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The Quaid's dream

The News International Pakistan - December 25, 2006

Today we are celebrating the birth anniversary of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. All anniversaries tend to be reduced to rituals; but, in the case of our beloved Quaid, we should not allow our feeling of reverence to be diverted from the vision that guided him in the bitter struggle for our political liberation and social emancipation.

Soon after independence, while inaugurating the Pakistan Broadcasting Service on August 15, 1947, the Quaid gave a message to the nation in which he said: "Our object should be peace within and peace without. We want to live peacefully and maintain cordial and friendly relations with our immediate neighbours and with the world at large."

It is significant that the declaration of the principle on which the Quaid resolved to base his foreign policy was preceded four days earlier by the historic speech in which he laid down the principles for strengthening peace at home by ensuring equal rights to all citizens, irrespective of their caste, creed or religion; and, by drawing a clear line of demarcation between religion and politics. Referring to Great Britain he said, "Today you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen of Great Britain, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the nation. Now, I think that we shall keep that in front of us and you will find that in course of time, Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the state."

Having laid down the guideline for Pakistani nationhood and the principle of the indivisibility of tolerance and peace, he said, "I cannot emphasise it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities -- because even as regards Muslims, you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias and Sunnis and so on; and, among the Hindus you have Brahmin, Vashnavas, Khatris, Bengalis and Madrasis and so on -- will vanish."

Elaborating the principles of Islamic social justice, the Quaid, in his broadcast speech to the people of USA said, "Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught us equality of man, justice and free play to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as the framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case, Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic state to be ruled by priests with a divine mission."

In the same broadcast, the Quaid once again spelt out the maxim of peace within and peace without. In the reiteration of foreign policy, he stated, "We believe in the principle of honesty and fair play in national and international dealings."

This emphasis on honesty and fair play was very typical of the Quaid whose incorruptibility and integrity were recognised even by his bitterest enemies.

The greatest test of his sincerity in the pursuance of a peaceful foreign policy came in the formulation of his policy towards India. A few months before the advent of Pakistan, he made an offer to India which was reported on November 15, 1946: "Whatever others might say, I think these two states of Pakistan and Hindustan, by virtue of contiguity and mutual trust will be friends in the subcontinent. They will go to each other's rescue in case of danger and will be able to say "Hands off" to other nations. We shall have Monroe Doctrine more solid than in America." The Quaid believed not only in peaceful internal and external policy but also employing peaceful means to achieve this end.

After the Quaid's death, the historic speech of August 11, 1947, which is rightly called the Magna Carta of Pakistan, was wilfully suppressed. It was condemned as an aberration on the part of the Quaid by those how opposed him tooth and nail while struggling for Pakistan.

Justice Munir and Justice Kiyani quoted extensively from the speech and asked the ulema whether the concept of the state as enunciated in the speech was acceptable to them. All of them replied in an unhesitating "No". One of them went to the extent of declaring: "A state based on this idea is the creation of the devil."

The Quaid had a profound knowledge of both Islamic history and jurisprudence. While he delivered the historic speech of August 11, 1947, he drew his inspiration from Misaq-i-Madina, drafted by our Holy Prophet (PBUH), specially its first two articles, wherein all inhabitants of Madina whether Muslims or non-Muslims formed ummehtun wahidatun (one nation).

Dr. I. H. Qureshi, in his book, "Pakistan, Its Founding and Future" writes: "Though an ardent Muslim, Jinnah did not wear his religion in his buttonholes. Nothing was more foreign to the Quaid's temperament than intolerance, sectarianism, narrow-mindedness and bigotry." Addressing the Karachi Bar Association on January 25, 1948 he said: "Islam is not a set of rites, traditions and dogmas. It is based on the highest principles of honour, integrity, fair play and justice for all."

The Quaid had unshakeable belief in the working of democracy. He declared: "I have no doubt in my mind that a large body of us visualise Pakistan as the people's government. You will elect your representatives to the constitution-making body. You may not know your power, you may not know how to use it. That would be your fault. But I am sure democracy is in our blood. It is in our marrow. Only centuries of adverse circumstances have made the circulation of that blood cold. It has got cold and your arteries are not functioning. Thank God, the blood is circulating again."

Had we taken these words of Quaid-i-Azam to heart we would not have wasted the greater part of our history under dictatorship of one form or the other, reducing all our institutions to shambles, and turning our beloved Pakistan into wasteland of values.

The Quaid foresaw the danger of theocracy and warned against it on several occasions. Addressing the League legislators' convention, he said: "What are we fighting for? What are we aiming at? It is not a theocracy, nor a theocratic state. Religion is dear to us. All the worldly goods are nothing to us, when we speak of religion, but there are other things which are very vital: our social life and economic life and without political power, how can you defend your faith and your economic life?"

The Quaid lived, struggled and fought for Pakistan where democracy and social justice would prevail. He drew his inspiration from the universal Islamic values. Islam to him was algebra of dynamic progress and not arithmetic of dogmatism and stagnation as interpreted by obscurantists who misuse it to perpetuate the abominable status quo by raising slogans "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

We must ponder over what we have done to the dream of our beloved Quaid-i-Azam. Is it too late to redeem it? The Quaid's speech still rings in my ears, which I heard when I was a student of sixth year class. It serves as a clarion call. He said: "Let us march on." The march must continue till the dream of Pakistan as visualised by the Quaid is realised.

The writer is a former principal of Gordon College, Rawalpindi.

DISCLAIMER: The public material presented here is taken from various sources as it becomes available. It is presented without any bias to, or interpretation of, the contents whatsoever. We would be grateful for any help anyone can provide in obtaining other such public material of national importance to Pakistan in order to aid intellectual discourse and debate.

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Not even his political enemies ever accused Jinnah of corruption or self-seeking. He could be bought by no one, and for no price. Nor was he in the least degree a weathercock swinging in the wind of popularity or changing his politics to suit the chances of the times. He was steadfast idealist as well as a man of scrupulous honour. The fact to be explained is that in the middle of life he supplanted one ideal by another and having embraced it clung to it with fanatic's grasp to the end of his life.

The Great Divide, pp.38-39
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