Few nations are as fortunate as us, in that the founder of our nation has left behind for us explicit guidelines and profound words of guidance, in relation to the involvement of Religion in matters of the state.These words of wisdom embody the Will of Jinnah to the nation he founded. This nation still has hope if it succeeds in reverting to Jinnah’s Will :
1 : “….Religion should not be allowed to come into Politics….Religion is merely a matter between man and God”.[Jinnah, Address to the Central Legislative Assembly, 7 February 1935].
In this principled statement Jinnah draws a clear line between Politics and Religion, and also defines the parameters of Religion by the words “between man and God”. This statement of his harbours the soul and spirit of Secular Statecraft.
2 : “….in the name of Humanity, I care more for them [the Untouchables] than for Mussalmans. ” [Jinnah, Speaking about the Shudras or Untouchables, during his address at the All India Muslim League session at Delhi, 1934].
Jinnah’s pro-minority thinking is once again patent from these words. These words were not uttered before a Hindu gathering, which if they were, could have led some to argue that perhaps he was trying to win their favour. These words were, in fact, uttered during his address at a Muslim League session.
3 : “….I am NOT fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan.” [Jinnah, Press Conference, 14 November 1946]
As late as November 14, 1946, which means merely 9 months prior to independence, Jinnah said, “….I am NOT fighting for Muslims, believe me, when I demand Pakistan.” Jinnah pursued Pakistan neither in the name of Islam, nor exclusively for Muslims. You see, Quaid-e-Azam was more than willing to endorse an undivided India, which he openly did when he accepted the Cabinet Mission Plan. The Congress leadership, not Jinnah wriggled out of this last chance of keeping India undivided. All that Quaid-e-Azam wanted was to ensure that the social and economic interests of the conglomerate of the Muslim-majority states remained secure. This was an assurance that Gandhi, Nehru and Patel were not willing to extend. The weaker and smaller conglomerate of the Muslim-majority states was at risk of being economically subdued by the larger and more prosperous conglomerate of the Hindu-majority states. Thus, Pakistan was created neither in the name of Islam, nor exclusively for Muslims, but rather in pursuance of a secure economic future for all the inhabitants of the Muslim-majority states of the Subcontinent. The two nations in the “Two-nation theory” were not the religious denominations of Hindus and Muslims, as perhaps many today would like to believe, but rather the Hindu-majority states and the Muslim-majority states of undivided India.
Jinnah did not pursue Pakistan in the name of Islam, as is commonly claimed. There is a huge difference between creating a state in the name of Islam and securing a safe politico-economic future for the inhabitants of the economically vulnerable Muslim-majority states of the subcontinent.
4 : “…. 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.” [Jinnah, Presidential address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, Karachi, 11 August 1947].
Here again a clear demarcating line has been drawn between the religious identity of the Citizen and the business of the State. Tragically, in today’s Pakistan, not only are Pakistani Ahmadi citizens “not free” to go to their mosques, they are not even permitted to call them “mosques”.
5 : “….no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and Equal citizens of One State.” [Jinnah, Presidential Address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, 11 August 1947].
By virtue of the Article 2 of the Constitution, which states that Islam shall be the State Religion of Pakistan, we as a nation, have done a great disservice to Islam. On the other hand, by drawing religion into politics, we have done a great disservice to Pakistan.
6 : “…. Now, I think we should 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 the individual, but in the political sense as Citizens of the State “. [Jinnah, Presidential Address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, 11 August 1947].
Seldom has anyone described a Secular State in words better than these. Jinnah talks about the State recognizing the status of these denominations as “Citizens of the State” and yet turning a blind eye to their religious identity.
7 : ” But make no mistake : Pakistan is NOT a theocracy or anything like it.” [Jinnah, Message to the people of Australia, 19 February 1948].
The people of Australia made no mistake. We did. We made the grave and unforgivable mistake of allowing our country to drift helplessly in the direction of a theocracy.
Jinnah’s Secular philosophy of statecraft, is obviously evident from his use of the term “EVERYBODY”, with respect to all the citizens of the country he founded. Even if he did not use the term “Secular” as overtly and frequently as one would have wished him to, his vision is most certainly one of a “SECULAR PAKISTAN”. Without a spec of doubt, it can be stated that Pakistan was made neither in the name of Islam nor exclusively for Muslims. Pakistan was made to secure a prosperous social, economic and political future of “ALL” the inhabitants of the Muslim-majority states of our Subcontinent. Regrettably speaking, this future is still in the future. The dying father of this nation left for us a clear and practicable Will. For six decades we have ignored this Will.
Jinnah’s Will – the Will of the Father of this nation – is a truly precious and priceless pearl. We are already guilty of ignoring the worth of this pearl. Beware. Let us not be guilty of trampling this pearl beneath our feet.