Liaquat & Quaid’s vision | By Mahfooz-un-Nabi Khan


Liaquat & Quaid’s vision

LIKE any other political figure of high profile, Quaid-i-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan remained in focus of historians, contemporaries’ and critics.

Further, he was also a victim of disinformation and character assassination. I have tried to address the criticism on Liaquat in this article.

Both Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan considered that framing of constitution is the function and responsibility of the Constituent Assembly.

It was in this context that they did not thrust their ideas in the process of making the constitution of Pakistan.

They relied on the collective wisdom of public representatives.
Quaid-i-Azam and Muslim League leadership believed in the sovereignty of Constituent Assembly and therefore even during Pakistan Movement, they left the subject of constitution making for Pakistan for the people’s chosen representatives.

They also did not like to express anything about the future constitution of Pakistan in order to avoid giving unnecessary opportunity to opponents to exploit and confuse the Muslim population of the subcontinent.

In the speech delivered by Quaid-i-Azam on his election as President of constituent assembly on 11th August 1947, he said quote “The Constituent Assembly has got two main functions to perform.

The first is the very onerous and responsible task of framing the future constitution of Pakistan”. He further said, “I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement at this moment”.

The first constituent assembly had started working on the constitution from very beginning. In March 1949, the assembly had adopted historic document titled objective resolution moved by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. Some of the critics have taken it as an escape from the vision of Quaid-i-Azam.

In order to present the correct picture in a rational manner, let us pick Quaid’s speech of 11th August 1947 delivered by him in the Constituent Assembly and being referred to in context of his secular views quote “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan.

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” unquote.

Now we take up the objective Resolution in relation to Quaid’s speech, the Objective Resolution is legislative expression of Quaid’s vision which guarantees the citizens to enjoy equal rights irrespective of their faith, caste or creed. The Resolution ensures the religious minorities to profess their faith freely.

In the Resolution, the word Muslims was not incorporated but contrarily the word People was used with reference to exercise their right through the chosen representatives. This insertion in the objective resolution further endorses Quaid’s vision that the religion will not play a part in the affairs of the State.

Here I would like to refer Quaid’s speeches made on various occasions which made it clear that Father of the Nation always took inspiration from the teachings of Islam, Holy Prophet (PBUH) and Muslim history.

Quaid’s speech of 11th August, 1947 indicates this aspect of his mindset. His speeches also indicate that he believed that tolerance, equality, social justice and brotherhood of men are inherent in Islamic society.

On the eve of Independence of Pakistan on August 14, 1947 Quaid-i-Azam said, “The tolerance and goodwill that great Emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslims is not of recent origin.

It dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet (PBUH) not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians, after he had conquered them, with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs”.

On another occasion ie inauguration of Pakistan Broadcasting Service on 15 August 1947, Quaid-i-Azam said quote “It marks the fulfillment of the destiny of the Muslim nation, which made great scarifies in the past few years to have its homeland” unquote.

This statement of Quaid further confirms his attachment to the term of “Muslim Nationhood” and ‘Muslim Homeland’. Naturally, he understood that Pakistan is the homeland for the Muslims of South Asian Subcontinent.

In this message, Quaid further stated, “Muslims of India have shown to the world that they are a united nation”.

In this statement too, Quaid considered ‘Muslims’ as a ‘United Nations’ and separate from other entities.

Similarly, in his address to the students of Islamia College Peshawar, he declared, “We are building up a State which is going to play its full part in the destiny of the whole Islamic world”.

Quaid-i-Azam’s speech made on the occasion of the opening ceremony of State Bank of Pakistan on July 1, 1948.

Quote “I shall watch with keenness the work of your Research Organization in evolving banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life” unquote.

He also said on this occasion quote “The adoption of Western economic theory and practice will not help us in achieving our goal of creating a happy and contented people. We must work our destiny in our own way and present to the world an economic system based on true Islamic concept of equality of manhood and social justice.

We will thereby be fulfilling our mission as Muslims and giving to humanity the message of peace” unquote.

If we take into account, Quaid-i-Azam’s speeches and statements given on various occasions, we reach the conclusion that he viewed the affairs of the State and the life of the people in Pakistan to flourish on Islamic pattern.

The Objective Resolution presented by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in March 1949 was in fact is extension of Quaid’s vision and the aspiration of the Muslims of sub-continent who exercised their right of self determination for Pakistan through the elections held in 1945/46 and referendum in some parts of British India. In short, we find Quaid and Liaquat’s views were identical.

—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Islamabad.

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