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Have we deviated from Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan?

Have we deviated from Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan?

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The following is an anonymous submission. The views and opinions expressed in the article belong to the viewer alone and do not reflect the views and opinions of ProperGaanda. 

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Muhammad Ali Jinnah is a globally acclaimed leader because of the absolute gravity of his successes in spearheading the partition process for India. Looking at the state of affairs in Pakistan today, however, it is worth questioning whether we have deviated from Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan.

Jinnah envisioned a state separated from then Indian subcontinent for the Muslim population because he believed they would never be afforded the same opportunities in a Hindu majority India. One of the bloodiest events in human history occurred to make way for a new two state solution of Pakistan and India.

In my opinion, after reading Mr. Jinnah’s speech to the constituent assembly of Pakistan on August 11th, 1947, Jinnah made his beliefs and expectations for this new nation very clear. First of all, the major focus of that speech was the importance placed on religious freedoms he wanted to give to the citizens of this new country. In the years before the partition, Hindu – Muslim riots in 1937 and little representation in local governments made the Muslim League at the time believed their culture and religion was being suppressed. With the stimulant of the new nation being religious discrimination, it is wrong to assume that Mr. Jinnah wanted a Muslim state instead of a Muslim majority secular state. One of his most well known quotes is “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state”. This quote alone shows how completely far we’ve come from the vision of our great leader.

Every year there are hundreds of criminal cases regarding religious intolerance with most are being unsolved and no action being taken. There have been approximately 1,500 individuals charged under the blasphemy law between 1987 and 2016. A Supreme Court judgement in 2015 said that the ‘majority’ of cases of blasphemy in Pakistan stem from ‘false’ and baseless accusations. Most of these cases drag on for years and almost always end in expulsion from society or worse. Religious minorities in Pakistan have been ostracized from society. Limits on governmental positions and red tape on opportunities have been put in place to hinder growth of minorities. This is certainly not the vision that Jinnah had thought out for this country.

The second most important issue that Jinnah fought for during his years as a lawyer and a political leader was gender rights and promotion of women in the workforce. Mr. Jinnah helped pass the ‘Sarda Act’ which eventually prohibited child marriage. According to a UNICEF report, 21% of girls are married under the age of 18 today. This is not in accordance of the views of our leader and not in accordance of the vision that Pakistan was formed with. Mr. Jinnah famously said, “Man must be made to understand and made to feel that a woman is his equal — they together can build up homes, families and the nation”. Deprivation of rights, honour killings, social pressures and domestic violence are extremely prevalent issues in our societies that we have failed to address, and they have plagued our societal fabric. Conviction rates of domestic violence cases in 2017 has been around 2.5%.

With simmering religious tensions between Pakistani’s, and low protection of women in our state, how can we look to Jinnah’s teachings and celebrate him as the founding father of our country when we have essentially failed in our pursuit to being the modern Muslim nation that our Quaid intended us to be.

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