The Quaid | Pakistan Today

The Quaid

What Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah said in his historic address delivered before the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 is as authoritative as it is unequivocal and precise. Summed up in one sentence he viewed the new country as a modern, pluralistic and democratic federal welfare state. That he made the observations while referring to the onerous task of formulating the constitution for the newly created country indicates that he was recording what he considered to be the defining features of the basic law.

Jinnahs untimely departure paved the way for the vested interest which was waiting in the wings to take over the driving seat. In its pursuit for unlimited power and pelf, the new rulers turned a federal system into a virtually unitary form of polity, undermined democracy and followed economic policies that caused widespread poverty while wealth continued to be concentrated in the hands of a few families. They worked against the ideals for which Jinnah had fought all his life.

As they were departing from the direction pointed out by Jinnah, the rulers needed ideologues to justify their misdeeds. By the time those who had fought along with Jinnah for the creation of Pakistan were dead, a new crop of pen pushers had come into existence who invented an ideology of Pakistan unheard of during Jinnahs lifetime. This glorified strong center, denied the existence of nationalities, undermined the culture and languages of different provinces and wrote a pseudo-history that deified military figures while it downgraded democratic personalities. Jinnah had specifically maintained that religion, caste or creed had nothing to do with the business of the state. The deviation from Jinnahs concept was responsible for the separation of East Pakistan. As little was done to rectify the course, the thinking traded as the ideology of Pakistan continues to promote religious and communal frenzy, extremist thinking and separatist tendencies. There is an existential need for Pakistan to highlight Jinnahs progressive ideas and to reject the reactionary thinking of the ideologues.