The Founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, would not want to see his country where it is today. Pakistan, founded in 1947, was intended to be a secular state with equal rights for all. Unfortunately, tolerance for minority groups in Pakistan is rare nowadays. Religious extremists are making their own rules based on their own ideology, not Jinnah’s. Jinnaah’s potentially secular state has been overtaken.
Jinnah, born Dec. 25, 1876 in Karachi, was a legend with a true spirit. Being a British graduate, Jinnah’s thoughts were secular, not Islamist. A constitutionalist, lawyer, parliamentarian and a bridge of unity among minorities, he distinguished himself in all aspects of his life. Despite his secular outlook, he is renowned by many as a leader in the Muslim world due to the services he rendered to Muslims of the Subcontinent. He was a man of high level of mentality, secularism, and integrity.
He belonged to a Muslim Ismaili family, but was converted to Muslim Isnashari — these are two offshoots of the same Muslim sect. Although he was a true Muslim, he took his religion in a very broad sense. The influence of western culture can be observed in his secularism, not only as a political figure, but also in his personal life — he donned western style clothing and had an active social life.
He was bestowed with practical wisdom. Throughout his life, beyond his professional carreer as a lawyer, he fought for the rights of Muslims on the Subcontinent. He faced severe resentment from opposition in his struggles to make Muslims economically stronger, but he never backed down. He kept on trying until finally a separate state was created, named Pakistan, aimed at making Muslims stronger in economic terms while allowing minorities to live openly with equal rights. In appreciation, he was awarded the title “Father of the Nation” by his people.
Jinnah had a broad perspective. He wanted to see Pakistan as a secular state. In one speech he declared that if people want to make Pakistan a happy and prosperous state, they should work together no matter what their background. Race, caste and other differences were to be set aside. He was against any religious discrimination among Muslims and Hindus. He declared that: “All citizens are equal irrespective of their religious, ethnic, and sectarian belongings.”
Jinnah’s life was full of challenges. Being the oldest of his siblings, he felt the burden of responsibility from a young age. Though not physically well in his later years, he continued striving for the Muslim community’s success until his last breath. He believed in three words, “unity,” “faith” and “discipline,” which he also asked his followers to act upon.
He died in 1948, a year after the creation of Pakistan. His death caused an outpouring of grief. With his passing, the Muslim world lost a true leader and the newly born state was left an orphan. He wanted to see Pakistan become a developed country. Although Pakistan appears on the world map, his goal of making it a prosperous state is still a dream, even after 60 years of independence.
The current Pakistan, with its elements of radical ideological thinking, is not the state that Jinnah dreamt about. The extremism in Pakistan is an issue not only because it is a direct threat to the West, but also because it is not what Jinnah, the Father of the Nation, wanted for his people.