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If we had only followed Jinnah’s words

“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”–Stanley Wolpert, in Jinnah of Pakistan: 1984

“Assalam o alaikum beta can I sit here for a few minutes?”

There was something in the firm but affectionate voice which made me look up to see the questioner before answering the polite query. A frail tall grey haired man stood beside the bench ,more than half of which i was occupying with my paraphernalia, in Bagh-e-Jinnah.

Strong rays of the afternoon sun coming through the shaggy branches of the expansive bunyan tree made me strain hard to see his face .He looked familiar at first and then suddenly the realization hit me that it was none other than Muhammad Ali Jinnah (R.A), the “Quaid-e-Azam” himself.  “Sure this bench is all yours, I was about to leave anyway”.

Though he did take his time sitting down, the grace and self assurance involved in the whole process was unusually discerning. A few uneasy moments passed by while he was settling in, during which i made a futile effort not to look in awe of him.He ,however, seemed oblivious to my presence and started reading an old shriveled copy of some english newspaper. I decided to stay and continue working.

“Chai chaye sahib g?” A few moments later a shrill voice broke the uneasy silence, a young kid in a stained khaki shalwar kameez stood there glaring at me with his innocent little eyes.

“Haan do (two) cup dai do” Quaid said before I could turn the chaiwala away.

Moments later, we were having a conversation over hot “chai” which was served in old fashioned chinaware. “My name is Asaad and I am a doctor. I come here often to find some peace and solitude .Helps me work”.

“I haven’t been here for years” the old man said with a slight grim on his face. “May I ask what are you working on?” Obviously, he had noticed the scribbles on my notebook.

“I am writing a piece on the current state of affairs in Pakistan” I said, trying my best to keep my throat from drying up. “And how the current lot of politicians seem clueless about possible solutions to the climacteric problems facing us”. There was something in his voice that was making me open up to him gradually.

That definitely got the great man’s interest as I could see his already shiny eyes glow up further. “I am glad to see young people so deeply interested in political affairs.”

“Corruption at all levels has infected this country down to it’s roots and i am afraid the current bunch of politicians seem stumped for an antiphon”

I could suddenly see a disturbed look emerging on his face ….

“One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering – I do not say that other countries are free from it, but, I think, our condition is much worse, is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do.”—M.A Jinnah,address to the Constituent Assembly:11 August, 1947.

“There is a growing concern in the youth of Pakistan that meritocracy is being brutally rejected. Nepotism, inequity and injustice at all levels is discouraging the hard working educated class and swaying them towards greener pastures overseas for better career opportunities.” sounding all torn apart.

“The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody.” — M.A Jinnah,broadcast to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan :February 1948.

“ Religious leaders who claim to speak on behalf of Islam and promote the violence of Taliban; military rulers who have repeatedly violated the constitution; and the so called democrats who have a notoriety for corruption have plagued our progress as a country. We have lost nearly 50,000 lives in the war against terrorism so far. The recent killings of over a 100 innocent children has jolted the entire mankind. The political leadership and people at large are still confused regarding the true identity of our enemy.” The strong animus in my voice was translating into an incriminatory tone.

“Are you now, after having achieved Pakistan, going to destroy it by your own folly? Do you want to build it up? Well then for that purpose there is one essential condition, and it is this complete unity and solidarity amongst ourselves.

But I want to tell you that in our midst there are people financed by foreign agencies who are intent on creating disruption. Their object is to disrupt and sabotage Pakistan. I want you to be on your guard; I want you to be vigilant and not to be taken in by attractive slogans and catchwords.”— M.A Jinnah, Dhaka ; March 21, 1948.

“Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people and you do not make national policy, it is we, the civilians who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.” M.A Jinnah, address to armed forces; August 14, 1947

“Did you actually know that the country would be engulfed by religious extremism, illiteracy and considered an unsafe place for minorities? Women will be killed in the name of honor killings and discouraged from taking an active part in country’s progress! ”

I wanted to say so much more but had to stop as i could see his affectionate face growing sombre.

“In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan”— M.A Jinnah, broadcast to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan :February 1948.

“Without education it is complete darkness and with education it is light. Education is a matter of life and death to our nation. The world is moving so fast that if you do not educate yourselves you will not only be left behind, but will be finished up. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) had enjoined his followers to go even to China in the pursuit of knowledge. If that was the commandment in those days when communications were difficult, then, truly, Muslims as the true followers of the glorious heritage of Islam, should surely utilize all available opportunities. No sacrifice of time or personal comfort should be regarded too great for the advancement of the cause of education.”—MA Jinnah, address to muslim students federation

“Pakistan, which symbolizes the aspirations of a nation that found itself in a minority in the Indian sub-continent, cannot be unmindful of the minorities within its own borders”— M.A Jinnah, Katrak Parsi Colony, Karachi: February 3, 1948.

“I have always maintained that no nation can ever be worthy of its existence that cannot take its women along with the men. No struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men. There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen. There is a great competition and rivalry between the two. There is a third power stronger than both, that of the women.” — M.A Jinnah, Islamia College for women: 25 March 1940.

“Chai sahab”, I nearly fell off the bench.Took me a few seconds to register that i was sitting on the bench alone and had dozed off while reading under the warm sun of this cold December morning. I quickly looked around ,searching desperately for the “father of the nation”. To my anguish, there was only the innocent little chaiwala standing in front of me holding a tea flask and a few stained cups but Quaid had dematerialized ,

After coming to terms with the harsh reality, i stayed on the cold bench thinking that although Quaid left us over 65 years ago but not without a legacy of prescripts .

The statesman in him presaged all the problems our country is afflicted with, in 2014.His speeches were made to a different group of people and in different contexts, but his words are still as pertinent as they were then.

We are living in a world in which the word “change” defines the new work order. Political leaders no longer have the luxury of contemplating if they will make changes, but rather must decide how they can transform their country in order to survive in this rapidly shifting global interface. Surrounded by the pressure to respond to an ever changing world, our leaders have a solid framework on which they can build and maintain new initiatives.

“My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest nations of the world”— M.A Jinnah, presidential address to the constituent assembly of Pakistan :11 August 1947.

MA Jinnah First presidential address

Is this the Pakistan which Jinnah conceived as a country that would champion human rights, women empowerment, equity for minorities and is the rule of law still a possibility?

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