This is not what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan

Published: August 7, 2014

Now, when our community of 25,000 is being openly targeted and the provincial government is not doing its part in protecting us, we are thinking of moving elsewhere. PHOTO: FILE

Now, when our community of 25,000 is being openly targeted and the provincial government is not doing its part in protecting us, we are thinking of moving elsewhere. PHOTO: FILE Now, when our community of 25,000 is being openly targeted and the provincial government is not doing its part in protecting us, we are thinking of moving elsewhere. PHOTO: FILE Now, when our community of 25,000 is being openly targeted and the provincial government is not doing its part in protecting us, we are thinking of moving elsewhere. PHOTO: FILE

On August 11, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah gave a speech at the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan where he mentioned that in this country, there will be no discrimination based on religious grounds.

“We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, 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… 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.”

But if we look at the current condition of Pakistan, can we say that this is the same tolerant country that Jinnah aspired to make?

The answer, regrettably, is ‘no’.

It started from the Objectives Resolution that called for making religion a business of the state. It eventually became part of the constitution. The resolution was opposed by all members belonging to the minority in the assembly at the time; however, no heed was paid to their concerns.

During Ziaul Haq’s martial law era, this resolution was strengthened even further and the minority communities found themselves being discriminated against on an institutional level. This breach of human rights continued and today, it has taken the shape of a gruesome monster, killing people and revelling on massacre. In today’s Pakistan, every minority member is a secondary citizen – this is not what Jinnah wanted for his beloved country.

According to my elders, before Zia’s implementation of the martial law, Jagjit Singh, a doctor by profession, was the only Sikh living in their village at that time. He had a cordial relationship with all the residents of the village and was never referred to as a member of the minority. When his mother passed away, the entire village showed up for the funeral, which took place at River Indus near Attock, as was the Sikh ritual of submerging the dead into the sea. Later, he moved to Mardan where his relatives were residing. Since his death, his son, Sundhar, visits the village on Eid in remembrance of his father.

A week from now, on August 14, we will be celebrating our 68th year of independence. If one was to compare the past and the present, one would easily observe that not only have we ignored our founder’s words and ideals, we have also let go of our traditions. We, as a people, were never intolerant. We used to live harmoniously with people belonging to other religions.

What went wrong?

In January, and then again in March, 2014, two Sikhs were gunned down in Charsadda by unidentified men. I was left in disbelief upon hearing about the incidents as I was planning on writing an article on a Sikh’s life in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA.

A Sikh leader once told me that they (Sikhs) are the only minority of K-P whose ancestors refused to migrate during the 1947 partition and had decided to never leave K-P and FATA, even during the worst of conditions; they were living happily here and there was no such discrimination directed toward them at the time. But now, when their community of 25,000 is being openly targeted and the provincial government is doing nothing to protect them, they are thinking of winding up their businesses and moving elsewhere.

Not only the Sikh, but all other minorities of Pakistan are thinking on the same lines, after taking into consideration the country’s current state. During the past few years, many Hindu families have migrated to India simply due to the alarming threats to their lives. And the rest of the minorities may just follow suit.

If we were to compare Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan for its minorities to our present condition, we would understand that we have, evidently, failed to make Pakistan a safe place for our minority brothers where they are supposed to be treated as equal citizens of the state.

Our founder’s dream – no discrimination on religious grounds – remains only a dream and nothing more.

Even though it comes as good news that the National Assembly of Pakistan has finally decided to constitute a fact-finding committee for religious minorities, the question remains whether they will be given the fundamental right as per Jinnah’s words – the right to go to their temples or mosques or other places of worship ‘freely’? Will we be able to see a ‘free’ Jinnah’s Pakistan?

Mureeb Mohmand

Mureeb Mohmand

An Express Tribune reporter from FATA. He tweets @mureebmohmand (

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • WB

    This is exactly what Jinnah wanted.

    Yes, he didn’t say it. he said the opposite thing. But this is exactly what he wanted.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Make Pakistan an Islamic state. Where these people and other non-muslims(Christians, Ahmadis etc) will be protected the state. This is what Jinnah wanted. Go read the “Riaz Ali shah diary” and you’l know.

    A secular state won’t solve these problems. As Germany was a secular state when Hitler tortured and executed Jews. China is also a Secular state and look what they are doing to Muslims right now.Recommend

  • Raja Khalid

    Nice blog mureebRecommend

  • Dr Dang

    Why would he create a country on religious grounds & then talk about giving equal rights to all religions. Isn’t that defeating the idea of Pakistan?Recommend

  • An Indian

    Thank you Jinnah for giving us a separate nation………India.Recommend

  • Nomi

    This is exactly what Jinnah wanted , contrary to his said speed. Two nation theory is very precise… muslims and non muslims are two different nations and cannot live together.Recommend

  • Anoop

    Jinnah in 1948, after he gave the one-off Aug 11 speech in 1947, said :

    “I could not understand a section of people who deliberately wanted to
    create mischief and made a propaganda that the constitution of Pakistan
    would not be made on the basis of Shariat.”

    So, Jinnah was crystal clear. He wanted Sharia. If anyone wants, I can quote Jinnah a little bit more. Why use the one-off Aug 11 speech so often? Cherry picking quotes will not help,

    I don’t understand why people are hellbent on making him seem like a Secular guy. In which definition of secularism allows Religious laws to dictate entire Constitutions?Recommend

  • ModiFied

    Certainly Jinnah did not want it, unfortunately it was all bound to happen in a country created in the name of Islam and tooted in two nation theory. Abbul Kalam Azad explained it very precisely right in 1947. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    It is not what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan (which is anybody’s guess), but what you want, collectively. And what you want is what you get.Recommend

  • Syed Arbab Ahmed

    The condition is bad for Muslim majority as well, this is not specific for minorities, the main problem is law and order in the whole of Pakistan, better Police, better intelligence, no TTP other extremist can help in improvement.Recommend

  • Feroz

    Very sad indeed ! Every country is built based on what its citizens want it to be. To drag Jinnah into everything is nothing but escapism. It is very clear about the kind of country the majority wants it to be, not what some bleeding hearts want. People are willing to demonstrate massively on the street if one Rohingya Muslim is killed in Myanmar, however no such sympathy exists for minority citizens of ones own country. Any number of articles will not substitute for lack of action because actions talk louder than words.Recommend

  • sharabi

    sorry sir but experiment has been failed.Recommend

  • Mahira

    We can only hope that the third party which is taking advantage of the violence in Pakistan gets defeated and there can be some awareness among the people to look at the bigger picture and focus on who Pakistan’s real enemies are rather than fighting among each other. Jinnah had a clear vision when he created Pakistan, if only he stayed a little longer to implement it. #GodsavePakistanRecommend

  • Sane

    Sikhs and all other religions should be free to practice their religion. That’s what Islam teaches. Those we have otherwise mindset defy teachings of Islam.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    If Mr Jinnah wanted to separate Muslims from India in the name of Religion, and if Islam was the main binding force among Muslims then he could ask for partition and join Afghanistan
    Partition of India failed to show Islamic brotherhood. Not joining these countries itself means that Islam was not a main and binding force. Everything else is politics Recommend

  • Sane

    You are entirely ignorant about the Islamic sharia, which gives liberty of other religions to practice in Islamic states. Islam clearly says to co-exists with other religions and give respect and protect minorities. In any one does otherwise by acts or other means is doing against Islam’s teaching. Islamic sharia remains pure even if any individual or group does not follow sharia.

  • mimi sur

    Now please don’t shed crocodile tears .Recommend

  • Sane

    India is also a secular state and what they do with Muslims?Recommend

  • sialkoti

    The blind leading the blind, Pakistan can only thrive if it seperates religion from state. After this it should concentrate on its economy by attracting foriegn investment. Staes that cannot reform, fail. Recommend

  • shiraz

    what has sharia to do with religious freedoms of minorities….?in other why you are hell bent to make Jinnah an extremist though the truth is otherwise…its like making Modi a secular even though he is not by any standard.Recommend

  • LS

    Given the amount of hate culture in the whole south asian region this was destined to happen… I am not sure why there is a general apathy towards fellow humans, we don’t think before we act with cruel intentions. Friendly relations of decades can go away in a moment in the name of religion, lust, greed, and inculcated hatred. Is it because of overpopulation or we have become immune or numb to the atrocities in a way that it looks normal to us or is it the degradation of morality and humane-ness… Or worst of all combination of all these… I wish humanity was not on this slippery slope..Recommend

  • Ahmed

    In order to prove any theory wrong, all you need is one example. This I learnt from a professor at IITRecommend

  • ram

    keep fighting for Gaza,Kashmir and for cartoon published in a country which no Pakistani is even heard of, while poor people are getting killed Recommend

  • PrasadKamineni

    BlackJack is actually slapping you; not shedding crocodile tears. Pay attention to “but, what you want collectively”.Recommend

  • Critical

    Oh wow,and Nazism tells us to love Jews and coexist with them and Kim Jong Ill is the biggest leader of all times…

    Take a look at the muslim countries which follows Sharia,Non-muslims are dwindling and their religious rights are next to zilch…

    Please explain why non-muslims have to pay a high jizya tax or convert to Islam to stay alive??? How different it is from the mafia gangs collecting supari from the local shopkeepers..Recommend

  • unbelievable

    What went wrong?

    Simple .. your country was founded based on the principle that Muslim’s can’t get along with non Muslims so a speech which gives same rights to Muslims was ignored. Not rocket science.Recommend

  • Dharmdutt

    Only true Thank and tribute to great Jinnah is to safely transfer Muslim population from India to Pakistan. This is must to convince Pakistani people that Indians intend not to exercise any influence on Islamic way of life by Muslims of Subcontinent. Pakistan should raise this issue with Indian government to not suppress Muslims by hindering in exercising their religious right to migrate to Pakistan. Indians attack TNT using the excuse of Muslims still living in India. Remove the excuse and negate the ideological threat from India.Recommend

  • LS

    Creating the nation in the name of Islam itself was politics because his demand for separate autonomous regions for Muslims was shot down by INC, so he simply latched on to Muhammad Iqbal’s philosophy because it served him and IML obliged…Recommend

  • Anoop

    The very meaning of secularism is to keep Religion away from Governance, from Law Making, from Contitutional matters.

    When a learned lawyer, also its founder, asks for the Constitution of Pakistan, how on Earth can he be termed Secular?

    Modi has never uttered a word about imposing Hindu Laws on Muslims.

    Let me remind you the Direct Action day call by Jinnah. “We shall divide India, or shall destroy it”. 5000 and more people were butchered in Naokali district of Muslim majority Bengal, with Muslim League President(who went on to become Pakistani PM) – Suhrawardy.

    So, why can’t Modi be considered Secular? If Jinnah can be secular after calling for “Jehad”(i’ll paste the link of the Direct Action Manifesto by ML when Jinnah was President), why not Modi, who has till date never called for violence?

    Read the manifesto and tell me if Modi is not better than Jinnah.Recommend

  • Anoop

    The idea of Pakistan, the actual idea, not the secular propaganda and mumbo jumbo, is put in practice in the Pakistani Constitution. For example : A non-Muslim is barred from occupying any Constitutional Office like PM or President.Recommend

  • Anoop

    That Aug 11 speech is a one-off speech. Read the Direct Action manifesto by ML, when Jinnah was President.

    This calls for “Jehad”. I’ve quoted Jinnah in this forum calling for Sharia.

    My friend do not believe the Pakistani Secularist propaganda. They live in their own world and think nobody reads History books, especially about Pakistan.Recommend

  • Anoop

    There are 57 Muslim majority nations, can you tell me where minorities are free to practice their Religion?

    Also, of these 57 dozens have Sharia imposed. Again, same question.

    Either you have very limited knowledge of Political Islam or are outright lying.Recommend

  • Anoop

    South Asia? South Asia produced Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi is taught in every school worth its salt around the world.

    It produced Buddha, whose followers are everywhere in the world.

    By the way South Asia in those times was called India. Even today India is 80% of South Asia.

    Only when new countries were born, the link with the motherland broke and countries like Pakistan headed in different directions.

    India is the only country in South Asia, which has been Democratic since birth. Do not drag India when you really mean South Asia minus India.Recommend

  • Bupinder

    we all know what is islamic sharia, no need for another lecture, no time for wastingRecommend

  • LS

    If you like living in past glory you are welcome. Mahatma Gandhi was done more than 60 years ago. Who can you quote anyone of that stature today? No one. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Look at all the murders, atrocities, rapes not only in India but the whole region. This fake keyboard patriotism does not help India, gloating in past glory does not help India, referring to old maps of South Asia does not help today. Can you deny any of what I wrote above instead of getting into this useless diatribe of past Indian glory? What I wrote is the reality of today, whether you like it or not…Recommend

  • vasan

    India has the most diverse population in the world for a country, in terms of religion, language, dresses, food, music and culture. Inspite of all these diversities, India remained a democratic country from 1947 ever since the violent regions were separated out. What hatred you are talking about in India. Recommend

  • Anoop

    Where are Muslims coexisting with non Muslims in Muslim majority lands can you please educate us?Recommend

  • Anoop

    Nehru shouldn’t have closed the window for he migration of Muslims to Pakistan and migration of Hindus and Sikhs to India.

    He was a romantic and an agnostic. He made a grave mistake for which Hindus and Sikhs of Pakistan are suffering.Recommend

  • Riaz Ali

    Modi openly justified the gujarat genocide claiming it to be some sort of action reaction stupidity. In the elections of 2002, he made several communal speeches targeting muslims,In every election he used to use the term Mian in a derogatory manner referring to muslims. In the just concluded 2014 election, he blamed muslims in West bengal and Assam for the death of rhinos.he travelled all over the country and was seen sporting every headgear from the sikh turban to the tribal ones. The only one he refused to sport- the muslim skull cap. When he was CM he refused to disimburse funds for the modernisation of schools for muslims inspite of High Court and Supreme Court verdicts. Even a HC verdict to give compensation for mosques destroyed during the 2002 riots was not followed. To call him secular would be to call Bin Laden a saint.Recommend

  • Ram

    Please don’t drag south asia into this India is where you find almost every religion in the world where language cultures, language,food and everything else changes in 100 miles radius, In India we are proud of our diversity and function under democracy, Recommend

  • LS

    Let me try to be short.. maybe its taxing for you…

    – I did not talk about history, you brought it in. I am taking about present.
    – A grand history does not mean future would be rosy
    – Yes, people know about Gandhi, Buddha, God and yet people commit crimes as heinous as raping and killing minors
    – I did not talk about individual countries because this issue is everywhere, you brought it in.

    I am talking about humanity and humane-ness, I am talking about Vasudeva Kutumbakam, but you could not see beyond India and Pakistan. Recommend

  • LS

    Well, said – I would go further than that and teach tolerance, social skills, value of humanity and being human, helping, sharing to the kids so that at least future generations would be better…Recommend

  • LS

    I know where you are pointing when you say “Third Party” and I have two comments about that.

    1) A society that cannot think for themselves as to what is good or bad for them is doomed anyway, the weak social fabric is the reason why people are so gullible. A “Third Party” cannot do anything if the social fabric is strong.

    2) Enemies only need to be as strong as the weakest link.

    So pointing fingers does not help. Make yourself stronger and respect human values. No one will be able to stop you from REAL progress.Recommend

  • LS

    Pakistan never wanted that. They detested people who risked their lives to go from India into Pakistan. In latest such example in 2011 when homes of Mohajir’s in Karachi was burned down with their family members being systematically butchered. They ended-up leaving the city for other places…

    They also went ahead and modified their constitution to block further migration from India and added a Section 6, That essentially says:

    Section 6- Citizenship by Migration: If a person migrates from Indian territory before 1 January 1952, with the intention of permanently residing then they may receive citizenship.

    Meaning if you want to migrate today you are out of luck. So your point is moot. They will NOT be accepted, no matter how much Indian Muslims might like them…Recommend

  • Sane

    Like Muslims pay Zakat and Ushar, non Muslims were to pay Jazia. This is simple. Supari is your invention which has now adopted globally.Recommend

  • You funny guy

    Haha …Recommend

  • Sane

    Since you look like a history buff, also enlighten as who separated violent regions and what are those regions. What were the reasons of those separations?Recommend

  • Sane

    Pakistan is Islamic Republic not a secular state. And none of the govt. get involved in massacre of minorities here.Recommend

  • Sane

    In every Muslim state non Muslims co-exists. At least non Muslims are not massacred in any of the Muslim state. None of the Muslim state head is involved in massacre of minorities.Recommend

  • saswath

    give evidence if u have ..we really like to see if propaganda have an iota of fact or not?Recommend

  • saswath

    liberty for believers to butcher non-believers ..right?Recommend

  • Gratgy

    What have they done to stop it?Recommend

  • LS

    The same hatred that you see among people on the streets. I am sure you read about multiple riots (I don’t care who started what, but people suffered), multiple rapes, domestic abuse, Kids abuse, in the country. See Satyamev Jayate by Amir Khan if you need to open your eyes.

    Democracy, Diversity, Food, Music, religion, Culture do not prevent any of this. Though you did not bring it up but economic mobility sometimes (movement for Job, business) does bring in tolerance and builds better understanding and that is why educated (I don’t consider literacy as educated) people in cities are some-what better than labor class folks…Recommend

  • Vickram

    Every second day someone writes an article on founding father’s vision. Every second day, someone wonders if this is what Jinnah wanted. In case you haven’t noticed, yes, this is exactly the kind of country Jinnah ennvisioned for you guys.

    In his long political career Jinnah made one random secular speech that make you guys hail him as some sort of messiah. Can you quote one speech he made before that would appear that the new country he wanted was for all co-religionists ? You can’t, because he always visualized Pakistan, as one for Muslims, of Muslims and for Muslims.

    Don’t forget he was the one who called for ‘Direct Action Day’ and he was one great leader who never went to jail during the freedom struggle. After crying hoarse for years that Muslims and Hindoos can’t live together, suddenly in August 1947, JInnah becomes a secular statesman and he tells that all communities can live happily under his gaze, while his army is plotting an invasion somewhere.

    That’s why, his own, devoted followers saw through his hypocrisy and never made the pretense of making Pakistan an egalitarian society. Even before the blood of partition could dry, his brand new army, went into a war mode. Will any country headed by a statesman would do that ?

    Pakistan was launched with the wrong trajectory and it is continuing to fly at a tangent, slowly losing height.Recommend

  • marik

    “We are starting in the days where there is no discrimination, 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… 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.”
    Why create a separate state for that, such secularism was already the norm in India? If it broke don’t fix it. What was Jinnah thinking?Recommend

  • marik

    Sharia means non-muslims are second class citizens.Recommend

  • marik

    Historically, Jizya was a lot higher than Zakat or Ushr. Plus in Sharia regime non-muslims are not allowed to propagate their beliefsRecommend

  • Jarri Najam

    The term “secular” is not relevant to what Jinnah stated in his speech which was not a one-off. The Quran says: “There is no compulsion in religion”. Hence, all citizens are equal before the State if the Constitution is based on Islamic Law. In that sense, Islam itself is “secular”.

    The fact is, there is no country that is actually following Islamic Law. There are only attempts at taking certain parts and ignoring others while outright distorting some. Islam says matters of the people are to be decided by mutual consultation; it prescribes democracy as the form of govt for Muslims. It stands to reason that if a country has a majority of Muslims, they would want to follow the Islamic laws and hence, it is natural that the lawmakers would try to follow Shariah. That means everyone would be guaranteed their rights, everyone would be equal before the law and there would be complete freedom of religion. This is what the Quran says and is to be followed for eternity.

    Jinnah was a Muslim and he believed in a democracy where all citizens were equal; there is no contradiction here. This idea that non-Muslims are somehow forced to live under Islamic laws would make sense if that was the case; it isn’t. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) himself punished Jews according to their laws, not the Islamic ones. In an Islamic State, each religion’s followers are given the right to be governed by their own Shariah (set of laws).Recommend

  • Jarri Najam

    In Islam, there is no concept of secularism since Islam is the guiding light throughout life so you cannot separate it from your Constitution and laws if you are governing a Muslim majority area where the people themselves WANT to be governed according to Islamic law. The Islamic laws cannot be enforced; people choose them democratically. Islam itself gives all citizens equal rights. You don’t need secularism to do that. Islamic Laws apply on Muslims, not on non-Muslims. The people of other religions have the right to be governed according to their own Shariah.

    Jihad means fighting against oppression, not being the aggressor so there’s nothing wrong with calling for Jihad if the situation demands it. However, only a government has the authority to call for armed jihad and that means wars against the oppressors until they stop their oppression. Jihad is also through words, not just armed combat. People who have no understanding of the term think it is supposed to be negative.

    As far as Jinnah is concerned, he never called for Jihad. The Direct Action Day Call was not about killing anyone. In fact, it was supposed to be a peaceful protest against the British Cabinet Mission plan to demand a separate homeland. That communal riots ensued was not due to Jinnah; saying otherwise is distorting history. He never say we would destroy India. He said there is no way India can stay united after the British leave, they must divide it or else India will be destroyed and that was because he knew such riots would happen.

    Jinnah announced 16 August 1946 would be “Direct Action Day” and warned Congress, “We do not want war. If you want war we accept your offer unhesitatingly. We will either have a divided India divided or a destroyed India.”

    This was him warning what would happen because he could see it coming, NOT calling for violence.Recommend