Jinnah’s Pakistan

It has become a ritual to celebrate Independence Day every year without considering whether we have achieved it or not


Mubarak Ali August 14, 2010

It has become a ritual to celebrate Independence Day every year without considering whether we have achieved it or not. The question is how far independence has accomplished its objective by creating historical consciousness among people: whether it has changed the life of the common people or increased their sufferings and miseries. If it has, how do we respond to the challenges that we are facing today?

There are some liberals who think that the solution is to put in place “Jinnah's Pakistan”. To me, it would be quite interesting to find out who invented this term. When we use it, it gives the impression that he solely created this country. We seem to be in denial of the fact that other forces helped him to fulfill his dream. Moreover, the term also indicates that Pakistan is Jinnah's property.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not a thinker or a philosopher. He was a politician.

In the early period of his political career, he was the staunch Indian nationalist and anti-British. When he joined Muslim League, he changed his stance and championed the cause of the Muslim community of the subcontinent. He supported the two-nation theory and in a number of his speeches declared that the Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations with different culture, customs and traditions. The two-nation theory became a hallmark of the Pakistan movement.

When Jinnah delivered his August 11, 1947 speech, declaring all religious communities equal in the soon-to-be-born Pakistan, it not only shocked but surprised the leadership of the Muslim League and the bureaucracy. That's why the speech was censored. The very act of censoring the speech of the founder of Pakistan and its first governor-general shows that he failed to convince his followers that after Partition the situation had changed and the country needed the theory of one nation rather than two.

In 1949, when the Objectives Resolution was passed by the Legislative Assembly, Muhammad Ali Jinnah became irrelevant to Pakistani politics. It was decided that Pakistan would be a religious country. All three constitutions were drafted in light of the Objectives Resolution. As a result, the Pakistani state has become an Islamic state and the process of Islamisation is continuing unabated.

Under these circumstances, to refer to Jinnah's Pakistan or his vision shows our intellectual bankruptcy. In a backward society, where intellectuals and politicians have failed to produce new ideas, they resort to the past and propogate outdated and rusted ideas. Hero worship is not the solution to our problems. New challenges require new ideas. Muhammad Ali Jinnah alone cannot help us get rid of our present problems.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2010.

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COMMENTS (32)

Bashy Quraishy | 10 years ago | Reply Dear Mr. Khan Thanks for providing me the full dictionary definition of the word: Secularism. I am always happy when people enlighten me. I gather that you believe that secularism entails that there should be no state religion or equivalent, meaning a state which is totally cleansed of religion. If we were living in an ideal world, it may be possible to have a perfect secularism but there is no country in the world, where there is total separation of state and religion. I live in Denmark which is proud to call it self a secular democracy. So some extent, it is true too but if you go deeper, you will find that the Danish king or Queen has to be a Christian, the country has a State paid Ministry of Churches, State pays for the upkeep of its churches and priests pay, a big red Cross in its flag, the parliament starts its session with a Christian mass, is closed on Xmas and Easter holidays and the list goes on and on. Now, the article, which I commented was not about secularism. It was about Quaid and the way Mr. Muabarak Ali tried to sow doubt about Quaid’s intentions regarding the future course of Pakistani legal identity. It was this, I objected to because Mr. Ali does not back his arguments with sold documentation and relies on conjecture. I strongly believe in self-criticism, but not in self-denial or self hate which some modern day Pakistanis academics, intellectuals and journalists indulge in. Quaid’s greatest achievement was the creation of Pakistan, whose air we breath, on whose passport we travel and which is our identity, we like it or not. You may call me a nationalist or a naïve patriot. Pakistan is a reality and what we do with it is our sacred duty, responsibility and not Quiad’s. That is why, I find it futile to discuss in 2010 if Quaid was a secularist or a lover of Islam. I hope that both you and Mr. Ali would understand it. Kind regards Bashy Quraishy
Muhammad Ahsan Khan | 10 years ago | Reply @Bashy Quraishy You have a particular opinion concerning a Secular State based on the definition which is only half of the definition of a Secular State. Here is a Dictionary definition: “A secular state is a concept of secularism, whereby a state or country purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor ir-religion. A secular state also claims to treat all its citizens equally regardless of religion, and claims to avoid preferential treatment for a citizen from a particular religion/non-religion over other religions/non-religion. Most often it has no state religion or equivalent. Secularism is the concept that government or other entities should exist separately from religion and/or religious beliefs.” You are free to reject the second part of the definition and stick to your own. I have no intention and certainly no authority to make you change your mind. Regards
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