Stories about Jinnah

What would Iqbal think?

On the southern bank of the River Neckar in Heidelberg, Germany, is the Iqbal-Ufer. This street, running parallel to the river, was named in honour of Allama Iqbal, the poet-philosopher from India. It was here that the poet was granted his PhD in philosophy. As I glance at the images of this breathtaking city, I can understand Iqbal’s appreciation for beauty. What amazes me, however, is the depth his poetry plunges into when describing the despairing state of Muslims in India. An eye that is accustomed to beauty, a voice that thrills with eloquence, would shun despair and disillusionment. Yet these ...

Read Full Post

This is not what Jinnah wanted for Pakistan

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 ...

Read Full Post

The importance we (don’t) give our country

When one thinks about Pakistan, what is it that comes to mind? For some, it’s a land with troubled tribal areas or a cradle for terrorism. For many, it’s a haven for corrupt politicians, backed by a corrupt legislation and a flawed constitution. And for others, it’s just a mistake that Mr Jinnah made 67 years ago. If you ask a young, college-going boy about what Pakistan is to him, he will probably say that it’s, “A country in which I was born, raised and taught the tricks of getting my way in the world either by hook or by crook. A ...

Read Full Post

Don’t tell me to ‘stop being negative’ about Pakistani affairs

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been mocked for raging on the blogosphere about Pakistani matters. And many like myself have been repeatedly prescribed a ‘positive attitude’. These patronising suggestions need to stop. One of the leading complaints against liberal writers and media outlets is that they allegedly ‘focus on the negativity’ and fail to provide sufficient coverage to the saccharine, more palatable details of our country. Such ‘positivity’ is the staple diet of nationalists who are easily irked by information of our national imperfection and the blessed opium of the ignoramuses who cannot conceive the astronomical depths to ...

Read Full Post

On Jinnah and Nehru: One man’s hero is another man’s villain

My article is in response to the perplexing as well as thought-provoking piece by Taha Shaheen on the Express Tribune titled Of biased history: Wait, wasn’t Nehru the bad guy? The mentioned piece is besieged with the ever-present dilemma in our liberal section of society; a section which is trapped in the intense struggle of bringing together and reconciliation between India and Pakistan. It really baffled me how this way of thinking considers historical personalities, facts and narrations, as well as the building of political history based thought process. This, however, is not an exceptional example of a confused mindset. There a few others as well who always ...

Read Full Post

Of biased history: Wait, wasn’t Nehru the bad guy?

“Oh Jinnah sahib? Suna hai ke woh Nehru ki takkar ke thay.” (Oh, Mr Jinnah? I have heard that he was quite the equivalent of Nehru.) Stunned by the honest answer to my question by my Indian friend, I tried to process what he had said. It was the third day of the Boy Scouts Messengers of Peace Camp and we were in Delhi riding together on a bus to visit a monument – the Qutub Minar, I believe. Over the last few days that I had been in India, I had noticed that only a select few of my Indian counterparts knew ...

Read Full Post

I stand with Hanif: Jinnah is not a ‘hero’

No sooner had I finished reading Mohammad Hanif’s full interview with The News, that I dragged a carton of canned food into my basement and braced myself for a storm of nationalism that I knew would inevitably follow. And when, pray tell, have I ever been wrong? A blog appeared recently, as scathing as one would expect it to be, blasting Hanif’s audacity to think that Jinnah really isn’t anyone’s hero. Mr Waqas bluntly implies that freedom of speech is limited to those who speak favourably of Quaid-e-Azam and the other heroes we have been assigned. Indeed, if you have nothing nice to say ...

Read Full Post

Jinnah may not be a hero to you, Mr Hanif, but he is to me and to many other Pakistanis!

Every sane individual enjoys the birth right of maintaining a private worldview. Democratisation of the world has granted unbounded and everlasting socio-religious and political freedom to the individual and society. The state’s dictatorial control has sunken into the past. No one can, therefore, force one’s opinion on other fellowmen in this democratic world of our times. However, there is a limit for the expression of opinions, especially when it comes to the collective interests and issues concerning the people. You cannot, for instance, speak positively about Hitler and negatively about the Holocaust across the United States and European continent. You cannot call ...

Read Full Post

Shooting Malala – again

Though Malala survived the Taliban’s bullets last year, she is now again under attack in Pakistan by the very same ideology. They attacked her physically then, and now they are out to get her soul. Right-wing anchors and self-proclaimed intellectuals have taken to disrepute her book by claiming that it reeks of a ‘Western agenda’. If a young Pakistani girl in dupatta, standing up for education and speaking against radicalisation, demanding an end to the drone war, advocating peaceful resolution to the terrorist menace which Pakistan is plagued with and speaking of hope in a progressive Pakistan, is what constitutes ...

Read Full Post

Jinnah’s love for Balochistan

There have been times in the history of Pakistan when the founding father was manipulated, criticised, misquoted, used, abused and misused by different political parties for different political purposes. Not very long ago, a prominent political leader questioned Jinnah’s nationality. Fortunately the nation, as well as Quaid, survived the insult, and life moved on. However, never in the history of Pakistan was Jinnah disowned from his contributions towards an independent and sovereign Pakistan, nor made into an oppressive figure that haunted the corridors of Pakistan’s national history. Even the hard-headed Taliban never questioned Jinnah’s personality and his attitude towards Islam (though he was condemned by ...

Read Full Post