A continuation from “Was Jinnah secular?” and “Did Jinnah want Pakistan?”.
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
There are many people who criticize Jinnah – quite incorrectly in my opinion- of having laid the foundations for subsequent periods of authoritarian military rule. They allege that Jinnah’s decision to become the Governor General was the first blow to parliamentary democracy in Pakistan. Unable to distinguish the argument of constitutional purists pleading the ceremonial and executive roles of president and prime minister i.e. head of state and head of government from that of democratic argument about the sovereignty of parliament, these authors etc make the fatal error of not making an effort in understanding both the constitution in place and the environment under which Jinnah exercised his constitutional authority. By confusing the two, they make a mockery not just of the latter issue, but history itself. In the process they end up abusing the one person in Pakistan’s history who can truly be called a liberal democrat in every sense of the word. Continue reading
By Yasser Latif Hamdani
On August 28, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of Lincoln Memorial- dedicated to the memory of the great emancipator Abraham Lincoln- in Washington DC and made that famous pronouncement, to a multitude of people joined together in a quest for racial equality, which has gone down in history as the “I have a dream” and “Let freedom ring” speech. It is one of those rare speeches that become ingrained in the conscience of nations, where the speech takes a life of its own, standing alone as a shining light of truth against terrible darkness.
Dr. King started off his speech with a reference to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. He spoke of the “great beacon light of hope” that the “Negroes” had seen 100 years prior to that. He went on to describe the US Constitution and the Declaration of Independence as a “promissory note” on which the US had defaulted. Dr. King then spoke of his dream to see a fulfillment of that promissory note, to live in a land where all men are created equal, where the descendants of slave owners could live together with the descendants of slaves in a bond of brotherhood and where race would no longer be a limiting factor. He then finished off with those historic words “Lets freedom ring…”