REVISITING QUAID E AZAM MUHAMMAD ALI JIANNAH By Rana Abdul Baqi
1. The historic 11th August speech of Quaid e Azam, as compared to Objective Resolution, passed by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, on March 12, 1949 was by and large, in consonance with the ideological continuity of Pakistan Movement, and in any way, not a contradiction. I shall repeat not contradiction, firstly because a small portion of Quaid’s 11th August speech, visibly adopting certain precautionary measures for the safety of Pakistani Hindus and Indian Muslims on the eve of Partition, can not be entirely separated from his vision of two nation theory, which he preached through his hundreds of speeches, in pre-partition days as well as after the creation of Pakistan. Secondly, because no political intellectual has so far, tried to go into the why of Mr. Jinnah’s so called departure from the establish policy of Pakistan Movement, which, if at all a departure, seemed to have been made under very special circumstances to be examined in this paper subsequently. In fact, the concluding portion of his 11th August speech is generally attributed to ideological contradiction by some political pundits, which is not fair to a great leader of Quaid e Azam’s stature. This fact may not be ignored that Pakistan was not conquered through armed struggle or Jehad, but it came into existence due to a well planned political struggle of Mr. Jinnah forcing the British Indian Government and the Hindu Congress for accepting the demand of an independent Muslim State in the Sub-Continent. Finally, the British Government had to agree to the Partition of India into two democratic states with dominion status as approved by the British Parliament. According to Partition plan, the Muslim majority provinces which were going to form the new state of Pakistan had a sizeable population of minorities, mostly Hindus and Sikhs which formed the major chunk of the 25 per cent population of minorities out of the total population, hence a democratic government was legally bound to protect the political rights of minorities. The similar position existed in Hindu majority Provinces for Muslims, which was a matter of concern for Quaid e Azam as Hindu leadership failed to protect the lives and property of their Muslim subjects. We should also not ignore the fact that the erstwhile Frontier Province was already ruled by Hindu Congress through their Finance Minister in a coalition government with Dr. Khan Sahib of Bacha Khan’s “Khudai Khidmatgar Tehreek”.
2. In view of the aforementioned, It is unfortunate that without going into the hard facts of partition days, some political pundits, taking lead from his 11th August speech, still try to dub Quaid e Azam as Secular in political sense, and “Ismailia”, “Isna-Ashri” or “Parsi” in religious sense, whereas Mr. Jinnah and his father had early inclinations towards Islam. Therefore, he got his son’s name removed from Mission School Karachi and got him admitted in Sindh Madarssatul Islam, Karachi. Later when the family shifted to Bombay, Mr. Jinnah got admission in Anjumen Islamia School, Bombay. In fact, Mr. Jinnah hailed from an Ismailia family and became a true Muslim when his two sisters, Rehmat Bai and Maryam Bai got married into Sunni Muslim families in 1901. Likewise, when Mr. Jinnah got married with Ratti Dinsha, she was converted from ‘parsi family’ into Islam and their “Nikkah” was solemnized by Maulana Nazir Ahmed Siddiqui under Sunni code. However, as a Muslim, Quaid e Azam remained above cast and creed. The recent claim of a political stalwart of MQM, Mr. Altaf Hussain about Mr. Jinnah’s faith being controversial and incorrect, is very unfortunate. Altaf Hussain seemed to have become the victim of mischief and disinformation of certain vested interest. His claim about Mr. Jinnah’s funeral rituals; solemnized under ‘Isna-Ashria religious code’ are utterly against the historical facts. It will only be called mischief, if a few persons (not more than 4/5) who were present at the time of his dead body’s ‘Ghusal’ had secretly offered the funeral prayers in a closed room of Governor General House under Isna-Ashri code. It would have been much better for these few persons, had they organized his ‘Ghaibana Namaz e Janaza’ after burial, as done in various Imambargahs etc. It is unfortunate that a leader like Altaf Hussain has tried to politicize the matter at this critical juncture of Pakistan’s history. In fact, Quaid’s actual funeral procession was taken for funeral rituals, prayers and burial along with hundreds and thousands of mourners from outside the Governor General’s House, while his funeral prayers were offered under Sunni code by Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani with half a million people attending his ‘Janaza prayers’.
3. This fact may not be ignored that Quaid e Azam, through out his political struggle never claimed that he was an Isna-Ashri, and always called himself as a devoted Muslim. He was put questions on many occasions, about his faith, he always replied that he is a Muslim, whenever pressed further he used to ask his questioner whether Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was a Sunni or Shia and then used to say that the Prophet (pbuh) was a true Muslim and he follows his Prophet (pbuh). Mr. Jinnah’s faith only came up under dispute when Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah filed a case to inherit His property under Shia code, as according to Jinnah’s will, she would have inherited only half of the property under Sunni code. There is no denying the fact that Quaid e Azam’s “Ghaibana Namaz e Janazas” held through out the country under the auspices of various religious sects, besides special funeral prayers were offered in all Churches and temples etc., to pay homage to the great leader. His critics must not ignore the fact that Quaid e Azam, since his arrival in the political arena of the sub-continent, whether he remained in Congress or Muslim League, always worked for the cause of Muslim’s rights. He was a great nation builder, and in the words of Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, Mr. Jinnah was even a greater Muslim then Aurangzaib Aalamgir, who by dint of his solo efforts, created a homeland for Indian Muslims, just out of nothingness. In fact, Quaid e Azam through his unending selfless struggle was able to unify the various scattered Indian Muslim communities and sects into one vibrant nation. He had in-depth knowledge of ‘Quran e Kareem’, and was neither a communist nor secularist as propagated by certain vested interests inimical to the Freedom Movement of Pakistan. It is quite evident from his March 19, 1944 address of Punjab Muslim Students Federation at Lahore when he said, “I say, communists, “hands off, hands off” we do not want any flag excepting the League flag of Crescent and Star. Islam is our guide and a complete code of our life.” In 1943 too, Quaid e Azam said, “Pakistan would be an Islamic democracy, a true welfare state based on the principles of Islamic social justice.” Like-wise, while addressing a pre-partition Eid Congregation he explained the Islamic character of Pakistan Movement by saying: “Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows that The Quran is the general code of the Muslims. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal and penal code, which regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of soul to the health of the body, from morality to crime, and our prophet (pbuh) enjoined on us that every Muslim should possess a copy of The Quran and be his own priest. Therefore, Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies, it is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society in every department of life, collectively and individually”.
4. In view of the aforementioned, let us go through the contents of his 11th August speech, point wise. Quaid e Azam was unanimously elected the President of the Constituent Assembly on 11th August, 1947 and in his historic address, he laid down guidelines for conducting the future business of the country. This fact may not be ignored that by then the sovereign state of Pakistan had not appeared on the world map. Many foreign writers and historians too, have listed his 11th August Speech as one of his outstanding speeches, which contained following important points:-
(a) Dealing with our first function in this assembly, I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement at this moment, but I shall say a few things as they occur to me…The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.
(b) The second thing that occurs to me…is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand. Black marketing is another curse…Now you have to tackle this monster, which today is a colossal crime against society…I think they ought to be very severely punished. The next thing that strikes me…is the evil of nepotism and jobbery.
(c) I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of Punjab and Bengal…On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it. Any idea of a united India could never have worked and in my judgment it would have led us to terrific disaster…If you change your past and work together in a spirit that every one of you, no matter to what community he belongs, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make. You are free to go to your temples you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslim cease to be Muslims, not in religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense, as citizens of the State.
5. As a matter of fact, Quaid e Azam knew that his time was short, while conspiracies were around and the stability of Pakistan would have been in jeopardy if the foundations of the new State were not laid down on strong footings. In the fitness of things, he accepted the partition of Punjab and Bengal, where Lord Mountbatten played havoc by taking side with Nehru. Lord Mountbatten is also on record saying that he would have delayed the process of transfer of power, had he knew, Jinnah was suffering from a fatal disease which would not allow him to live beyond 3 years. In fact, the aforementioned contents do indicate the background of an atmosphere of mounting tension against Muslim minority in India which forced Quaid e Azam to raise voice of sanity by presenting himself as a Roll-Model by announcing unprecedented rights, privileges and obligations as equal citizens for Hindus in Pakistan ostensibly to avoid blood shed on the eve of Partition. However, Hindu and Sikh militants in league with Sardar Vallabhai Patel (Minister of State for Interior) and extremist Sikhs leader Master Tara Singh were out to take revenge of Partition from Muslims, on the so called plea of the bifurcation of “Bharat Mata”. Quaid e Azam knew the inner rigidity and anti-Pakistan feelings of Hindu Leadership. He knew the Hindu and Sikh extremists were planning carnage of Muslims in Hindu majority Provinces. Therefore, prior to his 11th August Speech, Quaid e Azam addressed (March 27, 1947) the Bombay Chamber of Commerce, and assured the Hindu audience that he respects Hindu Culture, their philosophy and Dharam, and likewise Muslims have their own civilization and code of life. He assured the Hindu community that the independence of Pakistan means freedom of both the communities, and Hindus would be protected in Pakistan as equal citizens. After 3rd June announcement of Partition of India, Quaid e Azam sensed that Hindu Communal Frenzy had reached to its heights in Hindu majority Provinces. The Hindu militants in league with extremists Sikhs with the patronage of Sardar Patel, not happy with the partition plan were out to create an environment of orgy and bloodshed from Bombay to Bengal and from Delhi to East Punjab. Therefore, Quaid e Azam as Governor General-designate addressed a Press Conference on July 14, 1947, in New Delhi and once again assured the Hindu minority in Pakistan that their religion, faith, life, property and culture would be protected in the future state of Pakistan and they would be the citizens of Pakistan with equal rights and privileges.
6. However, the growing tension among the two major communities of India never changed despite voice of sanity raised by Quaid e Azam. However, his feelings about the ill intentions of Hindus and Sikhs further strengthened when Chief of Punjab Special Branch, Captain Gerald Savage, arrested some Hindu/Sikh terrorists having connections with Indian Republican Army, who were responsible for 5/6 Bomb Blasts in Lahore, and unearthed a conspiracy aimed at killing Quaid e Azam during independence-day procession at Karachi by Hindu/Sikh terrorists, besides attacking Pak-One train/special trains carrying Muslims to Pakistan through remote control bombs etc. The then British Governor Punjab knew the sensitivity of the matter as well as the complicity of British Viceroy with Indian Prime Minister Nehru, therefore, instead of taking any action, he dispatched Captain Jerald Savage directly to Lord Mount Batten who held a meeting with Sardar Patel and also invited Quaid e Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan on August 05, 1947 where the British Special Branch Chief explained the sensitive details of the conspiracy demanding immediate action against culprits also suggesting arrest of Tara Singh for a month under Safety Act, but Lord Mount Batten was reluctant to take any action as Sardar Patel opposed any action against the culprits.
7. Quaid e Azam had great insight into the Islamic history particularly about the treaty made by the Prophet (pbuh) with Jews for the safety of the State of Madina as well as the political capitulations given to “Kuffar e Makha” after the conquest of Makha. Quaid e Azam seems to have the influence of “Surah al-Kafirun” in his mind, in which Allah Almighty Reveals in Ayat No.6 “For you is your religion, and for me is my religion”, so Quaid e Azam was within the prescribed limits, when he made the 11 August speech. In fact, he made genuine efforts to save the lives of innocent people both in Pakistan and India, in good faith. Taking into consideration the Hindu rigidity and vindictiveness, Quaid e Azam was left with no alternative except to seek new avenues to save Indian Muslims from total catastrophe. His address of 11th August 1947 before the Constituent Assembly was a clear manifestation of his good intentions for the people of South Asia. Unfortunately, the Indian leadership never reconciled with the Partition of India and continued to encourage the extremist elements for the destruction of Muslims in India. Hence, during partition, a large number of Muslims were killed by Hindu/Sikh terrorists, forcing a large number of Muslims to migrate to Pakistan in bad shape. When this helpless lot started coming to Pakistan in depleted condition, reaction against Hindus and Sikhs did surface in some areas of Pakistan. Although, Quaid e Azam personally supervised the disturbed areas and controlled the situation promptly, however, most of the Hindus and Sikh population migrated to India thus reducing the Hindu/Sikh population considerably in West Pakistan.
8. In view of the changed political scenario in Pakistan, Quaid e Azam addressed the people of United States on constitutional affairs through his famous Radio Broadcast in February 1948. He said: “The Constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of the Constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today, they are reasonably as applicable in actual life as they were 1300 years ago. Islam and this idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught us equality of man, justice and fair-play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the new Constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State. We have non-Muslims – Hindus, Christians and Parsis – but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”
9. In the back drop of Quaid’s teachings, the Objective Resolution was subsequently moved in the Constituent Assembly in March 1949. Quaid e Azam was not alive but his vision was there when Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan while introducing the Objective Resolution before the Constituent Assembly paid tribute to the political sagacity of Quaid e Azam. He said, “I would like to remind the House that the Father of the Nation, Quaid e Azam, gave expression to his feelings on this matter on many an occasion, and his views were endorsed by the nation in unmistakable terms.” The Objective Resolution, which is now part of the 1973 Constitution, envisaged all the points on which the Quaid had deliberated upon during pre-partition and post partition speeches including the 11th August speech. Let us glance through the main points of ‘Objective Resolution’:-
(a) Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed;
(b) Wherein the Muslims shall be enabled to order their lives in the individual and collective spheres in accordance with the teachings and requirements of Islam as set out in the Holy Quran and the Sunnah;
(c) Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to freely profess and practice their religions and develop their cultures;
(d) Wherein shall be guaranteed fundamental rights including equality of status, of opportunity and before law, social, economic and political justice, and freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship and association, subject to law and public morality;
(e) Wherein adequate provision shall be made to safeguard the legitimate interests of minorities and backward and depressed classes.
10. In-spite of incorporating the guidelines of Quaid e Azam in the Objective Resolution, the anti-Pakistan lobby continued to malign Quaid e Azam in controversies even after his death, the latest being the book on “Jinnah, India, Independence and Partition” published in India 62 years after the Partition, by Jaswant Singh, a former External Affairs Minister of hard line Bharatia Janata Party. The book was written with a purpose to give vent to the contrast feelings about united India, describing Nehru as the main architect of the partition and Jinnah a Secularist guarding the frontiers of United India. In fact, BJP was always determined to encourage a public debate in Pakistan for re-uniting India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with equally hard line stand of Congress to undo Pakistan. A former BJP Chief, L K Advani is on record clamouring for such a public debate in Pakistan for re-uniting the three countries, by carving out a program of United India with a so called innocent beginning in the guise of Confederation. To make Jaswant Singh’s thesis acceptable in Pakistan, BJP party workers agitated against the publication of this book and Mr. Singh was subsequently expelled from BJP before visiting Pakistan to introduce his book. However, when he failed to attract the Pakistani public opinion, his membership of BJP was restored on return to India. It is strange that where Jaswant Singh had failed, a Pakistani Federal Minister of ANP Mr. Ghulam Ahmad Bilour has now taken up the cause of the so called Confederation of Pakistan with India. Strangely enough, Mr. Altaf Hussain too, selected the current difficult time period for Pakistan, ostensibly to make the personality of the Creator of Pakistan disputed and controversial which may further increase the gulf between the already hostile sectarian groups. It is the duty of the government to curb these tendencies with iron-hand. Pakistan is now an Atomic State and people of Pakistan shall never allow any self seeking person to make it a subservient State to any foreign power.
11. Finally, I may conclude my essay with the message of Quaid e Azam issued by him to the nation on August 15, 1947, as cited by Ch Muhammad Ali, the then Secretary General of the Cabinet as the first order passed by the father of the Nation. Quaid e Azam wrote: “My thoughts are with those valiant fighters in our cause who readily sacrificed all they had, including their lives, to make Pakistan possible. Those of our brethren who are minorities in Hindustan may rest assured that we shall never neglect or forget them. I recognize that it is the Muslim minority provinces in this sub-continent who were the pioneers and carried the banner aloft for the achievement of our cherished goal of Pakistan. Now they would have to adjust themselves to new and difficult circumstances because the Hindus resented them having supported Pakistan”. After the aforementioned categorical remarks of the Father of the Nation, it may be safely concluded that the 11th August speech of the Quaid was in fact, part of the ideological continuity, for ensuring security of all citizens as well as those who were left behind in Hindustan. Hence the ‘Objective Resolution’ is also part of the same ideological continuity as desired by the Father of the Nation in his life time.
(Note: The writer of this dissertation is a former Director of Cabinet Secretariat, Government of Pakistan, presently editing a net paper, “South Asian Pulse Online www.sapulse.com Author of three books and score of research articles, he can be contacted on email: firstname.lastname@example.org ).