Analysis: Death anniversary of Fatima Jinnah passes silently

Published: July 11, 2013
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Fatima Jinnah, sister of Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. PHOTO: FILE

Fatima Jinnah, sister of Quaid-e-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: We, as a nation, have forgotten our leaders and it is apparent in the fact that the death anniversary of Fatima Jinnah passed by silently even though this is the government of the Pakistan Muslim League.

We have been calling her ‘Madar-e-Millat’, the first female politician who challenged the military dictator, late Ayub Khan. Yet, none of the champions of democracy paid homage to her on her death anniversary.

Fatima Jinnah, was not an ordinary woman. She was not only the sister of Quaid-e-Azam and fought shoulder to shoulder with him but, in her own right, she became the majority-backed candidate of opposition against Ayub Khan in the presidential elections. Even those religious parties, who were ideologically against the leadership of a woman, accepted her as their leader. She became the symbol of resistance but she no longer inspires or warrants a visit by our present leaders.

Sadly, she is not the only leader we have forgotten. If you pore over the visitors’ book at Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum, or the mausoleums belonging to Liaquat Ali Khan and Allama Iqbal, you will be surprised to learn that our present leaders hardly visit them. Sometime ago, these leaders were remembered on their birth and death anniversaries but now we hardly deem them important enough. It is no more in the government protocol to visit the mazaar after oath-taking.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the chief of PML – a party they claim is connected to the one formed in 1906 has yet to visit the mazaar since he became the premier for the third time. The prime minister recently made a trip to China but a visit to the founding father is still not on his schedule.

Even when he visited Quetta to preside over a law and order meeting, Sharif failed to pay a visit to the Quaid’s house in Ziarat that was destroyed by militants. Security is certainly important but is it more important than national pride?

The president is not far behind. How many times in the last five years has he paid a visit to the mazaar? The mausoleum’s visitors’ book presents a sorry picture. When Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah forgot to visit the mausoleum after his oath-taking and instead went to a party reception in Lyari, he also faced a lot of criticism.

If the leaders have failed to hold the mausoleums or the leaders it represents on a pedestal, the sanctity of Quaid’s mazaar has also been destroyed by the people, as it has become a den for drugs addicts and prostitutes.

Next month, Pakistan will be celebrating its 66th birth anniversary or independence. Surely, our leaders will visit the mausoleum and there will be a special ceremony of the change of guards on August 14.

When some of these leaders make additions in the visitors’ book, it would be worth noting how may times a year these forgotten leaders are remembered.

This is a gentle reminder to the nation that there was a lady called Fatima Jinnah, whom we all called, Madar-e-Millat, mother of the nation. We have forgotten both the father and the mother of the nation. Perhaps, that is why we still struggle to become a nation.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Ali
    Jul 11, 2013 - 10:34AM

    very well written article, its an utter shame tbh…. i have no words after this article… going to anyone’s grave is even a sunnah, forgetting our leaders nd forgetting our sunnah thats our condition ! what a superb nation we are…

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  • M.A. QURESHI
    Jul 11, 2013 - 11:04AM

    Not only we forgot Madar-e-Millat Fatima Jinnah, but also other freedom fighters and the 2.0 million muslims of who sacrificed their lives for the creation of Pakistan. This is a shame for all of us. How a “Ahsan Framosh” nation or people can expect showers of blessings from Allah.

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  • Peace Lover
    Jul 11, 2013 - 11:27AM

    Why did those who trumpet their allegiance to “Muhajirs” fail to remember the foremost freedom fighter?

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  • Peace Lover
    Jul 11, 2013 - 11:49AM

    I mean the foremost female freedom fighter.

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  • Pakistani
    Jul 11, 2013 - 12:39PM

    Shame on us.

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  • True Karachiwala
    Jul 11, 2013 - 2:36PM

    **@Peace Lover:** **Why did those who trumpet their allegiance to “Muhajirs” fail to remember the foremost freedom fighter?**

    Here you go !!your point may be valid, but as you have singled out the Moohajirs to be responsible for observing Madar e Millat death anniversary, it proves people like you, which are in a very great numbers, do not own these great patriotic leaders (and believe me Pakistanis are never going to see such leaders again till dooms day.)

    Did you know your son of soil, Gen.Ayub, declared her as “Indian Agent” ?Recommend

  • ModiFied
    Jul 11, 2013 - 4:32PM

    “If you pore over the visitors’ book at Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum, or the mausoleums belonging to Liaquat Ali Khan and Allama Iqbal, you will be surprised to learn that our present leaders hardly visit them.”

    Isn’t it un Islamic to visit mausoleums ? Pakistan is caught in a web of her own making. Don’t be surprised if these mausoleums are bombed some day by Taliban like they bombed Bamyan Buddha.

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  • Peace Lover
    Jul 11, 2013 - 6:15PM

    “singled out the Moohajirs to be responsible for observing Madar e Millat death anniversary,” You got me wrong. As a muhajir, I felt ashamed that even we who always raise the bogey of muhajir discrimination, do not remember the patriots who served the cause of Pakistan’s independence, including the Shaheed-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan.
    I never said that mohajirs to be RESPONSIBLE. I meant if no one else does, then at least the mohajirs should remember their heros.
    Ayub Khan was not my son of soil. Thanks.

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  • Jul 11, 2013 - 6:54PM

    Author::Kudos for your opening words,”We,’as a NATION'” to your article,about us not remembering the death-anniversary of late Mohtrama Fatima Jinnah.If we were ‘a nation’,or at least understood the importance of being one,this would have not happened

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