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It was fifty years ago that President Gamal Abdel Nasser, hero of the Arab world, father of Arabism and United Arab Republic and symbol of resurgent Afro-Asia, was laid to rest in Cairo on October 1 1970 at the Gamal Abdel Nasser Mosque in one of the greatest funeral ceremonies of all times - a funeral cortege at least 10 miles long. As recalled by a country's leading English-language daily (Dawn), as many as five million mourners attended his funeral ceremonies which last nearly five hours.

It is quite true that the grief and emotion of millions of mourners had turned President Nasser's funeral into an almost hysterical demonstration of popular homage. In Pakistan, all Government offices and educational institutions in Pakistan remained closed fifty years ago as part of the three-day national mourning for the late President Nasser of the then UAR. The National Flag had been at half-mast during the official mourning period.

How unfortunate it is the Arab world failed to produce another Nasser since his demise, which was indeed a big blow to the ideal of pan-Arabism. The plight of Palestinians in particular constitutes a sardonic comment on Nasser-less Arab world. When Nasser died, Muammar Qadhafi of Libya saw himself as his successor. But he miserably failed to fill the oversized shoes of Nasser.

Shahadat Husain (Karachi)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020