pakistan rhetoric inside Afghanistan has backlashed. The Indian embassy in Kabul has been shut and officials have been called back.

In September, it appears that the fruits of Pakistan’s partnership with the Taliban have begun to surface. Trade at Chaman border and Spin Boldak has been initiated. The Taliban have committed to cooperation and that Afghan soil will not be used against Pakistan. As a statement, the trade between Afghanistan and Pakistan will be done in Pakistan Rupees instead of US Dollars. Aid and humanitarian support is being sent to Afghanistan and a protocol is being devised for refugees flowing in.

The Chinese government, with the assistance of Pakistan, is set to include Afghanistan in the grand plan of Asian economic and regional connectivity. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor can readily include the vastness of Afghanistan and its lands rich with mineral resources and untapped potential. After decades of warfare, a superpower of the world has decided to work with the people of Afghanistan instead of invading them through economic incentive and prosperity. Afghanistan has a potent geographical disposition that can strengthen the Chinese footprint in the region and its connectivity to Central Asia. The One-Belt One-Road project has no alternatives or equals in the world. There is a long journey ahead for Kabul with its economic, social and infrastructure backwardness but as they say, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

The Americans came out as the victors of the Second World War. They claimed themselves to be the champions of the free world. But in only a few decades, the situation has taken a drastic turn. Since the 1980s, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Americans have fallen prey to the same old vice of arrogance, short-sightedness and division. In foreign policy, the Americans have continuously failed and have defunded the NATO alliance of any credibility. They lost the war in Vietnam. They lied to the whole world about Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction and violated international law and UNSC resolutions over twenty times. They left their allies in turmoil. They sided with the rebels in Syria and Libya and caused havoc and the loss of lives in the thousands. They have sided with Israel even in face of huge violations of human rights against Palestine. They have resorted to the worst form of Black, anti-feminist, anti-immigrant and Islamophobic policies and are now more divided than ever. All this lends support to the Chinese argument that the American Government is no longer the leader of the world and nor are they reliable for the world.

Chinese dominance is on the right path and they are securing their victories while the Americans and its allies are encountering defeat one after the other, even when it is the United Kingdom or India. Pakistan, China and their new alliance in the form of Russia, Iran and Turkey are the possible answer to the riddle and disaster that is Afghanistan as of today.

Mother and martyr—a tribute: 23 September, 2021 "The Nation"

Routinely patrolling the deserts of Balochistan to scour the area from death traps was just another night in the life of a soldier.

Let’s just get this over with, it’s just another night, he must have thought, I reckon. With the final destination in sight, I can imagine the relief of finally getting through the day without encountering another attack. Back in our homes as we’re shutting the drapes and hoping that the next eight hours offer nothing but a peaceful episode of sleep, our phones started going off as if to beg us to abandon our slumber and mourn the death of a martyr.

On July 14, Captain Affan Masood Khan embraced martyrdom in the deserts of Pasni whilst leading his squadron due to an IED blast. I’ll never forget the frantic knock on my bedroom door at around 11pm by my mother and as I opened the door, the aura of melancholy was quite apparent. I knew something was wrong, but the last thing I expected to hear were the words “Affan embraced martyrdom”. And just like that, without warning, my cousin was no more.

But he just got married over a year ago and his son is merely a couple of months old, I started arguing with the universe as if to foolishly expect it to take back what it initially planned for Affan. It wasn’t fair at all.

The media did its job by sensationalising the services and sacrifices of a martyr, but no amount of tributes were enough to soothe the hearts of the people who knew Affan’s story.

Born on November 26 in 1992, he was the youngest of his siblings who shared a special bond with his mother, someone who he’d only, unfortunately, get to know for the first six years of his life, all thanks to cancer.

In January 1999, a mother had to wrestle with the dilemmas that followed the diagnosis. How do I break the news to my children that I might not be here for long? When is the right time to let the cat out of the bag? Is it worth breaking their hearts?

Despite the hardest year of their life, they made sure to make as many memories as possible before the unfortunate day came. She made sure that whatever time she had left with her children, it was filled with hope and lessons of love. With not much time remaining, the mother knew she would not live to see her children grow up but she made sure to not leave them alone until her last healthy cell fought the disease that had engulfed her body.

Even though making weekly trips to the hospital for a dose of chemotherapy drugs is enough to break anyone’s spirit, this mother showed incredible resolve in making sure she kept her children’s needs first and foremost. When the doctors of Pakistan gave up and she had to travel to another country for one last gasp of hope for recovery, her children’s future was all that she thought of.

What lesson did they learn in school today, did they do their homework, what did they have for dinner, and were they in good health? These were the questions that bothered her more than her eventual future.

Inevitably, on the September 17, 1999 tragedy reared its ugly head and the referee of life raised the hand of death and declared cancer the winner of an eight-month-old bout. Three sons lost their mother, a husband lost his wife, four siblings lost their sister and two parents lost their daughter.

As I grew up later in life, all the memories I had of her were through the memories of others. Oh how I wish I’d known such an outstanding person like her, but I got to know her through Affan. Their souls were intertwined with each other in the most perfect way possible. The impact she left on her son years ago lasted until he breathed his last breath and I was so glad to get to know two people in one. I wish there was more time we could spend together, but I’m glad to have spent some time together.

Afghanistan: the skewed debate: 23 September, 2021 "The News"

Weeks after the Taliban took over Afghanistan and formed an interim government, the global conversation on Afghanistan continues to focus on those aspects of the debate that the countries find relevant to their narrow interests.

For much of the Western world and the US, the principal actors at whose doors the responsibility of the present conditions the Afghans find themselves in can be laid are principally worried about the possibility of the war-torn country becoming a hub of terrorism, yet again.

In case any such scenario shapes up, their claims of having degraded the terrorist threat will be put to a rigorous test on the touchstone of credibility for their domestic audiences. It could also provide a new lease of life to the military-industrial complex to lobby for overseas military engagement in the name of fighting terrorism.

For China and Russia, it is the presence of terrorist outfits such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) respectively that can use the persistent chaos in Afghanistan to pose a renewed threat to these countries. They are also worried about the likely export of fundamentalist ideology that can add fuel to the fire and complicate the already volatile situation in their restive regions.

For China, the challenge of stabilising Afghanistan becomes even more daunting because it sees a stable and peaceful Afghanistan as a necessary conduit to extend its connectivity and development projects to the Central Asian Republics.

For Iran and India, the ascendancy of the Taliban as undisputed rulers of Afghanistan means a marked reduction in their influence. Although Tehran has engaged with the Taliban and even hosted its own version of an intra-Afghan dialogue, it will not look favourably at the political wilderness that its erstwhile allies in the Northern Alliance have been subjected to in the prevailing scheme of things.

Despite having improved its relations with the Taliban at a tactical level, Tehran will still remain suspicious of the strategic ambitions of the Taliban-led Afghanistan partly due to its deep ideological differences with the group.

The potential of realpolitik to shape pragmatic behaviours may be constrained by opposing worldviews rooted in fundamental principles, values, and beliefs that are the basis of institutional and state architecture.

For New Delhi, the rise of the Taliban presents a nightmarish scenario – one which the strategic and political pundits led by NSA Ajit Doval could not conjure up as the worst-case option. Clearly, the Indian strategic community finds itself in a catch-22 situation, trying to survive the shock unleashed by the historic collapse of the Ashraf Ghani-led Afghan government.

The Post-9/11 Afghanistan, with the US-backed government in the saddle, incentivised the American and Indian collaboration. India saw this period as a mega opportunity to use the Western discourse on terrorism to delegitimise the indigenous Kashmir freedom struggle by describing it as externally sponsored.

New Delhi also invested heavily in Afghanistan in terms of development projects and by providing training and education opportunities to the Afghan army, government personnel and students, over the years. It also expanded its intelligence and operational footprint in the areas adjoining Pakistan.

The objective of this two-pronged strategy was to outwit Pakistan by: keeping it embroiled in the domestic TTP-led terrorism challenge, which was further aggravated by heightened insurgency in Balochistan; and putting Pakistan on the defensive in terms of its ability to articulate its concerns, challenges, and discourse at global forums.

This clever strategy aided by Indian friends in Kabul and elsewhere tried to undermine Pakistan’s credibility as a responsible state and sought to isolate Islamabad globally. Indian decision-makers showed a lack of capacity for imaginative thinking when they became heavily reliant on the Karzai- and Ghani-led governments, little knowing that Afghanistan is known as the ‘graveyard of empires’ as much as the graveyard of wild ambitions and strategically grandiose plans.

The Modi government sees the post-August 15 ‘Afghan debacle’ clearly in terms of the massive loss of investment and the emergence of potential risks that the rise of the Taliban poses. For India, the changed political reality of Afghanistan represents a strategic win for Pakistan, a prospect that is giving Indian leaders sleepless nights.

As the Afghans face an uncertain future, the potency of the bleak humanitarian situation was underlined by Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, during his three-day visit to the country. At the conclusion of his visit, he said, “The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains desperate…and if public services and the economic collapse, we will see even greater suffering, instability, and displacement both within and outside the country.”

Amidst this unfolding human tragedy in Afghanistan, one country that has reminded the world of its duty to the Afghan people and highlighted the need for a collective global action to avert the humanitarian tragedy is Pakistan.

Islamabad has not just been consistent in its message about the dangers ahead but also led relief efforts by being one of the first five countries to send food and medical supplies to the war-torn country. Pakistan’s Afghanistan policy has been grounded in deep concern for the Afghan people for whom every political change has brought a new set of challenges and turmoil, pushing them downward on the human development index.

What is significant is a sense of boldness and clarity informing the Pakistani policy. With every foreign dignitary visiting Islamabad these days, the talk is candid and straightforward, shorn of the usual diplomatic cliches. The benefits accruing from a timely global engagement with Afghanistan are presented along with the likely consequences of the failure to act.

Pakistan believes that saving Afghanistan from exploding through assistance and aid will increase the international community’s leverage critical to nudging the ruling Taliban to come good on their commitments. It will also reduce the possibility of Afghanistan’s ungoverned spaces becoming a new breeding ground for terrorism.

The world’s response to the looming tragedy of epic proportions in Afghanistan is one billion dollars pledged at the UN-hosted donors’ conference in Geneva, last week. The funding will be used for the maintenance of medical and civic services such as water and sanitation and help build education institutions for children.

While UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres may have expressed his satisfaction of the funding ‘expectations’ at the meeting, the crisis that the Afghans face is much bigger and more comprehensive than imagined.

Not to downplay the UN secretary general’s initiative, the fact is that the world has clearly failed the people of Afghanistan. Their welfare means little in the narrow strategic calculus through which Afghanistan has been defined and engaged with by the world.

It is an utter shame that the US that spent over $2 trillion with roughly $300 million per day during the past 20 years of its occupation did not feel any qualms about committing only $64 million for what US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, described as “…stepping up humanitarian action in Afghanistan so we can save the lives of Afghans in need.”

The manner in which the world has treated Afghanistan over the last four decades is a tragedy, but the bigger tragedy is how the Afghans have been dehumanised.

The history of Afghanistan has yet to be written from a humanistic angle, and whenever it does, it will expose the hypocrisy – nay the crimes – of world superpowers and be a permanent indictment of our civilisation as well as our notions of democracy and scientific advancement.

Strategic Depth: 23 September, 2021 "Daily Times"

In a political tug-of-war like that in vogue in Pakistan, one may concede if Prime Minister Imran Khan resorts to name-calling opposition leaders or choosing adjectives to discredit them. But when he speaks about American and other foreign leaders, he must google the meaning of his every word.

“Ignorant,” “absolutely clueless” and “in a state of shock” were the abuses Khan hurled when he was questioned in a CNN interview about US President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week.

Slip of tongue does happen in an extempore discussion. But other statements emanating from his subordinates endorse it as Imran Khan’s sustained policy following the refusal of the US president to make a phone call to him at the height of Washington-Islamabad coolness amidst the last phase-withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan.

International relations are not governed that way. The approach of Imran Khan’s government towards the US and the international community appears more aggressive on the issue of recognition of the Taliban government in Kabul.

Pakistan does have legitimate stakes and genuine concerns in Afghanistan as chaos there has always exacerbated its security situation. But then, similar stakes are also shared by other countries surrounding Afghanistan.

No country pursued the issue of freezing of Afghanistan’s assets by the US as antagonistically as did Pakistan.

If leaders of those countries do not annoy anyone for the sake of a neighbour, why does Islamabad?

Pakistan took the cause of Taliban’s legitimacy upon itself so fervently that the Taliban leaders themselves had to tell it not to speak on Afghanistan’s behalf abroad.

Despite that, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi shuttled around the regional capitals desperately trying to wash the past mistakes of the extremist group.

National Security Advisor Moid Yousuf was rather harsher when he “denounced” the “wait and watch” policy of the West on recognising the Taliban, describing it as a flawed strategy.

“West made the same mistake in 1990s, which led to economic collapse, civil war and economic and international terrorism,” he said at a press conference in Islamabad.

In his CNN interview, Imran Khan sounded more vocal against the US, saying it was a “fallacy” to think that Afghanistan could be controlled from outside. He despicably downplayed as a mistake “to think that someone from outside will give rights to Afghan women.”

During the latest discourse between the US and Taliban, Qatar was more under obligation to seat the Taliban on the throne of Kabul because while Islamabad was totally kept aside from the process, Doha was the host of the group and played a mediator’s role in the intra-Afghan dialogue.

Qatari Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman did visit the regional countries, including Pakistan, Russia and the Central Asian states, but all he insisted on in his interactions was humanitarian assistance for the Afghan people while speaking of an inclusive government and observance of human and women rights. Ours was a totally different story.

“Afghan women are strong. You cannot impose women’s rights from abroad,” Khan rudely uttered when CNN anchor, Becky Anderson, posed a question about women’s rights in Afghanistan.

Since the fall of Kabul in mid-August, Russia and China have been actively pursuing their interests in Afghanistan but none has put all their eggs in the Taliban’s crate. Both are equally expressive in their tone and tenor on the issues of an inclusive government in Kabul and respecting the rights of women and minorities.

In his virtual address at the SCO Council of Heads of State meeting in Dushanbe, Russian President Vladimir Putin did urge the US to release Afghanistan’s assets but qualified his call by asserting that without funds, “Taliban would be tempted to drug and arms trade,” with neighbouring countries.

While Uzbekistan is pursuing a tepid policy towards the Taliban, Iran and Tajikistan are categorically in opposition to the Taliban when it comes to concerns of the Tajik and Shiite minorities of Afghanistan.

Iran even took exception to Pakistan’s closeness with the Taliban and announced to “investigate” when accusations were made that Pakistani drones had targeted anti-Taliban forces in Panjsher Valley.

No country pursued the issue of freezing of Afghanistan’s assets by the US as antagonistically as did Pakistan. Washington resorted to the step when the Taliban gave clear signs that they do not have any respect for the commitments they had made before ascending the throne of Kabul.

One pretext for the Americans to freeze the $9 billion assets of Afghanistan might be the claim that 80 per cent of Afghanistan’s annual budget was based on foreign aid provided by the US and other Western countries.

Secondly, when the Taliban refused to share power with other Afghan political, Islamist and ethnic groups, the Western countries – as well as the international organisations – preferred to freeze these assets till the formation of a broad-based inclusive government in Kabul.

It is not beyond the possibility that Afghan politicians might have themselves suggested freezing the country’s assets. After all, no demand for the release of these funds has since come from any quarter in Afghanistan, except the Taliban.

If Pakistan is the only country, which is forcefully justifying the Taliban’s inheritance of the combined assets of the Afghan people or warning the world of the perils of not recognising the Taliban regime, one is left with no ground to reject the allegation that Pakistan is still pursuing the policy of Strategic Depth.

Role of Muslim Women in the Creation of Pakistan (Part I): 23 September, 2021 "Daily Times"

In the 1937 Elections, the Muslim League had won only 108 out of 484 Muslim seats. This was a depressing result for a party, which considered itself to be the main representative of the Muslims of India. This setback convinced Mr Jinnah of the need to reorganise the Muslim League so that it could win the next elections. One of the measures that he decided to focus upon involved the creation of a Muslim women’s vote bank. As numerical strength is the backbone of any political movement, he sought to facilitate the mass enrolment of Muslim women into the AIML–recognising this as an untapped force that could prove to be a source of strength for the Muslim League.

It would serve the dual purpose of helping to increase the party’s numerical strength at its political rallies, while also swelling the size of its vote bank in the upcoming elections. Consequently, in its Patna session in December 1938, the AIML decided to set up the All India Muslim Women’s Sub-Committee. This, in turn, established Central, Provincial and District Sub-Committees to infuse the political awakening among Muslim women. It is heartening to note that the women, most of whom had hardly ever stepped out of their homes, responded to this call with fervour and enthusiasm. Therefore, by the time the decision was taken to hold a massive jalsa in Lahore in March 1940, Muslim women had acquired a sound understanding of the political issues involved in the demand for a separate homeland as well as their fundamental differences with the Hindus. Punjab Provincial Women’s Sub-Committee held a special meeting to prepare themselves to receive, accommodate and look after a large number of Muslim women, who were expected to come from all parts of the country to attend the forthcoming historic session in March. In addition, prominent women took it upon themselves to visit far-flung areas to mobilise Muslim women in the rural areas. As a result of these measures and similar efforts in other provinces, Lahore Session was characterised by a huge number of Muslim women who came from all over India to attend it. Syed Sharif-ud-din Pirzada reported that on March 22, 1940, its opening day, the “…. special feature of the Session was the appearance of such a large number of Muslim women in a public function of this sort.” This session was truly historic in the sense that here, for the first time, the AIML declared that the achievement of an independent Muslim state was now to be its stated goal. On the issue of women’s participation in this endeavour, Quaid-e-Azam said, “I believe that it is absolutely essential for us to give every opportunity to our women to participate in our struggle of life and death.”

The women, most of whom had hardly ever stepped out of their homes, responded to Muslim League’s call with great fervour and enthusiasm.

In 1941, Lady Abdul Qadir, Fatima Begum and Miss M Qureshi were instrumental in forming the Muslim Girl Students’ Federation. According to The Indian Annual Register, vol I, 1942, 1000 students were enrolled from Jinnah Islamia College alone over just a few months. This Federation proved very useful in helping to hold political meetings for Muslim women. Further, its members set up primary branches in various girls’ schools and colleges, thereby, creating a general sense of political awareness among Muslim girl students in Lahore. Subsequently, its members also toured the countryside during their summer vacations to convey the AIML’s message to the rural masses. Therefore, in a way, this Federation became a nursery for producing the future crop of Muslim women politicians.

On November 21, 1942, Mr Jinnah addressed a large gathering of Muslim women and girl students in Lahore, as a result of which Muslim women’s activities entered a new phase. Henceforth, members of each Provincial Sub-Committee undertook a series of tours to major districts of the Province to set up primary Leagues, and educate local women about the significance of the Pakistan Resolution. Consequently, a massive increase in the enrolment of Muslim women into the AIML was achieved in a very short time and, “eventually the bulk of the women community which had hitherto lived in oblivion was awakened from slumber and lethargy. The message of the Muslim League reached the remotest villages of the Punjab.” (Sarfaraz Hussain Mirza, The Role of Muslim Women in the Pakistan Movement).

On August 21, 1945, Viceroy Lord Wavell declared that elections to the Central and Provincial Legislatures would be held in the coming winter. The AIML’s claim of being the sole representative of the Indian Muslims could only be borne out if it achieved outright success in the forthcoming elections. And this success would be dependent on three aspects–massive enrolment of its supporters; a collection of funds; and the putting in place of an organisation that would successfully conduct the fight on the actual polling day. (Sarfaraz Hussain Mirza, The Role of Muslim Women in the Pakistan Movement).

Muslim women contributed significantly in all three aspects. Firstly, as the AIML had already consolidated its support among urban Muslim women, it was decided to concentrate more on the enrolment of Muslim women in the rural areas where the large majority of potential voters resided. While the Primary and District Leagues did their duty, women leaders from prominent Muslim families were dispatched to the countryside to motivate the rural women (interview Begum Salma Tasadduque). Secondly, In response to Mr Jinnah’s statement that “elections cannot be fought without money,” Central and Provincial Women’s Sub-Committees began a well-planned fund-raising campaign in their respective cities and towns. As the NWFP was a Muslim-majority province, which was, otherwise, a stronghold of the Congress Party, it merited special attention. As reported in the Inqilab newspaper of November 28, 1945, a delegation of women leaders from Punjab, led by Lady Abdullah Haroon, visited Peshawar, Nowshera and Mardan from October 17 to 19, to motivate the local Muslim women to support the AIML. Its meeting was attended by a large number of Pathan women, who had come from far-flung areas for this purpose. They pledged their allegiance and contributed a hefty sum of Rs 3500 (which was considered to be a substantial amount in those days). Finally, practical measures were put in place to successfully conduct the fight on the actual polling day. As Punjab was the crucial province for the Muslims, the AIML decided to win here at all costs. Although it had a Muslim majority, it was ruled by the Unionist Party with the support of a powerful non-Muslim element. Consequently, the Provincial Women’s Sub-Committee chalked out a detailed plan of action at an extraordinary meeting held at Lahore on January 4, 1946, under the leadership of Begum Bashir Ahmad. Its representatives visited the constituencies of all Muslim candidates while laying greater emphasis on those areas where the actual candidates could not visit for any reason. The Punjab Muslim Girl Students’ Federation and the WNG cooperated with and supported the Primary Leagues in this endeavour, under the leadership of Miss Riffat Bashir, the Chief Salar of the Punjab WNG. During the actual voting phase, Muslim women not only supervised the proceedings at the polling stations but also formed several groups that were specifically tasked to bring voters from their homes to the polling stations and then escort them back to their homes (Sarfaraz Hussain Mirza, The Role of Muslim Women in the Pakistan Movement). As a result, the AIML’s candidates received 98% of the Muslim women’s votes cast in Punjab. Both Begum Salma Tasaddaque and Begum Jahanara Shahnawaz, the two women who had been granted tickets by the Punjab Muslim League Parliamentary Board, won their seats with a thumping majority. Overall, the AIML emerged as the undisputed representative of the Muslims of India, winning all 30 Muslim seats in the Central Legislature and 428 out of the combined total of 492 seats in the Provincial Legislatures. In Punjab itself, the AIML won 79 of the 86 Muslim seats. Thus, Mr Jinnah’s vision of creating a women’s vote bank, and using it to help the AIML to win the next election, was fully validated. And yet, its benefits were not automatically passed on to the AIML.