Stories about Muhammad Ali Jinnah

10 years on, Benazir Bhutto’s legacy proves that “aaj bhi Bhutto zinda hai”

Today marks the 10th death anniversary arguably one of the most prominent Pakistanis in the world, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Her death not only added to Pakistan’s ups and downs, but more importantly, led to a real leadership crisis in the country, as amongst all existing leaders today, none quite enjoys the stature possessed by Benazir. To date, she is the one and only symbol of a federation, a leader who enjoyed equal support from all across Pakistan. Benazir did not acquire that stature merely because of her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, ...

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Dear Dina, I could recognise you from a thousand miles, my daughter. Love, Jinnah

When she reached the top of the endless stairs at the mausoleum, she wondered why this much effort was needed to meet her father. When she was younger, all she did was barge through a brown door. Of course she was small, and the handle was high, but she would jump for it and the door would almost unhinge from the sides, and she’d find her father deep in his study under a lamp on his big oak table. “Dina,” he would say, without taking his eyes off the page. She would giggle and run to him, disrupting the little bubble of peace ...

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If Jinnah never asked Ruttie to change her name to Maryam, why did you, Pakistan?

Those of us who were born before Partition know that Muhammad Ali Jinnah could not speak Urdu, except perhaps a few broken sentences. His speeches were always in English, sometimes with a translator to make the crowds understand what he was saying. But sometime in the 1980s, the government dubbed all his speeches in Urdu, apparently under pressure from those who thought a highly westernised Jinnah would make today’s youth doubt that he wanted an Islamic state. One result of this is that an entire generation of Pakistanis have grown up believing that Jinnah was fluent in Urdu, and always dressed ...

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Do the right thing, Nawaz Sharif, expel Javed Latif from your party

I watched in shock and horror the comments made by Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Javed Latif about the moral character of the sisters of MNA Murad Saeed in a press conference. Earlier, he had called Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan a ‘traitor’, which had provoked PTI MNA Saeed into punching him.

It was, of course, unlawful for Saeed to react so violently, as it has become perfectly acceptable for our politicians to label those who oppose them as traitors. In fact, I have lost count of the number of politicians who have been called ‘ghaddar’ ...

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Tarek Fatah’s recent tantrum: What two celebrities name their child

Unless you’re fairly active on Twitter, and/or have a genuine interest in expat Pakistanis who are active within sociopolitical circles, you might not be aware of who Tarek Fatah is. Originally from Karachi but now based in Canada, he writes a regular column for one of the country’s largest newspapers and has a frequent broadcast presence. In addition to this, he is a staunch critic of virtually everything Pakistan. His criticism of Pakistan has its merits. However there are times where the gap between the truth and what Tarek Fatah perceives to be the truth is larger than the Grand ...

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Who was Jinnah, an Islamic cultural relativist or a brown sahib?

There are two bar rooms in the Lahore High Court. One is considered the bar room of left liberals and progressives. The other bar room, much bigger of the two, is the favourite haunt of those with a tinge of religious right wing. The left leaning bar room has a photograph of an emaciated Mr Jinnah in a suit. The other one has a sombre portrait of him in a black sherwani and karakul cap. Next to his portrait is an equally serious portrait of Allama Iqbal.  In a poignant piece for Granta sometime ago New York Times journalist Jane ...

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Why has Pakistan forgotten about the 2.5 lakh Pakistani refugees in Bangladesh?

A few years ago, I was travelling to Birmingham from London’s Marylebone Station. I sat with an elderly Asian who happened to be a Bangladeshi. During the course of our discussion, the tirade of the Fall of Dhaka came up. He suddenly became defensive, stating that Pakistan never wanted Bangladesh to be part of it from the get go. He began to justify his stance and he went on to mention Allama Iqbal’s blunt ignorance towards Bengali Muslims, whilst defining the territorial limits of free Muslim States, claiming that they would constitute the north-western frontier parts of India. He added that in 1948 when Jinnah, the father of ...

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Is religion more important than unity in Australia?

During my school days, students would queue in the main ground and proudly sing Pakistan’s national anthem during the morning assembly. Singing the national anthem brought everyone together, nurturing inclusiveness and a sense of unity. The school had students from different religious backgrounds, although the majority was Sunni Muslims. Singing the anthem instilled love for Pakistan from an early age and brought everyone together in solidarity. Those were the only times when Jinnah’s Pakistan twinkled in the eyes of everyone and reminded us of his quote, “You are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other ...

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Punjab is Pakistan and Pakistan is Punjab

As 83 mutilated corpses are found in Balochistan, I further lose hope in our crumbling system and the state. A state which has failed its citizens over and over again.  Every man with an empty head and fickle mind is trying to formulate his own creed and ideology. It is tantamount to saying, in the presence of various man-made beliefs, that it is hard to follow one ideology with zeal and enthusiasm. The case of Pakistan is verily the same. In Pakistan, people are blind followers of false narratives, whether enforced by the mighty army or by the corrupt and incompetent politicians. I pity the ...

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Is a secular Pakistan the answer to our problems?

And now, since they have nothing better to do, the powers that be have fired another tester round in the sky out of the lame notion of keeping themselves busy in the business. A 17-judges bench headed by chief justice of Pakistan, Justice Nasirul Mulk, contemplated vigorously on Monday as to how Pakistan can be declared a secular state. Some suggested getting it done through the constituent assembly, while others advised to hold a referendum. Going with the definition of secularism, it is defined as, “The separation of government institutions and the persons mandated to represent the state from religious institutions ...

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