A little known fact: How Sir Zafrullah Khan gave a Pakistani Passport to the Moroccan Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Zafarullah Khan overnight issued Pakistani Passport for Ahmed Balafrej Morocco’s First Foreign Minister to address General Assembly from Pakistan’s Platform


“The creators of Pakistan had worked tirelessly for its Independence so that they can create a state which would be respected throughout the world. A state that can speak for Muslims and protect their freedom. They did not want it to be a buffer state neither a pawn in international powers diplomacy for this region. They wanted to create a state that can defend and protect the rights of Muslims in the United Nations and outside. For many decades Pakistan had a assertive foreign policy and was a spokesperson for the oppressed Muslims. It seems very far fetched keeping in view today’s turmoil but good old strong Pakistan was a reality. Following is one such incident.

Morocco was fighting for its independence from French influence. Pakistan met its toughest opposition when it spear headed the  movement for independence of Maghreb which involved Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. Pakistan tried to take the question of self determination for Morocco twice in the general assembly but failed. Ultimately Pakistan  succeeded in putting the Morocco question in 9th general assembly agenda backed by Afro-Asian groups. Ahmed Balafrej was the Prime Minister of  Morocco at this time and was the representative of Morocco in the UN. When he tried to speak on behalf of Morocco he was interrupted by the French officials who claimed that since his country was under their influence he was not allowed to speak and his passport was revoked by the French. Seeing this Zafarullah Khan made arrangements for a Pakistani Passport to be issued to Ahmed Balafrej overnight. This put pressure on France to open negotiations with Morocco and Morocco gained its independence in 1956. The King of Morocco Sultan Muhammad proudly displayed a Pakistani Passport in his office since this incident  and would tell everyone about its critical role in their independence. That was when Pakistan was Pakistan a country that championed the rights of Muslims.”


7 replies

  1. And in December 1963 I was invited to spend one week with Sir Mohammad Zafrullah Khan in New York during his final days as President of the UN General Assembly. I observed that H.M. the King of Morocco sent a packet of the best Moroccan dates and a pair of traditional Moroccan leather slippers to my host. As he got a new pair of slippers I happened to inherit the old pair. Yes, I was very honoured The only time I had Royal slippers..

  2. In another story, I think it was about Algeria, during a discussion at the UN General Assembly the French Ambassador pointed out how well the French developed Algeria with hospitals, schools and universities. Sir Zafrullah Khan’s Deputy got nervous and told him to try and stop this talk. Sir Zafrullah Khan said ‘no, let him continue’. When the French Ambassador finished Sir Zafrullah Khan got up and thanked the French Ambassador for his excellent speech, pointing out that ‘you just documented excellently how ready Algeria is for independence’. Every one (except the French) loved the speech.

  3. good old strong Pakistan was a reality ‘ well – as long as Sir Zafrullah KHAN worked for them,

  4. Thanks for sharing the story, I feel proud to be from pakistan.Unfortunately we lack such unity and help among the ummah nowadays

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