In a nutshell, today, we as a nation are suffering from three vital threats that have a high potential of turning themselves into catastrophic events. To begin with, analyze the ongoing sectarian and religious warfare in the whole country including the persecution of minorities. Secondly, we are stuck in the web of a spider, where each thread has been intermingled and no one can separate them if he wishes to do so. This is our institutional jurisdiction and interference problem that is the primary reason of political instability in the country. Finally, the role of bureaucracy or in other words governance issues.
To find the solution of these problems, let’s turn back some pages from our glorious past. Imagine it’s 1947. Pakistan’s first cabinet has sworn in. Jogendra Nath Mandal (a Hindu) has been appointed as Law Minister. Sir Zafarullah Khan (an Ahmedi ) has also joined in as first Foreign Minister of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, recall the time when Sir Agha Khan acted as the First President of Muslim League. Also, Governors of the three provinces of the newly created state are British along with chiefs of armed forces who are also British.
Now the question arises that didn’t Jinnah know the non-Muslim background of these state officials? The answer is, yes, he did know their background. But he was least interested in their religion or faith and more the uplift of state. For him, the only thing that mattered was the presence or absence of required skill set necessary to run the machinery of the state. He envisaged a state where there would be inter-faith harmony and people with diverse backgrounds would synchronize their efforts to ensure the greater victory and development of the state, a state where minorities would enjoy protection and prosperity like any other citizen of the state.
Today, after decades, we as a nation are still struggling to find the right picture of Pakistan that Jinnah tried to draw in his days. However, the actual path has been lost in a never ending debate of secularism and the Islamic Republic. There are two sides of Jinnah being portrayed by the concerned supporters. One side shows him in Jinnah cap with decent and sober attire looking like a complete eastern gentleman. The other shows him as a man in a three-piece suit, smoking a cigar while playing billiard or snooker game.
Unfortunately, this debate of secularism and Islamic republic would never see its destiny, but in all this ongoing fiasco, somewhere, we have lost the original message of Jinnah.
Jinnah had a dream in his eyes. Jinnah dreamt of a land where civil servants would work to serve the public. And astonishingly, here servants actually mean being in a servant mode and ensuring meritocracy in the long-run, as its evident from his following statement.
“The reason why I am meeting you is that I wanted to say a few words to you who are occupying very important positions in the administration of this province. The first thing that I want to tell you is that you should never be influenced by any political pressure, by any political party or a ny individual politician. If you want to raise the prestige and greatness of Pakistan you must not fall victim to any pressure but do your duty as ser vants of the people and the state, fearlessly and honestly.” Peshawar April 1948,
Then comes the most important issue: dictatorship and the alleged role of armed forces in elections and other national policies. Jinnah said , Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people. You do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.” Today, we can’t even analyze what our country underwent in the thirty long years of dictatorship. Furthermore, the undue influence and interference of military on various occasions proved disastrous for the state. Had we followed the principles of Jinnah, things would have turned out quite differently.
And finally, the menace of sectarian violence and attacks on minorities are engulfing the lives of poor people. Although the ultimate solution to this turmoil is inter-faith harmony but that end is not near in sight. Every child from the age of school till university must listen and try to understand the following words of Jinnah, “you are free, you are free to go to your temples, and you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or cast or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the State “, Aug 11, 1947.
Jinnah gave us golden principles to set straight religious harmony, the role of the military and good governance. However, we as a nation have badly failed be cause we have been struck in the never-ending debate of secularism or the Islamic Republic. Our energies and efforts are being spent in proving Jinnah a liberal or a conservative. Jinnah was a true patriot. He worked for Pakistan. His priorities were aligned with Pakistan and not with investigations related to the religious backgrounds and cultural differences. Once he saw that British generals were more suitable to run the armed forces, he implemented the idea without having a second thought. On the other hand, today, we have actually left no stone unturned to tarnish the image of one of the most respected leaders of the world. Let us teach our children the actual principles of Jinnah before it’s too late. The road to the success passed through the rivers of inter-faith harmony, strong civilian supremacy along with institutional collaboration and good governance.