THE process of evaluating Jinnah continues even after 65 years of the creation of India and Pakistan. This process will undoubtedly go on and Jinnah will be judged by history for his achievements and failures.
According to media sources, the Central Information Commission of India has reportedly asked the government to evaluate two speeches made by Jinnah in the pre-independence era.
It was withheld up to date as it was likely to adversely affect India’s interest and impact its relations with Pakistan. According to Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra “keeping everything related to Pakistan secret was a regressive stand”. After the passage of 65 years, nothing should be kept secret from the people of India and Pakistan.
Students of history and members of the general public in both countries would undoubtedly be interested in knowing what leaders in India and Pakistan had to say during the most important period in British India prior to partition in August 1947 and they would like to have access to such valuable records.
Mr. Mishra is right when he says that it is the duty of the state to make records available freely to the public so that citizens become informed and the research scholars get valuable material.
The Central Information Commission of India directed the All India Radio to trace out from its archives and pre-actively publish a list of all speeches of the leaders including those who went to Pakistan at independence, on its website which should then be made available to public without having to invoke any exemption provision under any existing law.
Perhaps the same action could be taken in Pakistan and all material relating to the Pakistan movement including speeches of Jinnah and other political leaders stored in government archives should now see the light of the day and be made available to scholars and historians to enable them to evaluate the qualities and achievements of political leaders in Pakistan and India who by their action, conduct and speeches influenced the course of events and history during those crucial years prior to the partition of British India and the creation of two sovereign independent states of India and Pakistan.
LIAQUAT H. MERCHANT Karachi