By Tarik Jan

March 13, 2011 Daily Times published an article captioned as “12 March: the death of Jinnah’s Pakistan.” Irrespective of the fact that the said caption left a bitter taste in the mouth, the write up was a travesty of common sense and logic, dotted with historical errors and raised on a tangled rationale that had little respect for facts.

Under the ordinary circumstances I would have ignored the said write up but since it talked about the Objectives Resolution, Article 2-A of our constitution I feel obliged to clear the web of deception created by the lady columnist. In the following, I summarize her main points so that I could subsequently address myself to them.

According to her:

  • The 1947 Constitution Assembly lacked representational character.
  • The Objectives Resolution was opposed by the minority members and the “secular” Muslim members of the assembly.
  • Jinnah’s right hand man prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan betrayed the former’s guiding principles given to the Constitution Assembly by presenting the Objectives Resolution to the assembly.
  • The 1940 resolution of the Muslim League made no reference to Islamic system.
  • The session of the Constitution Assembly started with the recitation of the Qur’an while in Jinnah’s life it never happened.
  • Jinnah was opposed to theocracy.
  • The Objectives Resolution was adopted by the Muslim League because of the pressure that came from the League’s “historical baggage that had portrayed itself as the sole representative of all the Muslims …, thus losing the ability to talk against religious considerations openly …”

These are the main planks of her write up. Strangely enough if one reads the political narrative of the 1940s on the creation of Pakistan and later the Hindu members from the then East Bengal opposing the Objectives Resolution in the Constitutional Assembly, one will find a striking resemblance between the Hindus’ viewpoint and our present-day secularists.

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April 1, 2011, I raised a few questions on the columnist’s body of arguments for her response in the following sequence:

“I read your article with interest. The caption was catchy. I am trying to understand the points made by you. Maybe you can educate me.

You said Jinnah was opposed to theocracy. I checked his speeches – yes he was opposed to it.
I have also read his speeches made during the 1940s. In these speeches more than 90 times he speaks about Islamic polity, Islamic law, Islamic governance and so forth.

My problem:

  • If Jinnah was against theocracy, which he was, then why did he talk of Islamic polity and law?
  •  Doesn’t he sound contradictory?
  •  Or did he consider Islamic governance different than theocracy?
  •  His Aug 11 speech (with all the spin given to it) is after all just one of his speeches. Would it be academically and logically correct to make it as the sole source of his thought?
  • If that’s the case where would you place his post-Aug 11 speeches in which he again stresses the role of Islam in state and nation building?
  • In that case what place would you give to his last day speeches after his Aug 11 speech?

Coming back to theocracy, would you consider the Prophetic state of Madinah as theocratic?
You also talked about the Objectives Resolution passed in the face of opposition to Hindu minority?

– Do you think the Pakistan movement was launched to placate the Hindu minority ignoring the aspirations of the Muslims – Islamic or non-Islamic notwithstanding?
– Do you think in democratic societies laws are passed unanimously with no opposition from any quarter?

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– Has any minority the right to oppose the sovereign will of the majority?

– Does the Objectives Resolution ignore mentioning the minority rights and their safeguard?

You imply that the Objectives Resolution was passed after Jinnah’s death.

– Do you mean no law should have been passed after his death?
– Or that he alone had the right to make legislation?

– Did Jinnah ever arrogate to himself law making?

Your answer will help me and others to evaluate the situation in the a better way. “.

April 7, 2011, I received the following response from her:

 “Tarik Jan, Islam in no way supports the concept of Theocracy so naturally Quaid-e-Azam never supported such an idea. Simply, he wanted to create a state where Islamic principles such as equity, social justice, rule of law could prevail. In fact, Islamic principles if applied lead to a social welfare state and not a theocracy. Quaid’s concept of a state is misunderstood which leaves an impression that he has been contradictory in his speech and actions, which is totally a wrong perception.

Objective Resolution too does not deserve as much importance as we have given to it. It was just a document to please ‘ulama and no more…”

The same day I made the following observation on her response:

“You have avoided all my questions and instead focused on theocracy. Fine! Educate me:

Would the application of Islamic laws make a state theocratic?

Or is the Islamic state theocratic? If yes, then you have to explain the following speeches of Jinnah:

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“Pakistan not only means freedom and independence but the Muslim ideology which has to be preserved, which has come to us as a precious gift and treasure, and which we hope others will share with us.” (See Jamil-ud-din Ahmad, Speeches and Statements of Mr. Jinnah, p. 175.

”The Constitution Assembly … would be able to enact laws for the Muslims. not inconsistent with the shari’ah laws, and the Muslims will no longer be obliged to abide by the un-Islamic laws.” (See Sharifuddin Pirzada, Quaid -i-Azam Jinnah’s Correspondence, pp. 210-211 )

So, it is not just social justice, equality and rule of law. He is talking about Muslim ideology (yes ideology), shari’ah laws and so forth.

As to the Objectives Resolution, you insist it is not that important.

Were the elders of the Pakistan Movement crazy to have passed it? It was the Constitution Assembly created to make the constitution. Almost the entire leadership of the Muslim League constituted it — people who made Pakistan possible. The most trusted companion of Jinnah (Liaquat Ali Khan) described the occasion of the passage of the Objectives Resolution as important as the creation of Pakistan. His words!

Well … it was retained by Mr. Bhutto’s assembly. Why did not the PPP disown it? If Jinnah’s assembly passed it to please the ‘ulama, whom did the PPP try to please by retaining it? After all, PPP is a secular party. History deserves some objectivity and not biases.”

Needless to say, she made no response.

To be Continued.