Prince Aly Khan
Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations.
We are gathered here today to pay our last respects to Ahmed Shah Bokhari. A voice which spoke with unsurpassed eloquence for the inalienable rights of men and nations has been stilled. A heart that led him to strive for the enlargement of human freedom beats no more.
You, Mr. Secretary - General, have said that Ahmed Shah Bokhari reflected in his personality the possibility of synthesis of great traditions on which it is the task of our generation to build one world.
His whole life and work reflected his passion for erasing barriers which unhappily divide our world. He strove against barriers of prejudice which estrange man from man and barriers of domination which divide nation from nation. With his favourite Urdu poet Ghalib, Professor Bokhari believed that humanity could be united by true faith of universal brotherhood.1
Having drunk at the fountain of spiritual and poetical culture of the East he had opened his heart to the civilization of the West. In him two elements were so fused as to form one unified integrated personality. Nothing, therefore, could have been more fitting than that in the final phase of his career it should have been given to him to playa role in the United Nations - a role for which he was so naturally qualified and to which he so deeply aspired.
It was on this world stage that he aided so eloquently with what a great poet has called the liberation war of humanity. It was here that his vibrant voice rang for the highest aspirations of free men.
Pakistan takes pride in her gifted son and rejoices in his work. It says to him as he is about to take his last journey on earth: "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Like all things mortal Ahmed Shah Bokhari has passed away. As the Holy Quran says: "There remaineth but the shining countenance of the exalted and glorious God.”
May his soul rest in peace.
Secretary - General, United Nations.
"This is what we are seeking: a new comradeship, a universal fellowship, a world communion, a deeper understanding, and, if, I may say so the peace that passeth all understanding."
Those are the words with which Ahmed Bokhari ended a speech on the relations between East and West. Those are words in which he crystallized his dreams about a happier life for all mankind. He was a shy and reticent man. His words were carefully chosen as a precise and truthful expression of his deepest feelings.
In the same speech he painted also his own portrait in words as eloquent in their restraint as those I just quoted. He said: "I cannot shut my eyes entirely to the light that I received from the skies, the rather distant skies, under which I was born. Much less, however, can I deny the many benedictions that have fallen upon me from other skies during the rest of my life when I strove and struggled for maturity."
Thus he characterized himself as spiritually coming of age in the Western world but as still being lighted by the skies of his homeland. To everybody who got to know him, it became apparent that his heart always remained close to the world where he was born and where his forefathers had guided the destinies of their people for centuries. But his friends likewise realized that his mind mastered the subtlest shades of western civilization and thought.
Ahmed Bokhari’s personality, as described by himself and as known to us all, gave him a unique capacity to see and live and master many of the great problems of our time. When he turned from the world of humane letters to diplomacy, he was from the very beginning equipped with the most essential of its instruments, a broad and deep human understanding and the tolerance which is born out of such understanding. I wish on this occasion to let us hear his own voice and therefore I would, with your permission, quote what he wrote about the problems of the service to which he devoted the last four years of his life:
Below every political tussle there seems to be a lurking sense of geography or colour or race adding to the temperature of the conflict. Such collisions can mean nothing but loss to the world heritage. In order to forge a new synthesis - something that emergent peoples have been attempting on their own for many decades - the United Nations can and must provide the great alchemy. This requires still further enlargement of our concept of the world organization; regarding it, to put it in other words, not merely as a step forward in our political thinking but as a step forward in the great human adventure of which politics, even international politics, is but a part. It is by no means rare to find people in the United Nations who carry this concept with them and evaluate their own labors and the achievement of others by this touchstone.
I wish that, in his optimism, he was right in saying that it is not rare to find people who carry this concept and are guided by it, but I know that, in truth and spirit, he was one of them. For that reason he will be remembered among us as a man in the front line in the efforts to "create a new comradeship, a universal fellowship, a world communion" and the deeper understanding of which he spoke.
May he rest in "the peace that passeth all understanding."