Hassan Gardezi: Imperialism, anti- imperialism and Islamists

Hassan N. Gardezi, Viewpoint Online, Sept. 30, 2011

In the mid-1950s several Afro-Asian countries were asserting their independence from the hegemonic influence of Western powers, while Pakistan’s rulers were driving the country deeper into subservient cold war alliances with the United States, the super imperialist power in the making. A new leadership was emerging in Africa and Asia involved in movements of genuine national liberation.  Sukarno in Indonesia, Nkrumah in Ghana, Bandaranaike in Sri Lanka and Nasser in Egypt were trying to root out the remnants of imperialism from their countries, while Nehru of India along with Zhao Enlai of China were laying down the foundations of  Non-aligned Movement.

In 1956 Nasser of Egypt having overthrown the decadent monarchy of King Farouk nationalised the Suez Canal and its operations. Britain and France which claimed imperial title to the ownership of the Canal went to the United Nation’s Security Council to establish their title, only to be rebuffed by the Soviet Veto. Next they convened an international conference to drum up support for their claims. A resolution was moved in this conference calling for the surrender of the Suez Canal and its lucrative operations to the Anglo-French authority. Pakistan’s delegates to the conference, first Hamidul Haq Chowdhury and then Feroz Khan Noon, supported the resolution while Krishna Menon, the Indian delegate, firmly opposed it. Later when the resolution was about to be passed by the Western delegates and their Eastern allies, Krishna Menon walked out of the Conference along with the Soviet, Sri Lankan and Indonesian delegates, rendering the proceedings meaningless.

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