Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Jinnah Wanted A Secular Pakistan

This editorial in The Nation is playing fast and loose with history:
GENERAL (retd) Musharraf seems to have lost any sense of propriety and is firing in all directions like an unguided missile. His statements not only undermine the national interests of Pakistan but are often distortions of facts...Now, in the first meeting of his party in New York, he brazenly distorted history by declaring that Islam was not the basis for the creation of Pakistan. Given how Pakistan was all about securing a homeland for the Muslims of India and how the Quaid-i-Azam referred to the principles of Islam in connection with a welfare state and the economy, Musharraf needs to revisit history.
The Nation is shamelessly distorting history to play politics, which is par for the course for its conspiratorial editor, Shireen Mizari. Musharraf is right: Jinnah never intended Pakistan to be an Islamic state. If Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be an Islamic state, as the editorial contends, he would have declared it one. One just has to read Jinnah's own words. In a speech on August 11, 1947, Jinnah said:
There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet, you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, 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. I cannot emphasize it too much.
People have cited the following speech that Jinnah, indeed, wanted an Islamic state:
The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but 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 fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. 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.
Like the creators of the U.S. Constitution, who were influenced by the Judeo-Christian tradition, Jinnah believed Islam would play an influence in the creation of Pakistan's constitution. In either case, there was no intention by the founders to establish a theocracy. A close reading of Jinnah's statement makes this abundantly clear.

Pakistan only became an Islamic republic in 1956, long after Jinnah passed from the seen.

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