Prof. Suresh ChanderDr Ishtiaq Ahmed seems to have brought Jinnah’s jinn out again in public debate. Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed has recently released a book titled Jinnah published by Random House India. He has talked about this book in a number of TV interviews both on Indian and Pakistani TV channels. Dr Ahmed, a political scientist, born in Lahore, is now based in Oslo and is a Norwegian citizen.He has made some interesting observations about Jinnah’s presidential address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 especially about the belief of liberal leftists that Jinnah wanted Pakistan to be a secular state. And many in India believed so too. Late Jaswant Singh became a victim of this belief.Extracts from August 11, 1947 speech by Jinnah are reproduced below to get the perspective.“The first observation that I would like to make is this, You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a Government is to maintain law & order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.… If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges, and obligations, there will be on end to the progress you will make.… Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal 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.”Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed asserted that liberal leftists including himself believed August 11 speech to be a foundation for scholar Pakistan. He too thought it to be a secular declaration though it was in contradiction to two nation theory.it was not easy for Jinnah to contradict one’s own stand of the last many years, especially after the deaths of a million people in the aftermath of partition and ethnic cleansing in West Pakistan. Perhaps it was nationalist in him from Congress days that made him say so.There is no supporting evidence before or after 11 August 1947 that supports his thinking on that day. As a matter of fact only two days later at a banquet, he referred to Islamic state and refused to accept Mountbatten’s advice to accept Akbar as a role model.On March 19, 1944 he warned Communists to hands off Pakistan while addressing a students gathering at Lahore and asserted that communism or socialism will have no place in Pakistan, as Islam has its own ideology. He termed Communists as fifth columnists who he alleged were behind the language controversy in East Bengal during his visit there. Dr. Ahmed thinks that the claim of the left that Jinnah wanted Pakistan a secular state is bogus and if so in the last 73 years someone would have accepted his advice. Dr. Ahmed gives a plausible explanation for Jinnah’s secular mask on August 11, 1947. The communal riots had started by then. Minorities had started migrating from Pakistan to India and vice versa. Jinnah perhaps got alarmed at migration of 35 million muslims from India to mostly West Pakistan with a population of 33 million people. It would have been a catastrophic situation for the nascent state of Pakistan. So Jinnah had to wear a secular mask to assure Indian leadership that the minorities will be safe.Fortunately for him, every one who matterd in India fell consciously or unconsciously for his assurance that minorities will be safe in Pakistan. It was to tell Indian leadership that we in Pakistan will protect minorities and you do the same in India.As a consequence, Nehru stopped the exodus of muslims from India to Pakistan. This speech perhaps also became handy against declaring India a Hindu Rashtra.The deception created by Jinnah continued in The Liaquat-Nehru Pact (or the Delhi Pact). The treaty was signed in New Delhi by the Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru and the Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan on April 8, 1950.The treaty was the outcome of six days of talks sought to guarantee the rights of minorities in both countries after partition of India and to avert another war between them.History tells us that rulers of Pakistan have mastered the art of wearing a goat mask while acting as a wolf.Prime Minister Modi seems to have understood this game of deception by Pakistane rulers. We must thank Dr. Ishaq for his insight in interpreting much talked speech of August 11 by Jinnah.(The author is former Head of Computer Engineering Department in G B Pant University of Agriculture & Technology)
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