Since we have been talking here about Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan, maybe we should also think about Jinnah’s vision on Pakistan’s governance. Particularly on the issue of ‘uniforms’ in politics, which is the concern of the day in Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was thinking well ahead of his time. His following address has never been so pertinent as it is now.
On June 14, 1948, addressing the officer at the Military Staff College in Quetta, the Quaid-i Azam said:
During my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Of course, an oath is only a matter of form; what is more important is true spirit and heart. But it is an important form and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescribed oath to you:
“I solemnly affirm, in the presence of Almighty God, that I owe allegiance to the Constitution and the Dominion of Pakistan and that I will be duty bound honestly and faithfully serve.”
As I have said just now, the spirit is what really matters. I should like you to study the Constitution which is in force in Pakistan at present and understand its true constitutional and legal implications.
(Jinnah, Speeches and Statement 1947-1948, Oxford University Press, 2000).
Lets’ also take a few minutes to review the oath taken by members of the armed services and also the presidential oath, in terms of the constitution:
Oath of allegiance for armed services:
“I, do hereby solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to Pakistan and uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan which embodies the will of the people, that I will not engage myself in any political activities whatsoever and that I will honestly and faithfully serve Pakistan in the Pakistan army by and under the law.”
Let me reiterate, the oath states, “not engage myself in any political activities whatsoever”.
“That I will not allow my personal interest to influence my official conduct or my official decisions. That I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
Jinnah’s vision on the matter of governance of Pakistan and the supremacy of the Constitution and rule of law is very clear. Much more so than that of the rulers of today.