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27 Nov 17/Monday.
Today’s Pakistan is the exact reason why a need for Pakistan was engineered in the first place. Many may take offence to it but in the garb of supposedly protecting minority rights the premise for the creation of Pakistan was proposed by Jinnah. Interestingly he spoke of secular values and Islamic principles at the same time but it was his shortsightedness that couldn’t foresee the larger picture. If a nation is defined on the basis of religious community, religion becomes a latent value in the state. Then to define the nation on the basis of religion and to say that the state would be non-religious is an oxymoron.
Pakistan has gradually been hijacked by forces that were against Jinnah’s principles from the very beginning. The State has taken on itself to define and dictate people’s faith. There is no assurance of justice and certainly no attempt to promote plurality and equality of all. In fact, it is unfortunate that those who work against these principles are allowed complete freedom to operate and in many instances, even aided. The conservatives find secularism and Islam to be mutually exclusive when the difference is merely one of semantics, not of substance. And therefore majority will still not be comfortable in accepting the term secular in positive light.
In a broadcast speech in February of 1948, Jinnah spoke about Pakistan’s constitution in the making, “I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and f airplay to everybody.” He continued, “In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims Hindus, Christians, and Parsis but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”
Strangely, Jinnah maintained virtual silence in the face of murders of and physical attacks on nationalist Muslims opposed to the League. The murder in May 1943 of former Sind Premier Allah Baksh who had been strongly opposed to the two-nation theory, was followed by the murder of the Ahrari leader Sher Gul Khan. The influential Majlis-i-Ahrar passed a resolution in June 1944 condemning Jinnah’s silence on both murders. This was not merely a post-1940 phenomenon. The stabbing in October 1937 of Nasiruddin, a leading Congressman of Faizabad, met with a similar response.
It is a tragedy that he died before the ink was dry on the signature confirming the birth of Pakistan, leaving Pakistani’s confused till date. But what is even more tragic is that seventy years on India is forward-looking and economically powerful; Pakistan, on the other hand, remains riddled by the contradictions which led to its creation and in the grip of the mullahs, military and now terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Dawood Ibrahim.
Before the British came with a policy of divide and rule, all the Indians were living together with mutual respect. History cannot be undone but what Pakistani’s need to do now is to get their house in order to put the rolling Quaid-i-Azam, Jinnah to rest in his grave.