If one rummages through leaves of history, one comes across the immutable truth that Jinnah’s vision is relevant even today. Let us look at some of his views. He visualised Pakistan to be a democracy, not a theocracy (as some political parties envision). In a broadcast addressed to the people of the USA (February 1948), he said, ‘In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests [mullahs] with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims _Hindus, Christians, and Parsees _ but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizen and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan’ (1). Maleeha Lodhi (ed.), Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State. When an over-ebullient admirer addressed him as `Maulana Jinnah’, he snubbed him. Jinnah retorted, ‘I am not a Maulana, just plain Mr. Jinnah’. About minorities, the Quaid often reminded Muslim zealots ‘Our own history and our and our Prophet(PBUH) have given the clearest proof that non-Muslims have been treated not only justly and fairly but generously. He added, ‘I am going to constitute myself the Protector-general of the Hindu minority in Pakistan’. He joined Christmas celebrations in December 1947 as a guest. In his first seven-member Cabinet, he included a Hindu. 

He hoped India and Pakistan would live in peace after Partition. He bequeathed a part of his fortune to educational institutions in Aligarh, Bombay and Delhi. He never changed his will as he hoped to visit India again. 

Lord Ismay, Chief of Staff to the Viceroy recorded an interview with the Quaid. Excerpt: ‘Mr. Jinnah said with the greatest earnestness that once Partition has been decided upon, everyone would know exactly all troubles would cease, and they would live happily ever after where they were’. 

During his last days, Jinnah was perturbed at emergence of Cold War rivalry between rivals. He wanted South Asia to be aloof from the rivalry. So he proposed a joint defence pact with India. Had India accepted his idea, the two countries would not have been at daggers drawn after independence. They could have avoided defence outlays to focus on welfare of the people. Before his final flight (August 7, 1947) from Delhi to Pakistan, he sent a message to Indian government ‘the past must be buried and let us start as two independent sovereign states of Hindustan and Pakistan, I wish Hindustan prosperity and peace’. Vallahbhai Patel replied to the message in Delhi `the poison has been removed from the body of India. As for the Muslims they have their roots, their sacred places and their centres here. I do not know what they can possibly do in Pakistan. It will not be long before they return to us’. 

India’s jingoistic military expenditure exerts ratchets up Pakistan’s defence budget. Pakistan had to provide defence outlay of 1.1 trillion rupees vis-a-vis only 800 billion rupees for Federal Public Sector Development outlay and only 850 billion for all the three provinces. Will India stop its world-wide defence purchases to open a new chapter in relations with Pakistan? 

SAMAN MALIK,  

Islamabad, July 16.