August 11: We are Sorry, Mr. Jinnah

Posted on August 11, 2009
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP, History, Society
45 Comments
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Adil Najam

Today is August 11.

Sixty-two years ago, on this day, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Founder of Pakistan, made one of the most important speeches of his – and of Pakistan’s – life. A speech in which he laid out – in the most unambiguous terms – his vision for Pakistan and the rationale for that vision.

In this speech Mr. Jinnah laid out a detailed case for his argument and famously proclaimed:

…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 [Pakistan].

Read full text and a detailed analysis of the speech here.

Today is August 11.

Barely ten days ago in Gojra, in Mr. Jinnah’s Pakistan, over 50 houses belonging to Pakistani Christians were burnt down by a mob and at least half a dozen Pakistani Christians were murdered for still unproven charges under a draconian law neither whose intent nor whose vigilante implementation Mr. Jinnah could ever have tolerated.

Today is August 11.

Our government has declared today to be ‘Minorities Day,’ but neither our government nor we as a people are willing to repeal the draconian laws that enable the bigots amongst us to persecute the vulnerable and the marginalized amongst us.

Today is August 11.

Today, once again, we will shower platitudes on Mr. Jinnah’s vision of a tolerant Pakistan and then conveniently ignore that vision. A Pakistan for all Pakistanis, irrespective of, as he would say, “caste and creed.” A Pakistan where neither Mr. Jinnah’s vision nor our Pakistaniat would be high-jacked by the sanctimonious custodians of righteousness, the self-styled gate-keepers of morality, and the arrogant arbiters of patriotism.

We are sorry, Mr. Jinnah.

We are sorry that we have not been able to actualize the Pakistan of your vision. At least, not yet. Cursed by the very intolerance that you had warned us of, we have not only failed to bridge the divisions that existed already, we have worked hard to create new divisions. We have not only failed the minorities that were, we have created new ones by legislating exclusion.

We are sorry, Mr. Jinnah.

We are sorry for being so drunk in intolerance that we made ourselves the arbiters of who was Muslim enough to be Muslim, or Pakistani enough to be Pakistani.

We are sorry, Mr. Jinnah.

We are sorry not only for the Gojra that happened ten days ago. We are sorry for the Gojra that happens every day in the Pakistan you created.


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45 responses to “August 11: We are Sorry, Mr. Jinnah”

  1. Bangash says:

    @Midnight’s Child (Indian)

    Well we have a huge Muslim minority in India today but it is silent and powerless. So better to be in Pakistan than part of minority in Hindustan.

    Pakistan Paindabad.

  2. Usman says:

    If we were part of india we will still be morning and probably fighting for independence.
    Thanks to Jinnah we have a separate state for last 60 years and every day we have an opportunity to sort our problems.
    The real issue is governance, even at time of partition Jinnah said; ‘meri jeb me sirf khotey sike hen’, there were no leaders then or now and that is our problem. We need well educated, disciplined and sincere leaders.
    Sad that the parliment has removed condition for MNAs/MPAs to be graduates, once again the faith of our nation is in hands of un-educated, corrupt and mean people.

    A big thanks to lawyers who have let down the very person who should be thier role model; Jinnah.

  3. Midnight's Child says:

    I never thought that I would ever think that it is a good thing that my parents are dead. As people who believed fervently in the vision of the Quaid, and worked closely with him, I think they would be heartbroken and ashamed to see what the country has degenerated into. I was often cyncial as to whether his vision was practical and used to have long discussions, even arguements with them, as to whether the creation of the State of Pakistan was ever workable and whether we would not have been better off staying as a huge, powerful, vocal minority making our voice heard in an undivided India. As it was, many of us have ended up being an intellectual and social minority within a country composed of the four provinces who never actually supported Jinnah and his Muslim League. Too late now. So many egos – Nehru, Jinnah, Mountbatten. So many hidden agendas. So much waste and death. So sad.

  4. Umair Siraj says:

    Excellent post.

    You are correct. We have not done very well on making Jinnah’s dream come alive. And these idiot laws that Zia made makes it even more difficult.

    But we must keep up the struggle and never forget the vision of Jinnah.

  5. Fauzia says:

    Dear Prof. Najam

    I want to also thank you or your bold and clear writings. Like others, my favorite line was:

    “We are sorry for being so drunk in intolerance that we made ourselves the arbiters of who was Muslim enough to be Muslim, or Pakistani enough to be Pakistani.”

    This says it all.

    Thank you, Sir.

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