Categories: CommentEditorials

Pakistan after Jinnah

  • Musings on the founding father’s 70th death anniversary

The ruling elite, both civilian and military, have turned Pakistan into a country where Jinnah would not have liked to live. An outstanding parliamentarian that he was, supremacy of the elected civilian authority was the very basis of democracy for him. Just after independence he gave a shut up call to certain disgruntled army officers who complained about promotions that he had made. “Do not forget that you in the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy. It is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out those tasks with which you are entrusted.” Is this what we see happening in Pakistan today?

Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be an inclusive and pluralistic society where people were to be free to practice their religion. They were all to be treated as Pakistani citizens with no discrimination on the basis of religion or sect, let aside unending attacks on minorities with the state mostly looking the other way. Jinnah took a strong notice of the first communal incident in Karachi after the partition and ordered those involved to be dealt with an iron hand. The treatment meted out to the well-known economist Atif Mian recently by a party that is never tired of ranting about meritocracy is the latest though by no means the worst atrocity of its kind. There is a lot of hypocrisy along with a total absence of the courage of conviction in the PTI leadership. Would Jinnah have tolerated it? The founding father had appointed a scheduled caste Hindu and an Ahmadi as ministers in his cabinet, the latter remaining foreign minister of Pakistan for seven years. Unlike Imran Khan, Jinnah’s model was the modern Britain where the state has no more than a cultural and ceremonial relationship with the Anglican Church.

Jinnah wanted to have good relations with all the neighbouring countries including India. Realising that after the Partition Pakistan and India were separate states, he emphasised that they strive to have friendly relations. Jinnah perceived of Pakistan-India relations as a mirror image of US-Canada ties. Is this what we see today?


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