Jinnah’s Pakistan?

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As the Jalsa Salana UK preparations were at their high-noon, Pakistan was struggling with another general election. Results had started pouring in and Pakistani television channels – the electronic flagbearers of yellow journalism – were announcing the results from various constituencies from across the country. Then came the news that Imran Khan had won majority of the seats; later came the news that the elections were rigged, followed by the news that the “toppled” dynasties had joined hands to unite against the winner of the elections; then there was the process of “human trade” to gain mandate. In a nutshell: nothing new. 

It all happens in every general election, then it all settles down and then begin popping up the chronic crises that have eaten into the frail body of the nation.

There is, however, a difference this time. The ruler is not from the three dynasties that have ruled the country in turns – the military being one of them. The people of Pakistan have put their hopes up again and are expecting to see, what they call, a “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. It surprises one to observe that the people still expect “Jinnah’s Pakistan” to come back to life. One need not be a genius, very intelligent and nor even very analytical to answer this question; one only has to have some common sense.

Without going into the lengthy debate of what Mr Jinnah’s concept of Pakistan stood for, let’s just look at only one aspect of it and see if it helps resolve the issue.

Do any of the political parties or their leaders still incorporate in their manifestos Mr Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly delivered on 11 August 1947 where he clearly said that religion would be a private matter and would have nothing to do with the affairs of the state? The answer, of course, is NO. This speech is something most leaders would want to delete from the nation’s collective memory but they can’t. Even some of Mr Jinnah’s close confidants in his bureaucracy could not digest it and the recording of the speech remained at large for decades.

Would any of the political parties have a Hindu as a minister of law in their cabinets? Of course, the answer is NO. But Mr Jinnah did. Jogendra Nath Mandal was who Mr Jinnah had in his first cabinet as the first minister of law for Pakistan.

Would any of the political parties have an Ahmadi as the country’s foreign minister? The answer of course, again, is NO. Any government would not accommodate an Ahmadi even as the most insignificant minister, not to speak of the most significant one. Do we see any Pakistani political leader prepared even to protect the rights of Ahmadis who belong to the general public, not to speak to having them in their cabinet? 

It is unfortunate that we got a NO for an answer for all the above three basic questions, yet we dream of a “Jinnah’s Pakistan”. We write these lines with a heavy heart. It is not pleasant to realise this fact. As Ahmadis, we have been taught to think good for any nation and any state. It is sad to see the dream of the forefathers of Pakistan go sour. We do wish and pray, as taught by our Imam, that every country in the world lives in peace and harmony.

Should a political party or a proponent of theirs, or even any member of the general public, feel that the answer to all or any of the questions asked above is otherwise, we invite them to write to us and we will share their opinion with our readers through Al Hakam.

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