Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan

Published: August 14, 2011
The writer is professor of political science at LUMS

The writer is professor of political science at LUMS rasul.rais@tribune.com.pk

What Jinnah envisioned for Pakistan as a state remains a distant dream. We continue to grope in darkness for a constitutional state based on equal rights and separation of religion from the state. But we have walked slowly and steadily in the opposite direction.

Let us clear some of the fog about Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan first. I believe Jinnah’s speech before the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947, is unambiguous about what kind of ideas of state and nation-building our great leader had in mind. In a nutshell, he wanted citizenship not religion as the founding principle of the new state. His frequently quoted parts of the speech, “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state” is neither understood in terms of the context nor for the selection of the expression.

Contextual interpretation is extremely important for any great speech or analysis, undertaken by historians and later-day commentators to explain the intent of great leaders. For the context, Pakistan was only three days away from achieving independence. Secondly, the forum was the Constituent Assembly of the new state, tasked with the responsibility of framing a new constitution.

Jinnah, like many other Muslim leaders of the subcontinent who strived for the creation of a new state comprising the Muslim majority areas, was a modernist. The three streams of philosophy that influenced movement for Pakistan, unfortunately, got pushed back with the second generation of Pakistani leaders — constitutional struggle for the protection of minority rights, modernism and a territorial state. Let us spell these ideas in some detail.

The cultural roots of minority Muslim nationalism go back many centuries. Over time, Muslims developed a deep sense of identity but within the Indian context. As the issues of representation in the elected assemblies and state institutions under colonial rule emerged important for all communities, the Muslim community began to raise demands for proportionate representation. The community thought it was their right to do so, which was, on occasion, granted through separate electorates. As the Muslims and other parts of the Indian nation struggled for independence, the constitutional protection of rights in the post-colonial, unified state emerged as the defining issue for the Muslims. They wanted it to be settled before the English left; it was the collective failure of the British, Congress and the Muslim League that galvanised the demand for Pakistan. What we have done with our own religious minorities after independence is another story — truly heartbreaking.

There is a social and political category all over the world called the modernists that we also find among the dreamers and founders of Pakistan. The modernists don’t reject the past, or the heritage in cultural and religious spheres. They essentially live in modern times and propose and implement solutions to the contemporary problems of the society on rational, pragmatic and practical grounds.

Pakistan, in my view, is a territorial state. Its acronym is drawn from the territorial domains it contains. It also means that all citizens of all faiths, sects and religious pursuits are equal citizens. These are the founding ideas of Pakistan, which the successive generations of Pakistanis have lost.

The counter-narratives about the creation of Pakistan and what kind of state and society we should have replaced our founding ideas. It was expedient for the ruling groups to play an emotional Islamic card in politics rather than build a modern, nation state based on equal citizenship. Doing so would have required democracy and constitutionalism that our ruling classes have accepted only as conveniences and not as ideology — the ideology of Jinnah.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (65)

  • SharifL
    Aug 14, 2011 - 8:45PM

    If Jinnah was the only leader to ask for a state with secular ideology where all Pakistanis have equal rights and if he is the only source we can keep on mentioning, there is something definitely something wrong with Pakistan. I have read his speech of August 1947 by so many writers and columnists so many times, i think unless we reinvent his ideas, Pakistan will remain drowned in dark caves for a long time.


  • Max
    Aug 14, 2011 - 9:03PM

    Yes! At the personal level Mr. Jinnah was a liberal minded secularist, though one finds contradictions in his personal life. He married a Zoroastrian but did not allow the same to his daughter. His concept of state was certainly secular, but if you ask for separation on the basis of religious identity but like to keep state independent of entanglement with the religion, it is difficult to do or visualize. He was a smart person, was visionary; he should have thought of all these unforeseen developments.
    Let us put the past behind and look at the future. When I do it, I shiver in my shoes not for the reason t hat the future seems bleak but for the reason that the state and society in Pakistan are dancing on different tunes.
    Happy Birthday Pakistan and to myself. Yes! We both were born the same day and both had tough and tiresome years in life, but life kept going.


  • hassan
    Aug 14, 2011 - 9:03PM

    Every now and then, someone keeps talking about the vision of Jinnah and now and then some scholar wistfully reminisces about the vision of the founding father.

    I think it’s high time we stopped deluding ourself with this hogwash. We should realize that this founding father’s vision speech was a one-off statement meant purely for a global audience in the desire to be known as a statesman and as everyone knows, a one-off statement does not make a philosophy.

    For those who have studied the career trajectory of Jinnah will agree that all along, he sold the idea of ‘Pakistan’ to the poor masses of undivided India as a Islamist paradise ‘of muslims, for muslims, and by muslims’.

    That idea found resonance among people who felt, they needed to rule themselves, to continue the 1000 years of Muslim rulers. Partition was demanded on Two Nation Theory, a theory that said, Muslims needed a separate nation so they could get justice and prosperity which they can’t get under a Hindu rule.

    He was the one who said there were irreconcilable differences between Hindus and Muslims (‘they read from left to write while we read from right to left; they worship cows we eat them; their food and our food are different; our villains are their heros’) during Cabinet Mission and then he went on to call Direct Action Day. Everyone knows the consequence to that call.

    So, religion was the basis on which the partition was demanded and the nation was formed. And all along, we had another concept built into our psyche. Whatever India does, we should do the diametrically the opposite.

    Pakistan means ‘We-are-not-India.’ India was supposed to be a Hindu country. And so, by extension, our country exists solely for, of and by Islam. This was supposed to be our identity.

    Let’s stop our usual bluster on the the founding vision speech of Jinnah. No one believed it then and no one believes it now. His own followers – who had heard him speak on countless occasions on Pakistan being a country for Muslims alone – naturally they did not swallow it, because, they knew it was meant for global audience, not for local public, and not to be taken seriously.

    That’s why they junked his ideas the moment the man was out of sight.


  • Som
    Aug 14, 2011 - 9:09PM

    “In a nutshell, he wanted citizenship not religion as the founding principle of the new state.”
    – Is this what really Jinnah wanted? If he can create a country based on religion alone, then what different result can he expect than what pakistan is today. Probably Jinnah was reading too much ‘Aladdin ka chirag’ type stories where the gennie can wipe the mindset of people once you carve a nation out of religion. he was probably the biggest bigot of the bigoted pakistanis we see today. pakistan is born out of religion and it will die out of religion only. jinnah got what he wanted- now cheer and be happy, dont bemoan and insult that great bigot. Happy independence day.


    Aug 14, 2011 - 9:10PM

    All our life we heard pakistan we got as a muslim and islamic state also qilla e islam and
    suddenely we start hearing no no pakistan is secular state if this is the case then madrassa Deoband and jammat islami was right why u want to break the india after that
    islam will stop growing in india. i dont know what kind policy u guys run on and who is
    behind this shiet is.


  • Ashok
    Aug 14, 2011 - 9:37PM

    Jinnah, like many other Muslim leaders of the subcontinent who strived for the creation of a new state comprising the Muslim majority areas, was a modernist

    Dear Author – creating Islamic majority countries where there was none before is a concept of modernity? Where do you get this notion from? What a ridiculous statement.


  • Aug 14, 2011 - 9:46PM

    The first mistake in our analysis is to reduce the creation and the thinking behind Pakistan, to the personality of Jinnah. It was never Jinnah’s Ideology, for Jinnah’s views on the status of Muslim’s in British India were not consistent over his life time. The politics of the movement that lead to the creation of Pakistan borrowed from a host of leaders and was influenced by all of them. The Muslim League was a pragmatic political entity. Jinnah himself shunned the limelight and the cult of personality. He neither wanted any title, and would have been disappointed that the title Quaid-E-Azam bestowed on him, is owned by varying political and religious groups, all of them oversimplifying a political struggle into the individual, which is based on myth not reality.

    What all of us must appreciate is that the conditions within which Pakistan was created, the people who worked towards creating it, was varied and not homogeneous. The expectation that today Pakistan, should suddenly become “Jinnah’s Pakistan” would soil the memory of all those leaders who worked towards her creation, but were not shy of raising their voices, sharing their opinions and raising points of dissent. Dissent or disagreement today can lead to ones death, now that tarnishes the founding fathers and mothers legacy.


  • Aug 14, 2011 - 9:49PM

    Dear Rasul,saheb,Good day,Today is your Independant day.Many return of the day,theoritecally,you do not want me to wish literally,do you?Since you communicate to me ,I ‘m far better informed on Dara Sikoh,but also learned about Sarmad the naked fakir poet,who was beheaded by Aurenjeb in 1661.Lot of unintended consequence of events have happened to your dear country of late.I’m born at the beginning of War,and my father was a war correspondant,and he knew lot of leaders of his day including,Mahatma,Pandit Nehru and Ofcourse Mr Jinnah.As a English writer my father had tremendous respect for Mr Jinnah’s sharp intellect and also his command of constitunal law and its keen sense of argument,he was like the present day Christopher Hitckins,you went at your own peril if you went unprepared,even if you did,he made mince meat of you. He lived very short,and we do not to much know of his inner working of his mind as he did not confide in too many people,his sister fatima was the only person whom he fully trusted.I tend to believe more on present day BJP leader Mr Singh and Adwani more than anybody as far as what Mr Jinnah was like.It is most guess work,any way even if we go by his speech of 11 Aug,1947,it was you who said devoid of context,as it serve very little purpose,to-day Pakistan is in crisis and at the cross road,can take wrong turn at the fork.Well wishers like me and good well meaning patriot like you only wish her “happy Birthday” and hope fresh calamity do not befall on her as well on us all world dwellers as well.Thank you,once again,for a good column, Hariharmani,nj,USA.


  • Aug 14, 2011 - 10:09PM

    Contextual interpretation is extremely
    important for any great speech or
    analysis, undertaken by historians and
    later-day commentators to explain the
    intent of great leaders.

    Yes, Jinnah made a great speech boasting,

    “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or 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 you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another.”

    but the reality was that outside on the streets there was fighting between Muslim and Hindu and Jinnah failed to condemn this, much less intervene. He was more concerned with bribery, corruption, and black-marketeering. Thus Islamists have grounds to claim that what Jinnah really sought was Islamic dictatorship and this speech was merely an empty promise to lull the gullible and further such a goal.


  • rusm
    Aug 14, 2011 - 10:15PM

    religion is the most emotive and devisive social system. history shows that when religion is in ascendence progress is in decline. Religion dragged Europe into the dark ages with it’s intolerance and does the same to the Muslims in the present day.

    Only an idiot would keep religion as the foundation of a state.


  • Bigboy
    Aug 14, 2011 - 10:27PM

    “Ideology of Jinnah”. There is no agreement on what it was and it no longer matters now.


  • Alsahdiq
    Aug 14, 2011 - 11:12PM

    Let us make no mistake. Quaid-e Azam M A Jinnah’s intentions whatever they were, were in totality, for the well being of all the citizens of Pakistan.
    However one does feel that both Mr. M K Gandhee and Mr. M A Jinnah made total miscalculations of the abilities of their nation. They both became barristers, as such miscalculated the abilities of the whole Indian nation as the majority still lives in ignorance. The nation proved through their deeds that they were not fit and worthy of being entrusted with the task of managing their lands as did the British with well calculated precision.
    The whole Indian nation had remained in slavery of Rajahs, Maharajahs, Nawaabs, Moghuls etc. They still dwell in that kind of slave mentality. The people known as Muslims know nothing about the true Islamic culture as their mind is overshadowed by line of dynastic Autoctarts who adopted Yazeed’s autocratic system of rule which continues to this very day in those countries where people known as Muslims are in the majority.
    They simply do not know that the true Islamic society could never str=art to emerge if it was not a society of the people, by the people. Which people? the people who rallied round no man but the Lord Almighty very true to the slogan of allegience they raised which is “There is no one worthy of being our Ruler except the Almighty Lord”.
    So to sum up if people truly want to transform this part of Western India into Pakistan they will have to come out to join hands with each other and work. Work hard as did those who through their relentless hard work established the first and model Islamic state. That Islamic state was owned by no one but by the people. So one can say that a true Islamic state will come into being again only and only when the masses will come to work to achieve it.
    The pre requisite for it is exactly as what was done by those Arabs who became early Muslims. Anyone and everyone desirous of creating Pakistan will have to change their habits and attitude as did those Arabs. There is simply no escape from this fact as the saying goes. No pain no gain.


  • Aug 14, 2011 - 11:16PM

    Professor is itself confused and biased.. :P


  • Akhtarrao
    Aug 14, 2011 - 11:29PM

    No doubt Muhammad Ali Jinah wanted a liberal and modern state not religious. We always quote his speech of 11the August 1948 and forget other speeches before and after.
    He emphasised on Quran and Sunnha , a Muslim cannot ignore these fundamental principles.
    Islam has granted the basic rights to the Minorities 1400 years ago so Jinnha also did and admitted their rights in an independent state.
    Here I would like to ask the author to respond these questions:
    1. Did Muslim create a separate state just for bread or butter/or to impliment their idealogy? (Islam)
    2. was Pakistan established by British (due to their favorable policies toward Hindu) as some politicians talk on different forums?
    3. What happened If Pakistan would not estblish?
    4. Did Jinnah give any solution to avoide from the existential threat?
    5. If Qaid were alive how could he deal with the present national and international theatining enviornment?


  • well-wisher
    Aug 15, 2011 - 12:08AM

    I did not expect this from you. Jinnah formulated two nation theory based on religion. He propogated same theory for 17 year from 1930 to 1947. And then in fit of moment he wanted pakistanis to be secular…. After partition, Pakistan followed same path what he followed before partition for his political gain.
    Salvation lies within… Libral and educated pakistanis like you should accept this fact and move on…… A public figure can not be judged on basis of one speech.


  • Muzaffar
    Aug 15, 2011 - 12:37AM

    I am from the same moreover from the same segment of the society to which the writer belongs, however, I have strong reservation the type of Pakistan which the writer is portraying. Every August the same thought process is imposed by a certain mind set by using the terms “Jinnah’s Pakistan” or “Jinnah Secular Pakistan”. It is used in a manner as if that is the way Quaid defined the management style of for Pakistan…Mostly we all using this expression thinking that Quaid wanted a secular Pakistan……………………It is not the case at all.

    Unfortunately this term and style of interpretation moreover caught ground when Justice Munir (The CJ who pioneered the downfall of Pakistan political system ie when Isikandar Mirza dissolved the parliament in 1958 and announced martial law, Justice Munir and the Supreme Court placed a judicial stamp of approval on what had taken place)wrote a book from Jinnah to Zia and mis quoted a statement of the Quaid…(other reasons also but due to limited space one cannot go into details)

    If I am saying that Quaid was not secular that does not mean that he did not want what most pro secular group state–i.e. modern, peaceful, rights of women/minorities etc etc. Yes he wanted but not necessarily by being called a secularist…..One can achieve all this by following the true Islam /Quran. There are many examples in which the Quaid stated that the basis on which he wanted the foundation of Pakistan was on Islam teachings….Further, the two nation theory itself is evident of the fact that he believed in the manner Islam defines the difference between the two beliefs(Islam and Hinduism). How would he have strongly supported such a theory if he was wanting secular governance of the country??? which was made for muslims.


  • Hairaan
    Aug 15, 2011 - 12:41AM

    Very surprisingly, most of the articles on ET today are about the 3% population. Nobody is talking about the 97% and the future plans for their welfare and progress.

    As for the speech of Mr. Jinnah, let me remind the writer that he was a great politician, leader and visionary. However, we have even better leaders and visionaries in terms of our prophet, Khulfa-e-rashideen and the companions to take real guidance from.

    We are all for the rights of the minorities but does it really necessitate separation of state and religion? I believe no. A true Islamic state can better protect the rights of the religious minorities if the guidelines set by the Khulfa-e-rashideen are followed.


  • Junaid
    Aug 15, 2011 - 1:44AM

    Even Quaid-e-Azam was convinced in his last days that the only system that can work justly and consistently is the one modeled on the democratic values of Caliphate.. he was a true adherent of constitutionalism, so he couldn’t have denied the importance of religion in the system of the state–even from a democratic point of view when the majority was Muslim, that would have been the right thing the to do. We need to create consensus on interpreting religion, not on depriving it of its political tendencies.


  • M. Faizan Siddiqui
    Aug 15, 2011 - 2:43AM

    This is the only speech seem to be conveying this message and many have said that this too was marred by his fellows. Jinnah was the leader of “Muslims”, he lead and represented “Muslims” from “Muslim” League’s platform for securing them a “Muslim” state, called Pakistan!

    This is the reality that you have to live with, so please stop going back into circles and focus on real issues!


  • Aug 15, 2011 - 3:40AM


    Indeed Pakistan would be GREAT under the rule ofthe uneducated village mullahs! after all in our brains we can conquer the universe and bring it under the rule of these mullahs – imagine we can replace the universal laws of Allah swt and Islam with ‘Mullahism’


  • Cynical
    Aug 15, 2011 - 3:51AM

    ‘Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan’.The most worn out cliche of the last 64 years.
    His vision(s) changed four times during his life time, while twice would put the lesser mortals under a scanner.The unending referral to his speech and the only speech of August 11,1947 by all and sundry at every conceivable opportunity shows how thinly his liberal credentials hangs in the air.
    A brilliant lawyear by any standard, as far as he was concerned ‘the end justified the means’.
    Among other things he was an uppity aristocrat quite indignant of ordinary mortals (offcourse in his estimation) ,megalomaniac,egoist and autocrat.

    But we should remain gratefull to him for getting us Pakistan from the British.


  • Saleem
    Aug 15, 2011 - 4:01AM

    very well written by the author, the present day people are being confused Pakistan was created for the muslims of india to live a life for the betterment by getting an even chance in a separate country ruled by law equally for all its citizens. Rest of all the religious issues are personal matter and not the business of the state.


  • Muqarrib
    Aug 15, 2011 - 4:06AM

    The best way to judge what was the Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan and whether he intended Pakistan to be a secular state or an Islamic state is to objectively study his speeches, interviews, and policy statements that he made on various occasions – during the struggle for Pakistan and after achieving Pakistan. In fact, after Pakistan became a reality and he became its Governor General, Jinnah showed more inclination to Islam then he did during the combating years.

    Here are a few of Jinnah’s sayings that leave little doubt about his vision for Pakistan with an Islamic identity.

    In August 1941, in relation to Pakistan, the Quaid-e-Azam was questioned by Osmania students: What is the distinctive feature of the Islamic state? He responded: “There is a special feature of the Islamic state which must not be overlooked. There obedience is due to God and God alone, which takes practical shape in the observance of the Quranic principles and commands. In Islam, obedience is due neither to a king, nor to a parliament, nor to any other organization. It is the Quranic provisions that determine the limits of our freedom and restrictions in political and social spheres. In other words, the Islamic state is an agency for enforcement of the Quranic principles and injunctions.”

    In his presidential address at the All India Muslim League Conference in Karachi on December 26, 1943, he said, “What is it that keeps the Muslims united as one man and who is the bedrock and sheet anchor of the community? It is Islam; it is the Great Book – the Quran which is the sheet anchor of Muslims in India. I am sure that as we go on and on, there will be more Oneness – One God, One Book, One Prophet and One nation”.

    In his Eidul Fitr message to the Muslims in September 1945, Jinnah said, “… Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals or ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslims society, every department of life, collectively and individually”.

    Addressing the civil, naval, military, and air force officers at Khaliqdina Hall Karachi on 11th October 1947 the Quaid said: “It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great lawgiver, the Prophet of Islam. Let us lay the foundations of our democracy on the basis of true Islamic ideals and principles”.


  • faraz
    Aug 15, 2011 - 5:11AM

    There are contradictions in Jinnah’s politics and two nation theory. First, Islam has not provided for division of territories to settle populations on the basis of faith. Islam is a universal ideology that transcends all borders. Second, clergy opposed the Muslim league. Third, Jinnah wasn’t a particularly religious man. He belonged to a minority sect and of course he didn’t want clergy of majority sect to interpret Islam. Fourth, half of Muslim population remained in India and preferred their local identity over religion. In fact, it wasn’t about preferring religion or not, because there is no such obligation in religion to migrate to a Muslim majority area. Fifth, Jinnah never demanded partition till the very end. He accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan 1946 which prescribed a federation with 3 autonomous groupings. It was Nehru and Patel who rejected the plan. If Jinnah wanted a state for the Muslim nation, why did he accept autonomy? And if he didn’t want a separate state, why did he invoke the two nation theory? Sixth, Jinnah’s entire struggle was over constitutional rights. He never quoted verses from Quran or Hadees to justify his politics. Seventh, regarding division of Punjab and Bengal, Jinnah remarked that he won’t accept this moth eaten Pakistan. So he contradicted himself by opposing division of land on the basis of religion. Jinnah also supported the idea of an independent undivided Bengal. This again negates the two nation theory. Eighth, Jinnah’s speech of 11 August separates religion from state, but his other speeches emphasized on the principles of Islam. His two nation theory is obviously based on religion. Ninth, why did he appoint a Hindu as Law minister if he wanted to run the state according to Islam; that non-Muslim wasn’t supposed to formulate laws according to Islam.


  • Abbas Ali
    Aug 15, 2011 - 6:33AM

    The statement that Jinnah wanted the basis of Pakistan citizenship and not religon is an oxymoronic one as basis of the creation of Pakistan is religon.


  • ali
    Aug 15, 2011 - 6:48AM

    If Pakistan was supposed to a secular state then why did we separate from India. India is the biggest secular democracy in the world. There is no such thing as secular Islam or Secular Muslim.


  • narayana murthy
    Aug 15, 2011 - 6:54AM


    On this occasion, I would like to raise a very valid point, which is just an echo of what Kaved Akhthar (Indian writer) raised in one of Pakistani news channels.

    He said that Jinnah never represented all the Muslims of India. He said that Jinnah never had the interest of all Indian Muslims.

    As per his assertion, JINNAH only represented the interests of the rich/elite Indian Muslims (businessmen, landlords, academics of that time), who believed that they could never compete with the likes of Tata/Birla and others. The only way they could ensure their bright future was to seek it in a different land with very less competition.

    Here’s the proof of it – while Nehru abolished Zameendari and other equivalent evil systems immediately after independence, Jinnah did not. Because Jinnah knew that, it’s these people who had to be protected to remain in power. In other words, JINNAH was fighting for these people’s interests.

    What do you think about his point? I think it’s very valid.


  • N
    Aug 15, 2011 - 7:32AM

    Respect for Jinnah – our founder, is understandable. But the argument that he wanted a secular future for Pakistan is disingenuous. It is playing with definitions and rooted in one speech cited in the article. Secular – per the definition in the democracies across the world, he did not believe in. Secular within the traditions and fabric of Islam he believed in perhaps. Now truth be told many scholars muslim and non-muslim alike dispute ‘secularism’ as a long standing tradition within Islamic societies.

    Furrther and importantly, if we are to truly embrace a spiritual and tolerant Islam, we need to have the courage to accept facts and various view points. Mr. Jinnah promoted the two nation theory – the premise of which is that Muslims are special and separate from Hindus and therefore are entitled to a separate homeland where they can preserve their own unique culture and way of life. He rejected the call of the Congress for one man – one vote. He literally fought for his beliefs – blood and all.

    After independence, perhaps he saw the aggressive company of the Maudidi types and realized the need for some distance between him and the Isalmists. But it was, too, late. His embrace of Islam as a political instrument to gain political rights became the norm in our politics and society. Rest is history, as they say. So celebrate him – for because of him we have Pakistan. But have the courage to question facts – disagree peacefully and genuinely accept his 1947/48 speech finally without any Islamic underpinnings. I would like to imagine he was evolving – why can’t we also do the same and rise to be a tolerant nation where we accept all minorities as equals. We can still be Pakistanis and Muslims without giving up either. Can we not? Why should anyone stop us?


  • Pakistan1
    Aug 15, 2011 - 8:08AM

    We will continue to have the problems that we are facing today. Why dont we forget just Jinnah’s Pakistan and start living in our own Pakistan. I do not understand how can you even say Jinnah’s Pakistan? A man who until December 1946 was not in the favour of division of India can be called the Founder of Pakistan?

    As long as you continue to twist and turn fact you will continue to be plagued by you are already going through?

    The most quoted quote about Jinnah is that of stanley wolpert “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”

    I would like the readers to go through the following paragraphs that are writtern about Jinnah on Wikipedia

    The Western world not only inspired Jinnah in his political life. England had greatly influenced his personal preferences, particularly when it came to dress. Jinnah donned Western style clothing and he pursued the fashion with fervor. It is said he owned over 200 hand-tailored suits which he wore with heavily starched shirts with detachable collars. It is also alleged that he never wore the same silk tie twice.

    According to Akbar S. Ahmed, nearly every book about Jinnah outside Pakistan mentions the fact that he drank alcohol. Several sources indicate he gave up alcohol near the end of his life

    I urge all people to please check the facts before they post responses and to accept the fact the way it is. Denying that the sun does not exist will only harm you and not the sun.


  • Pashtun
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:01AM

    As per “Indian Independence Act”British were to handover power to India and Pakistan on 15 August.Why do we celebrate 14 August as Independence Day while it was 15 August?Jinnah was sworn in as Governor General on 15 August.The all India radio broadcast, from Dacca,Peshawar and Lahore, continued till 2300 hours(11PM), 14 August.Pakistan Radio Broadcast started on 15 August.The only reason for choosing this date,which was done in 1948, was to create an impression that Pakistan got independence on 27th Ramzan ( in KPK it was 28th Ramzan).So religious narrative was always there.GHQ chose 786 as its sign on creation of Pakistan.Jinnah gave different statements, depending to whom he was addressing.He gave in writing to Pir of Manki, that Sharia will be imposed in Pakistan.However in my opinion he was a secular man and wanted a secular Pakistan.His pre partition speeches, should be taken as political,and what he said, after fulfillment of his dream,is more important.His 11 August speech, since he was addressing the constituent assembly, should be taken as a guideline for framing a secular constitution for Pakistan.


  • Nadeem
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:03AM

    I think we can learn something here from the Turks, who accept Mustafa Kemal as the undisputed leader of modern Turkey (‘Ataturk’), but 75 years after his death are ready to evolve in other directions, as dictated by the electorates’ preferences, and as dictated by the demands of a modern world. For instance, they know that their founder would not have approved of the headscarf, but have peacefully come to terms with it without considering it a betrayal. We should do the same: 64 years down the road we know what is needed to make Pakistan work, regardless of what Jinnah said or did. What is needed – just like Turkey – is an acceptance of the diversity among us (religous diversity, ethnic, sectarian, linguistic etc). The moment we institutionalize this tolerance, Jinnah’s intentions become a moot point and we start progressing as a modern nation state.


  • BruteForce
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:44AM

    After 65 years you are still debating and stressing on the other camp what Jinnah really wanted. What does that tell you?

    You cannot implement Jinnah’s vision because it is just not clear. You take great pain to tell us how important his August 11 speech was, but shall we ignore his earlier speeches where he talks endlessly about Islam and Muslims?

    Acts are better indicators than words, words are cheap. He created a Country saying 2 sets of people just cannot co-exist together, at any cost. He essentially created a nation based on the idea of division.

    After 65 long years and about 3 generations later, this is a failed exercise. I say give up on Jinnah, embrace Gandhi, Bhagat Singh, Nehru and Ambedkar, who are clear on their idea of India and come from a time when Pakistan was India.


  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:44AM

    any credible reference to your statement?


  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:47AM

    The best way to look at it is what was the end result of his experiment…. Did it bring the change he think will bring or pushed the people further towards abyss? We killed any basis of creation when we denied bengalis the one man one vote in 1956 constitution and forced them to a parity despite them being majority and then denying them the right to rule when their party one the 1970 election.
    We have committed more crimes as a nation in a short history of 64 years than any other… and hence discussing or trying to enact the basis of partition we have to be held accountable for all we did from the onset to this date… if we wont we will perish.


  • Asiya
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:54AM

    Historically speaking, Dr sb is correct.


  • narayana murthy
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:57AM

    It’s extremely illogical when people say that Jinnah was secular. It sounds ridiculous if I say “I want to create a secular country for religion x, out of a secular country”. What does that even mean?

    Like I mentioned in my previous post, I firmly believe that Pakistan was created only for the Muslim elite (rich businessmen, landlords, officers in British Indian offices, politicians etc) to escape from a country which would give them more competition.

    The same underlying principle is applicable to Pakistan even today. Rich are becoming richer and are ruling the country. Poor are becoming poor and have virtually become slaves.

    Jinnah never cared for the poor Muslims.


  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 15, 2011 - 11:01AM

    I agree with you but I can also say.. It will never happen. As long as we continue to sustain this system nothing will happen.


  • Usman
    Aug 15, 2011 - 11:28AM

    Please try and read my comment with an open mind.

    I believe what most of the readers who have criticized the article need to first clear their own understanding. Jinnah was a Congress party member to start with and he joined Muslim League in order to protect the interests of minority Muslims of British India – Politically. When Jinnah stated that he wanted to have a separate homeland for Muslims, he meant …politically (please note this word). Just because he wanted a separate homeland for Muslims does not mean Pakistan’s ideology was Islamic (that was Iqbal’s philosophy – and Jinnah and Iqbal differed on that). Hence Jinnah’s speech about a secular state – now whether you agree with Jinnah’s idea or not is another matter but please do not try change the meaning – he was crystal clear on this idea. Need proof? Pakistan was formed as Dominion of Pakistan in 1947 and only named ‘Islamic Republic’ in 1956…not at the time of Jinnah.

    I myself do believe that Islam gives us the best guiding principle in terms of forming a society and to run its affairs. However, it must be noted that democracy and secularism are not un-Islamic (as some people claim). It is narrated by various sources that the Holy Prophet himself said the wordly affairs are best decided by people collectively and matters pertaining to God and religion should be sought from Quran and Hadith.
    I hope people reflect and educate themselves rather than blindly following the word on the street.


  • Anonymous
    Aug 15, 2011 - 12:03PM

    At best Jinnah was myopic in his vision. It can be corroborated by the state Pakistan is in today


  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 15, 2011 - 12:07PM

    You are right on dictatorship. He wanted to impose one party state. Lets make no mistake the flag of Pakistan was actually a modified version of AIML flag. Dissent was never accepted in Pakistan


  • A J Khan
    Aug 15, 2011 - 1:27PM

    Jinnah’s Pakistan was derailed by its founding fathers. If one looks at the first decade of history of Pakistan we will find, how myopic, selfish, incompetent and ill prepared was the leadership of Pakistan . The best would be that one should compare the actions done by Pakistani leadership vs Indian Leadership.
    1. When Indian Leadership was preparing the constitution for India, Pakistani leadership under Liaqat Ali Khan was laying the foundation of land grabbing of the properties of Hindus and Sikhs who had departed to India.
    2. Under leadership of Nehru, The Indian Assembly formally approved the draft Constitution on November 26, 1949 and on January 26, 1950, the Constitution took effect, a day now commemorated in India as Republic Day.
    3. Liaqat Ali Khan remained the Prime Minister till 1952 till his murder. During five years in office, he could just jot down a fifth graders solution what is called Objective Resolution. He failed to carry out any elections nor give any constitution to Pakistan.
    4. When Nehru was consolidating the economy of India and working on the indigenous industrialization program, Laiqat and his friends were busy in allotting jobs, plots and lands to people who had accompanied his from India thus laying the foundation of nepotism.  
    The list of stupidities is long and makes us sound more pathetic if we unveil it. So it is better we keep silent on many issues of Jinnah’s Pakistan.


  • A J Khan
    Aug 15, 2011 - 1:36PM

    Your comments seems to be an article in itself and may I say they are more near the reality than that of the author’s. I appreciate your truth and courage


  • Tabi
    Aug 15, 2011 - 2:08PM

    The ideology of Pakistan was the brain child of Sir Allama Muhammad Iqbal and NOT that of Quaid-e-Azam. Quaid-e-Azam was the guy who implemented the ideology, he DID NOT create it. So this article does not deserve commenting. Naive author!


  • Cynical
    Aug 15, 2011 - 2:29PM


    My point as well, but you articulated it far better.


  • Mehr Ali Shah
    Aug 15, 2011 - 3:08PM

    I think that Mr Jinnah R.A after failing to re-conciliate with congress and bigotry of congress forced him to struggle for Muslims of the sub continent in an independent direction to achieve an independent state.He want to safe guard the rights of Muslims as stated in Islam and was firmly in favor of Iqbal’s ideology of making Pakistan a dynamic Islamic state which can evolve itself in contemporary world as per instructions of Islam through proper Ijtehad and strong political consensus being done through mutual consensus and through democratic means in the Parliament.


  • Mehr Ali Shah
    Aug 15, 2011 - 3:10PM

    I think that Mr Jinnah R.A after failing to re-conciliate with congress and bigotry of congress forced him to struggle for Muslims of the sub continent in an independent direction to achieve an independent state.He want to safe guard the rights of Muslims as stated in Islam and was firmly in favor of Iqbal’s ideology of making Pakistan a dynamic Islamic state which can evolve itself in contemporary world as per instructions of Islam through proper Ijtehad and strong political consensus being done through mutual consensus and through democratic means in the Parliament.Recommend

  • A.Narasingarao
    Aug 15, 2011 - 4:42PM

    India has a big list of freedom fighters and leaders both secular and spiritual to remember and cherish.I wonder what is the list for Pakistan


  • parvez
    Aug 15, 2011 - 4:48PM

    Excellent opinion piece. One can disagree ( I agree with you ) with your view on what Jinnah had in his mind for Pakistan but it would have to be a person in total denial if he did not agree that today Pakistan is far from being a model Islamic state or a functioning democracy. Jinnah did his job, gave us a country and sadly died. Taking this forward from there was our duty and we have failed in this. Arguing on what was or should have been is futile.


  • Max
    Aug 15, 2011 - 4:56PM

    The readers may note that Mr. Jinnah was a lawyer by profession. He presented the case of a separate homeland in a traditional legal way and won it. He was not a politician and out of court settlement was not his way of doing business.
    Once the case was won, it was up to the clients to take care from there onwards. That is where we failed. Es Mulk ko rakkhna meray bacho Sanbhal kay (Take good care of this country).
    The readers should also not equate Mr. Jinnah to the prophets of Old Testament. He was just an ordinary person and anything he said is not equivalent a Haddith.


  • Muhammad
    Aug 15, 2011 - 5:28PM


    what a wonderful analysis fully agreed.


  • Roflcopter
    Aug 15, 2011 - 7:30PM

    Sorry Secularists/Atheists but Islam is the base of Pakistan.


  • Abhi
    Aug 15, 2011 - 8:40PM


    And there is no topping :)


  • Syed
    Aug 15, 2011 - 10:41PM

    @A.Narasingarao: All I can say is India honored their heroes. Pakistan forgot them. India never forgot the two nation theory but Pakistan did. When you make it territorial then you have no heroes except Badshan Khan. They are not going to take him as a hero. Other heroes of Muslims are not from that territory. So they dont talk about them but that does not mean there are no heroes of freedom struggle. Who made the first war of independence 1857? Muslims. What role did Hindus have in it – very marginal. India has underplayed the Muslim heroes rather swept their efforts and sacrifices under the carpet. If Hindus were even handed and accepted Muslims as a reality, today India would not have been divided and you would have had nothing to cry about!


  • Ex Pakistani
    Aug 15, 2011 - 11:19PM

    Pakistan was planned to be a theocratic state where the caliph will be both the spiritual and political leader. I wish we also had fair and honest rulers like Saddam Hussain ruled our country we would have so much better


  • Aug 16, 2011 - 1:10AM

    @hassan, very good comment and I think closest to the truth.

    @Syed: Syed, you’ve clearly not read Indian history textbooks. Muslim freedom fighters (who were for a united India) like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad have entire chapters dedicated to them. Our history textbooks don’t have much reference to religion in them at all actually – so the fact that these names are Muslim is only something you figure out later. The references to religion only come in when talking about Mughal rule or the creation of Pakistan, because they are required there.

    You mention the war of 1857 and claim it was all Muslims. Who do you think was Tatya Tope? Or Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi? Or the various Marathas like the Shindes of Gwalior or the Holkars of Indore? Or Mangal Pandey? Why the constant need to claim that Muslims are better, superior or did more than others?? This is precisely what Indians don’t like about Pakistanis – it’s all about Islam. Will you ever think of people as equal human beings instead of Muslims and non-Muslims?

    @narayana murthy: Yes, the truth is that during the freedom struggle, once it became evident that the Congress would do away with zameendari and feudalism as one of the first steps in Independent India, the areas in India that had large landholding feudals like Punjab and Sindh were fearful of the future. They found the idea of a ‘Country for Muslims to escape “oppression”‘ a convenient vehicle to attach themselves to to safeguard their interests. As a result, you have Pakistan, a country where the feudals reign to this day and the citizens are justifiably still in a haze about why exactly their country needed to be created! Fortunately for us in India, we were able to chart a by and large secular democratic course through history thanks to our founding principles and our Constitution which has been in force since 1950. There is much work to be done of course.

  • Born Again Pakistani
    Aug 16, 2011 - 9:45AM

    Jinnah had a Sunni Theocratic State in his mind. If anyone has any doubts then prove it I am wrong….


    Aug 16, 2011 - 6:41PM

    @ Arjun
    there were hindu as well who fought against british in 1857 but after war muslims were the
    ones who bare the burden more the hindus or others the reason was white man knew that
    who was the ruler of india and more anti raj if you back in the history muslim dont even
    like the english and it was untill syed ahmed khan of aligarh.


  • Arjun
    Aug 16, 2011 - 9:15PM

    Tanoli, please read history from an unbiased source. That’s all I can recommend to you. You clearly have a view of history that’s biased to believe all kinds of untrue things.


    Aug 16, 2011 - 10:56PM

    @ Arjun
    where is unbiased source of history can u tell me if writer is muslim u not gonna believed
    me and if its hindus i am not gonna believe it and christian will write only anti muslim most
    of the time in favor of british so what or where to get one may be mangolian.


  • rehmat
    Aug 17, 2011 - 6:58AM

    For a change Indians and Pakistanis agree that Jinnah was not secular and his speech of 11th August was an aberration. No-one in India and certainly not Indian Muslims like me can believe that he intended to have a secular state. Why then did he name the party Muslim league? Wjy then did he call for Direct Action Day? Why then did he propagate the 2 nation theory that Hindus and Muslims cannot live together> Here in India not only do we live together as one nation but in so many cases within one household as well.

    No he practiced communal politics and then simply tried to project a secular face to the world. The Pakistan of today is exactly the result that can be expected from a 2 Nation theory based on hatred.

    But I ask you all, do you need to continue to propound the hatred? Pakistan is a reality now. Neither India nor Pakistan can deny this reality and certainly we Indians have no desire to roll-back partition and merge with present day Pakistan. So can you stop teaching hateful things about Hindu banias and how Muslims cannot live with them and look across the border to see how well we can live together? The arms race needs to stop, so that investment in people can begin.

    Wjether you run your country as secular or Islamic is your concern but this unending hatred towards India is hurting the people of both countries. It is in Pakistan’s hands to stop this since Pakistan is the one that has repeatedly attacked India. This will allow greater percentage of tax resources to be allocated to education, health, infrastructure such as electricity.


  • mind control
    Aug 17, 2011 - 10:29AM


    His own followers – who had heard him speak on countless occasions on Pakistan being a country for Muslims alone – naturally they did not swallow it, because, they knew it was meant for global audience, not for local public, and not to be taken seriously.

    Are you saying that saying something for the ‘global audience’ without meaning it has always been part of the Pakistani make up. And that the recent statements of ‘fight against terrorism’ and support for OBL, LeT et al is part of the same duplicity.

    Come to think of it, wasn’t Zaffarulah Khan , a Ahmadia also was a victim of the same duplicity.

    PS- Moderator ET may please note that the pitch for duplicity has already been made and published, I am only putting things in perspective.


  • mind control
    Aug 17, 2011 - 2:29PM


    Let’s stop our usual bluster on the the founding vision speech of Jinnah. No one believed it then and no one believes it now. His own followers – who had heard him speak on countless occasions on Pakistan being a country for Muslims alone – naturally they did not swallow it, because, they knew it was meant for global audience, not for local public, and not to be taken seriously.

    Hassan, now that we know that you are privy to things which are for ‘global audience’ and those that are ‘for local public’. How do you react to the following interpretations,

    A. Muhammad Zaffarullah Khan was used to move the Pakistan Resolution on account of the ‘global audience’ while ‘local public’ knew all along that Ahmadias don’t have a place in Pakistan.

    B. The election in 1970 also for ‘global audience’ when the ‘local public’ knew that the outcome of the election is irrelevant.

    C. The invitation to PM of India to come to Minar-e-Pakistan in the name of friendship for ‘global audience’ and was Kargil for ‘local public’.

    D. And the pledge of war against terror for ‘global audience’ and hosting OBL on account of ‘local public’.

    I am sure you will say ‘Yes’ to all the above, but I am still looking forward to your response.


    Aug 17, 2011 - 7:25PM

    @ Mindcontrol
    Qadianis were very free handed in british raj time some thing very fishy and you need to
    read book (shamefull flight) last shamefull years of brithish raj in india by stanely wolpert
    i think you will all the answers of your question.


  • Avais
    Sep 18, 2011 - 8:05PM

    It should be remembered that Jinnah not only spoke what he spoke on 11 August 1947, he also appointed Mr Joginder Nath Mandal as Law Minister of Pakistan. That shows his interest in making this country an state based on laws of Islam. His speech of 11 August is a clear departure for his earlier rhetoric based on Islam as he saw difference in politics of winning a country and running a country. Moreover, should the present predicament of Pakistan where there is chaos and murder in the name of religion be not enough to reconsider vision of Pakistan regardless of what Jinnah wanted?


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