As we celebrate Quaid’s 142nd birth anniversary, it is time to reflect why the modern democratic welfare state he envisioned disintegrated in 1971 and today is haunted by extremism, engulfed in economic and political instability. Pakistan’s salvation lies solely in adopting Jinnah’s vision.

In his first address to Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947, he emphasized upon finalizing Constitution, on which foundations of welfare state could be built, guaranteeing equal rights and opportunities with freedom to elect their representatives in free and fair elections.

What happened after his unfortunate demise in tragic circumstances was exact reverse of what he had envisioned. Finalization of constitution was deliberately delayed, the Constituent Assembly that Jinnah formed constituting of those elected in 1945-46 general elections was summarily dismissed and in its place a nominated constituent body formed, which finalized First Constitution on 23 March 1956, sowing seeds of discontent by equating two wings East and West Pakistan, which amounted to denying majority to Bengalis. On 7 October 1958 Iskander Mirza imposed martial law, abrogated 1956 Constitution and appointed Gen Ayub Khan as Chief Martial Law Administrator with Aziz Ahmed as Secretary General. After three weeks Ayub deposed President Iskander Mirza on 27 October 1958 and imposed martial law. Jinnah’s Pakistan had been derailed first by Iskander Mirza and Ayub, who handed it to a debauch Yahya, who held first direct general elections but refused to respect clear mandate given to majority party from East Pakistan.

Jinnah’s modern democratic welfare state was reduced to a military dictatorship and a state hostage to extremists by Zia. It is an unfortunate fact that Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah who stood up to oppose Ayub and restore Pakistan to Jinnah’s welfare state, was subjected to harassment and dubbed an agent of India and USA.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore, December 25.