DECEMBER 25th is a day of national importance for Pakistanis, as it is the birth anniversary of the Father of the nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. With his deep vision, indomitable will, intelligence, dedication and courage, Jinnah whom we Pakistanis call Quaid-i-Azam (the great leader), united the Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent under the Muslim League. After a long struggle under his leadership, Pakistan came into being on the August 14, 1947.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah was admired equally by friends and foes. Stanley Wolpert, in his book, Jinnah of Pakistan compliments him in these words, “Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three.”
The dreamIT was Jinnah’s dream that Pakistan would emerge as a sovereign democratic state, where the law would reign supreme, the politicians would work with honesty and dedication for the state, all citizens including women would play an important role in the development of the country, human rights would be protected and quick justice would be within reach of all, poverty and illiteracy would be eradicated in the minimum possible time and non-Muslims would be treated with respect and tolerance and dignity.
By firmly holding on to the principles of unity, faith and discipline, he wanted the nation to move forward and carve its place among the developed countries of the world.
The golden principles
JINNAH once said, “I have no doubt that with unity, faith and discipline we will compare with any nation of the world. You must make up your minds now. We must sink individualism and petty jealousies and make up our minds to serve the people with honesty and faithfulness.”
A firm faith in Allah and religious values, faith in the power of hard work, truth and honesty and faith in each other, were the guidelines he gave the newly emerged nation.
Unity among all provinces, among the people belonging to the different sects of Islam and tolerance/respect for the non-Muslims, was his second golden principle. He also laid great stress on discipline which he said was essential for growth.
He repeatedly advocated that to move forward in the world as a developing nation, Pakistanis needed to practice discipline in all parts of life.
AS fate would have it, Quaid-i-Azam died only a year after Pakistan came into being. Sadly, the inefficiency of the successive politicians, deep rooted corruption at every level and a general lack of civic sense in the people, our country’s affairs are on a constant downslide since its early years. Today, after more than 67 years of independence, we find Pakistan has a poor image on the international level and even within the country we find people disillusioned and frustrated by the state of affairs.
SADLY, at present, the Pakistan that Jinnah had envisioned is nowhere to be found! We are facing a multitude of problems. Bad governance, poverty, inflation, terrorism, religious intolerance, sectarian issues, lawlessness, rising graph of illiteracy and poverty, shortage of power and gas are only a few of the troubles we are facing. Greed, lust for power, corruption, unemployment, putting personal gains over Pakistan’s interests and political/economical instability, are some of the factors which are worsening the problems we face.
Basically, Pakistan is an agricultural country, rich in natural resources like gas, coal and precious metals and has sites of great tourist attraction. But due to the mismanagement and corruption of successive governments, we cannot fain full benefits from these resources.
Current situation WE seem to have totally forgotten the principles Jinnah laid down for us! We have lost faith in Allah and the teachings of our religion. We do not have any faith in our leaders, nor do we trust each other. Attacks on minorities and desecration of their places of worship are something common in Pakistan.
There is no unity among us. Before realising that we all are Pakistanis, we proudly call ourselves Sindhis, Punjabis, Balochis, Pakhtoon or Muhajirs. We are a sunni, a shia, a deobandi or a barelvi, before we realise that we are Muslims who worship one Allah and follow one Quran. Killings due to the difference in religious beliefs are everyday news.
As a nation also, we see a total lack of discipline in our country. Whether you are at the airport, a railway station or a bus stop, you will see people pushing, shoving and shouting at each other. The corrupt politicians squander away precious tax-payers’ money on their extravagant life styles. Instead of merit, jobs are given out to undeserving persons while the talented and educated youth search in vain for reasonable jobs. Rules are bent and twisted to suit individual whims. We take pride in breaking rules and taking the law in our hands. Criminals go unpunished if they have the right connections.
THE problems faced by Pakistan are so compound that it is not easy to find a way out! On this important day, instead of just paying verbal tribute to our great leader, let us join hands and heads and vow to find ways to change the disturbing situation. We all must vow to be truly patriotic to our country, to serve it by all means and work endlessly and selflessly to bring it back to the road of progress.
One of the most important steps to guide Pakistan towards a better future is providing quality and affordable education to all school going children, irrespective of their economic or social status. Literacy is the light which will create awareness among us, promote a sense of patriotism and responsibility. With education comes the proper balance between one’s rights and one’s duties, which in turn lead a nation towards honour, dignity and sovereignty as a state.
Quaid-i-Azam with his great vision, knew how important education is for the future of Pakistan. Addressing youth he once said,
“Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation.”
Quaid-i-Azam had great faith in the students of Pakistan. Addressing them on one occasion he said, “My young friends, I look forward to you as the real makers of Pakistan, do not be exploited and do not be misled. Create amongst yourselves complete unity and solidarity. Set an example of what youth can do. Your main occupation should be in fairness to yourself, to your parents, in fairness to the State, to devote your attention to your studies. If you fritter away your energies now, you will always regret.”
Friends, without hard work by each and every Pakistani and determination to change the state of affairs, Jinnah’s dream cannot be transformed into a reality. By holding on firmly to Quaid-i-Azam’s words, “With faith, discipline and selfless devotion to duty, there is nothing worthwhile that you cannot achieve” and ““Failure is a word unknown to me”, we can still find the road to prosperity and with our heads held high, march towards Jinnah’s Pakistan.
Quaid sought an equitable distribution of power within united India, but was defeated by the tyranny of Hindu majority
The writer is a political and security analyst who retired as an air vice-marshal in the Pakistan Air Force
The Pakistani intelligentsia is in a quandary in its search for Quaid’s Pakistan. To fuel this debate are his two speeches, both addressed to the Constituent Assembly, and with only a gap of two days. The one he made on August 11, 1947 is now widely quoted and freely available on the internet with numerous references. And then there is another one that was delivered on August 13, which he purportedly also made to the same Constituent Assembly and which made it to our history books and was used as a reference for decades, but lo and behold, is now lost to the digital world.
The one that he made on August 11 underlined the status of the minorities in the new state of Pakistan, and there is a lot to quote from in it: “Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” And then: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State.” As he surveyed history and the unfortunate English tradition of religious and communal persecution, he said: “Thank God we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another.” These to those on the liberalist spectrum are a godsend and provide the fuel for a resurging debate on the place of secularism in the state of Pakistan.
And then there is the case of the Quaid’s missing August 13 speech that he has known to have made to the Constituent Assembly, asking it to frame the laws for the new state in accordance with the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. But there is enough elsewhere to quote from the Quaid on this issue. Addressing the lawyers of Karachi (January 25, 1948), he said: “I cannot understand a section of the people who deliberately wanted to create mischief and made propaganda that Constitution of Pakistan would not be made on the basis of shariat … Islamic principles today are as applicable to life as they were 1,300 years ago ….” He further said: “Islam is not only a set of rituals, traditions and spiritual doctrines. Islam is also a code for every Muslim which regulates his life and his conduct, even in politics and economics and the like.” He reiterated exactly the same sentiment on the eve of the celebrations of Eid-i-Miladun-Nabi (peace be upon him), just before his death.
There is more to these statements than just a plain reading will convey. It is true that Jinnah had inherited a complex state. The case for Pakistan was made on communal basis and yet here he was trying to ameliorate the divisiveness inherent in such composition within the new nation. He was conscious that disparate political philosophies of its constituting units and a composite society, despite the largest migration of communities either side, will need to be unified into a nation. Punjab and Bengal, the two Muslim-majority states, were unwilling to go through a geographical division along communal lines, but had to agree willy-nilly around the momentum that the Quaid was able to build on the political and geographical division of India, appropriately nudged in that direction by the British. The Quaid sought an equitable distribution of power within a united India, but was defeated in his cause by the tyranny of the Hindu majority represented by the Congress. The division of India became inevitable.
Politically, without Punjab and Bengal, the Muslim League had no legs to stand on. The two states, with their Muslim-majority governments, however, were quite content with their political and social compositions and abhorred communal fractures. When the Pakistan Resolution was passed, the Unionists in Punjab worked hard to distance themselves from any affiliation that emphasised communalism. On independence though, with bifurcation came the burden of history that both India and Pakistan carry as a legacy of a broken mission. The Quaid, in his new state, thus had a lot to deal with including healing wounds and pacifying injured political beliefs in a state that was founded on unnecessary bloodshed around a physical divide in Punjab and Bengal. His response while addressing each of these peculiarities seemed as polar as the diversity of challenge he faced, though the foundation of the message remained one — the inclusivity inherently founded in Islam, and the political definition of a single nation in the state of Pakistan.
These were very early days when Pakistan’s Muslim character was put to test by the clerics, of whom many notable ones had spoken against Pakistan but, now that it was a reality, hustled to make their place in it. They agitated for the institution of puritanical Islam, by first excising those who could in their right be declared non-Muslims. The Lahore agitations of 1950 and the subsequent martial law of 1953 are events that paved the road Pakistan would take. Secularism was already being blamed on the Quaid while he was alive and he had to resort to clarifying his position and counter it with the above statements.
The Objectives Resolution came after the Quaid, but was incorporated as a guideline to the Constituent Assembly as a Bill of Fundamental Rights in the state of Pakistan. Justice Saqib Nisar’s remarks in the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the 21st Amendment are worth visiting. He brings the Objectives Resolution to the fore, treading where angels fear. He challenges the origin of the Resolution and then amplifies most realistically its constitutional perspective as well as questioning its premise as the dynamic foundation for the religious shades of our Constitution. While those may be applicable in their own right and as a popular expression of the will of the people, but to root them into the Objectives Resolution as something that the founders desired, he claims is fallacious. He asks how could the same Resolution give different flavours to the respective Constitutions of India and Pakistan.
It is time we brought this debate in the public domain. And yes, the Quaid was right in both cases in his speeches made on August 11 and 13. But that becomes recognisable only when we practise Islam in its true, inclusive form, not in its imposed Puritanism.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2015.
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