Quaid-e-Azam as the Leader of free Nation

The services and dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in the Pakistan Movement need no introduction. He articulated the aspirations of the Indian Muslims which ultimately culminated into the creation of Pakistan, then the largest Muslim state on the world map, on 14th August, 1947. In this movement, the personality of Quaid-e-Azam and his immense struggle made the tough task of the foundation of Pakistan easy and finally, the Muslims of India were successful in reaching their destination for which they underwent a long journey under the charismatic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam. He was one of the most striking and distinctive figure in that part of time and above all, one of the great nation builders in modern times. He reshaped the Muslim League, a moribund organization of establishment figures, into a personal instrument, a highly politicized and disciplined party machine covering all parts of India's Muslim community. Its sweep of Muslim constituencies in the 1946 election, fought on a campaign of partition, ensured the creation of Pakistan when Britain quit the subcontinent. Jinnah was not always a separatist, but throughout his life he was a passionate defender of the rights of Indian Muslims. After the 1937 elections, when the majority Congress party refused to share power with the Muslim League, Jinnah concluded that under its leadership Muslims would become second-class citizens. From then on the road led only to Pakistan. "Think 100 times before you take a decision," Jinnah said at the Muslim League's historic 1940 Lahore Conference, which came down in favor of partition. "But once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man." He obeyed his own diktat and refused to be deflected by political expediency. There was no force to back him. He created Pakistan out of sheer will and against enormous odds.

Most of the Historians of Quaid have focused for the most part, on his gargantuan part in Pakistan movement and the historic struggle under his self-motivated leadership in the forties that ended in the creation of Pakistan. However, he played even more significant role in the consolidation of Pakistan.

The post of Governor General simply meant; a ceremonial head of state. while Jinnah played a very active role in government till the day he died. In the months after independence, he worked to curb religious violence, provide relief to millions of refugees and attempted to protect religious minorities and convince them to remain in Pakistan. He crafted Pakistan's economic policy and currency, established military, government and educational institutions.

Jinnah was the obvious choice to sworn in as new nation's first Governor-Generalas well as On August 11, 1947, Jinnah was elected as the president of the Constituent Assembly, position equivalent to that of a speaker of a legislature.The post of Governor General simply meant; a ceremonial head of state. while Jinnah played a very active role in government till the day he died. In the months after independence, he worked to curb religious violence, provide relief to millions of refugees and attempted to protect religious minorities and convince them to remain in Pakistan. He crafted Pakistan's economic policy and currency, established military, government and educational institutions. He put forward a clear vision for a State of pakistan, saying in his speech opening to the Constituent Assembly on 11th august,1947, he said that: "You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places 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. We would keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in due course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.” It is interesting how even scholars have misread these speeches of Jinnah. In fact, Jinnah’s remarks must be seen in the context of Islamic culture, history and the situation which Pakistan was facing at the time of partion. This is much debated speech of Quaid-e-Azam. It was a landmark statement as a leader of an Islamic state and right way to begin the political career of an independent state. It has led some people to argue that he was not in favor of the idea of an Islamic state. But a careful analysis of. The same speech and his other utterances before and after partition convince one that he had no obligation to a state based on the broad principles of Islam .but it is only for those who want to interpret him to fulfill their own requirements and reads him out of context. Basically this served Pakistan following ways:

Firstly, it is responsibility of an Islamic state to provide protection and freedom to the followers of all religions and Islamic history is evident of this fact. As a president of constituent assembly of Islamic republic of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah announced the same and right after three days, on 14th august,1947,he presented Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) as the role model for the Muslims as against suggested by lord Mountbatten of king Akbar.. Secondly, it was to protect the large number of religious minorities in India and Pakistan and refugees migrating from India to Pakistan, and Pakistan to India. It was, also, to put moral pressure on India and Briton who were apprehensive about the future of Pakistan. Lastly, it was to give a positive message to the International Community regarding Pakistan and to project its image as a moderate and enlightened Islamic Republic. It also means that Pakistan would be following democratic principles and rules. As if to cement his words, he appointed a Hindu Law minister to undertake the task of law-making in the new state.

Right after three days, Quaid-e-Azam availed another opportunity to express his views .it can better help those who are confuse about Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan. At the transfer of power ceremony in Karachi on 14th August, 1947, Lord Mountbatten referred to the "secular" example of the Mughal Emperor Akbar for Jinnah to follow in running the affairs of Pakistan. In a rebuttal to Lord Mountbatten, the British Viceroy to India, Jinnah presented an alternative model and in his reply pointed out that Muslims had a more permanent and more inspiring model to follow, that of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Jinnah replied: "The tolerance and goodwill that great Emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslims is not of recent origin. It dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet (PBUH) not by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians, after he had conquered them, with the utmost tolerance, regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims, wherever they ruled, is replete with those human and great principles, which should be followed and practiced.”

No other leader had the unswerving loyalty of his people as he did on the eve of taking oath as the Governor-General of Pakistan, Quaid said, "It was not I alone who achieved Pakistan but I had millions with me and specially the masses. The intelligentsia came last, the masses came first. I am proud that I am not that Governor-General who was an agent of another power but one who has been chosen by the people." Continuing he said, " Do not forget one thing, I have never forgotten it and will never forget it our duty towards the poor and the down trodden. It is your sacred duty to look after the poor and serve them. We must secure for them better living conditions. It should not be our policy to make the rich richer, but this does not mean that we want to uproot things. We can quite consistently give all and sundry their due share." Such was the Quaid's affinity with common people and their complete and unflinching confidence in the leader whose roots were firmly ingrained in the masses.

When Pakistan was established, Anti-Muslim forces were hoping that the resource less state of Pakistan would get choked at its very birth. Prompt came the resounding thunder from a physically fragile but morally and mentally indomitable will and spirit "Pakistan has come to stay and stay it will no matter what." The Quaid was, without doubt, a man of destiny and unparalleled will and courage. His message and guideline to the nation was, "We must develop a sense of patriotism which should galvanize and weld us all into one united and strong nation."

He had realized that the morale of the public was at the lowest ebb. He therefore decided to rehabilitate and restore the confidence and morale of the people. He delivered inspiring speeches which filed people with enthusiasm. His words made a profound impression on the public and mitigated the existing despair and tension.

His first stem was to address the government servants in Karachi on October 11, 1947. Quaid-e-Azam gave a clarion call to the assembled officials of civil and military bureaucracy. An extract of his speech gave message to the audience:

….this is a challenge to our very existence and if we are to survive as a nation we shall have to face the problems with redoubled zeal and energy. Our masses are today disorganized, their morale is exceeding low and we shall have to do something to pull them out of this state and galvanize them into activity. All throws additional responsibility on government servants to who in our people are looking for guidance.”

His words revived the drooping spirits.

At the time of independence, it was very important question that what would be the nature of relationships between India and Pakistan. It is interesting to read what did Quaid-e-Azam imagines Pakistan’s relations to be with India? He certainly did not foresee and wanted a nuclear arms race and conflicts with India. Pakistan government under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam followed a policy of goodwill and friendliness towards India. The Kuldip Nayyar, well known Indian writer and parliamentarian, recalls in his articles how Jinnah had told him that Pakistan would stand, side by side with India in the common defense of the subcontinent against all foreign invasions and it was also stated by Jinnah in an interview with a Swiss journalist “to enter into an agreement for joint defense On the eve of his departure from India he had appealed to let bygones be bygones and start afresh, an appeal no one has paid any heed to. However Indian government adopted a hostile attitude and Quaid-e-Azam remained unsuccessful despite all his best efforts to resolve outstanding issues peacefully. British government sown the seeds of divide in this region and Indian leaders could not grasp the colonial tactics. At the same time, Jinnah was a staunch believer of Muslim unity. Even during the freedom movement he supported Palestinians and Indonesians for their right of self determination. The corner-stone of his foreign policy was solidarity among the Muslim Ummah. His main emphases were on Middle Eastern countries. He sent delegations to different Islamic countries.

Pakistan does not cherish hostile posture toward any nation of the world and its founder, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a firm believer of peaceful existence and fully realized the importance of UN membership for Pakistan. It could help Pakistan establish friendly relations with other member states. Therefore Pakistan became the member of UNO. (30th September 1947) Quaid-e-Azam defined Foreign Policy towards other countries of the world in 1948, as follows:

“Our Foreign Policy is one of friendliness and good-will towards all the nations of the World. We do not cherish aggressive designs against any country or nation. We believe in the policy of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings and are prepared to make our utmost contribution to the promotion of peace and prosperity among the nations of the world. Pakistan will never be found lacking in extending its material and moral support to the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world and in upholding the principles of the United Nations Charter.”

There was very devastating situation at the time independence for this infant state. Lawrence Ziring, have the same opinion regarding Quaid-e-Azam’s critical role after the partion of sub-continent. He writes in his latest book “Pakistan; At the Crosscurrent of History” that: “The colonial civil service was the only professional instrument of the government, and few Muslim civil servants had much if any experience in managing departments, agencies or for that matter, taking charge of day-to-day operations. Suddenly, advanced into high position, they took their cues from Jinnah, who spurred them on to higher levels of achievement. The selflessness exhibited by government officials in those first tiring weeks, and the discipline and professionalism of career officers were a tribute to Jinnah’s looming presence. So much had been sacrificed and so many depended upon the integrity of those in key position that no one was permitted to consider failure an option. It has been said that without the leadership of M.A. Jinnah, Pakistan would never have achieved independence. It also was said that without Jinnah’s leadership in those initial months after independence the nation would not have survived.”

Already drained Jinnah could no longer witness his newly created state becoming mature. But the time he got from the Lord was fully utilized by him to build Pakistan into strong and organized state where the Muslims of sub-continent could live according to the ideas of Islam. His efforts to put the infant state on the path of stability and progress are uncountable. His efforts to enthuse people, steps for rehabilitation of refugees, endeavors to settle internal disputes and his maneuvers in diplomatic arena speech of his sagacity and iron will against all hazards.

It was, therefore, with a sense of supreme satisfaction at the fulfillment of his mission that Jinnah told the nation in his last message on 14 August, 1948: "The foundations of your State have been laid and it is now for you to build and build as quickly and as well as you can". In accomplishing the task he had taken upon himself on the morrow of Pakistan's birth, Jinnah had worked himself to death, but he had, to quote Richard Symons, "contributed more than any other man to Pakistan's survival". He died on 11 September, 1948. How true was Lord Pethick Lawrence, the former Secretary of State for India, when he said, "Gandhi died by the hands of an assassin; Jinnah died by his devotion to Pakistan".

The far sightedness of Jinnah’s views makes them relevant to the issues faced by Pakistan, even, today. So, Pakistan can perhaps simply follow the advice of her Founder, Jinnah, truly a great leader of this world, to shine among the brightest of all nations. However history may judge him, but his contribution to history cannot be doubted. As his biographer, Professor Stanley Wolpert, in his book ‘Jinnah of Pakistan’, summarizes the significance of Jinnah, not only for Pakistan but also for the world history,

‘Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three.

His moves were always tampered with a sense of dignity, fairplay, justice and lofty ideals.” After his early demise on Sept 11, 1948, this nation as led by successive weak and self centered leadership which never rose to the expectations of the people and the lofty ideals that were set out by the Father of the Nation. But there should be no despair and despondency. It is never too late to mend. Let all of us make a new resolve to rise above the selfish motives and make the promise of Pakistan in consonance with Quaid's lofty ideals.


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