This is not my Quaid’s Pakistan

Published: January 5, 2014
The writer is an actor, an anchor and a model. She is currently the host of “Morning with Juggun” on PTV Home and can be reached via twitter @JuggunKazim

The writer is an actor, an anchor and a model. She is currently the host of “Morning with Juggun” on PTV Home and can be reached via twitter @JuggunKazim

“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, caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

— Muhammad Ali Jinnah

A few weeks ago, while I was visiting a friend, I went into her kitchen to pick up a plate. As I reached out to pick up one lying next to the sink, her cook grabbed it from my hand. When I asked him what was wrong with the plate, he said it was used by the Christian maid. When I asked why she needed a separate plate, he said none of the staff — plus the begum sahib of the house — wanted to share plates, glasses or even cutlery with her.

Recently, I wished my viewers “Merry Christmas” on my morning show. Within minutes, there were comments on the show’s Facebook page saying that wishing Merry Christmas is blasphemous and that it makes me a non-Muslim. Apparently, I should not even say the words “Merry Christmas”. Instead, if I ‘insist’ on saying something to the Christians of Pakistan, I should only say “Happy Christmas”. That makes no sense to me. All my life, I’ve been wished ‘Eid Mubarak’ by Christians, Hindus and Jews alike.

My make-up artist and stylist, Irfan, asked me if I would help him register for his Matric. When I asked him how come he hadn’t finished his education, he told me he had dropped out. When he was in seventh grade, the school changed his last name (along with that of all the other Christian students) in the school records to Masih. From then on, the other kids in the school started to make fun of him and even hit him. The teachers also started treating him differently and some children were told by their parents that they could no longer talk to him or play with him. Finally, when he couldn’t take the abuse anymore, he just dropped out of school.

Many years ago, I worked in a television series in Canada. I still remember one line I delivered: “We South Asians are an interesting people. When we can’t find anyone else to discriminate against, we start discriminating against each other.”

Every year we remember the words of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah about how the citizens of Pakistan are free to go to their temples and their churches. And every time I see religious injustice happen in Pakistan, I repeat it to myself, feeling ashamed and enraged.

This is not my Quaid’s Pakistan. This is not the dream Allama Iqbal had. I know we are all better than this as human beings and as Pakistanis.

So far as I know, Pakistan was built to give the Muslims of India a separate homeland where they would be free to practise their religion without fear. It was not built so that the majority community could discriminate against minorities.

Why can’t we live and let live? Is it so difficult to let others live their lives with the same dignity and respect we expect for ourselves?

Why can’t we just accept that everyone is different even within one religious framework and that it’s okey to be different?

The bigger point to note here is that prejudice against Christians and Hindus is but one visible facet of our increasingly intolerant society. Once you accept that people have the right to freedom of religion, it applies to everyone — Christians, Hindus, Jews and even other Muslims. Let’s hope that we remember that in 2014.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 6th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (39)

  • LoLzzzzz from India
    Jan 5, 2014 - 11:59PM

    Salvation awaits you the moment you forget him.
    And talk about the present moment.
    Because this IS Jinnah’s Pakistan.

    And you want a different Pakistan which is a laudable goal.


  • Parvez
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:22AM

    Simply and nicely expressed.
    My view is that you can not build a second floor on a house built with a faulty foundation, without correcting the flaws in the foundation.
    The exploitation of religion for political and personal gains has to stop, if progress is to be made.


  • Hella
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:31AM

    You are right. This is Yahya Khan and ZAB’s Pakistan, founded in 1971. Quaid’s Pakistan no longer exists. All such articles are pointless. Not only minorities but even the majority is not safe in today’s Pakistan.


  • Dr. Mohamed Boodhun
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:48AM

    Juggun saheba, I think a lot has already been said on this subject. Let’s not mince the words. If Pakistan wants to survive, first the Government has to apologize to the Pakistani Ahmadi Muslims for the atrocities it has facilitated against them. Then it has to tell all its Mullahs to go back to their respective places of worship and teach their respective congregations fundamental human values. So long that the Mullahs will have a say in the affairs of the country, that country will continue to spiral in a bottomless pit. Reverse course now or face the destiny you brought upon yourself.


  • Dawkins
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:51AM

    I don’t understand how the Pakistan movement (including the threats of violence that the founding fathers delivered to achieve their objectives, as demonstrated in Direct Action Day) can be related to the rather harmless aim of practicing your religion without fear, especially since Muslims were in majority already in all the parts of India that ultimately became Pakistan. Has the writer forgotten the two-nation theory states that Hindus and Muslims (Christians do not even get mentioned – you should ask Irfan how he feels about Iqbal) have nothing in common and need to be separated – and now you complain when your compatriots practice this in true earnest! The simple fact is that muslims wanted to rule, which would have been impossible with a Hindu majority, and hence decided to opt for a separate country; this is also the reason that Jinnah was fine with the Cabinet Mission Plan – wouldn’t that have made it difficult to practice your religion freely in the Hindu majority parts? No – the issue was always about POLITICAL power, and had nothing to do with freedom of religion; Muslims in India have greater freedom of religion than in Pakistan and certainly less chances of accelerated meetings with their maker. But I guess when you drink this cool-aid for that long, you develop a taste for it.


  • pakistani
    Jan 6, 2014 - 12:58AM

    the problem is that we pakistanis have started discriminating against shias, ahmadis more than even against christians and hindus- why?


  • karachi 55
    Jan 6, 2014 - 1:03AM

    so true but that Pakistan is dead and what we are left with is this intolerant society


  • Jalil Ahmed
    Jan 6, 2014 - 1:43AM

    That was during Jinnah’s time. We have moved on and now we are an Islamic country, not a secular country. This country was made for Muslims, others should move back to India if they want to.
    If this is not true, then where is the sense of making Pakistan. Your article is a slap on the 2 nation theory.


  • tarique
    Jan 6, 2014 - 2:23AM

    Well there is also a different perspective in Pak Charistians face descrimination not just because of their religion but also because of their poverty n also in UK seen some staunch muslims to feel proud to have English friends.


  • Kolsat
    Jan 6, 2014 - 3:46AM

    An excellent article which promotes multiculturalism like my country Australia and also Canada promote. Under this policy anyone is free to follow their religion freely so long it does not interfere with that of other citizens. Every citizen of Australia where I live has to follow some basic rules such as the law of the land, belief in democratic principles and English as the national language. Because Australia follows this policy of multiculturalism oppressed Muslims from the Middle East try to come here using whatever means at their disposal and risking their lives in travelling by unseaworthy boats. Pakistan’s founder Jinnah was thinking of multiculturalism when he made the statement quoted at the beginning of this article. Well done. Similar articles need to be written in every language newspaper of Pakistan.


  • takeover
    Jan 6, 2014 - 3:53AM

    Typical sanctimonious article. With the same sort of comments.. Most pple are not anti minority. Thank takfeeri ideology and the caste/class system for the prejudice.


  • Jupiter
    Jan 6, 2014 - 4:07AM

    Typical pretentious article. Im sorry, but i’ve heard it all before. If its not religion, its the caste system. Which is still very rigid. Ironically amongst the religious ones, be they Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Ahmadi… They all follow a caste system.


  • Jan 6, 2014 - 5:29AM

    Mr. Jinnah’s Pakistan does not exist. It was assassinated by
    Z Bhutto, and Zia. It is good to see, people like you
    go to the grave, and lament. At least try to keep the memory alive.Recommend

  • xeelee
    Jan 6, 2014 - 5:43AM

    I don’t mean to pick holes, but why would i guy create on his own a country (which you claim he alone did, and was the sole spokesman), for a particular religious community, and then want it secular? Do you not see the inherent irony and contradiction?

    I assume you are a liberal, that’s why chest thumping about that one speech, can you intellectually honestly say you don’t see the irony in it?


  • Reddy
    Jan 6, 2014 - 7:06AM

    What kind of a GOD would forgive people who discriminate others for not following their customs, language, religion etc? Think about that!


  • Cosmo
    Jan 6, 2014 - 9:28AM

    Believe it or not but THIS IS JINNAH’S PAKISTAN. The Pakistan of today is exactly the kind of Pakistan which was possible following Jinnah’s philosophy. He kept stoking communal sentiments to create a land where he could be the at the helms of things. One single speech cannot eradicate all the hatred sowed during partition. Jinnah should have known better that it is very hard to make people unlearn hate.


  • SKChadha
    Jan 6, 2014 - 10:41AM

    Incorrect …… This is Quaid’s Pakistan build on solid foundation of Islam.


  • Mahmood Sardar
    Jan 6, 2014 - 1:40PM

    Well written Juggan but until state and religion are not separated and state does not interfere in its citizens religion we cannot get back to the path of Quaid’s Pakistan. Also the 2nd amendment in our constitution (made by Z A Bhutto in 1974) has to be repealed as it encourages discrimination on religious basis.


  • Gp65
    Jan 6, 2014 - 2:49PM


    As per census of Karachi in 1941, it had 51% Hindus and 8% Sikhs. Unlike mohajirs who moved to Pakistan to a newly formed country they had fought for, the Hindus and Sikhs did not leave voluntarily. To find out what happened to them and under whose watch – please read this article published in ET by your fellow compatriot.

    As far as Jinnah’s legacy – it is impossible to come to a consensus of what that was. On the one hand you have the 11th August speech. On the other hand, you have many other speeches of Jinnah during Pakistan movement including in Lahore in 1940 where he proposed the 2 nation theory and actions such as the call for Direct Action not to mention speeches and actions after Pakistan was formed. So by all means celebrate Jinnah and give him due respect as the founder of your nation but do not make the case for secular Pakistan on the basis that that is what Jinnah wanted – because that is far from clear. If at all you want to make a case for secular Pakistan, do so based on how that would benefit Pakistanis today.Recommend

  • seema
    Jan 6, 2014 - 4:30PM

    Well said Jugun,
    I thinks many articles written on this subject but the real issue is the implementation of Laws and Rules in real spirit, Not only the minorities but the majority population of the country is vulnerable now by so-called extremist and jihadist which are certainly in minority,


  • Uza Syed
    Jan 6, 2014 - 4:49PM

    Damn right! No country can be a personal property or legacy of an individual and it’s true about Pakistan as well. Pakistan is not your Quaid’s or anyone else’s Pakistan, it belongs to its 190 million citizens. Period.


  • Ramesh Powar
    Jan 6, 2014 - 5:32PM

    You think!?


  • Daud
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:06PM

    To some extant I agreed with the writer as she said ” we are living in an intolerant society where we all become so short-tampered that we are reluctant to hear other point of view’ but still we keep in mind that Pakistan was brought into existence in the name of Islam and Islam is the religion that teaches its followers to behave other with kindness and sympathy. It is easy to say or criticize that “someone don’t like or allow to eat with Christian” but practically we all become so status-conscious-people even we don’t like to meat or eat with those who have less social-status than us. This is not the matter of religion rather this is mere an human-social-attitude.


  • Lalit
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:13PM

    a Nation built on the foundation of discrimination can’t complain of discrimination…


  • Ratnam
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:25PM

    The August 11, 1947 speech by Jinnah (quoted in part by the author) is both fascinating and puzzling. It is widely quoted as proof of Jinnah’s impeccable secular credentials. However, this is the only instance where Jinnah actually made such secular statements in public (even if he may have believed in them privately). All of his other speeches and indeed his actions (such as the call to Direct Action) are to the contrary. A further confound is that there is no audio recording of this speech. A single swallow does not make a summer. If the Quaid genuinely believed his own speech of Aug 11 then he should have made many more such speeches, exhorted fellow Muslims and Pakistanis to believe the same, and pushed for a constitution that was genuinely secular. Instead in February 1948 he stated clearly that he hoped for a constitution that embodies the principles of Islam.

    The truth is that Jinnah’s statement of August 11 should be treated cautiously. It is surprising that this one single speech of his has been taken as a principled stand by Jinnah on what Pakistan should be. But the truth is that his stand was ambiguous, and more often than not he was clear and unequivocal in his belief that Pakistan should be a nation resting on Islamic principles for the muslims of pre-partition India. For the most part he never wavered from that stand. His August 11 speech was an exception, indeed a grave exception because it has never gone down well in Pakistan. Why fight for all this when you are going to end up with more of the same?

    Finally, it is becoming somewhat popular among Pakistani writers to use the label “South Asia” whenever something negative has to be said about Pakistan as a society or as a culture. As if Pakistan’s malaise is a general South Asian malaise. In some instances it is, but in most instances it is not. Pakistan has moved far away from South Asia. It must reckon with its own history. A narrow parsing of the Quaid’s words are simply a misreading of that history.Recommend

  • Gratgy
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:52PM

    People of Pakistan have invisible strings of religion tied to them. Whoever controls the strings can make them dance like puppets. Recommend

  • Dina Warrier
    Jan 6, 2014 - 6:55PM

    “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.”
    Coming back safely, however, is a different matter altogether.


  • Saad
    Jan 6, 2014 - 8:07PM

    Well written. I’ve come across similar incidences myself and I’m glad it’s being brought to the limelight now.


  • Raj - USA
    Jan 6, 2014 - 9:19PM

    When some sects of muslims commit atrocities on minorities, for example conversion of hindu girls by rape, and other sects of muslims just watch and never say anything against this, it is natural that their turn will come after those minorities have been completely done away with. This is what is happening to the Shias now in Pakistan. There are too few hindus and so shias have been declared minority in the minds of many Pakistani muslims. It is the silence from ahmedis, christians and shias on the conversion of hindu girls that has brought them to their present stage. Unfortunately, this silence is still continuing. If you cannot be converted, you shall be killed. These types of conversions are the start of every religious hatred and killings and mother of all crimes. You stand in silence when done to others, you will be silenced sooner or later. Recommend

  • Realist
    Jan 6, 2014 - 10:01PM

    Islam is the root of evil!


  • ivan
    Jan 6, 2014 - 11:00PM

    Indian don’t lament about Gandhi’s India .. it was dead before Gandhi was dead.

    Jinnah’s Pakistan was a Jinnah’s fantasy. It died with Jinnah.


  • Myth Buster
    Jan 6, 2014 - 11:31PM

    @Author: “Why can’t we live and let live? “ ….. good question. But it goes absolutely against the ideology of your founding farther. Listen to many intellects in your own community who argues that the partition on religious lines is the biggest blunder committed by Jinnah.


  • Jhangir Khan
    Jan 6, 2014 - 11:42PM

    @Dr. Mohamed Boodhun: first of all this is not jinnahs Pakistan……this is Islamic Republic of Pakistan, as far as qadyanies is concern yes they are non-muslims and I never seen any qadyani who said any favorable word for Pakistan in any debate……..for qadyanies go out of thjis holy land………….


  • ISROFan
    Jan 7, 2014 - 1:26AM

    @LoLzzzzz from India: Bull’s eye! This IS Jinnah’s Pakistan.


  • Aam Admi
    Jan 7, 2014 - 2:25AM

    “Hindus will cease to be Hindus…(In Pakistan)”. What prophetic words Jinnah saheb. Dear Jugun, the statement in article “..Muslims of India a separate homeland …”. That “separate” word sums all. Bottom line, this IS Jinnah’s Pakistan.


  • Nero
    Jan 7, 2014 - 7:45PM

    Living in present might help a lot more than flight of fancy. This is Pakistan – a mix of good and bad. Jinnah never had a Pakistan. He died too soon to effectively create one, even if one assumes that he could. Please stop going back to one of his statements made once Pakistan was a reality. Jinnah was an intelligent politician who knew very well was “Islamism” (not Islam) could do. That statement was just damage control, once power has been achieved by constant demonization of the same groups of people who were supposed to be “free”. Off course, most Pakistanis didn’t fall for the subterfuge.


  • Raja Islam
    Jan 7, 2014 - 8:54PM

    The problem with Pakistanis is that they are too opinionated and fixated on fairy tales. Individuals are not allowed the freedom of expression and are chastized by individuals and groups if they offer a different opinion. Discrimination stems from lack of tolerance and lack of clear thinking and open discourse. If you cannot have discussions around issues and problems, these problems will never be solved.


  • Raja Islam
    Jan 7, 2014 - 8:57PM

    @Jalil Ahmed:
    The two nation theory failed when Bangladesh was created and the majority province sought inependance from the minority. It is the poeple who moved from India who are the Islamists, the indigeneous people are the secular ones. How can you ask the sons of the soil to leave their homes and move to India?


    Jan 21, 2014 - 9:40AM

    “This is not my Quaid’s Pakistan”. Actually it is not. Pakistan ceased to exist the day Bangladesh hoist it’s own flag. And had the Bengalese not been so much disgusted with the word pakistan itself they could have legally continued calling themselves Pakistan by virtue of being 56 per cent of the country’s population. That would have been a faux pas of highest magnitude and utterly untenable situation for Pakistan.


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