There are many points
in Mr. Ahsan’s article, which not only can easily be refuted but also
disclose his own ignorance of the struggle of Pakistan and Quaid-e-Azam
Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s political life and achievements.
I would however
confine myself to two comments. First the use of the word Islamic in
connection with Pakistan and then Mr.Ahsan’s homemade assertions that;
real aim of creating Pakistan was not a secular democracy because he
lacked courage and had another vision, namely an Islamic state.
hesitation is a sign of his doubtful sincerity in secularism.
Alama Iqbal, was a
proclaimed secular philosopher
the religion to divide India.
First, Mr. Ahsan’s
claim that Pakistan is an Islamic State, which is becoming more and more
Islamic needs correction. There is a huge difference between a State where
the majority of the population has Islam as the main religion and which
bases its principles and morals on universal justice, welfare of people and
rule by consent and a theocratic State which is run by religious leaders,
like in Iran.
Pakistan is not
becoming more Islamic because Islam in a religion and not an ethnicity or
nationality. Its population may be becoming more religious but the State is
not becoming more religious or in the worst case, a theocracy. Pakistani
people have never elected religious parties to run the state affairs.
For Mr. Ahsan and the
readers benefit, I would like to set the record straight in separating three
terms, he used in his article.
is a form of government in which GOD is recognized as the state's supreme
civil ruler, or in a higher sense, a form of government in which a state is
governed by immediate divine guidance or by officials who are regarded as
on the other hand
asserts the right to be free from governmental imposition of religion upon
the people, meaning that State must be neutral on matters of belief.
And then, we have
democracy, which is a form of government where governing authority is
derived from the people, either by direct referendum or by means of elected
representatives of the people.
What does it mean?
Pakistan is a democracy, which does not separate people from their religion
but is inclusive.
Quaid-e-Azam never claimed to be a secularist, atheist or a religiously
inclined person. He was a parliamentarian and a democrat.
Quiad never once said that Pakistan was being created on the name of Islam
but for the Muslim Milat. There is a huge difference between these two
variables. Quaid disliked any form of label. He even admonished a crowd who
was chanting slogans;” Amir-ul-Momanin, Zindabad”. He told them;” I am not
your religious leader but a political leader”. I very much doubt that he
would approve being termed as Islamic.
Anyone who reads the
following words of Quaid-e-Azam would know, what he wanted Pakistanis to be.
“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… you are free- you are free to go to your temples
mosques or any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may
belong to any religion, caste or creed that has nothing to do with the
business of the state… in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus
and Muslims will cease to Muslims- not in a religious sense for that is the
personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense as citizens of one
The demand for
Pakistan was a reaction to the foreseeable dictatorship of the majority that
would have been imposed on the Muslims by the Indian National Congress.
India’s former foreign minister, Jaswant Singh said in his book; “Jinnah-
India – Partition – Independence; “ that had Congress accepted a
decentralised federal country then, in that event, a united India was ours
The problem, he added,
was Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘highly centralised polity.’
He said: ‘Nehru believed
in a highly centralised policy. That’s what he wanted India to be. Jinnah
wanted a federal polity. That even Gandhi accepted. Nehru didn’t.
Consistently he stood in the way of a federal India until 1947 when it
became a partitioned India.’ Jawahal Lal Nehru in 1945 said that “Pakistan
would not survive beyond 30 days” and “they would come crawling back”.
If one looks at the
three dominant strands in the Quaid’s political career, you will see that he
had a firm belief in a united Indian nation, with Hindus and Muslims being
co-sharers in the future Indian dispensation. Then he worked for Indian
freedom through Hindu-Muslim unity and for the unity in Muslim ranks through
strengthening the Muslim League. These strands continued until, with the
years he changed his priorities, as the Congress’s ultimate objectives
underwent a radical change under the influence of Hindu extremists, as
exemplified at the All Parties National Convention deliberations on the
Nehru Report in December 1928. Here the Muslim demand for federalism,
designed to ensure the substance of power to them in their majority
provinces, was countered by Hindu insistence on a unitary form of a highly
centralised government, with majority, as the basic premise and principle
which, for that precise reason, envisaged all power to the Hindu-dominated
centre and only marginal powers to the provinces.
As a very visionary
politician, Quaid worked very hard for years for national freedom for both
Hindus and Muslims. That was his supreme goal, but the means he adopted to
achieve it, underwent a dramatic change. He realised that if the goal of
freedom could not be achieved through Hindu-Muslim unity, it must be
achieved through Hindu-Muslim separation; if not secured through a composite
Hindu-Muslim nationalism, it must be done through separate Hindu and Muslim
nationalisms; if not through a united India, then through partition.
I and millions of
Pakistanis are grateful that Quaid-e- Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah gave up the
idea of a united India and insisted that Muslims in Hindustan should have
their own homeland.