Stories about Jinnah

If Jinnah could see Pakistan today, what would he say?

If Muhammad Ali Jinnah came back from the grave and saw the sorry state of the country he had created, what would he say? He would be shocked to see that the Pakistan of 1947 had been broken into two, with East Pakistan (where his beloved Muslim League was founded) no longer a part of Pakistan. He would see a country on the brink of an economic collapse, with the dollar (which was equal to the rupee in value in 1947) now worth Rs107. He would see fruits and other edibles from New Zealand and other countries selling at prices beyond the reach of the common man in a land which ...

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Thank you, Pakistan: 70 years later, the good in this great country still trumps the bad

On Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day, I would like for us to take a moment to remember all those who have lost their lives in fighting for our motherland. We owe our freedom, gratitude and respect to them. Had it not been for their ultimate sacrifice, we may not have had a country to call home. To all those who currently serve in our armed forces, the police force, the Rangers, the Frontier Constabulary, the Levies force, the intelligence agencies and more – we are thankful to you for your services and grateful to you for your continued commitment towards our country. It is ...

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71st Independence Day special: The evolution of Pakistan’s national song

In the last 70 years, the Pakistan national song has evolved through various governments, wars and music styles. We trace this evolution by reviewing a plethora of national songs from 1947 till the present. Sar Zameen-e-Pak: The first anthem (1947) Very few know that almost seven years before Hafeez Jalandhari’s Pak Sar Zameen was officially adopted as the country’s national anthem (in 1954), Pakistan already had an anthem. Today, it is all but forgotten, despite the fact that it was the first song played by Radio Pakistan when the station began broadcasting at the stroke of Pakistan’s creation in August 1947. The anthem ...

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Sahir Lodhi needs to sit for his Pakistan Studies exam again, for Saba’s words were not hers at all

“Quaid-e-Azam aao zara tum, Dekho apna pakistan, Jiski bunyado ki khatir, Lakho ne di apni jaan.” (Quaid-e-Azam come, Look at your Pakistan, For whose foundation sake, Millions of lives were sacrificed.) So starts the poem penned by Urdu poetess Gulnar Afreen – the refrain of which has become ubiquitous thanks to its completion being denied to a young speaker very recently in a Ramazan transmission. Now while it makes perfect sense for the literarily crippled philistines of the country to know zilch about where the verse comes from, the fact that the farce was broadcasted on live television, specifically in the holy month of Ramazan, serves as something of an expergefactor. And while the masses in general and ...

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Dear Muhammad Zubair, the credit for Karachi operation goes to General Raheel Sharif, not Nawaz Sharif

Sindh Governor Muhammad Zubair Umar recently amazed everyone by claiming (with a straight face), “The credit for Karachi’s operation goes 100 per cent to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif”. Really, Mr Zubair? Do you know that the number of times Nawaz Sharif has visited Karachi during the past four years is much less than his visits to London and other foreign cities? In fact, during his present stint in power, he has been more concerned with the beautification of Lahore and the Panama leaks verdict during the past one year. We know, of course, that in the corporate world one has to be a boot ...

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Destroying Jinnah’s house will not undo the Partition, Mangal Lodha

The sordid saga of ultra-nationalism unfolding in the subcontinent took a new twist this week. The Times of India reports that a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker, Mangal Prabhat Lodha, demanded that Jinnah’s house in Mumbai be demolished and replaced by a centre representing Maharashtra’s culture.  Jinnah’s residence is a mansion in the Malabar Hill area of Mumbai where Mohammad Ali Jinnah resided following his return to India from England in 1936. It continued to be his primary residence till 1944, following which he started transitioning to the Flagstaff House in Karachi where he moved permanently after Partition. Before anything else, let’s dispense one clarification: jingoism ...

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In Pakistan self-preservation takes precedence over loyalty to the nation

Many today will be looking back at the two fateful days in our history that share a common date – March 23rd. The first of these was in 1940 on which the Lahore Resolution was adopted, calling for the formation of a separate state for Muslims in the Subcontinent. The second was in 1956 when the Dominion of Pakistan became the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with the passage of our first Constitution. The past is all well and good. And much will be made of it today. But the questions that we really need to be asking, as the years ...

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Thank you, Modi, for proving that partition saved the subcontinent’s Muslims from extinction

Dear Mr Narendra Modi, I was not at all surprised that your party, Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP), swept the recent Uttar Pradesh (UP) elections. You ran your campaign on an anti-Muslim platform, you convinced most of the UP Hindus that Muslims in their state are Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents and that Muslims would not vote for your party, therefore they voted en masse for BJP. In fact, to appear anti-Muslim, you did not field a single Muslim candidate despite the notion that there are more than 40 million Muslims in UP! So, in spite of the Muslim population of UP being over 20% of the total population, the ...

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The Modi brand is here to stay

The man is bigger than his party. This is the crux of the results of five assembly elections in India, especially the crucial state of Uttar Pradesh (UP) that sends 80 MPs to Parliament. After these polls, there is no denying that Narendra Modi’s popularity overshadows not only the opposition but also his own party, the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). There was similar support for our first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, as was there for his daughter Indira Gandhi during her regime. Modi is no Nehru and is also quite different from Indira; the background of the ‘chaiwala’ has ...

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Can Pakistan ever be a minority-friendly country?

Both January 11th news items were almost conjoined. Or like reading the mirror-written ecnalubma (mirror image of the word ‘ambulance’ written in front of ambulances) and getting it right as ambulance in the rear-view mirror. The Guardian carried a report, titled ‘Christians in India increasingly under attack, study shows’, in which Pakistan ranks fourth on the list of the 50 countries where persecution is worst for Christians. APP reported that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reached out to minorities in a speech at the sacred 900-year-old Katas Raj Hindu temples in Pakistan where he said: “The day is not far when Pakistan ...

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