ON the eve of Pakistan’s 71st birthday, it is imperative to understand the Quaid’s vision about the identity of the state. The Quaid did not want a pure theocratic state. He approved Jogander Nath Mandal as the first law minister and in his address to the first constituent assembly on Aug 11, 1947, he said: “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” This bore testimony that he was against the idea of an absolute theocratic state.
On the contrary, it is also absurd to believe that the Quaid envisaged a secular Pakistan. Jinnah was a farsighted leader and knew that Islam was the only cohesive force which united the South Asian Muslims on one platform and made their independence possible. So, how could a leader like Jinnah who knew the mindset of his people and their romance with religion, declare Pakistan a secular state?
What was Jinnah’s vision? He actually wanted to make Pakistan a progressive Islamic welfare democratic state; a state in which sovereignty belongs to Allah; a state which is responsible for the welfare of every citizen and guarantees their due rights; a state which will not discriminate among its citizens on the basis of caste, colour and religion.
Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that, after the 70 years of independence, we as a nation are still confused about the true identity of the state.
Agha Shahriyar Khan
Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2018