Founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, whose another birth anniversary has been celebrated quite enthusiastically by the ever-grateful nation on December 25, 2018, as a matter of fact had many qualities topped by that as a lawyer, a parliamentarian as well as a public leader. As a public leader, despite odds being against him, he had performed the political miracle of 20th century by founding an independent country named Pakistan on the world map on August 14,1947. In all these top qualities, his mental powers, oratory , determination, honesty and straightforwardness had greatly helped him.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was attracted to politics when he was still in London studying law and had watched the proceedings of the British Parliament quite regularly and attentively from the visitors gallery. The ways, manners, gestures and even the dresses worn by the prominent Members of the Parliament had formed lasting impression on his mind.

His readers’ tickets of the British Museum are still preserved in the British metropolis. Quite significantly, he used to read all the significant speeches of the important parliamentarians at the British Museum and this had formed the background of his parliamentary career. The Quaid-i-Azam, as he had to be known affectionately afterwards, himself had leanings towards liberalism. He was not a narrow-minded sectarian and intolerant politician and throughout his parliamentary career he had always stood for and advocated liberal policies.

Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah had started his parliamentary career with his election to the Imperial Legislative Council in 1909. He remained its Member till March 28, 1919 when he resigned in protest against what is known as the Rowlatt Act. Speaking on the bill quite vehemently, Mr Jinnah opposed it as a “new shackle on the freedom of the people”. But despite his protest, the Rowlett Bill was passed because the government members were in majority in the Council and subsequently he had resigned.

When the Central Legislative Assembly came into being, he was again elected from a Bombay Urban Constituency on November 14, 1923. In 1926, the urban constituency had selected him to the Indian Legislative Council. He had attached himself to the “independents” group and became its leader.

At that time, the British Parliament had sent Sir John Simon to find out the public opinion in India. Muhammad Ali Jinnah and other leaders boycotted the Simon Commission, which did not consist even a single Indian member, with the slogan “Go back Simon”. At Lucknow and Bombay and elsewhere also, Simon had faced stiff opposition. In fact, Jinnah was never prepared to tolerate even parliamentary action which he believed to be unwarranted and wrong.

Several qualities of the Quaid-i-Azam as a parliamentarian are often enumerated as his strategy, keen insight, able advocacy, clear representation, reasoning power, balanced judgement and undaunted criticism. Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah was very often witty and sarcastic which also distinguished him as a parliamentarian. In view of these qualities, the Quaid-i-Azam is generally described as a born parliamentarian and his self-confidence, sincerity, honesty, outspokenness and frankness coupled with his ability and acumen made him ideal in his parliamentary career. Jinnah had a great respect for parliamentary traditions and firmly believed that the speaker of an assembly should be like an umpire in a game, who must be impartial and fair.

He as the Founder and first Governor General of Pakistan was the head of the executive and his presidentship would have taken the traditions to the pre-1919 days as such the Quaid-i-Azam had presided over the meetings of the Constituent Assembly when it met as a constitution-making body but Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan chaired the proceedings when the Assembly met as a legislature and this was a tribute to the political genius of Mr Jinnah.

It was the Constituent Assembly which on August 13, 1947 had formally conferred the title of the Quaid-i-Azam on Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Jinnah used his membership of the legislature for the benefit of the people in general and the Muslims in particular. Whenever necessary, he also criticised the government but even in doing that he had never used unparliamentary language and fully maintained the dignity and decorum of the Parliament, a lesson which the subsequent Parliamentarians and even afterwards during all these years of the civilian rule should have learnt and followed sincerely.

Rapid political developments and changes had taken place after the failure of the Round Table Conference in London in 1930. Mr Jinnah was greatly disappointed with the tactics of the Congress Party. When the Indians failed to agree on the future shape of things, he was so disappointed that he decided to settle down in England and stay away completely from politics.

But in the meanwhile, the British Government had promulgated the Government of India Act 1935. Politicians including Liaquat Ali Khan approached him and requested him to come back to India because in a constitutional struggle he alone was the best suited to lead the Indian Muslims.

A strong voice was also that of great poet and philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal who despite his poor health still had full trust in Mr Jinnah’s talents who knew the British Parliament and the Congress like the palm of his hand. Since it was a constitutional struggle, the fate of the Muslims as such could be safely entrusted to him. On returning to India, he took up the leadership of the Muslim League and turned it into a mass organisation. It was no more a body of few elites, which met annually, passed a few resolutions and dispersed. The Muslim masses had joined the organisation in pretty large number. They had even unofficially started calling him as the Quaid-i-Azam (Great Leader).


The writer is Lahore-based Freelance Journalist, Columnist and Retired Deputy Controller (News) Radio Pakistan, Islamabad.