PAKISTAN DAY – THE IDEALS OF EQUALITY, JUSTICE AND FAIRPLAY
On this Pakistan Day, let’s look back to what the vision was, what the man who created the state wanted it to represent, and then let’s talk about where we are in terms of the attainment of that vision.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s broadcast talk to the people of the United States of America on Pakistan recorded February, 1948.
“The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principle of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistanis not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims –Hindus, Christians, and Parsis –but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.”
Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August, 1947
“If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.
I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community, because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on, and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis and so on, will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or 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. As you know, history shows that in England, conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. 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. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation.
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.”
In the light of Mr. Jinnah’s perspective, one feels that perhaps we have receded even further back into the shadows of racism, hatred and injustice, instead of stepping out into the light and embracing equality and fairplay. Ethnic, sectarian and political violence is widespread with scores having lost their lives in incidents across Karachi; cases of forced conversions, abductions and atrocities against minorities are rife, with Rinkle being the latest in a long list of victims; honour killings and tribal savagery against women is rampant, with 943 women killed for honour in 2011 alone, according to HRCP.
People say, look at the bright side. Of course, lets. But let’s not just look at it, let’s spread it along, use it to diminish the darkness of hatred, sectarianism, racism and bigotry. Let’s look at the bright side for as long as we wish to, but let’s not be so blinded by it that the pain of millions is but a shadow to us. The bright side, as invaluable as it always is, cannot be an excuse to disregard all that doesn’t appeal to our sense of Pakistanism. On this 23rd March, let’s look at the bright side, appreciate it and revel in it, but then let’s take a minute also to ponder on darkness, as uncomfortable as it may be, and take one little step to rectify it. Then, perhaps, a few Pakistan Days down the road, looking back at the Quaid’s vision of Pakistan wouldn’t be quite so painful as it is today.
Posted on March 23, 2012, in ethnic communities, Pakistan, Pakistan day, Pakistani women, Quaid e azam, Quaid e Azam presidential address, Racism, writing and tagged minorities, pakistan, Pakistan Day, Quaid e Azam, Rinkle. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.