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What about Jinnah’s Pakistan?

What about Jinnah’s Pakistan?

Some random thoughts come to mind this Christmas, a day that also happens to be Mr. Jinnah’s birthday.

If it were the year 1947, would the advisor to the chief minister, Sindh, Ms. Sharmila Faruqui have rushed to the police station in Clifton as she did last Monday to meet a rape victim only to cast aspersions on the victim’s complaint that she was kidnapped and raped by her assailants? Ms. Faruqui not only disclosed the identity of the rape victim to the media but also implied that she was not quite convinced of the victim’s account of the assault; that she found her to be “hyper and rude”, within hours of the rape; and that the victim and her female friend, who was also beaten up badly, were coming from a party late at night. What does the advisor to the CM actually think? That it’s OK to rape a girl who parties? Who gave Ms. Faruqui the right to cast aspersions on the victim’s story even before the police began to investigate?

Then, just who is Ms. Faruqui to judge the veracity of the wronged woman’s claim, whose medical reports proved that indeed a gang-rape had been committed? Does Ms. Faruqui not know that rape is a heinous crime in any civilised society, regardless of the profession of the victim, whether she is a prostitute or a submissive, God-fearing woman, and that a rapist is a rapist even if he happens to be the husband of the victim?

While the whole episode is outrageous, yet another outrage brews elsewhere in the land of the pure, with a victim who is twice disadvantaged – being a woman and that too from a minority community. Aasia Bibi as the latest blasphemy accused, a poor Christian woman from a village in Punjab who’s on death row in a Lahore prison. Would the mullahs of all hues, Barelvi, Debandi, Ahl-i-Hadis, Shia and what have you, who are now demanding her death have been able to rally for their ‘cause’ at the birth of Pakistan?

Remember how they had stood discredited in the public eye on the eve of the creation of Pakistan, which they had opposed, as Jinnah unequivocally charged the Constituent Assembly at Karachi with framing a constitution for his country, declaring that “Religion will have nothing to do with the business of the state”?

Then, are Ahmadis free to assemble and worship in Pakistan today? Jinnah would be turning in his grave if he knew that we created a minority out of a community that was Muslim in his Pakistan up until 1974. The entire Ahmadi population of the city of Rabwah in Punjab, with a population of 70,000, has a gagging order against them to assemble and pray as they wish, in a country where Jinnah had assured all that they were free to go to their “mosques… temples and any other place of worship”.

If there was a Pakistan Ideology, it was given to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan by Jinnah himself on the eve of independence, that is why he had to die before a new Objectives Resolution could be passed by his deputies in the same assembly in 1949.

This was the starting point of introducing religion into the business of the state, and upon which Z.A. Bhutto and General Ziaul Haq built the entire edifice of their controversial process of Islamisation, with the result that today Islam itself has become controversial, with Sufi shrines and mosques of rival sects being bombed by the puritans, and innocent citizens being killed because they are not Muslim enough. It was about such people that Jinnah had said: “[Pakistan] will not be a country ruled by mullahs with a divine mission;” and that, “The British parliamentary system should be the model before us.” Both the ideals have since been severely compromised.

Jinnah’s Pakistan was as much in the name of Islam as the independent state of Bosnia in our own times. Pakistan was created for the welfare of the Muslim-majority provinces of British India just as Bosnia was created for safeguarding the interests of the Muslim majority of that region of the former Yugoslavia. Following partition of India, Indian Muslims were advised by the Quaid to remain loyal to their country; it is they who have heeded Jinnah’s call while we in Pakistan have created our own distortions and deviations from his ideals.

Here in a nutshell is a very secular rationale for the creation of Pakistan: Muslims of the even Muslim-majority provinces of a united India, in the face of the denial of any affirmative action in their favour by Congress in 1947, could not have been able to safeguard their socioeconomic interests. Non-Muslims were better qualified to take up most jobs and lucrative vocations, which in their absence fell to Muslims in what we call Pakistan today.

The Quaid was more than willing to keep India in one piece provided he was able to extract an affirmative action plan in favour of the very backward Muslims at the time of independence; this means that even before Pakistan became a reality on the map, Mr. Jinnah had revisited and reviewed his Two-Nation Theory. Never was he to invoke it again even to unite East and West Pakistan, which saw the language riots in Dhaka right at the outset.

The leader and the lawyer Jinnah understood well the distinction between creating a country for disadvantaged Muslims or one in the name of Islam. That fine line was later blurred by his deputies after his death and it was removed altogether by ambitious politicians and military dictators to perpetuate their own rule.

In Jinnah’s Pakistan, we would have been saved many a Ms. Faruqui in the government; instead, an Aasia Bibi, on the back of ballot, could have become the head of state without endangering Islam or trading off nuclear secrets. These two feats today are the exclusive privileges of Pakistani Muslims alone.                   

Murtaza Razvi is the Editor, Magazines, at Dawn.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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228 Responses to “What about Jinnah’s Pakistan?”

  1. aslam sheikh says:

    Jinnah was a liberal. Salman Taseer’s murder is nothing but the murder of Jinnah in the present day anarchy of pakistan.

  2. Asif says:

    I always thought “Pakistan ka Matlab kaya la ilaha il Allah”… and when I speak with older generation of regular Pakistanis, as my Grandparents and their age fellows you always get the same answer… that Pakistan was suppose to be an ISLAMIC state. Unfortunately the elite in Pakistan including Jinnah did not want that. Jinnah was a secular man, He no doubt helped Muslims by creating Pakistan but as far as his Islamic values they are a joke (if you disagree read any impartial history or biography of Jinnah.)

    As far as Pakistan in 2010, I would say Majority of the people of Pakistan would like it to become an Islamic state, meaning the constitution of Pakistan becomes Quran/Sunnah and sharia. But In practice if this was to happen Majority of the people of Pakistan would not like it… and in fact are not even ready for it.

    This is the reason we have this secular minority in the country who is pushing their ideology by these blogs etc…

    • Tahir says:

      The history of QAID-E-AZAM is also changed in the hands of secular writers. Please read Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s character when he returmed from London to lead Muslims and look for his speech which he made at the inagular ceremony of state bank…(which these secular writers will never mention). And there so many things about Muhammad Ali Jinnah which these people hid from us to create an bad image of Qaid in our mind..QAID was a true Muslim who wanted KHIALFAH system in PAKISTAN.

    • Zakir Akbar says:

      I disagree with your Asif’s statement that Pakistan was created under the slogan of”Pakistan ka Matlab kaya la ilaha il Allah”. There is no historical evidence of this slogan in the Pakistan Movement. Islamic parties before Partition of India and after were as politically in-effective as they are now. They never enjoyed the popularty of masses. If we had not Jinnah, Allama Iqbal could not have done it by himself. He tried and failed and it was jinnah who made it happen. So Please have your historical facts sraight!

      In 2008 elections, largest and most voted party was Peoples Party which secured 10 Millions vote where as Religious parties hardly secured any seats. So wake up and accept the reality that majority of Pakistanis are secular and progressive people.

    • Yousuf Hussain says:

      Religion is a personal matter and not the matter of state. Islamic law in itself is controversial. Every Islamic sect believe they are right and others are wrong. Thats why we see that one Islamic sect blame another sect for not following Islam properly and even blows apart the mosques and religious centers. So we Pakistani Muslims are not united on religion. Therefore we should be united on humanity and culture basis. And society should be secular. I would say it would be better not to be a Muslim than killing another Muslim in the name of religion. Atleast it would not defame our peaceful religion.

    • Rizwan says:

      ‘As far as Pakistan in 2010, I would say Majority of the people of Pakistan would like it to become an Islamic state’
      Are you serious? Majority of our population can’t even say the Kalima. If your statement was true, why wouldn’t this majority ever let the Mullahs come into power through vote?
      Our religious fanatisism has gone so far that people today are admiring the killer of Salman Taseer and calling him a hero. I don’t care much about Taseer because of his affiliations with Zardari’s govt., but calling a murderer a hero based on a wrong act is hopelessly ridiculous.

  3. Omar says:

    If religion was a basis for any nation than the whole of middle east should be one country and based on Christianity Europe and other countries would be one nation.

    • Sameer Bhardwaj says:

      I am a resident of India but still admire Mr. Jinnah because of his sheer determination and courage with which he brought Pakistan into existence. But let me say at the very outset, had Mr. Jinnah been alive today he would have surely regretted his decsion of partitioning the country in 1947. Pakistan which was supposed to be the home land for all the muslims in the Indian subcontinent, and which Mr. Jinnah wanted to become a progressive and modern state on the lines of Turkey, is today nowhere close to his cherished dream. Instead, it has rapidly descended into chaos and anarchy because of military takeovers and a very weak democracy which has not been able to fulfil the aspirations of the Pakistan people. Today, Pakistan is facing an identity crisis. It is very important for the people of Pakistan to realize this and think over the future of Pakistan. Otherwise, you would be doing the greatest disservice to your founding fathers who gave up their lives for Pakistan.

      • bvindh says:

        @Sameer Bhardwaj,

        determination and courage was also exhibited by Adolf Hitler, Gandhi and Jesus Chirst!!

  4. Ali says:

    Lack of employment, lack of proper education, lack of adequate educational institutions and opportunities to grow in accordance with the world standards and demands makes young people resorting to extremism as it found to be the one and only source to grow, earn and learn. Ensure at least high school education, the country will flourish as its own!

  5. Dr A Khan says:

    Dear Mr Murtaza,
    This is true that Jinnah’s Pakistan was made on principles of equality, justice and faith and basically was for Muslim majority in United India as it would have been better for us to run a country by us so called”Muslims of Pakistan”. I personally think, Islam is not to blame. It is lack of education, and the current rulers both military, and civilians since the partition who have been somehow influenced by west including USA, who have been meddling in our affairs since partition. The problem, is that our nation should rise to the occasion and need a realistic revolution started at individual levels and then families and then the nation as a whole. The problem is that Pakistanis are the most self centered nation, I have ever seen. That’s why we get the corrupt leaders to rule us. I think we need a revolution in terms of changing our personnel code of conduct. We cannot call our selves Muslims by name as we are, but following our Allah, Quran and Sunnat saw properly. In Islam there is a lot of tolerance to other people and other minorities and religions. We are lost at the moment, our leaders are just interested in completing their tenures and stay in power and not interested in solving problems of common man. They made our country a poorest country in the world. Pakistan has rich resources and still going on, as only Allah is making it survive as there are still good Muslims in the country who Allah look after and is making sure that with time new generations of people true Muslims will come and rule and inshallah things will improve, but not maybe in our life times, it is sad…. SO we have to blame ourselves not anyone else or definitely not Islam. It is we, I think, should think of first becoming good humans before we can re-embrace Islam again and become re-born Muslims and rejuvenating Muslims with passionate, compassion and love for other human fellows rather then growing hatred and fueling hatred and jealousy. We are to blame our-selves and need inner revolutions first and change, and then Allah will bring good people from among us to be our servants rather then rulers as they are now…
    A Khan
    Professor of Physics
    Islamabad University of Tech

    • U. Hussain says:

      The fact that a professor of physics believes this is evidence that our country is headed downwards, be it crooks or professors, the ideology enshrined within is the same.

      “Allah is making it survive as there are still good Muslims in the country who Allah look after”

  6. Sohail Anjum says:

    This article is purely based on hypocrisy. One side Mr. Rizvi says that state has to do nothing with religion on the other side he says country constitution should be based upon Qaid and Iqbal vision. Please remember, Iqbal says ” Juda hoo Jo deen siyasat say to reh sati hey chengazi”.

    It is also pertinent to mention here that all minorities are free to practice their respective religions in Pakistan.

    • faisal says:

      all minorities are free to practice their respective religions in Pakistan.

      You are so engrossed with being a super Muslim-Pakistani that you would never ever realize that Pakistan feels like hell to the minorities.

    • Mohammad H Butt says:

      all minorities are free to practice their respective religions in Pakistan?

  7. Atta ur Rehman says:

    i am a just 20 years old and a part of Pakistan youth, this is my first ever blog, I had a different point of view about Jinnah’s pakistan. That pakistan Died on 11 September 1948, but had so much strong impact due its founder’s character, the vision and foresightedness on the people that they still think that pakistan is still the same but the people are not such wise as they should be, because we become punjaabi Sindhi, Baloauchi, Pakhtoons, Muhaajir and etc. lefting pakistan behind. Islam was the Religion but we become Shia, suuni, wahabi, etc. The best solution of Pakistan’s Success is Unity no matter on power of stick or from the hearts of people.

    I like Musharaf’s Era because he tried to crush all those people who were supporter of provincialism and has become nature of pakistani’s to avoid good persons the persons of deeds and support person of words.

  8. Part of silent majority says:

    Pakistan was created with the sole objective of political empowerment of the Muslims of British India; something that was lacking to them, as they had isolated themselves from the political process and from the educational system (courtesy of the Mullahs). If Pakistan were created in the name of “Islam” then why would all the religious parties deadly oppose it by calling it “NaPakistan” . Moreover, if Mr. Jinnah wanted a “Muslim” country, then why did he accept the Cabinet Mission Plan (as late as in 1946) which proposed a confederation for British India!!! First educate yourself on history and then comment, please.

  9. Abdul Gilani says:

    Another totally biased article by a liberal extremist. They are twisting the words of the Quaid to fit their goal of imposing secularism.

  10. Zulfiqar says:

    I left Pakistan about thirty years ago, soon after we were declared non muslims in Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This is the country where my grand parents and parents migrated after the Partition of united India. One of my paternal uncle was killed by the sikhs during this migration and my sister died soon after migration due to lack of medical care. We migrated in the hope that we will be free to practice our religion in Pakistan but every one know what happened to the Ahmadyya community afterward. I live in the United States, and have no fear to tell any one who I am and what my beliefs are . This is called secularism , and gevernment has no business with any body’s religion. This is the gretest country on the earth where son of a African migrant can become president of most poweful country on the earth. Here every body lives in harmony no matter you are jew, muslim, christian, aethis, black, white, yellow or brown. If you want to see the true spirit of Islamic Government , see the government of U.S. A. If we continue to
    declare Pakistan “the fortress of Islam”, then one day only Mullahs will be the ruler of this country and we will be left behind by rest of the world.

    • CoExistence says:

      Very well said Zulfiqar…

      I don’t have any right nor the knowledgel to comment on anyone’s personal religious beliefs but I do believe that Religion should be kept seperate from State (& hence politics) as much as possible. And the aim for any government (& educational institutions) should be to actively promote tolerance and acceptance of diversity, irrespective of whether a country is secular or one-religion specific.

      Eventually, one cannot deny that “No one has any right to enforce/instruct/direct on how his/her relationship with God & pursuit of religious beliefs should shape up” – isn’t that a basic human expectation?

    • Reader says:

      I don’t agree competely – Muslim or non Christian will not become president of US for forseeable future.

      On the other hand most of times in US religion is a personal choice and does not come into play in normal – non political and low to mid-level jobs. People would respect you if you respect them and be honest and truthful person.

      I don’t know the about high level positions as I have not worked at that level.

  11. Tahir Rizvi says:

    Those who claim Quid-e-Azam wanted to have an “Islamic State of Pakistan” must read his speeches and the history of the Muslim League Party. We are entitled to “our own opinion” but not “our own facts”. Misrepresentation of facts and distortions of history is NOT right. We have following major Muslims sects living in Pakistan: Sunni, Shia, Barelvi, Wahabi, Ahl-e-hadis, Deobandi, Aga Khani, Sufi, and others. This shows that Islam covers a wide band of believers who all are and consider themselves good Muslims. If one was to call a meeting of scholars of all Muslim Sects (Sunni, Shia, Barelvi, Wahabi, Ahl-e-hadis, Deobandi, Aga Khani, Sufi, and others) you will find it impossible to attain unanimity in the details of laws required to establish a religious state on the lines of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia decided at its inception to establish a Whabi Muslim State therefore it did not face the challenge which Pakistan will face if we decided now to establish a Muslim State. Please recognize the devil in the detail.

  12. Jutt says:

    We must seperate religion from the affairs of the state, religion should be a private matter between the individual and whomsoever he wants to worship in whatever manner he likes without interfering and harming other people. This is easier said than done , especially in current times, but I am pretty sure one day we will have to take this step in order to become a better,more tolerant society.

  13. Mr. Murtazas Dear Mr. Murtaza Razvi,
    May God’s blessings be with you, your family and poor Pakistanis. Ameen.
    You have written a very thought-provoking article on the auspicious day of Mr. Jinnah’s birthdy. It is very ppainful for all Muslims to watch what is happening in Pakistan, but for those of us who took part in the Pakistan movement, as young students of Iqbal Memorial High School in Sialkot, it’s even more painful. However, First of all, we should be sincerely thankful to Quaid-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal and their associates for working very hard work to create Pakistan for the Muslims of South Asia, because if there was no Pakistan, then the miserable conditions that the Kashmiris are having in occupied Kashmir must have been the fate of Muslims in NEW INDIA. Our problem has been that the early Pakistanis did not follow the true spirit of Quran and Sunnah and same is case with the present generation of Pakistanis. The main reason for this is that some of our uneducated religious leaders and Mullahs are giving very wrong inspiration and inspiration and guidance to our people in madrissas and schools and our incompetent and corrupt leadership is unable to do anything to educate the Mullahs who are doing the greatest disservice to Islam and creating more problems for Muslims. The religious scholars, for example like Dr. Javed Ahmad Ghamidi, who have the correct knowledge of Quran and Sunnah should be given the opportunity to set up and organise religious educational institutions in Pakistan. If that is not done, there is no hope for any improvement in the situation in Pakistan.

    • sushil says:

      Is religion everything ?..why Muslim balochi are not happy in pakistan or Maoist Hindus are not happy in India…I think it’s the economic freedom which is the most important thing…You, Me ..dawn moderator can have a intellectual ..religious thinking after having two times meal and break fast but always remember person who struggle for a day time roti…either in india or pakistan..

  14. Azhar says:

    Quaid-E-Azam the great.
    All leaders we voted to serve the country assumed to gained power over us. We too, were so timid that we believed them to have power over us. SO they called us awam .. they thought of themselves as Khawas. This needs to be changed. And a lot of people who don’t pay taxes are our rulers. how can they represent us and have power over us unless they pay their taxes. Quaid-E-Azam did not want this. We don’t want this. Do we?”

  15. asdf says:

    totally biased article. again a conspiracy to promote secularism in pakistan. Jinnah wanted Islamic pakistan.

    • andy warren says:

      Whatever philosophy Quaid may have left masses need to move on with facts and today’s circumstances. Few facts remain facts as far as today is concerned. Some of them are you have to share boundary, business, water and many things with your neighbor. You are responsible for your welfare not Late Quaid or mullahs.

      So in global context where are you moving? Its alright for Saudi Arabia to engineer this rightist society based on religion due to their oil wealth. But what happens with under developed Pakistan are they ready to scarify their most of wealth on defense, mullahs and other areas? if answer is yes than no problems go ahead.

    • AnisAqeel says:

      You made it very simple, if Jinnah wanted Islamic Pakistan, why Mullahs and most Islamic parties opposed Pakistan vigourously! ! ! You mean they did not want Islamic Pakistan! ! ! Come on, now give Pakistan a break without breaking Pakistan.
      Pakistan is being betrayed by a minority religous fanatics.

    • Tariq, Aberdeen. says:

      Dear asdf,
      Mr Jinnah stated clearly that “religion will have nothing to do with the business of the state” and the religious bigots of the day, were against the creation of the State of Pakistan right from the outset. How do you deduce that Mr Jinnah wanted a Muslin state?
      Mr Jinnah wanted anything but a religious state!
      Please witness the current state that Pakistan exudes which has been brought about in the name of religion.

  16. sushil says:

    I am an indian and I just want to appreciate…not sure if this is the right place.
    I have seen some of the articles in by our retired army officers.
    If there is an article about pakistan and partition history..they quote dawn newspaper as ..
    “dawn was a mouth piece of muslim leage”
    I don’t know about partition time. But I am reading from last 3 years and I can say it is a neutral , informative and better than corporate journalism ( excluding “The hindu” are same) of india.

  17. Abdul says:

    What society we have created, A monster in itself whether in the name of religion or to safeguard feudalism. Remember the last words of Quaid-e-Millat “GOD save Pakistan”

  18. Manahil says:

    This is by far the best rendering of the history of Pakistan that i have read in a long time. Pakistan needs to follow the tried and tested secular model of governance in order to get back on track in the global arena and let religion be where it thrives best, in our personal lives.

    • Shah says:

      If you agree to the practice/implementation of religion in ‘our personal lives’ then you are actually contradicting your own self because you must know that religions doesn’t come down for a personal being. It is for a whole society, go and see the history of any religion and under what circumstances was that religion sent down.(and are we not living in even worse society).

      About the article I think it is too late in the day for discussing whether Quaid wanted a secular pakistan or an Islamic republic. Even if I agree with the authors interpretation of the 14th Aug speech of Quaid,there are a hundreds of other speeches of Quaid about making an Islamic state where the principles of Islam would be implemented.

      One more thing, that no one dares talk about Allama Iqbal (including the author) while referring to Pakistan movement or Quaid ,and we know that this whole idea of 2-nations theory was a brainchild of ‘Muffakir-e-Pakistan’, because he had no doubts about the purpose of Pakistan (neither did Quaid), and Iqbal said ‘Judda ho deen siasat se tau reh jati ha changezi. . However the concept of mullahs is very obvious that we never want mullahs to be governing our country , we definitely need some one who really sees Islam through the eyes of Iqbal .

    • Faisal says:

      Which ‘tested secular model of governance’? Where can we find one? Does it exist on this 3rd rock from the sun? A deep dive even on the shallow end of the western ‘democratic societies’ can explain that there is no such thing as secularism. This is just a hoax. And I think that Obaid is probably right too.

    • obaid says:

      Then you haven’t read much about the history of Pakistan

  19. Baloo says:

    Good article. Jinnah’s pakistan died with jinnah. So is the identity crisis

  20. suresh says:

    Reading this article makes me ask a fundamental question and I am curious to see how pakistanis react to that question. How does an average pakistani view the faith ‘islam’ with his or her nation ‘pakistan’ ?

    Will it help to drop the word ‘islamic’ from the nation “islamic republic of pakistan” as a start ?

    • Salman says:

      Muslims see Islam as an ideology not a religion. After the seperation of religion and state in Western Europe and the colonization of the rest of the world, we tend to think in a Eurocentric world, for example Democracy is good anything else is bad, religion is only for private life. To give an example last year the French discussed the idea of looking into Islamic economic system. If Islam is only a religion then there is no such thing as Islamic economic system. The ottomon empire was able to rule three continent with Islamic economic system.
      To respond to your question, If there is no Islam then there is no need for Pakistan. What else is common among different nationalities living in Pakistan? The only reason for seperation of India is the Muslim identity. The present form of government is neither Democratic nor Islamic. The people of Pakistan should decided one way or the other otherwise the nation will keep on moving in circles.

      • Danish Ali says:

        I’d like to correct M Salman with all due respect sir. it had nothing to with Muslim identity. Its purpose was to give a shelter for minorities which were Muslims in united India. It does not mean that other minorities here could not interfere in the state’s business or this state was meant for Muslims exclusively. Dear sir It was meant for everyone the beauty of Pakistani ideology is its secular approach whether it exists in the world or not. Everyone can practice any religion without harming anyone else. It was never supposed to have any religious identity, hence the quote by its founder : “[Pakistan] will not be a country ruled by mullahs with a divine mission;” and by ruled he did not only mean by the an individual but the holistic, i.e, laws of the state, running of the state etc.

        if you intend to implement the Islamic law who will decide which one of the following is the true Islam (Sunni, Shia, Barelvi, Ahl-e-hadis, Deobandi, Aga Khani etc etc etc) because all of these believe others’ Islam to be incomplete and/or outright wrong.

  21. Tahir Rizvi says:

    We need a leader like Kamal Ata Turk of Turkey who saved his country from Mullahs. Our problem is that we drifted from Quaide Azam’s vision and Mullahs exploited the simple God loving Pakistanis in the name of religion. We need government in Pakistan to perform the functions of governing according to democratic constitution but NOT a government which is monitoring our religions and faiths.

    • Naureen Hameed says:

      Very true i agree with you 100 %

      • aroobah lak says:

        if the secularization brought by kamal ata turk was that good thn why after half century turks are more inclined towards islamic system n are openly supporting it rather thn secularism. its not islam that is threatening for the progress of this country or constitution its half altered, damaged, n badly percieved islam that is a hindrance in the way of progress.
        and with due respect in a pure islamic state it is the duty of govt to monitor ppls faith n religion… study of hazrat umar farooq’s khilafat will give u its proof.

  22. Mansura Minhas says:

    Thank you Mr Razvi! Your analysis is rational and balanced, however it saddens me to read some of the comments. Pakistanis have been brainwashed into believing that Jinnah struggled for an ‘Islamic’ state, whereas as you have very rightly pointed out -his vision was a ‘muslim majority’ state which would guarantee the Muslims rights that appeared inconceivable in United India. Unfortunately, Jinnah’s early demise allowed the ‘power hungry’ and hypocritical mullahs to take a 180 degree turn and seize control of Pakistan in its nascent years. Hence, the mess that we find ourselves in today!

    It is amusing to read comments debating secularism. Pakistanis are extremely skeptical about this concept and shudder at its mere mention and deem it as being equivalent to ‘godless’ and anti-Islamic. In essence, it is THE definition of an Islamic State! So however one choses to rationalize the existence of Pakistan, if and only if this principle is upheld, there would be no anomaly.

    A secular state is one founded on the principles of justice and fair play, and not theocracy. It guarantees freedoms to all regardless of faith, color and creed. Had this been the case in Pakistan, Ahmadis, Christians, Shias, Parsis and other minorities would not have been marginalised, rather their potential would have enriched Pakistan. Embracing pluralism can pave way for a ‘tolerant’ Pakistan and that alone can salvage it. Reference to history proves the rationale of this philosophy, as only nations which adopted this principle of governance achieved excellence.

    • sanjoy says:

      Sorry for interruption friends. I think your comment is applicable through out the world. Everybody, every nation should respect the fact pluralism. Secular should mean without any doubt I should respect you and vice versa. If this prevails in the world then there may not be any conflict. We should be human enough to respect others.

  23. Syed says:

    Pakistan today is truly the opposite of what Jinnah envisioned. The whole world refers to us as a failed state. Also as an exporters of terrorism. There is something fundamentally wrong with the way the country is run and the thought process of the majority of the nation.

    This is not an easy fix. Lets first stop worrying about becoming a secular state and focus on the law and order and democracy issues at hand.

  24. Nizar Bidin says:

    It was only when i left Pakistan I realised what a backward place Pakistan was. I have tried desperately to think of one thing nice to say about Pakistan but I can’t. Apart from its raw physical beauty in Pakistan’s northern regions and the Karakorum mountains I cannot think of anything that is worth mentioning about Jinnah’s Pakistan. In one word its a primitive country choked with religious issues with no room for progress or modernization. Its a primitive country with nuclear bombs.

    • Umair Khalid says:

      I agree with you!

    • Paul says:

      While agreeing with you, I am sad to say that you have not proposed any solution. Let Pakistanis and Indians put their heads together and have a country called “Indopak” where all can live in peace and progress and put differences behind.

    • fahim kazi says:

      totally agree !

    • suresh says:

      That is so sad you feel that way. I am an Indian and live in the west for most of my adult life and there are times when I feel that way about India but had to educate myself a lot by reading history and going back to understanding our own people and values.

      Pakistan is no different than India and its fascinating to read and the land and its people have had glorious golden pasts and there is always something to be proud off. I know things are bleak and dark and we in India are hurt by the darkness that prevails in pakistan at the moment. India itself still has large areas of darkness but I realized that nothing is created in a vacuum. The potential of doing great things exists in the people and the ambers of those potentials are in the minds and thoughts of the living people in forms of hope and optimism. You have to always hope that hidden in those perceived primitiveness lies the untapped energy to grow back into greatness. If you label them and squish them with negativity you will kill those ambers and can never light them again.

      Ironically, Pakistan in fact is the birth place of Indian civilization and it takes lot of optimism to reject dogma and overcome fundamentalism to fight backwardness and primitiveness.

      Keep the faith my friend. As Yousuf says, its your motherland you can never reject it. Its like rejecting your parents. You don’t ever pick your parents you are born to them and can never change it in this lifetime you might as well accept it and keep the faith no matter how bad ones parents are.

      I suggest you read history and understand what was the cause for such degradation and you will find how the people of the region have been destroyed, plundered and converted with backwardness. Keep an open mind and spread the openness to the people. There is always hope for new beginnings in every culture, country and civilization.

    • Yousuf says:

      Well sir, with due respect, i don’t agree with you. If you are a parent and you take care of child. Your child grows up and moves to another country. Now you have grown older. And you need somebody to take care of you. And your child thinks you are only a liability for them. What shall you be thinking then?

      Our mother is our motherland. It is our duty to take care of Pakistan. Why people always expect Pakistan to give them something rather than thinking what they had given to Pakistan.

      • Paul says:

        Country must be placed before religion. Our mother, the country was always there and the religions came later to give us spiritual uplift. Country is our identity not religion as much. One can be a muslim but a Arab. Therefore religion gets a second placed after the country. Whereas, In Pakistan today religion is number #1 and country #2. Think about it. The two cannot be at the same level.

      • omar says:

        Cant Agree more with you, I too live abroad but when I go back to India my heart is filled with joy n emotions. After all our country is where we belong to.

        • obaid says:

          I was born in US and grew up in Pakistan before returning to US. Although there are many negatives when I compare Pakistan with US there are some positives as well. Since everybody knows the negatives so well (Thanks Dawn Blog!), here are some positives (coming from almost a cynic)
          1. People may be rude on surface but deep below care for each other, even in Karachi.
          2. Elderly are still respected.
          3. Hospitality
          4. People view me as of their own.
          5. Povery is not synonymous with crime
          6. Sense of humor is unbelievable, even angry, destitute people can enjoy a laugh.
          7. People have time for each other

          Despite all lawlessness, I feel nostalgic about Karachi. Living in a small midwestern town I miss Karachi’s enterprising street smart people, sharp vernacular and sunny skies. I hope to permananently return to Pakistan in a few years. I may not be living in Karachi (if the law and order doesn’t improve) but Karachi will always live in me.

  25. Shakeel.Quddus says:

    A woman is raped. When approached by the authority, she reacted with rudeness. A loss of credibility, perhaps. Curiously missing is the rule of Law. Rather than questioning the conspicious absence of the rule of Law, the article refers to the secular intention of the Founding Father of Pakistan Mr. M.A. Jinnah. Implicit in this reference is the idea that had Pakistan resorted to Jinnah’s secular ideas, the rule of Law would have been established magically. And with the rule of the Law established, there would have been a Justice for the raped victim too. In other words, all Pakistan needs to do is to open up those eyes wide shut and see the beauty in the seperation of powers, between the duties of religion and functions of the state. Since Pakistan has not yet opened her eyes, the rape victim will never receive her due justice.
    Is it that simple?

    • shafi says:

      Firstly a rape is a rape as the author said, and the victim needs justice without being humiliated by the likes if Mrs s….. Minorities should have equal rights and also right of worship according to their religion. The law should protect them the same way as the Muslim Majority. Historically Islamic empires have always protected the minorities under their domains. In Pakistan they are denied the basic human rights. In Jinnah’s Pakistan they would have enjoyed the same rights as anyone else. Jinnah wanted democracy not theocracy. If Jinnah had wanted an ‘Islamic state or republic ‘he would have declared it. He did not and he also knew that the then mullahs opposed his ideology. Why are these mullahs hell bent on keeping the controversial blasphemy law?

    • Anonymous says:

      No but what Murtaza is trying to say here is that if we had followed Jinnah’s principles, we wouldn’t have these kind of leaders/politicians in place with such a ridicolous view and thought process. Look at things with an open frame of mind and stop criticizing people who are intelligent and bring up issues which needs to be resolved!

      • Shakeel.Quddus says:

        Being critical to a view point doesn’t make the person less intellignent, does it? Jinnah did state the idea of subordination of religion to the state. The question is why the leaders did not follow? Is it because the leadership or the elite lacked the intellectual rigor to convert the ethical ideals or secualar ideals into a workable arrangements? Or is it because a lot of people didn’t really care as shown in the historical development in the early 1950s? If there is an absence of able leadership, then, is it not the problem of the leader to foresee the problem in advance? If there is not a popular demand from the people, then, is it not also the responsiblity of the leader to see the warning sign in the horizon? A disaster has taken place in 1947 and one should’t at least be critical?

        • Baz says:

          We can only simulate the path if Jinnah’s vision was implemented in the early years of this country. Our basic problem today is law and order, that the authority and writ of the state isn’t fully operational, doesn’t not extend to all off the country right down to the lowest levels of authority. But the past is the past. We have to talk about the present and plan for the future. Pakistan today isn’t Mr. Jinnah’s dream, that said all hope cannot be lost. There’s still a change to salvage his dream but there is one thing and that is without the effective and unbiased rule of law the path ahead will be very bumpy.

      • obaid says:

        1. Jinnah wanted democracy in Pakistan.
        2. Idea of Pakistan was sold to the masses in India based on religion.
        3. If majority of people in lands comprising Pakistan wanted an Islamic system, it doesn’t really matter what Jinnah wanted. He was a leader, but he was elected because of popular support and was ultimately accountable to people he represented. I am begining to get tired of the cliche Jinnah’s Pakistan. Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan was important, and I understand it to be a mild hybrid of secular and Islamic society, something closer to UAE or Qatar rather than Saudi Arabia or Iran, but Jinnah’s vision is not more important than the wishes of people of the land.

  26. A.Bajwa says:

    It is all fine. What needs to be done is to put the train back on the track. We should adjust the curriculum towards more freedom to students to study as they wish and not dictate study of doctrinaire stuff.We should teach history with full access to the original sources as is done in teaching of literature. Let a student have the freedom to think and not be dictated by the pundits in press and universities.

  27. Iftikhar Husain says:

    Pakistan is a reality and it is going to stay that is a fact now it is the work of young people of the country to come in the front and solve its problem. We need education and vision to lead the country the present leadership lacks this. Young people of Pakistan to get up now to reform the country

    • Viren says:


      I would like add. If Pakistan wants to be a successful nation they need to control and destroy all terrorist activities and protect the innocent people of Pakistan.

      Viren Canada

  28. Ahsan says:

    Can someone enlighten me on which right are taken away from non-Muslims in a truly Muslim state?

    • Umesh says:

      May be legally non-Muslims have all rights, but they sure seem to be a second class citizen and are persecuted.

    • Sandip says:

      My comments are never published but still…

      A non muslim can never be the President or PM of Pakistan

      • Fuad Ahmad -Calgary says:


        Tell me how many muslims are there in the armed forces,intelligence agencies?But I have read somewhere muslims make up the largest community of prisoners held in jails.

        • Anidesh says:

          There are so many Muslims in our armed forces and intelligence agencies which u may not be aware off. They have special reservations for education and Govt jobs also. It is the problem with ur approach of gathering knowledge and as per ur interest u got details of prisoners

      • Ali Dada says:

        Sandip, wake up and realize the fact that Pakistan is an Islamic Replubic with Islam declared as the state religion in its constitution and law. This is different than India – India is secular. Therefore, no non-muslim can be President or Prime Minister of Pakistan.

        • Dilip (South Africa) says:

          The founding Fathers of Pakistan knew and realised that religion is a private matter. They all espoused that their be a separation between religion and government. Therefore all subsequent governments that were formed and that made changes to the constitution, went against the principle of why the partition took place. With the celebration of JINNAH’S birthday we are being Hippocrates. All what he stood for has been washed away and only the name JINNAH remains. What a shame!!!!! Is this the legacy of JINNAH??? The whole history of Pakistan has been rewritten but what JINNAH stood for and propagated in his life is available to all. Go back and understand the MAN and his principles and rebuild Pakistan in the name of JINNAH and Iqbal.

        • Pradeep says:

          @Ali dada – then what are we discussing here? The original question was whether there is equality between Muslims and non Muslims in a Muslim state.

        • Anand says:

          Is this justified. Is it a matter of proud?. Ali how can you take side to something which is grossly wrong.

          • ahsan says:

            @ Ali and @ Annand – That is what is wrong with pakistan. People with Ali Dada kind of thinking.

  29. Aryan says:

    I fail to understand how can Pakistan be a secular state (even after Jinnah’s death) when he himself divided India to create a nation primamrily for Muslims. I mean Pak’s identity is that they are a pure muslim nation. So, you cant be expected to be a secular state when the very reason for your partition was religion as an excuse.

    • shafi says:

      Aryan, you are wrong. Having a Muslim majority country does not always mean a country based on Theology same way as having a majority Hindu state does not mean a state based on Hindu theology. The basis of partition was whether Muslims wanted to be a perpetual minority or not. Gujrat massacre would not have taken place if Muslims were not a minority!

    • Omar says:


      Jinnah created Pakistan for the Muslims but if you read his speeches you will see that he only wanted to create a nation where EVERYONE had religious freedom, yes it was primarily for Muslims but he wanted to make sure the non of the other religions are persecuted in Pakistan. He never wanted to implement shariah, his original plan was to base the constitutions on european standards however it was liaquat ali khan who made the decision to make it uber Islamic.

      Pak’s identity yes was a seperate nation for the Muslim, but that was only because he felt that there was too much religious opression by the hindus in a united India. If we had managed to live up to the dream of the Quaid Pakistan would not be “The Islamic Republic of Pakistan” it would just be “Pakistan” where most of the population is Muslim but the state has no right of saying crazy things like “All Ahmedis are non-muslims” or comments on these lines.

      Religious Freedom and being a Muslim country are not the same thing. It is sad that most of us Pakistanis (myself included) are never taught the real vision in which Quaid clearly said you are free to go to your mosques, mandir or whereever you want to…the state will say nothing apart from promising to protect you no matter how you talk to god.

      Hope that explains stuff :-D

    • Arshad Zaidi says:

      Pakistan was NOT created in the name of religion. Jinnah created this country for the Muslims of sub-continent where all others minorities were given full right to practice whatever they want. This is why Pakistan flag has green and white color. Green for the Muslims and white gives message of peace to minorities.

      Unfortunately, almost 99% current population believes Pakistan was created in the name of Islam. The problem here is that no one is able to differentiate the two ideologies – country created in the name of Islam or the country created for the Muslims of Indian sub-continent. Mr. Aryan is also confused here.

      Today, the very basic ideology of Jinnah has been distorted by the blind followers of religion who believe they are the ONLY one on the right path and rests are all infidels. Certainly Jinnah had no such vision.

  30. Fazil says:

    Thank you Mr Razvi for the thought provoking article. I hope more people have the courage to have open debate on this issue without fear of threats.

    I also do not understand why Muslims in India were backward at the time of Independence when India has been under Muslim rule and then under British rule for more than a thousand years.

    Anyway, Pakistan was created by a ‘secular’ political elite (at that time) based on religious feeling of the Muslim community. That political elite completely failed to set up the institutional infrastructure for a successful secular state (justice system, education, economic development, freedom of conscience and expression, law and order system, etc.). So, what should happen happened, i.e. a gradual descent to the least common denominator, i.e. Islam, that is believed to provide the solutions for everything, according to the believers. Evidently the mullahs showed up as the guardians to fill in a political void and the incompetent politicians are only busy making a truce with the mullahs and extremist organisations in order to safeguard their positions.

    At the time of Independence, minorities made up 25% of the Pakistani population. Today it is less than 5%. Muslim population in India has slightly increased as a percentage of the total population. At least Indian Muslims in politics, cinema, music and IT are world renowned. What is Pakistan offering to its Muslim population – never mind the minorities!

    It is time for the Pakistanis to take their future into their own hands and stop blaming others for their shortcomings. The world is fast changing, and Pakistan may be left behind…if it is not too late!

    • Bido says:

      Apt question. Why Muslims were generally backward during the time of independence? The fact is that post fall of the Mughal Empire and the mutiny the Hindus , looked up to western thoughts and the rapid changes the western civilisation had made . Social changes took place among Hindus, gradually. Hindus took to western education. On the other hand Muslims ,in general, kept sulking. They isolated themselves from modern education and gradually lost their political freedom to rabid elements within their community and opportunists who manipulated them. The fault lay in the lack of education. Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had the vision to forsee that Lack of education was the root cause for Muslim backwardness. Unfortunately, there were no other visionaries or leaders among Muslims who could show the masses the way. Jinnah felt that under the prevailing circumstances a separate polity for Majority Muslims was perhaps the only way out of the morass the community had fallen into. However, little did he realise that very soon the feudal forces would use religion to subvert Pakistan for their own selfish gains. Dismemberment of Pakistan was therefore a logical event. The situation today is also a logical corllary of the sad state of affairs where the state has been well and truly hijacked by the elements who have no regard for Jinnah or his vision of Pakistan. We can only hope for Pakistani society to introspect, generate leaders who can show the way.

    • Dipankar Kaul says:

      Realistic thoughts Mr. Fazil. There is nothing gained by Muslims who supported Mullahs or medieval ideology, be in Pakistan or in India. Increased dependence of Muslim world towards Islamisation is definite to take the world back to medieval ages.

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