Dr Ghayur Ayub
There were a few things about Quaid, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, which may be considered distinctive. He would choose his words of praise very carefully especially when they were directed towards individuals. He was known to have an extensive vocabulary yet scarcity for eulogized words became a part of his personality. This made his humour dry but his intellect vast; a trait unique to people of his calibre. The only time he crossed this barrier was when Allama Iqbal passed away. He mingled emotions with rationale and used three powerful words to describe Iqbal, calling him his philosopher, guide and mentor. Words such as these coming from Jinnah signified the depth of their relationship.
On politics, he made an inimitable announcement at the time of independence when he spoke about liberation from three powers; British control; Hindu domination; and Mullah’s authority. He, through his speech of 11th August 1947, virtually announced a governance policy for Pakistan based on Meethaaq-e-Medina, which did not propagate secularism as some scholars want us to believe. He simply wanted an Islamic system for Pakistan that gave freedom to its citizens belonging to any creed, caste, color and religion.
A third point relevant to Quaid’s personality was his commitment to the Muslims of the subcontinent and to the understanding of Islam. He concentrated on principled deeds and made them the guiding code of his life. He dedicated his life to the good of humanity in general and the Muslims of India in particular. The ordinary Muslims accepted him as their leader for what they found in his personality. So, when they heard him saying that, simple independence for India meant a change from one kind of slavery (British) to another (Hindu) for Muslims, they believed him. Contrary to his stand, the powerful traditionalist theologians lined up with the opponents and opposed him tooth and nail to the extent of calling him ‘Kafir’ and Pakistan as ‘Kafiristan’. What a paradox! A Muslim who portrayed Islam by his deeds was opposed by religious preachers who prayed regularly, kept fast, spoke fluent Arabic and taught Islam through impressive orations. But was that enough for the people? Not really. They saw a paradox in the words and actions of the theologians. On other hand, they knew Mr. Jinnah might not have been a good practicing Muslim as far as Huqooq-al-Allah were concerned but he stood solid on the ground of Huqooq-al-Ibaad, walking tall on the issues of human rights, justice and living proudly. This was the main difference between him and the religious custodians of Islam. He portrayed himself as a person with an upright personality, dependable composure, reliable comradeship and unquestionable truth teller. People knew if he promised something he would deliver it. If he highlighted problems facing Muslims they believed him. If he said something was good for the Muslims they accepted his verdict. They trusted him because they did not see a distinction between his spoken words and practicing deeds.
Despite strong opposition from British, Hindu and Muslim traditionalists he managed to lead Muslims towards a country of their own based on the principles of Meethaaq-e-Medina. But, life didn’t give him time to put Islamic governance akin to that Meethaaq into practice. After he passed away, Pakistan fell prey to a succession of intrigues exercised in turn by certain self-centred bureaucrats, politicians, legislators, judiciary, executives, generals, and theologians. How much more unfortunate can a country become than to be robbed by the very pillars which should have been supporting it? To make things worse; these bastions supported their intrigues with logic that was diagonally opposed to what the Quaid had in mind. They put their personal ambitions ahead of national interest under the guise of helping Pakistan. How sad! As a result, today, we have an independent country but not an independent nation. We have a country, bleeding from the vessels which should be pumping blood to boost it economically, socially, morally, theosophically and spiritually. It is on the sick bed.
As someone put it, “Pakistan is in need of, financio-pulmonary resuscitation, and our leaders travel capital to capital, begging, borrowing, beseeching a grant, loan, investment or deposit of US$10 billion. What must be crossing the minds of the donors, when some of the richest people individually tagged as billionaires come begging on behalf of a poverty stricken nation.” Writing on the present economic crunch, Kuldip Nayar suggested, “the politicians, industrialists and bureaucrats in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka should bring back the money they have stashed away in Swiss banks.” It is estimated that affluent Pakistanis have stashed over $100 billion. In addition, the newspapers across the globe have frequently listed some of our elite; bureaucrats; politicians; and generals diverted wealth to acquire fancy homes and bank accounts in foreign lands. The figure is mind-boggling.
Sixty one years down the line, we see a great similarity between the events that existed then and the happenings of today. Then, the Muslims of the subcontinent were striving for a new independent state of Pakistan. Today, the Muslims of Pakistan are struggling to keep their national identity alive and maintain a united country. Then, the British tried overtly to thwart the plan for an independent state for the Muslims. Today, the West is trying covertly to keep Pakistan destabilized and even break. Then, the Hindus created hurdles against the creation of Pakistan. Today, they are busy sabotaging our unity as a nation. Then, the traditionalist theologians opposed the Quaid for not being a ‘good’ Muslim; today their breed is opposing all those who do not fit in with their brand of Islam. In a nutshell, the struggle continues with one major difference.
Then, we had an indisputable leader with impeccable character known for his statesmanship, leadership qualities, principled deeds and spiritual strength. Today, do we have a leader with those qualities, who can take Pakistan forward in this difficult time and gives its people dignity and pride according to Meethaaq-e-Medina? How sad it is that the Quaid gave us a country for a reason and we kept it as a geographical piece of land but lost the reason for which it was created. Today, Pakistan is like a body with no soul to tap its indigenous resources and show the world that we can survive and progress independently. It is a country with no spirited leader to lift the souls of its falling people and steer them forwards as a dignified united nation. History tells us that the soul of a nation follows the spirit of an upright leader. That link is broken today. This country needs a second coming of a Quaid to mend that breakage.
Source: Pakistan Observer, 30/10/2008