ENGLAND: I am a UK-based Pakistani and a passionate believer in the vision of the Quaid-e-Azam. I had the honour of working with Akbar S. Ahmed on his Quaid Project series. I am deeply saddened and shocked to know that Jamil Dehlavi is presenting the film Jinnah in Lahore and other parts of the country, without giving credit to Dr Ahmed, who was the producer and founder of the project. I worked with Dr Ahmed on this project for a number of years, even before he had hired Dehlavi. I had been with Dr Ahmed since the beginning of the project, having negotiated with actors and raised funds. I conducted meetings with the then President and Prime Minister of Pakistan as well as other government officials to secure permissions for the film on Dr Ahmed’s behalf. Dehlavi contributed as well, but not to the extent that he is taking credit for. I think screening the film without Dr Ahmed’s name is a very distasteful way of ignoring the contribution, commitment and hard work of someone who was the architect of the film and who helped on an international scale to make it possible. I hope that people see this as an elimination of the work of a scholar who devoted his life to highlighting Jinnah’s struggle.
Dehlavi has not even given due credit to those who were involved with him, while Dr Ahmed was very generous in acknowledging Dehlavi and everyone else involved in the film. I hope that Dr Ahmed, who devoted himself to this film, along with a documentary and book on the Quaid, will not have this taken away from him. It is very unfortunate that I am writing to let people know that Dr Akbar S Ahmed made this film. It was mainly his contribution that made this film possible. This is also evident in the documentary Dare to Dream, and Jinnah Audit Report — both available online. Dr Ahmed deserves all the credit for this film.
Dr James Shera
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2019.