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Remembering the great Quaid

On 11th September, 1948, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah left us at the age of 71. He was an exceptional lawyer, a remarkable statesman and a one of a kind leader of his people. His life, vision and achievements continue to shine and enlighten our paths even today. The Quaid made possible the miracle that is Pakistan. Unfortunately, the future that he chalked out for Pakistan has not been realized but it is never too late. As of 2020, the guidance of the Quaid and his impressions are all we need to get back to the way of prosperity and progress. On the day of his death anniversary, the nation should give thanks to the great man that and recall his ideals of unity, faith and discipline. The answers to all questions and tribulations of Pakistan, both internal and external, lie in the life and work of Quaid-e-Azam.

After the death of the Quaid, regrettably, there was no one to take his place. The socio-political organization that he initiated began to slow down and came to halt after a few years. On the political side, Quaid-e-Azam was a democrat to the core. His speeches and quotes emphasize the importance of institutions. After a thorough analysis, we can safely conclude that he believed in the maxim, “the worst form of democracy is better than the best dictatorship”. In his era, the modern development to the idea of democracy was the Islamic idea of welfare state. In view of the Quaid, there exists a phenomenal combination between the concepts of Western democracy and Islamic values. A rule of the people guided by the Holy principles of Quran and Shariah law was and still remains the only governance model for Pakistan. Autocracy, aristocracy, elitism, feudalism, capitalism and dictatorship have no place in Quaid’s Pakistan. He believed in collaborative effort. Never in his life, did he resort to violence and the use of force. Dialogue, negotiations, argument and natural justice were his style. He believed in the will of the majority from the lowest to the highest echelons of governance. After over seven decades of existence, the answer is still the same; democracy is the only way forward for Pakistan. After multiple military dictatorships, corrupt governments and violent socio-political movements, redemption still lies in the simple solution; a corruption free country where the leadership is honest and a true representation of majority of the population.

Another aspect of the great Quaid was his love for modernity and reform. Who can disagree that the Muhammad Ali Jinnah, at a particular point in his life, was the most sought after eligible bachelor in the sub-continent with the most modern views. When he came back to his homeland after London, he was by far the most well dressed, highly reputed and proficient lawyer of his time. Not just in attire, but also in his ideas. Around the 1920s and the 30s, the world was waking up to the injustice of colonialism. The yoke and chains of slavery were weakening. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was aware of this and actively joined the ranks for freedom of the sub-continent. He also believed in indigenous unity and harmony. He was true to his eastern Islamic values but at the same time, his speech and his conduct was even more modernized than his British counter-parts. In the same way, the Quaid believed in the reformation of the Muslim-ummah (the nation of Islam) and wanted Pakistan to be an enlightened nation, one that gave new meaning to the values of Islam and made them better than the West could ever do with their religious beliefs. Many a factions in Pakistan still fail to realize that religion and our traditions are what should keep us going forward and not the inverse. Without proper reform and modernization, the idea of a welfare state will forever be a dream.

From an analytical perspective, the Quaid was convinced of his demand for Pakistan as a result of atrocious and malicious behavior from the Hindus of the Congress party. The Quaid realized that under the divisive nature of extremist Hindu ideology, the Muslims of the sub-continent will be at the mercy of a dominant Hindu population. It was a grave juncture. Generations of Muslims were at stake, in danger of becoming subservient to Hindu masters, forcing them to bow before Hindu gods. So, he became the advocate of the “Two Nation Theory”. A theory that Hindus actively denied and to this day, the status quo continues in their concocted interpretation. Ironically, the year 2020, stands testimony to the fact the Quaid was absolutely correct, that the Muslims of the sub-continent could never have lived in peace under the Hindu ideology. The tyranny of Kashmiris, the destruction of Babri Masjid, the suspension of human rights of Muslims, the anti-Muslim pogroms of Delhi, the down trodden status of majority of Muslims and the Hindu Extremist attitude of Narendra Modi Government are a stark example and a living proof to the truthfulness of ‘the Two Nation theory’. Gandhi’s version of the sub-continent only exists in papers now. The same story follows for the Sikhs in India. This gives us Pakistanis, a solid reason to show more gratitude to the Quaid and to Almighty Allah and realize the potential and significance of the blessing that is Pakistan, an umbrella over our heads. Conversely, we should be wary of the fact the one should not become what one loathes. The Two Nation theory created Pakistan but this was never an ideology to discriminate against non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan. The Quaid believed in total religious freedom and that the State could never oppress people of one faith in favor of another. Sadly, that has not been the case. The white part of the Pakistan Flag has been neglected many a times.

The Quaid also laid out his plans for the identity of Pakistan before the world. His vision for Pakistan’s foreign policy was based on morality, justice and fair play beyond words. Recently, the monarchical dictatorships of Saudi Arabia and UAE have begun overt and covert negotiations with the likes of Israeli Netanyahu. This violates the spirit of Islam and the basic rights of Palestinians.

Did Quaid leave a guiding principle for us? He said on October 12, 1945:

“Every man and woman of the Muslim world will die before Jewry seizes Jerusalem. I hope the Jews will not succeed in their nefarious designs and I wish Britain and America should keep their hand off and then I will see how the Jews conquer Jerusalem. The Jews, over half a million, have already been accommodated in Jerusalem against the wishes of the people. May I know which other country has accommodated them? If domination and exploitation are carried now, there will be no peace and end of wars.”

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan came out and reiterated the vision of the Quaid. Power, wealth and influence do not trump the ideas of faith, justice and brotherhood. It is hard to imagine, the Quaid was aware of the plight of the Palestinians even in 1945. With every year, we become more conscious of the greatness of our Quaid and what he has left behind for us. May God bless the soul of our leader and enable us to accomplish his dreams that he saw for us with such foresight and honesty.

(The writer is a Chairman of Jinnah Rafi Foundation)

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