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An Opinion Piece on
The day of the death of Quaid-e-Azam
The Last 392 Days of Quaid-e-Azam

by Basit Zia, Research Associate
MUSLIM Institute

Jinnah of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam is considered the seconded greatest Muslim leader in the Subcontinent after Aurangzeb Alamgir. When we go through the pages of his life, he emerges not only as the Father of Pakistani nation but also as an eminent leader of Muslim nation and a history maker. The researcher of the personalities, affecting the vicissitude of the Subcontinent, American historian Stanley Wolpert had that’s why said

Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three1

If we present the chronological order of the life of Quaid-e-Azam, after the completion of education, it goes like that;

For 6 months served in judiciary
1 Years served in diplomacy
2 Years passed the barrister’s exam
3 Years remained jobless
12 Years enjoyed married life
16 Years remained associated with Congress
31 Years led Muslim league
44 Years practiced law
One year and 27 days remained designated as governor general of Pakistan

After the existence of Pakistan, out of seventy one years, eighth months, and six days of Quaid-e-Azam’s life only for 392 days the destiny let him patronize Pakistan. But if we analyze only those 392 days, we remember those remarks, quoted by a former Indian secretary of state ‘Lord Pathic Lawrence’

"Gandhi died by the hands of an assassin: Jinnah died by his devotion to Pakistan" 2

A brief sketch of Quaid’s life from August 14, 1947 to September 11, 1948

Every low and high is aware of the fact that for the past sixty five years of Pakistan’s independent life, its present state is not reflective of the Pakistan that Quaid-e-Azam had desired. But the third generation of Pakistani youth rarely knows that what the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam was like and if Quaid-e-Azam had lived only for 5 more years, what would have been the condition of Pakistan.

Immediately after its advent, Quaid’s Pakistan was targeted by the Hindu disparagement. They began to propagate that Pakistan would fail to establish itself, rather they started maneuvering mean tools and traps so that Pakistan surrender to allege with India but Quaid-e-Azam and his devoted companions with their untiring and sincere efforts, dazed all the efforts of the cunning Hindu bunya.

Quaid initiated structuring the edifice of the new state with great simplicity and frugality. He formed one selection board only on July 1947, to select experienced and eligible administrative staff. This board hired the services of the experienced British civil servants so that the institutions of the state should be erected on strong foundations. With the commencement of 1948, Quaid formed a development board so that the developmental work should be planned and these plans should be executed. He established an academy for the training of the young civil servants. For the officers it was made obligatory to learn Urdu and Bengali languages. The police service, account service and foreign services department were set up separately to improve the overall performance of the government. In February 1948, he established a pay commission to fix the incentives for government employees. Jinnah of Pakistan The constitution assembly amended the 1935 act transitorily and on one side eliminated the reference of loyalty to the British King from the oath of the civil servants and on the other hand granted the authority of the selection of the designates of civil servants to governor general. This increased his workload and eventually affected his health. Despite that he continued taking keen interest in the affairs of the state. He used to examine each file very keenly and wrote remarks on it. Once the response on some file was delayed, and excuse was begged for it, he said,

“I wish administration should work efficiently and they shouldn’t expect from me that I would ignore delay in the work without any solid reason”

Quaid-e-Azam continued examining different files and issuing decrees on them till the last moment of his life. Due to the severity of disease, when his health broke down and venerable Fatima Jinnah asked him to consult the doctor, he replied

“I have got too much to do. I cannot waste my time” 4

He applied emergency on 27 August 1948 to abolish economic crisis generated because of unusual increase in the number of immigrants. A committee comprising five ministers was presenting its report on the daily basis. Once the report presenting was disappointing, he said

“He will defend every inch of Pakistan unless he is thrown into Indian Ocean” 5

Provincial governors used to send fortnightly report about the problems and the measures taken to solve them in their provinces. Thus Quaid-e-Azam was aware of the happenings in every corner of the country and he found it easy to issue relevant orders. When the issue of the employees’ payments came up, he took the whole nation into confidence. Within three days, 60 millions rupees were collected. On the eve of the inauguration of State Bank, the military secretary suggested sending the draft of his speech to Liaqat Ali Khan but he prepared the speech himself. Despite intense physical ailment, he took personal interest in all the affairs. With regards to administrative affairs, he formed such an agile and suitable administration that was able to solve the problems of the masses. On July 3, 1948, he raised the Committee responsible for the sighting of the moon which shows his seriousness about Hijri calendar as it was a religious concern of the Muslims. Quaid-e-Azam was very careful about the expenses from national income. He presented himself as an example in this regard. The expenses of governor house were very limited. Staff was small. Often he didn’t serve the members of cabinet with tea. He used to receive only one rupee as a symbol of pay from the treasure of the government. He said that wastage of money was sin and if the money was from the governmental funds, its wastage was the worst sin. Quaid-e-Azam launched Pakistan Relief Fund for the rehabilitation of the migrants. He used to check it himself, demand statement from the bank, and ask for the detail of expenditures. It’s stated in Jinnah papers:

“Quaid-e-Azam safeguarded the treasury of the government like a custodian” 7

While analyzing the pace of progress during Quaid-e-Azam’s one year regime, Muhammad Salman Khan has written “At the time of independence the production of electricity in the country was only 60 Megawatt. Before partition the power was supplied from Indian areas which were disconnected. Despite the arrival of millions of refugees, the forerunners of the caravan of Quaid didn’t lose heart and surprised the world by presenting first surplus budget while India who had usurped Pakistani assets presented the deficit budget cursing its previous masters.

After presenting the first surplus budget, next month in March, 1948 the first national fiscal policy for the improvement of the state was announced. (Two weeks before on the occasion of his visit to Mianwali, he had clearly indicated about the construction of Mianwali Hydro Power Project (Kala Bagh Dam). The government announced the construction of Nadra Canal and Ghotki Canal in Sindh, beside the construction of 500 Megawatt Mianwali Hydro Power project. It also announced about the construction of Karnafuly Dam in East Pakistan so that for the needs of energy could be fulfilled adequately without depending on any one. As a retort to Pakistan’s Surplus budget and excellent Economic policy, India detained the waters of all the canals, flowing towards Pakistan on April 1, 1948, overlooking all the moral and legal international laws. Its aim was to demolish Pakistan’s agriculture. Quaid-e-Azam with his unmatched intellect, delayed the construction of Mianwali Hydro Project for the time being and started the construction of three canals i.e. B.R.B, Marala Rawiland and Buloki Sulemanki Link, immediately without any foreign grant or technicians. (8) The projects that Quaid-e-Azam started within these 392 days, set Pakistan to its destination and the pace of development was rapid. Just imagine if Quaid-e-Azam had lived for five more years, what would have been the standing of Pakistan in 1952.

Quaid-e-Azam wanted to prepare the constitution of Pakistan without any delay. Three months before the establishment of Pakistan he tried to accomplish the constitutional assembly and emphasized to form an advisory committee of experts to guide it. He desired that Pakistan’s constitution should be prepared by the members of constitutional assembly. In June, 1947, Quaid-e-Azam requested Vice Roy to provide with a first class constitutional expert and an excellent draftsman who should assist in the preparation of the constitution for Pakistan. Quaid-e-Azam studied the constitutions of the different countries.

Quaid-e-Azam tried to keep in progress the sessions of constitutional assembly, consistently for the preparation of the constitution but the circumstances didn’t allow him. In his life, on 24th August 1948, he convened the session of constitutional assembly so that the constitution may be prepared but this session couldn’t go on. Although in his life Pakistan’s constitution couldn’t be jotted down, yet on the eve of the celebrations of Eid-e-Meelad-u-Nabi (SAWW), during his address Quaid-e-Azam gave a vivid outline about the constitution.

“They are unable to understand this fact that a particular group of people who want to make an deliberate mischief by propagating that the constitution of Pakistan will not be founded on Sharia ’a. Islamic principles are applicable to life today in the same manner as they were applicable 1300 years before. Let us make this (constitution). We will make it and we will show it to the whole world” 8

Some people, on the basis of their observation, about Quaid-e-Azam’s flexible behavior, think that Quaid-e-Azam was a secular person. Although, throughout, in his life he conversed in English language but during the Pakistan movement or in his addresses within the state, he never used the word secular. Neither your speeches indicate towards secularism while several in his speeches he refereed to Quran, Sunnah and Islamic Sharia ’a. The famous Pakistani historian, Dr. Safdar states

“Quaid-e-Azam announced 101 times before the partition of Pakistan that the edifice of the Pakistan will be raised on Islamic principles and after the partition he asserted it 14 times that the governing law, constitution and the structure of the state will be erected on Islamic fundamentals. He affirmed several times that the Holy Quran is our guide and we must take the light of guidance from the Quran”

Quaid’s flexibility towards religion was not due the weakness of his faith but because of the lethargy of the Muslims in practicing the religion. In June 1948, General Akbar Khan suggested to Quaid-e-Azam that since wine is forbidden in Islam, it should be banned in the army units. Quaid replied,

“Do you think Quaid-e-Azam’s order will be more effective than the orders of the Holy Quran? Never! The people who do not follow the decree of the Holy Quran, they will never follow the orders of Quaid-e-Azam”

To prove that Quaid-e-Azam was a secular person, the critics refer to his speech delivered on 11 August, 1948 as they don’t have any other substantial reference to associate with their propaganda. But the points that he detailed in this address also, can bee exactly marked out in the “Madina Pact” made by Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) and these were the fundamentals on which the first Muslim state in Madina was founded. Many people have drawn attention towards it. (Another essay by the author of this article under the title of ‘Madina Pact and Quaid-e-Azam’ may be consulted which was published in Mira’at-ul-Arifeen, August 2013 edition) If the speech of Quaid-e-Azam (delivered on August 11, 1948) establishes that Quaid was a secular person, what will be the viewpoint of these critics about Prophet Muhammad (SAWW) after the study of Madina Pact?

Quaid-e-Azam's Foreign Policy

Although Pakistan had to face perils in the field of foreign ministry also like other fields yet it was due to the successful foreign policy of Quaid-e-Azam that Pakistan became a member country of United Nations and its other organizations within one and a half month of its creation. There was a dearth of seasoned diplomats but, since Quaid-e-Azam’s vision contained universal peace, (being Islamic in nature), he had a staunch faith in constitution, democracy and peace. Throughout his political life he never indulged into any kind of political adventurism nor bargained on principles and his self respect. On August 15, 1948, while inaugurating Pakistan Broadcasting Service, Quaid-e-Azam summed up Pakistan’s foreign policy in the following words:

“Peace should be our objective inside as well as outside the country. We desire to remain peaceful and want to maintain sincere relationship with our closer neighbors and the world at large. We don’t nurture any aggressive intentions against anyone. We support the charter of United Nations. We will play our vital role for world peace and prosperity”

While elucidating Pakistan’s foreign policy, Quaid-e-Azam were entirely mindful about Islam also. It was the tremendous success of Quaid-e-Azam’s foreign policy that despite the opposition of Afghanistan, Pakistan got the membership of UNO on 30th September 1947.

Quaid-e-Azam and Muslim League began to raise the voice for the liberation of Palestine from 1933. After the creation of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam wrote a letter to American President Truman and demanded that the state of Palestine should not be divided.

In UNO, Pakistan had voted against Israel and had not approved of Israel as an independent state because this could endanger the peace of the whole region. Quaid-e-Azam had such a heartfelt concern for Palestine (because of the Bait-ul-Maqdas) that despite economic paucity, Quaid-e-Azam, in his letters to Mufti-e-Azam Ammer-ul-Hussaini, used to sympathize with him and assured him of cooperation and support.

Quaid-e-Azam took special interest in developing friendly relationships with other Muslim countries. Quaid-e-Azam wanted to form a Block of Muslim states so that they could face the enemy.

“In Aril 1948 when some prominent Iranian journalists visited Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam arranged a lunch for them and advised them to play their role to unite Muslim Ummah”. 13

Quaid-e-Azam was also desirous of establishing good relationship with India but on the bases of principles. A Swiss journalist questioned Quaid-e-Azam whether Pakistan and India could solve their conflicts peacefully. Quaid-e-Azam replied

“Yes, if India diminishes its superiority complex and maintain relationship with Pakistan on the basis of equity, and try to comprehend the realities.”

Quaid-e-Azam was strictly against taking dictations from any other country. When Afghanistan demanded to name NWFP (Khyber pakhtoon khawah) as Pakhtoonistan, Quaid‘s fair and square reply was

“Pakistan will not take dictation from any country. The authority to change the name of the province is not with the government; only constitutional assembly can do that”

Quaid-e-Azam’s vision is as a clear as the broad day light. But it couldn’t be implemented as he wanted it to be. From the day of his death the time of deprivation started for Pakistan. In my personal capacity I don’t mind if I say that 11th September 1948, was actually Pakistan’s 9/11.With the death of Pakistan, the greatest tragedy that Pakistan had to face was the vacuum created with the death of a righteous and sincere leader. Eventually it led to the dearth of true leadership. The secret of Hindustan’s progress was that the pioneer of “Maha Bharti Hindustan” P.L.J Nehru remained Indian PM for eighteen years. Although for water, he had ill intentions right from the beginning but on his credit there is a great achievement that he abolished feudal system from India within five years which Pakistani rulers failed to do in 66 years.

The dearth of leadership doesn’t mean that Pakistan didn’t have leaders, politicians or rulers. Pakistan had all that but none of them was as daring as Quaid-e-Azam. We always found pusillanimous leaders. There was a time when Quaid-e-Azam asserted to reply the Indian aggression with aggression. And now we are threatened with constant Indian aggression. India keeps on bombarding and shelling we continue to condemn. Isn’t it lack of leadership or what else? Quaid-e-Azam wanted to make Pakistan a laboratory for Islam but during these 65 years this country has become a hideaway for sectarianism, terrorism, corruption, and plunder. Isn’t it the deficit of leadership? At the time of the creation of Pakistan, no one could imagine that the homosexuals will hold their processions here and the Muslim rulers and the masses of Pakistan will maintain evasive silence, instead of putting tremendous protests and legal proceeding. Moreover the international dramas promoting the disintegration of family unit, will bulldoze the morality of our generation through Pakistani channels? Had Quaid-e-Azam been alive today, would he remain silent over it? What is it other than the drought of leadership?


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