The Undefined Equilibrium between Pakistan and Islam. Part 2: Our Founding Father’s Vision

By Adnan Syed
A widely circulated ideology of Pakistan that is heavily promoted by the right wing section of the Pakistani society maintains that Pakistan was attained in the name of Islam for the Muslims of the Sub-Continent. Pakistan was created so that the social order can be created based on Islamic principles and people can live their life in accordance with their religious values. A variation of Nazaria Pakistan uses a popular slogan used by the Muslims during the 1946 elections: “Pakistan means there is no God except Allah”.
There is no doubt that the terms Islam and Muslims were used interchangeably by Muslim League in the elections of 1946, which were fought for Pakistan. However, Nazaria Pakistan (NP) while acknowledges a separate homeland for Muslims, it introduces Islam as a way of life that encompasses not just the private lives, but also the public affairs for the Muslims living within the geographical boundaries. Our founding fathers were aware of the distinction; the thorny discussion about the role of religion in the affairs of the state was alive among the ML leadership.
There have been instances when Quaid specifically mentioned that religion in the affairs of state was not acceptable. We see that even though Quaid did not come out explicitly in favour of one mode of state policy, Quaid was explicit in mentioning what Pakistan would not be: Theocracy (complete rule of religion into the affairs of the state) will not happen in Pakistan.
At the same time, we see Quaid invoking Islamic principles frequently in his speeches, even after the creation of Pakistan. While the vagueness regarding the role of Islam in the affairs of the state, maintained by Quaid in pre-Independence communal environment was tactically required, some may argue that Quaid unnecessarily kept up the vagueness post independence; a fact that has come back to haunt Pakistan again and again.
Since Quaid towered above every other leader in the Muslim League, most Pakistanis try to find the meaning of Pakistan in Quaid’s words. Many have pounced on the vaguness embedded in Quaid’s statement;  General Zia-ul-Haq frequently used selective Quaid’s quotes to justify the complete Islamization of Pakistan during his dark decade of rule.
Why would a state still be unsure of its exact identity of being a Muslim or an Islamic State? In a rather strange way, Pakistan was a conditional demand employed by Jinnah and Muslim League leadership. They wanted to ensure that Muslims have adequate representation and safeguards and Muslims would not fare poorly even when they made up 30% of the total population of the United India. “Brother Gandhi has three votes, Brother Jinnah has one vote” was one of Jinnah’s famous quips to pound on the fact that despite their sheer numbers, Muslims had no say in the affairs of the government of the United India.
The idea of Pakistan was based on single or multiple states with Muslim majority within the United India, and Quaid showed willingness as late as 1946 to accept Pakistan with United Punjab and Bengal within the Indian Federation boundaries.
Importantly, the Liaqat-Desai coalition in 1945, and the acceptance of Cabinet Mission in 1946 were clear indications that if demands of Muslim League about representation of Indian Muslims within United India were met, they were prepared to remain in the United India.
Pakistan was as much a consequence of Muslims struggles for their rights and self interest, as it was due to the attitude of the leaders of Congress. Viewing Jinnah with disdain and contempt, they called him out on his demand, and to their disdain, Pakistan became a reality.
So what was the raison-d’être of Pakistan? Was it just a result of cataclysmic politics of the early 20th century, a turbulent decade of 1940s as Britain had lost will to govern India after fighting a great World War, or a result of genuine Muslim disenfranchisement that was expressed as early as 1870s by Sir Syed and Ameer Ali?
Most certainly all of the above were the cases.  Muslims as a distinct nation was an idea that started appearing at the dusk of Mughal Empire, and gained steam as Muslims started lagging behind their Hindu counterparts in the British India. The Two Nation Theory certainly explains the genesis of Pakistan quite well.
I would venture here that the concept of Muslim Nationalism for the creation of Pakistan completely suffices the reason behind the creation of Pakistan. However, separating Muslim identity from all encompassing Islamic influence was left unclear, and the ambiguity distorted the subsequent vision of Pakistan.
Importantly, the events after 1937 were moving at a breakneck speed. In a matter of 7 years, Pakistan turned from a visionary ideal to a geographical reality. During the time leading up to Pakistan creations, two important factors had started to influence the new state:
1)      Muslim League frequently invoked Islam during the campaign leading to the creation of Pakistan.  During the pivotal 1946 elections “Muslim League activists toured the countryside (and) personal commitment to Islam became fused with an assertion of Muslim community solidarity. As one election official reported ‘wherever I went everyone kept saying, bhai if we did not vote for the League, we would have become a kafir (infidel)’ “.[1]
While the distinction between a Muslim majority secular state and a Muslim majority Islamic state is a lot clearer today, for the 1940s Muslim, the distinction was not as cut and dry. A Muslim living in early 20th century was seeing the majority community prosper, and had genuine fears about being dominated by the majority Hindus, with whom Muslims developed at best an uneasy community relationship. The Muslim nationalism espoused by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan was developing into a full blown movement, as Congress failed to realize the fear and power of the sizeable Muslim minority.
In that environment, Muslim League rode the public opinion when it gave voice to the Muslim fears. The two words “Islam” and “Muslims” were used interchangeably. From various statements of Quaid and Liaqat Ali Khan, we can establish that their idea of democratic Muslim state did not involve theocratic rule. Yet Islam was a necessary symbol, and the references to Muslim ideas were expressed freely in leadership rallies.
At the same time, the religious right in India was moving to Pakistan, and they were determined to purposefully use the words “Muslim” and “Islamic” together, exploit the logical consequence of mixing religion and nation together.
2)      Islamic right wing parties under Jamaat-e-Islami, Majlis-e-Ahrar, and Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind, who had vociferously opposed the Muslim League and their Pakistan platform before, started moving en-masse towards Pakistan. By all indications, around the time of partition, the religious right spearheaded by Abu-al-Ala-Moudoudi was weary of the secular credentials of Muslim League Leaders. Mr. Moudoudi, in his various writings was warning against the western disposition of Jinnah and his colleagues, and was rightly worried that the Muslim League leadership was looking for a democratic Pakistan, but not a Sharia ruled state. In several of Mr. Moudoudi’s writings, he wrote against Muslim League and the Quaid:
“Pity! From League’s Quaid-e-Azam down to the lower cadres, there is not a single person who has an Islamic outlook and thinking and whose perspective on matters is Islamic”
“To pronounce these people fit for leading Muslims for the simple reason that they are experts of Western type politics and masters of Western organizational arts, and are deeply in love with their people, is a manifestation of an Unislamic viewpoint and reflects ignorance of Islam”.
“Even with a microscopic study of their practical life, and their thinking, ideology, political behaviour and style of leadership, one can find not a trace of Islamic character.” [2]
Mr. Moudoudi equated “Muslim Nationalism” with chaste prostitution, and scoffed at the ideas of modern democratic Muslim state.
Before partition, Muslim League’s main rival was Indian National Congress. After partition, the religious right had started positioning itself as one of the bigger rivals. The fight for Pakistan entered new grounds when Quaid died too soon after the independence. From then onwards, we see a haphazard approach towards Islam by the state, leading us to the present times.
Historians Thomas and Barbara Metcalf caught the dilemma facing Pakistan in the following words: “Pakistan was a modern nation state for India’s Muslim population. At the same time, however, as a symbol of Muslim identity, Pakistan transcended the ordinary structures of the state. As such it evoked an ideal Islamic political order, in which the realization of Islamic life would be fused with the state’s ritual authority. This Pakistan would not be simply an arena in which politicians, even if Muslims pursued their every day disputes. During the bloody upheavals of 1946 and 1947, Pakistan underwent a transformation from visionary ideal to territorial state. Yet it could not, after independence, shake off the legacy of its origin as a ‘pure’ land at once of Muslims and of a confessional Islam”[3]
Pakistan’s uneasy relationship with Islam had started to brew even when Pakistan was a demand, not a state. Pakistan as an Islamic state idea was advanced by a small faction inside Muslim League, whose most visible face was Raja of Mahmudabad. He formed Islami Jamaat cell within the Muslim League. Raja Sahib mentioned to Jinnah that since “Lahore Resolution was passed earlier in the year, and when Pakistan was formed it was undoubtedly to be an Islamic State with the Sunnah and Shariah as its bedrock. The Quaid’s face went red and he turned to ask Raja whether he had taken leave of his senses. Mr. Jinnah added: `Did you realize that there are over seventy sects and differences of opinion regarding the Islamic faith, and if what the Raja was suggesting was to be followed, the consequences would be a struggle of religious opinion from the very inception of the State leading to its very dissolution. Mr. Jinnah banged his hands on the table and said: We shall not be an Islamic State but a Liberal Democratic Muslim State.”[4]
Raja Sahib Mahmudabad ended up getting expelled from the Muslim League. His relationship with Quaid deteriorated to such an extent that he saw Quaid just once after the independence. In his last years “Quaid’s prodigal child” admitted that his “insistence on Pakistan being an Islamic state and taking recourse to violence” was wrong[5]. Yet his ideas in the early 1940s show signs of visible discomfort shown by the Muslim League leaders as they were freely mixing the terms of Islamic and Muslim state.
The above episode was one of many where Quaid was clear in one aspect; that Pakistan would not be a theocratic state. He clearly mentioned in his message to the people of the United States that “Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission”. [6]
Or the famous speech to the Pakistan Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947 where he laid down what many perceive as his clearest and unequivocal message to the lawmakers of the newly formed country You are free; 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…. You will find that in 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”
To emphasize how shocking Quaid’s speech was for everyone in Pakistan, Maulana Shabbir Usmani immediately yet subtly condemned Quaid’s words. He reminded that if it was not for Islam (the unifying force), religious leaders would not have entered the freedom struggle, and no political party (including the Muslim League) would have been able to mobilize the masses. He called for declaring the new country an Islamic Republic. Other leaders were less guarded in their remarks. Jamaat Islami leader Ahsan Islahi called a Pakistan based on Quaid’s August 11 speech principles a devil’s creation[7]
Muslim League used the slogans of “Pakistan ka Matlab kiyaa, La Ilaha Illallah (Pakistan means There is no God except Allah)” and “Muslim hai to Muslim League main aa (If you are a Muslim then you should be in the Muslim League)” during the election campaigns. Yet, we do see a documented case where Quaid admonished a Muslim League worker for using the slogan of Pakistan means no God except God in Muslim League first post Pakistan meeting in Karachi. Quaid said that individuals may have used that slogan for garnering votes, but no such slogan was approved by the Muslim League’s central committee.[8]
Some of the clearest signals about the equality of the creeds was coveyed by Quaid’s actions as Governor General of Pakistan. He appointed J.N. Mandal as his first Law Minister. Setting up a scheduled caste Hindu to head the pivotal ministry of law was a clear sign that Quaid was looking for the laws of the state to rise above the creeds. Sir Zafarullah Khan was appointed the first Foreign Minister, despite protests from the religious right for belonging to the Ahmedi sect. It is well documented that Quaid asked for a Hindu poet Jagan Nath Azad to write the first national anthem of Pakistan. With his actions Quaid was showing that a Muslim majority Pakistan belonged equally to every sect and creed. “Minorities will cease to be minorities in the new state .. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed – this has nothing to do with the business of the state”. Isn’t that what he was saying, in words as well his actions?
As Dr. Ayesha Jalal said “Jinnah’s resort to religion was not an ideology to which he was ever committed or even a device to use against rival communities; it was simply a way of giving a semblance of unity and solidity to his divided Muslim constituents[9]
However, at the same time we do see instances where Quaid included Islam with the state. And this is where the same right wing leaders who bitterly opposed Jinnah and his party, come to the forefront to make him nothing sort of a religious leader. For example, in the same speech to the people of the United States in February 1948 he described Pakistan as a “premier Islamic State”. In another instance, Jinnah called Khan Brothers’ claims untrue that “PCA (Pakistan Constituent Assembly) will disregard the fundamental principles of the Shariah and Quranic laws”.
There were instances when Jinnah replied to the question of democracy by saying that Muslims had learnt democracy thirteen centuries ago. There have been various references to Quran and Sunnah in Jinnah speeches as well.
His speech to the State Bank of Pakistan in July 1948 stated: “We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice. We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind”
What do we make of the conflicing statements from Quaid? Most likely, Quaid’s use of term “Islamic” was used in lieu of the Muslim democratic state. However, a glance at the tumultuous years preceding and following the creation of Pakistan do explain the choice of words on Quaid’s part.
Partition brought with its bloody communal rioting that left up to a million people dead. Majority of those killed were Muslims that were looking to move to their new homeland. The body count was huge and by every indication, consumed the new government’s efforts. The state was strapped for cash and fighting for its very survival against a much larger and supremely unhappy neighbour. Kashmir mess was beginning to brew into a major conflict, and any considerations to set aside religion from the affairs of the state was put aside for a while, as the state tended to more urgent needs.
By all indications, Quaid was under intense pressure during his last year due to the problems facing Pakistan. Pakistan seemed to be fighting for its own survival. We catch Quaid’s foreboding words in his speech in Lahore University on October 30, 1947.
We are in the midst of unparalleled difficulties and untold sufferings; we have been through dark days of apprehension and anguish…We have been the victims of deeply-laid and well-planned conspiracy executed with utter disregard of the elementary principles of honesty, chivalry and honour…Do not be afraid of death, our religion teaches us to be always prepared for death. We should face it bravely to save the honour of Pakistan and Islam. There is no better salvation for a Muslim than the death of a martyr for a religious cause”[10]
In the extremely uncertain formative year of Pakistan, the state was beset with too much uncertainty and fear. The fight for Pakistan was invoked as fight for Islam. The Islamic concepts of martyrdom were used for Pakistani martyrs. We simply cannot fathom a months old republic facing so many threats as soon as it came into being. Quaid kept invoking Islam in his official speeches. For a Muslim majority new born state in 1940s, can we seriously blame Quaid for doing that? Half a million Muslims had died during the partition violence. The next door giant of a neighbor was waiting for Pakistan to collapse. The uneven standards were applied by India when it laid claim to Kashmir; over time it would annex Deccan and Junagadh, all on one pretext or another.
It is quite clear from his statements that Quaid sincerely wanted a democratic Muslim Republic that would be inspired by Islamic ideals, but would not promulgate Islam as a state religion. He did give us clear occasional references about his ideals of Pakistan based on secular, humanist principles. Unfortunately, we have to make do with his words that were both a product of catastrophic uncertainty for the new nation, as well as Quaid’s personal ideals. I would go one step further and say his statements are not as mutually contradictory ideals sixty years ago as they may seem right now. Quaid was invoking Muslim ideals to rally the majority Muslim nation under the banner of Pakistan. But constant message we hear from his words and actions is that he wanted Pakistan to be a Liberal Democratic Muslim State. I would get to this point in detail in the final conclusion, and would also say for now that sixty years have shown that our founding fathers’ well meaning idea of a democratic Liberal Muslim Republic seemed nice on paper, but is anything but practical in the real world.
Sixty years later, as the inexactness of religion within the state offices of Pakistan takes its toll on the nation, we wonder if Quaid needed to be more firm in publicly specifying the exact role of religion in the affairs of the state. He was rapidly dying of consumption mixed in with a deadly form of lung cancer. We do get plenty of his statements that imbue his vision of democratic progressive Pakistan. But apart from the important Constituent Assembly speech on August 11, 1947, we have to make do with his actions, his statements spread across various speeches and interviews and meetings with different leaders.
It is an undeniable fact that the Quaid had united the disparate group of the political union of the Indian Muslims under one banner of Muslim League. Despite clear references to exclusion of religion from the state (or at best laws were to be inspired by the religious lessons), Quaid never explicitly came out in putting his personal stamp on the exact role of religion. Since Quaid remained such a pivotal figure in Pakistan’s genesis, his death effectively left the whole country searching for its exact identity.
We learn from his biography by Stanley Wolpert that Quaid was obsessed with drafting of the new constitution of Pakistan in his last year. We can imagine had he lived up to the completion of the constitution, Pakistan would have achieved a much revered document outlining the exact place of religion in the affairs of the state. It was not to be; we see barely 6 months into his death, the leadership had set itself on a confused path that haunts us even today. One non Muslim member of Assembly remarked on the Objectives Resolution: “What I hear in this (Objectives) Resolution is not the voice of the great creator of Pakistan – the Quaid-i-Azam, nor even that of the Prime Minister of Pakistan the Honourable Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan, but of the Ulema of the land”.
Next: the Objectives Resolution and the subsequent make shift Islamization of Pakistan over the next sixty years

[1] Metcalf and Metcalf “A Concise History of India”

[2] “Muslims and the present Political Turmoil” by Abu-al-Ala-Moudoudi
[3] Chapter titled 1940s; triumph and tragedy, from the book “A Concise History of India” by Barbara Metcalf and Thomas Metcalf
[4], “Raja Mahmudabad, a pillar of strength of the Muslim League” by Dr. Muhammad Reza Kazimi
[5] ibid
[8] Abdus Sattar Ghazzali’s book Islamic Pakistan; Illusions and Reality (
[9] The State of Martial Rule, by Dr. Ayesha Jalal
[10] Chapter “Karachi-Pakistan Zindabad”, from the book “Jinnah on Pakistan” by Stanley Wolpert


Filed under Islam, Jinnah's Pakistan, Pakistan

33 responses to “The Undefined Equilibrium between Pakistan and Islam. Part 2: Our Founding Father’s Vision

  1. YLH

    Bravo! A fair and intellectually honest piece at long last about this issue. It is presented veritably as a well crafted judgment worthy of the privy council.

    You sir have demolished the entire case the right wing and Islamist types have about Pakistan being a theocratic Islamic state. Jinnah wanted a secular state and all his references to “islam” were – as Hoodbhoy explained earlier- contextual.

    In my view Jinnah’s handful references to Islamic principles of equality, fraternity and justice are not frequent though but are frequently mentioned by those who selectively quote him. For a man out to lead a conservative group like Muslims, Jinnah’s references to Islam are surprisingly few and far between.

    And since Muslim League never passed a resolution committing Pakistan to Pakistan ka matlab kiya, Jinnah’s admonishment in my view is constitutional and accurate.

    That said Mr. Jinnah too bears the responsibility for his ambiguous use of Islam which his worst enemies now latch upon to demolish his vision of a secular liberal democratic Pakistan. Just like Mr. Gandhi is to blame for unleashing those religious forces which ultimately destroyed his (and Jinnah’s) cherished goal of Hindu-Muslim Unity, Mr. Jinnah is to blame for giving those in the right who had opposed him the foot in the door which allowed them to destroy and make a mockery of his vision of Pakistan.

  2. AZW


    I came across the exchange between Raja Sahib Mahmudabad and Quaid just recently. Jinnah’s words were indeed prophetic:

    “Did you realize that there are over seventy sects and differences of opinion regarding the Islamic faith, and if what the Raja was suggesting was to be followed, the consequences would be a struggle of religious opinion from the very inception of the State leading to its very dissolution“.

    Quaid was predicting the fate of a state that is pulled in all directions in the name of religion. Pity that Pakistan has come to realize his fears.

    I do agree that Quaid probably needed to categorically put his stamp on the role of religion in the newly formed state; especially when the demand for Muslim homeland was based on his ideas of liberal Muslim democratic republic. This distinction was not clear to many Muslims then, and to many Muslims now.

    However when we see the chaotic backdrop of a newly formed state, with all the challenges it was faceing, we may empathize with the leader who still spoke unequivocally to the Constituent Assembly. But Quaid may never did imagine that his bitter enemies in the religious right will try to use Quaid’s own words to make some kind of an orthodox Sharia inspired Islamic state out of Pakistan.

  3. Majumdar

    Adnan bhai,

    There have been various references to Quran and Sunnah in Jinnah speeches as well.

    One of the most unfortunate such speech was made at Islamia College in Peshawar in 1946, where he had promised to make Pakistan a laboratory of Islam. Sadly some people from that region have taken this speech quite literally…..


  4. YLH

    Labs are by definition controlled environments where things are proven or disproven and where new innovations and inventions may be created …only in sci fi do we find labs creating frankenstein monsters.

    The point is that Pakistan may well have been a lab … but the existence of a lab does not depend on the consequences of the experiment. The Lab continues to be there -as a place of scientific inquiry.

    I don’t see how Jinnah’s ambiguous speech in 1946 no less can abrogate his clear pronouncements about sovereignty lying with the people and equal rights for all citizens and protection of minorities and complete freedom of religion…

    Besides Jinnah did not expect Pakistan to be partitioned …he expected Pakistan to have 25 percent Non-Muslims and the whole thing as part of a bigger union confederation of India. So the most that one could extract is that Pakistan as a lab would be involved in modernization and reformation of Islam and not the nonsense that the right wing might associate with it.

  5. YLH

    Also the people of that region did not need a suited booted cigar smoking lawyer who looked more English than Muslim to do what they are doing right now.

    Infact they had been condemning him for being a kafir …and had raised the banner of revolt against Pakistan for being irreligious from day 1.

    So there is no connection between his statement and what has been going on in that region since Mullah-Pawinda’s time …and which Fakir Of Ipi epitomized.

  6. bonobashi

    What a terrific second part! It was worth the (very small) wait. Besides saying that the author’s conclusion that a slight tincture in Jinnah’s speeches was due to the incredible pressure on him in his last days, battling against the pressure on Pakistan both directly and indirectly from India, desperately seeking to create institutions and organs of state out of the debris of partition, and knowing very well that time was not his friend, I will reserve further comment until the next two parts come out.

    A feast for the intellect.

    Yasser, clearly your writing and tireless advocacy has not gone in vain, although Adnann’s approach may finally turn out to be slightly different from yours, insofar as he is likely to acknowledge the pressures of practical realpolitik, from hints in this section.

    “Please, Sir, may I have more?”

  7. YLH

    Also why isn’t Sadequain considered the desired residue of the chemicals at work in this lab?

    Why the Taliban?

  8. YLH


    I am too but precisely that recognition makes me disregard their importance in terms of the so called raison d’ etre.

  9. Bloody Civilian

    thankyou Adnan!

    if the right-wing can pervert and abuse jinnah’s words despite this, then only jinnah repeatedly claiming that he was an atheist would have helped, to the extent that the right-wing would have done even worse to pakistan without having to bother with twisting a handful of his words…. or bother with jinnah at all. indeed, they wish they didn’t have to.

    to this day, jinnah is a huge obstacle for the mullahs, even when he is dead, just as he was when he was alive. those who believe that the over-riding emotion was to ‘save islam’… must explain how does a common person ignore and defy the ulema – the very protectors of the faith – en masse. how does an ordinary person reconcile that in his mind?

    barelvi mullahs, at the last moment, in rural punjab… or a tiny faction of JUH breaking away (yet kept at a discernable distance by jinnah) does not explain the obvious contradictions that the ordinary AIML voter is being considered capable of, somehow reconciling in his mind…. if ‘deen in danger’ is to be accepted as the driving force.

  10. Bloody Civilian

    every mullah has denounced jinnah to this day. be it maudoodi, islahi, mufti mehmood or his son. fazlurrehman even the other day said during a tv talkshow: “we consider it [pakistan movement] to be politics of partition [“taqseemi siyasat”] rather than for freedom or independence.” yet, each one of them, seeing the high esteem that pakistanis hold jinnah in, has had no shame in trying to twist his words. still, pakistanis have rejected these mullahs at the ballot box.

  11. AZW


    Indeed Jinnah said that “we don’t want Pakistan just as a piece of land, but we want to have a laboratory where we can experiment on Islamic principles” at Islamia College, Peshawar.

    Taking this quotation in isolation, take it verbatim, combine Jinnah’s words where he reveres and invokes Quran and Sunnah, and viola, we have an orthodox Islamic Jinnah leading the Indian Muslims to get a Pakistan, that he couldn’t wait to get Islamic rule established on the state.

    But it is important to read all of Quaid message that he had given throughout the campaign for Pakistan and after the creation. We realize that his idea of Pakistan revolved around a Muslim democratic republic that would indeed have its constitution inspired by the religious pillars of Pakistan. We also notice that Quaid (and indeed Muslim League leaders) used the term Islamic and Muslim quite liberally and interchangeably. When we read the consistent message Quaid sent out in all the years, a lot of his quotes actually make a lot of sense.

    I am not a big fan of digging in for Quaid’s selective quotes; they distort the full message given by that historical figure. Quaid’s message encompassed many years, and many different audiences. As Yasser said, he was leading Indian Muslim polity, most of that happened to be extremely conservative. Quaid needed to establish a medium where communication was indeed, possible. This is the backdrop where he invoked Islamic principles and Islam in his speeches.

  12. AZW


    In the third paragraph, it should read

    “We realize that his idea of Pakistan revolved around a Muslim democratic republic that would indeed have its constitution inspired by the religious pillars of Islam”.

  13. bonobashi


    A quibble:

    Viewing Jinnah with disdain and contempt, they called him out on his demand, and to their disdain, Pakistan became a reality.

    I think it reads better as

    Viewing Jinnah with disdain and contempt, they called him out on his demand, and to their dismay, Pakistan became a reality.

    I am forced to do this sort of thing to preserve my rapidly-withering reputation as a grammar Nazi.

  14. Hayyer

    Not to anticipate what you would have to say in the remaining parts, but merely to summarize thus far, I should think that the debate is going to coalesce around two issues-one, what a Muslim majority state means or meant in the context of the politics leading up to the creation of Pakistan with Jinnah’s tersgiversation. Context sensitive opinions are implicit in human communication but they also remain for posterity to fight over. Even as careful a man as Jinnah could not have have always spoken with an eye on deconstruction by historians and charlatans.
    Second, is the larger issue of the theory of Islamic versus Muslim that was being avidly discussed in the comments of the first part of the article. I would rather wait and read all that you have to say because some really ferocious debating can ensue once it is all in.
    I believe that your article can be the germ of a small guide book for political leaders on the idea and practice of ‘nation’ and ‘state’ among Muslims.

  15. Bloody Civilian

    separating Muslim identity from all encompassing Islamic influence was left unclear

    the struggle was for political rights for muslims and not for Islamic laws. as the first post-colonial muslim state, resulting from a constitutional movement led by a leadership firmly based within the British legal and parliamentary tradition, it was as good as taken for granted that it would be no more ‘islamic’ than Britain was ‘christian’… at the time.

    i agree with Hayyer:
    your article can be the germ of a small guide book for political leaders on the idea and practice of ‘nation’ and ’state’ among Muslims

  16. karun1

    why did a suited booted cigar smoking whisky swilling lawyer took it upon him to represent Indian muslims?

    Was he atoning for his sins by doing so?

    why instead he could not choose a broader subject like poor and downtrodden?

    or fearing that he was being increasingly marginalised in congress wanted to return to the limelight by stoking insecurities in a section of people he had nothing common except birth?

    It is the greatest misfortune that Indian muslims ever had a leader like Jinnah. He was sugar coated cyanide. First the pain of partition now the fear of dissolution.

  17. YLH

    Karun mian,

    I know fairness, balance or intelligence are not your hallmarks but I’ll try to break through some of that layered ignorance that you have wrapped around your walnut sized brain.

    It is that Jinnah despite being senior to both Gandhi (though Jinnah was younger in age) and Nehru in the Congress Party … was marginalized because he was a Muslim. And it was not Jinnah alone…

    Take for example…Maulana Azad… the show-boy Muslim without the self-made confidence of Mr. Jinnah… who bent over backwards to please Nehru, Gandhi and Patel… was confined to being a second fiddle – a second fiddle who was slapped around and told to shut up whenever he got out of line (as he did on the occasion of Cabinet Mission Plan) … his book “India Wins Freedom” documents very clearly the prejudice non-Hindus faced in the Congress…. and this is by a partisan of the Congress… the truth was much graver.

    Such a role was acceptable for Maulana Azad… he could play this role … because he had his flock who he could play the pied piper of … and sing songs of gone days of Islam, of Islamic law, of religion… and keep them dead in slumber. After all this is why all the Mullahs wanted United India… a Pakistan dominated by Muslim bourgeoisie would never be a sure bet for them.

    For men like Jinnah… self made unlike Nehru, Gandhi and Azad, hardworking, honest to a fault and who had fought to wrest their status in life… this was an acceptable proposition. Similarly it would be unacceptable to people like me, BC, AZW…. we could not play third fiddle to the Hindus and their chosen second fiddle the Muslim Mullahs…just because we were born in some sort of Islamic tradition.

    As for the pain of partition… I think only someone who is frankly completely closed or ignorant would not consider how partition happened… and whose fault/doing it was. And as for dissolution … keep hoping, wishing and praying loser… but Pakistan is here to stay.

  18. YLH

    …erratum … “For men like Jinnah… self made unlike Nehru, Gandhi and Azad, hardworking, honest to a fault and who had fought to wrest their status in life… this was an unacceptable proposition”

  19. YLH

    To quote Karen Armstrong’s revealing comment… “Jinnah – imbued with a secular ideal- wanted a homeland where Muslims were not limited by their religion”

  20. karun1

    It is that Jinnah despite being senior to both Gandhi (though Jinnah was younger in age) and Nehru in the Congress Party … was marginalized because he was a Muslim.

    fairly wrong allegation and uncontestable….he may have been marginalised….but not because he was muslim

    its like subhash chandra bose saying that he was a marginalised bcos he was a hindu

    despite your education and sophistry i think this hindu-muslim question still bogs you down. you always want to be the ‘majority-born’ in your country isn’t it. you dont like the minority tag-even if it may have nothing that impinges on your rights and freedom. but remember one is a minority always in some category or the other!

    needless to say you(BC & others) being born a pakistani are reluctant to shed any of your identity. However i am ready to shed my indian identity for a larger cultural identity if god willing it happens.

    I find your refusal to admit that hindus muslims cannot live together as apalling and needless to say that the ‘so called fears’ that made muslim league cross over the bridge then are completely unjustified now.

    without the terrorism , the wars face to face and proxy, kashmir, possibility of a nuclear warfare, military expenditure which could have nourished millions , indian subcontinent would have prospered far more….its really shameful that a hypothetical question of potential injustice on a minority community which in its own right can hardly be called minority we (both india and pakistan) stand on this shore of river rather than other.

    peace will remain elusive till identity is not shared. I am all for a united India and pakistan, not the akhand bharat variety but pakindia or indiastan types.(like Kabir)

    Secular ethos and secular institutions, religion limited to personal space, non interference of state……..all that is given.

    Lets raise the debate to a new and perhaps unconventional and unfamiliar level. perhaps a solution can be found in genuine give and take. the hackneyed solutions will not do. pakindia zindabad!!!

  21. karun1

    one more thing:

    whats the moral superiroty of having been self-made?? (its just a reflection of ones social circumstances at birth).

    what if a Hitler were/was selfmade?

  22. YLH

    The truth about Hitler is that he was a failure at everything he did kind of like Gandhiji. But let’s not get into the similarity between the two self consciously Aryan Mahatmas shall we… I would have to painfully refer to Gandhi’s Mein Kempf (90 volumes of Gandhi’s collected works) …and then you would start whining and crying.

    “whats the moral superiroty of having been self-made??”

    A self made man is definitely superior to one who gets it as a gift. You obviously don’t understand it but the world revolves around this idea of establishing one’s mettle and merit… every revolution, every major conflict and battle has been to establish this. What you’ve written is incredibly foolish… because even those born with a silver spoon – if they are honest- accept the fundamental truth that is the superiority of a self made man….

    You are damn right we are not ready to shed our Pakistani identity… but it is not the Hindu Muslim question that affects BC and I.

    But coming to the question again… if Jinnah was not marginalized because he was a Muslim, then why wasn’t there any other Muslim leader who managed to stand at par with Gandhi, Nehru, Patel and Bose? Do you really think we aspire to be Maulana Azad … a jee huzoori ?

    Now this Pak-India, Indo-Pakistan etc… if you honestly were for it, then you would not be abusing Pakistan and its founding father would you? After all the only vision that can lead to a South Asian Monroe Doctrine is one that Jinnah gave. For that Pakistan and India must enter into a joint defence pact and a South Asian Treaty Alliance… that way we can rid ourselves of Chinese and American tinkering. But for that to happen you have to go back and read what Seervai wrote… it can’t be based on your whim… such a consensus has to take along us as well… in 1929, 1937 and 1946… it was Jinnah the sole spokesman… now you have to deal with so much more of an entangled web which includes the four corners of an entrenched national security establishment, an increasingly embattled military, Pakistan’s political elite and a rising new middle class in Pakistan.

    So before you raise the debate… accept that your founding fathers – especially Gandhi and Nehru- made a huge mistake in doing what they did…unless and until you do so there can be no further progress on this matter.

    But then again you are not an honest man, not terribly well read and certainly not possessed of a mind capable of breaking through the ignorance that engulfs your pea-brained existence.

    Therefore … my suggestion don’t post again because I will delete whatever you post.

  23. Bloody Civilian


    good to see that you are willing to give up (one part of) your identity, voluntarily. voluntarily. that’s the key word. there is difference between integration and assimilation. any two-way, equal and voluntary process will be great. but nothing will be achieved under duress. i will not give up a part of my identity that i otherwise don’t give a damn about, if it is used to discriminate against me. i’ll not compromise on equality and freedom to prove my “mettle and merit” (YLH) just like everyone else. i’ll not accept any one else being denied the same equality and freedom. your opinion is no more important to me than your opinion – whether thought out or imagined.

  24. PMA

    The debates, or shall we say exchange of insults between karun and YLH are silly. The ideas, if they could be called so, of India-Pakistan political unification at any level are absurd. The best hope is that the leaders of these two countries would sit down and resolve all or at least most of the outstanding disputes between them and then enter into a peace agreement. The idea of some sort of India-Pakistan confederation is a pig that won’t fly. As for as India is concerned, a ‘South Asian Monroe Doctrine’ already exists. That is why India refuses to accept any third party involvement regarding her dispute resolution with Pakistan. What is there for Pakistan to gain from this ‘monroe doctrine’? Validation of Indian hegemony?

    And what ‘South Asian Treaty Alliance’? India has repeatedly stated that her defence preparation is China-centric. Even though the idea of Chinese threat towards India is baseless, why should Pakistan get involved into any future India-China active conflict? Pakistan need not to be an Asian Poland.

    Pakistan and India have no foreign threats except from each other. The two need no SATA. What the two need is a non-aggression peace agreement. Let us all work towards that goal.

  25. YLH

    I consider China to be the number 1 threat to Pakistani sovereignty.

  26. Luqmaan

    >It was worth the (very small) wait.

    Wonder what happens(to you) if the entire 4 parts were put here on the same day.

    >I consider China to be the number 1 threat
    >to Pakistani sovereignty.

    Could you please elaborate?


  27. Luqmaan

    >Therefore … my suggestion don’t post again
    >because I will delete whatever you post.

    That’s the second *final* warning?
    How many more to go, before you actually do it?


  28. Jinnah's Pakistan

    Go to Gujranwala and Faisalabad…. ask those unfortunate people who once were part of the thriving cottage industry in Pakistan…

    And if nothing else…. let us not forget that it wasn’t because Lal Masjid wallahs kidnapped a Pakistani woman and her family (which they did) that brought the state machinery into action… it was the phone call from Hu Jintao…

    China has long crushed us economically and politically…. with China we have certainly have a master-slave relationship.

    In comparison our arrangement with the US is honorable and sovereign.

  29. YLH

    Jinnah’s Pakistan = YLH

  30. bonobashi

    The exchange between YLH and Karun was unwarranted, simply because Karun doesn’t deserve air-time and has never deserved it. It is a waste of YLH’s time to have to deal with him. However, in spite of the best efforts mounted by some of us, we have not always reacted in time to all the trolls who are attracted to this site.

    For the rest, while there is every reason to stop excessive emotionalism waterlogging our views on these issues, there is no reason why there cannot be professional, clinical cooperation on matters obviously of benefit to all sides. It is unlikely that anything prevents this, except the frozen attitudes of the political classes on both sides, who are pre-sold to the lowest common denominator on their respective sides, and continue to think in terms of satisfying the basest passions of that segment.

    I was surprised at a reference to the Monroe Doctrine. Such a doctrine in South Asia, absent an overwhelming superiority of one party, is hardly enforceable. Such an overwhelming superiority does not exist. India is certainly not that party. Even an implicit Monroe Doctrine, if ever it existed, is in tatters today, and shows clearly that it was never a reality nor a decision-influencing factor in the past, and that it is not a factor weighing more heavily on the minds of decision makers than the provenance of the next cup of tea or the proximity of a clean cloakroom. The refusal of the Indian leadership to sit down to multi-lateral talks was anchored in a refusal to compromise our sovereignty rather than to snatch an advantage in other, cunning ways.

    If this had been a reality, China would not have assured Pakistan of her support for the integrity and for the development of PoK/Azad Kashmir, Nepal would not have been playing footsie with Beijing, Sri Lanka would not have re-armed its armed forces after the success of the suppression of the LTTE and Bangladesh would not be practising its usual gymnastics and jumping up and down in place to quite such a height.

    Finally regarding Pakistan as an Asian Poland and the need for a SATA. To be honest, only if Poland were to have been tucked away somewhere in the proximity of Galicia would Pakistan be comparable to Poland, which would then have had the comforting bulk of France between her and the rapacious Austrians, Russians and Prussians/ Germans; much as Pakistan today has the comforting bulk of India between her and the possible pressure from China.

    Speaking as a business manager with some rudimentary understddanding of the size of the market represented by undifferentiated South Asia, a SATA is important from the point of view of trade and commerce rather than from the point of military mutual protection. Pakistan stands to gain by far from such market access, and this practical reality on the ground is borne out by the level of smuggling that seeks to flank legitimate trade.

    There can be no doubt that China will deal with her neighbours in years to come as either enemies or subservient states of the Middle Kingdom. It is driving relentlessly for access to the ever-increasing volumes of raw materials needed to fuel its growth. It has already demonstrated its extreme sensitivity to any threat to its supply lines, and its willingness to deal with any regime of any description and of any provenance for access to either materiel or route. The effect of such an embrace, where an outright dictatorship in Pakistan will be preferable to an inconvenient democracy, needs to be thought through very carefully. It is difficult to avoid YLH’s conclusion that China may in the foreseeable future outlive her present utility as a counter-balance to an unfriendly neighbour, even if so minor a change were to take place as the conversion to a neutral and trade-sensitive neighbour.

  31. bonobashi


    1. The (very small) wait: If all four parts had been delivered together, more than one of us might have gone bananas.
    2. As for the rest, why are you getting involved in whether a troll, of whatever size, gets one or two warnings? Why not let the admins do their job? Don’t be impatient.
    3. For China, see para 7 of my last post before this.

  32. Hayyer

    I read for the second time on PTH that China is not a threat to India. This is not germane to the subject under discussion but to clear this misconception I have to say the following.
    India has had a war with China and been soundly thrashed. Not only is there an unresolved boundary problem in Ladakh but China claims all of of one whole state in the east. Two entire army commands, the Eastern and Central are facing China, and parts of the Western and Northern Commands. The tension on our borders is constant and sometimes there was shelling and even troop incursions (not for some years now). China has huge military resources in Tibet threatening India and since 1958 has been inimical. India hosts the Dalai Lama and his entourage to China’s chagrin. India’s nightmare is to fight a two front war.
    China threatened India in 1965 and was expected to come to Pakistan’s aid in 1971 which led to the Indo Soviet treaty. China’s press evenly recently carried stories of how it could disintegrate India. It’s profile vis a vis India is always threatening.

  33. karun1

    so be it then….

    let the uneasy calm prevail before we are rudely awakened by the trumpets of war and destruction, perhaps it would be too late before we realise that our mutual obsession could have been channelised into ways of love and admiration.

    we cannot remain aloof, how hard we may try, we will meet in union if not in love, in self destruction. strange, our destiny cannot be separate, like siamese twins bound by invisible cords of attachment, we stumble towards a fatal embrace.

    Master, do however preserve a little piece of our heart(it was always one). Its too precious. nourish it so that it may flower thousand years after we had almost destroyed each other. let it not know that we had harboured deep chasms of doubt and distrust for each other. let it bear the final fruit of union when our identities would be dust. perhaps it would be a shining beacon for all that we stood but could never achieve.