The Muslim League is marking the 107th anniversary of its founding today. The party which was founded this day in Dhaka today stands split into factions and riven apart into factions, which reflect the failure of the present crop of League leaders to implement the vision of the founding fathers, and their desire for a modern, democratic, Islamic welfare state for the Muslims of India.

When the All-India Muslim League was founded, none among the founders, who elected Nawab Salimullah Khan of Dhaka its first President, could have imagined that it would go on to lead the Muslims of India in their struggle to create a separate homeland, and to achieve independence for it. Still less could they have imagined how the party would be so riven by internal personality clashes and differences that its name would be hijacked by military dictator after military dictator, as they all sought a political platform for themselves. They would also be disappointed at the disunity of the party, reflected in the array of factions into which it is split. Though it is in office today in the Centre and two provinces through the PML-N, it is also in the opposition through the PML-Q. Even the PML-N seems to have accepted this, and to have accepted other League factions, such as the PML-Z and the PML-F, as allies.

The League has major assets, not the least being its illustrious history. If it would re-unite, it would be better able to implement the original vision it had when placing itself at the head of the Pakistan movement. The Founding day anniversary provides another occasion for the party leaders to see how far the party has been able to implement that vision, which is still important, because it still represents the aspirations of the people of this land.

It is even instructive to remember the occasion on which the League was founded. It was at the annual session of the All-India Muslim Educational Conference. It is an unfortunate truth that the Muslims of the Subcontinent fell from their original position because they neglected education, and it is unfortunately still true today. The PML-N government must pay attention to this neglected, but all-important, aspect of national life. All PML factions must rise above personal interests and egos to achieve the unity necessary to enable the party to play the role expected from it if Pakistan is to achieve its purpose.