Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Altaf Husain, Editor, Dawn Delhi, outside Mr Jinnah’s residence in Delhi, on June 3, 1947. — Courtesy Altaf Husain Archives & Dawn/White Star Archives
Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Altaf Husain, Editor, Dawn Delhi, outside Mr Jinnah’s residence in Delhi, on June 3, 1947. — Courtesy Altaf Husain Archives & Dawn/White Star Archives

WE have respected and revered our Quaid over the past 73 years, printed his image on all currency notes, have placed his portrait at all official places, also placed his portrait strategically at important events while delivering important speeches and statements. Multiple books have been written on our Quaid by eminent authors and there have been essays and articles on our Quaid over the years.

It was our misfortune that our Quaid passed away in September, 1948, just 13 months after establishing a homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent where they could live and achieve political and economic independence, but unfortunately before he could place his hand and seal on the future Constitution of Pakistan.

Our Quaid’s relevance in Pakistan has always been significant except for a few dips during some regimes, but we have failed to follow his principles, ideals and vision which he set out for us and which are clearly reflected in his statements, interviews and speeches.

Putting up portraits of the Quaid and paying lip-service on December 25 and March 23 is clearly not enough. We must act upon his enumerated sayings, guidance and advice to quote a few related to a variety of subjects:


“My young friends, students who are present here, let me tell you as one who has always had love and affection for you, who has served you for years faithfully and loyally, let me give you this word of warning; you will be making the greatest mistake if you allow yourself to be exploited by one political party or another … Your main occupation should be — in fairness to yourself, in fairness to your parents, in fairness to the state – to devote your attention to your studies.”

The Quaid’s relevance in Pakistan has remained intact, but we have failed to follow his principles, ideals and vision which he set out for us.

Black Marketing

“A citizen who does black-marketing commits, I think, a greater crime … These black-marketers are really knowing, intelligent and ordinarily responsible people, and when they indulge in black-marketing, I think they ought to be very severely punished, because they undermine the entire system of control and regulation of … essential commodities, and cause … starvation and want and even death.”

Government and change

“With the removal of foreign domination, the people are now the final arbiters of their destiny. They have perfect liberty to have by constitutional means any government that they may choose. This cannot, however, mean that any group may now attempt by any unlawful methods to impose its will on the popularly elected government of the day. The government and its policy may be changed by the votes of the elected representatives.”


“Corruption is a curse … amongst Muslims, especially the so-called educated and intelligentsia. Unfortunately, it is this class that is selfish and morally and intellectually corrupt. No doubt this disease is common, but amongst this particular class of Muslims it is rampant.”

Democracy and liberty

“Democracy is in the blood of Musalmans, who look upon complete equality of manhood [mankind] … [and] believe in fraternity, equality and liberty.”

Rights violation in Kashmir

“I do hope that immediate steps will be taken by the paramount power to intervene and hold an inquiry into the recent occurrences in Kashmir which have resulted in bloodshed and the ruthless measure of oppression and suppression that have been adopted by the Kashmir government against the people and the press. From all accounts that I have received, there does not exist in Kashmir any freedom of thought or speech.”

Government’s duty

“You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state.”

People’s well-being

“ … If we want to make this great state of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor.”

Protection of journalists

“I say protect the innocent, protect those journalists who are doing their duty and who are serving both the public and the government by criticising the government freely, independently, honestly which is an education for any government.”

Government and the people

“The government can only have for its aim one objective — how to serve the people, how to devise ways and means for their welfare, for their betterment. What other object can the government have …?”

Duty of the citizens

“You must learn to distinguish between your love for your province and your love and duty to the state as a whole. Our duty to the state takes us a stage beyond provincialism. It demands a broader sense of vision, and [a] greater sense of patriotism. Our duty to the state often demands that we must be ready to submerge our individual or provincial interests into the common cause for common good. Our duty to the state comes first: our duty to our province, to our district, to our town and to our village and ourselves comes next.”

Education policy

“If we are to make any real, speedy and substantial progress, we must … bring our educational policy and programme on the lines suited to the genius of our people, consonant with our history and culture, and having regard to the modern conditions and vast developments that have taken place all over the world … What we have to do is to mobilise our people and build up the character of our future generations … In short, we have to build up the character of our future generations which means highest sense of honour, integrity, selfless service to the nation, and sense of responsibility, and we have to see that they are fully qualified or equipped to play their part in the various branches of economic life in a manner which will do honour to Pakistan.”

Protection of minorities

“Minorities to whichever community they may belong will be safeguarded. Their religion of faith or belief will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life and their culture. They will be, in all respects, the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or creed.”

Equality and fraternity

“Brotherhood, equality and fraternity of man – these are all the basic points of our religion, culture and civilization, and we fought for Pakistan because there was a danger of the denial of these rights in the subcontinent.”

Unity, faith and discipline

“I have no doubt that with unity, faith and discipline we will not only remain the fifth largest state in the world, but will compare with any nation of the world … You must make up your mind now. We must sink individualism and petty jealousies and make up our minds to serve the people with honesty and faithfulness. We are passing through a period of fear, danger and menace. We must have faith, unity and discipline.”

Representative government

“I want you to keep your heads up as citizens of a free and independent sovereign state. Praise your government when it deserves. Criticize your government fearlessly when it deserves, but do not go on all the time attacking, indulging in destructive criticism, taking delight in running down the ministry or the officials. Representative governments and representative institutions are no doubt good and desirable, but when people want to reduce them merely to channels of personal aggrandisement, they not only lose their value, but earn a bad name. We must subject our actions to perpetual scrutiny and test them with the touchstone, not of personal or sectional interest, but of the good of the state.”

Islam and idealism

“Islam and its idealism have taught democracy. Islam has taught equality, justice and fair play to everybody. What reason is there for anyone to fear democracy, equality, freedom on the highest standard of integrity and on the basis of fair play and justice for everybody … Let us make it [the future constitution of Pakistan]. We shall make it and we shall show it to the world.”

Economic system

“The adoption of Western economic theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contented people. We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on the true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice.”

Religions practice

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state … We are starting with this fundamental principle: that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state … Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state.”

Traders and merchants

“Traders and merchants will always be welcome and they, in building up their own fortunes, will not forget their social responsibility for a fair and square deal to one and all, big and small. I would like Pakistan to become [a] synonym and hallmark for standard and quality in the market places of the world … May you, as true Pakistanis, help to reconstruct and build Pakistan to reach a mighty and glorious status amongst the comity of nations of the world.”

Pakistan and theocracy

“The great majority of us are Muslims. We follow the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) … But make no mistake: Pakistan is not a theocracy or anything like it. Islam demands from us the tolerance of other creeds and we welcome in closest association with us all those who, of whatever creed, are themselves willing and ready to play their part as true and loyal citizens of Pakistan.”

An intellectual achievement

“We have undoubtedly achieved Pakistan, and that too without bloody war and practically peacefully by moral and intellectual force and with the power of the pen, which is no less mighty than the sword and so our righteous cause has triumphed. Are we now going to besmear and tarnish this greatest achievement for which there is no parallel in the history of the world? Pakistan is now a fait accompli and it can never be undone, besides, it was the only just, honourable and practical solution of the most complex constitutional problem of this great subcontinent.”

Regenerating the nation

“Let us now plan to build and reconstruct and regenerate our great nation … Now is the time, chance and opportunity for every Mussalman to make his or her fullest and best contribution and make the greatest sacrifice and work ceaselessly in the service of our nation and make Pakistan one of the greatest nations of the world. It is in your hands. We have undoubtedly talents. Pakistan is blessed with enormous resources and potentialities. Providence has endowed us with all the wealth of nature and now it lies with man to make the best of it.”

Relations with India

“I sincerely hope that they [relations between India and Pakistan] will be friendly and cordial. We have a great deal to do … and think that we can be of use to each other [and to] the world.

First and the foremost, both dominions must make all-out efforts to restore peace and maintain law and order in their respective states – that is fundamental. I have repeatedly said that now that the division of India has been brought about by solemn agreement between the two dominions, we should bury the past and resolve that, despite all that has happened, we shall remain friends. There are many things which we need from each other as neighbours and we can help each other in diverse ways, morally, materially and politically and thereby raise the prestige and status of both dominions. But before we can make any progress, it is absolutely essential that peace must be restored and law and order maintained in both the dominions.”

People’s power

“It is in your hands to put the government in power or remove the government from power, but you must not do it by mob methods. You have the power; you must learn the art to use it; you must try and understand the machinery. Constitutionally, it is in your hands to upset one government and put another government in power if you are dissatisfied to such an extent.”

Quran, the complete code

“Everyone, except those who are ignorant, knows that the Quran is the general code of the Muslims. A religious, social, civil, commercial, military, judicial, criminal, penal code, it regulates everything from the ceremonies of religion to those of daily life; from the salvation of the soul to the health of the body; from the rights of all to those of each individual; from morality to crime; from punishment here to that in the life to come; and our Prophet (peace be upon him) has enjoined on us that every Musalman should possess a copy of the Quran and be his own priest. Therefore, Islam is not merely confined to the spiritual tenets and doctrines or rituals and ceremonies. It is a complete code regulating the whole Muslim society, every department of life, collective[ly] and individually.”

Individual liberty

“No man should lose his liberty or be deprived of his liberty without a judicial trial in accordance with the accepted rules of evidence and procedure … the powers which are going to be assumed by the executive, which means substitution of executive for judicial, such powers are likely to be abused, and in the past we have instances where such powers have been abused … there is no precedent or parallel that I know of in any other civilised country where you have laws of this character enacted … it imperils the liberty of the subject and fundamental liberties of a citizen.”

Role of women

Zeenat Rashid, the then captain of the Sind Women’s National Guard, practising how to use a lathi in Karachi on November 1, 1947. — Courtesy Seafield Archive
Zeenat Rashid, the then captain of the Sind Women’s National Guard, practising how to use a lathi in Karachi on November 1, 1947. — Courtesy Seafield Archive

“No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. I do not mean that we should imitate the evils of the Western life. But let us try to raise the status of our women according to our own Islamic ideas and standards. There is no sanction anywhere for the deplorable conditions in which our women have to live. You should take your women along with you as comrades in every sphere of life, avoiding the corrupt practices of Western society.”

As we see, Pakistan, our Quaid said, was a moral and intellectual achievement. His struggle for the achievement of an independent homeland for the Muslims was constitutional and legal. He held no sit-ins. His public meetings were orderly and disciplined. He relied on the power of the speech, the power of the pen and the power of the vote to achieve his political objectives.

We all know what Pakistanis think of their Quaid and how they revere and respect his words, but implementation of his words, principles, ideals and vision is altogether a different matter. No surprise, then, that almost all leaders across the political divide support the idea of ‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’ even after 73 years of independence. The concept of ‘Jinnah’s Pakistan’ put forward at the launch of The Jinnah Anthology in London at the Pakistan High Commission in 2008 caught the imagination of Pakistanis and it is now a position adopted by all political parties.

It is also necessary for Pakistanis to know how their Quaid was looked at and regarded by those who matter outside Pakistan. Here are only a few instances:

  • Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three. – Stanley Wolpert.

  • The Quaid-e-Azam’s brilliant and epoch-making career so untimely ended, reached its summit in these momentous years of 1946 and 1947. Now he belongs to history; and his memory, I am certain, is imperishable. Of all the statesmen that I have known in my life – Clemenceau, Lloyd George, Churchill, Curzon, Mussolini, Mahatma Gandhi – Jinnah is the most remarkable …” – Sir Sultan Mohammad Shah, the Aga Khan III.

  • The true criterion of his greatness lies not in the range and variety of his knowledge and experience, but in the faultless perception and flawless refinement of his subtle mind and spirit; not in a diversity of aims and the challenge of a towering personality, but rather in a lofty singleness of purpose and the lasting charm of a character animated by a brave conception of duty and an austere and lovely code of private honour and public integrity. – Indian National Congress President Sarojini Naidu.

  • The most important man in Asia is 67, tall, thin and elegant, with a monocle on a grey silk cord, and a stiff white collar which he wears in the hottest weather. He suggests a gentleman of Spain, a diplomat of the old school; one used to see his like sitting in the window of the St. James’ Club … while he read Le Temps, which was propped against a Queen Anne toast rack stacked with toast Melba. I have called Mr Jinnah ‘the most important man in Asia’. That was to ensure that you kept him spot-lit in your mind. Like all superlatives the description is open to argument, but it is not really so far from the truth. India is likely to be the world’s greatest problem for some years to come, and Mr Jinnah is in a position of unique strategic importance. He can sway the battle this way or that as he chooses. His hundred million Muslims will march to the left, to the right, to the front, to the rear at his bidding, and at nobody else’s ... that is the point.

It is not the same in the Hindu ranks. If Gandhi goes, there is always Nehru, or Rajagopalachari, or Patel or a dozen others. But if Jinnah goes, who is there? By this, I do not mean that the Muslim League would disintegrate – it is far too homogenous and virile a body – but that its actions would be incalculable. It might run completely off the rails, and charge through India with fire and slaughter; it might start another war. As long as Jinnah is there, nothing like this will happen. And so, you see, a great deal hangs on the grey silk cord of that monocle. – Beverley Nichols.

  • Even if one only appraised Jinnah as a barrister, it would be acknowledged that he had won the most monumental judgment in the history of the Bar. Jinnah had been the George Washington of Pakistan. – Edgar Snow.

  • Jinnah was a pure artist in the manner and method of his presentation. Even the most complex facts became simple and obvious when he waved his wand over them. He could be ferociously aggressive and almost boyishly persuasive as and when the occasion arose, and what particularly helped him in his advocacy, was the absolute clear head that he possessed, and on which he justly prided himself. He had common sense, that most uncommon of qualities in an uncommon degree. – Bombay High Court Chief Justice M.C. Chagla who was later Foreign Minister of India.

  • [US is] A committed friend who will stand with the people of Pakistan as long as you seek the stable, prosperous, democratic nation of your founder’s dreams. More than half-a-century ago, Mohammed Ali Jinnah shared that vision as he addressed Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly. ‘If you work together’, he said, ‘in a spirit that everyone of you is first, second and last a citizen with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make’. Pakistan can have a future worthy of the dreams of the Quaid-i-Azam. If you choose that future, the United States will walk with you. I hope you will make that choice. And I pray for our continued friendship, for peace, for Pakistan. Pakistan Zindabad! – US President Bill Clinton.

  • Mr Jinnah was great as a lawyer, once great as a Congressman, great as a leader of Muslims, great as a world politician and diplomat, and greatest of all as a man of action, By Mr. Jinnah’s passing away, the world has lost one of the greatest statesmen and Pakistan its life-giver, philosopher and guide. – Sarat Chandra Bose.

  • Although without Gandhi, Hindustan would still have gained independence and without Lenin and Mao, Russia and China would still have endured Communist revolution, without Jinnah there would have been no Pakistan in 1947. – John Biggs-Davison.

  • Watch him in the courtroom as he argues a case. Few lawyers command a more attentive audience. No man is more adroit in presenting his case. If to achieve the maximum result with minimum effort is the hallmark of artistry, Mr Jinnah is an artist in his craft. He likes to get down to the bare bones of a brief. In stating the essentials of a case, his manner is masterly. The drab courtroom acquires an atmosphere as he speaks. Juniors crane their necks forward to follow every movement of his tall, well-groomed figure; senior counsels listen closely; the judge is all attention. – The Indian Express Chief Editor Frank Moraes.

  • Jinnah, young, perfectly-mannered, impressive looking, armed to the teeth with dialectics and insistent upon the whole of his scheme – he would rather have nothing if he could not get the whole lot … Chelmsford tried to argue with him and was tied up into knots. Jinnah is a very clever man, and it is of course an outrage that such a man should be denied the chance of running the affairs of his own country. – British Secretary of State Edwin Samuel Montagu (1918).

  • He has true stuff in him and that freedom from all sectarian prejudice which will make him the best ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. – Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

  • [He was] the originator of the dream that became Pakistan, architect of the state and the father of the world’s largest Muslim nation. Mr. Jinnah was the recipient of a devotion and loyalty seldom accord to any man. – US President Harry S Truman.

  • His admirable skill and tact in piloting through such an intricate and controversial measure – the first instance of a bill passing into legislation on the motion of a private member – won him not only the appreciation of his colleagues, but also general recognition from his co-religionists all over India. – Sarojini Naidu (On the Waqf Validating Bill moved by Jinnah in 1913).

  • Jinnah is incorruptible and brave. – Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Mr. Jinnah was something more than Quaid-i-Azam, the Supreme head of the State, to the people who followed him; he was more even than the architect of the Islamic nation he personally called into being. He commanded their imagination as well as their confidence. In the face of difficulties which might have overwhelmed him, it was given to him to fulfil the hope foreshadowed in the inspired vision of the great Iqbal by creating for the Muslims of India a homeland where the old glory of Islam could grow afresh into a modern state, worthy of its place in the community of nations. Few statesmen have shaped events to their policy more surely than Mr. Jinnah. He was a legend even in his lifetime.” – Obituary in The Times (London).

  • “Till barely 12 months ago, he was, next to Gandhiji, the most powerful leader in undivided India. And not only among his fellow Muslims, but among members of all communities there was great admiration for his sterling personal qualities even while the goal which he pursued with increasing fanaticism was deplored. For more than half the period of nearly 40 years in which he was a towering figure in our public life, he identified himself so completely with the struggle that the Indian National Congress carried on for freedom that he came to be as nearly a popular idol as it was possible for a man so aristocratic and aloof by temperament to be. – Eulogy in the Hindustan newspaper.

Mr. Jinnah, our Quaid, passed away at the peak of his earthly career. He is sure of his place in history. But during the last months of his life, he must have been visited by anxious thoughts about the future of the state which he had carved.

Pakistan has many able men who may be expected to devote themselves with wholehearted zeal to its service according to their lights. But it is no easy to don the mantle of the Quaid-i-Azam. No other Pakistani has anything like the international stature that Mr Jinnah had achieved; and assuredly none else has that unquestioned authority with the masses.

We need to keep our Quaid’s legacy alive and endeavour to achieve a state of affairs consistent with his ideals, principles and vision that constitutes Jinnah’s Pakistan.

The writer is the grandnephew of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, President of The Jinnah Society, Founder and Managing Trustee of The Jinnah Foundation, Chairman/Executive Trustee of Quaid-e-Azam Aligarh Education Trust, Administrator of the Estate of Quaid-i-Azam and former Deputy Attorney-General of Pakistan.



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