On 28th November, 2017, the mayor London, Sadiq Khan, unveiled a bronze statue of Quaid-e-Azam in the British Museum. The statue was unveiled to commemorate the 70th Independence year of Pakistan and the tremendous personality that was Muhammad Ali Jinnah on the occasion of 25th of December, his date of birth. The bronze statue will be on display till end of January and thereafter, it will be moved to Lincoln’s Inn in recognition of Quaid-e-Azam’s excellence. The man that became a father of a Nation but at the same time paid due dedication to the cause of democracy, freedom, human rights and justice. He was a champion like no other, a persona that defied weaknesses of compromise and bargaining.
Quaid-e-Azam and his achievements can be aptly described in a dual categorization; first, his prowess and competence as a lawyer and a jurist and secondly, as a leader and a statesman. In times when Muslims of the subcontinent were branded as the enemy of the Imperialist British Empire, achievers like Muhammad Ali Jinnah were a rarity. As a lawyer, his cases bore his signature of unique and out of the box interpretations of law. His concepts and style of conducting legal practice was admired even by his opponents. On his return of the United Kingdom, Muhammad Ali Jinnah became one of the most sought-after lawyers in India. His cases and his arguments regularly became the subject of discussions among the most learned sections of the society, which resulted in even more acclaim. As the saying goes, “fate conspires to arrange its battles”, perhaps it was destiny that a man who was to become “father of a Nation” was being forged in strict measures of law and jurisprudence, that too, in the heart of the system that he was to oppose to one day; Lincoln’s Inn. Even though, Jinnah was a lawyer was exceptional, his achievements as a leader have overshadowed his professional expertise. His life’s work was on a case that made a homeland for Muslims of the sub-continent. In this capacity, the Quaid started off as an ambassador of unity and cooperation. The historian has no right to say that the atrocities of partition can be attributed to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, instead, it was the transition from Indian Nationalism to Hindu Nationalism that coerced leaders like Jinnah to seek the route of partition. This was a dictate of the dignity and honor of the Muslims. The sacrifices laid down in that path of independence and partition was an ordeal that the people of Pakistan had to suffer in order to give a dignified tomorrow to future generations. Quaid-e-Azam never chose a path of glory and grandeur for himself that lead to partition, but he opted for it in the name of liberty and freedom.
Pakistan came into being in rags. The role of the leader turned into a script of statesman and administrator. It was not just the creation of Pakistan but its foundations that owe a debt to the Quaid as well. Muhammad Ali Jinnah paved the path towards making Pakistan a welfare democratic state based on the principles of Islamic Jurisprudence. It was a dream that had never been realized in the history of the sub-continent. Fair play, justice, equality, religious freedom, mutual respect, hard work, integrity and discipline were to be the philosophy of the citizens of this great country. On the day of Quaid’s birth, it is an opportunity for every Pakistani to review the ideals on which this modern Islamic State was founded.
Pakistan, as of today, is facing grave challenges. However, it would be a fallacy to say that this country has never seen such grim circumstances. On the other hand, it was born with fatal anomalies, declared and doomed from the very start. But as Shakespeare puts its, “there is a tide in the affairs of men”, we were able to catch a few tides of our own. With remarkable resilience and against heavy odds, we survived; a nation of crises and upheavals. Pakistan faces hurdles and hindrances on every nook and corner. Hostile neighbors, clash of institutions, corruption, political instability, sectarian divisions and growing violence, insurgency, economic downward spiral are a few of war fronts that we are enduring. With the panama case judgment against Nawaz Sharif resulting in his disqualification, and rumors of destabilization, have once again pushed the country back from realizing its dream of becoming a mature democracy. But all is not lost yet, there is a flip side to the story. With the ouster of Nawaz Sharif by the Supreme Court, there is hope of a revival of better politics. Beneath the rumors politicization of judiciary and tacit role of the armed forces to take down corrupt politicians; it has become evident that any corruption or any financial malpractice will not be neglected in the long-run. The governance machinery will not work without integrity. Pakistan is falling short in its financial reserves and is unable to pay its debts, relying mainly on IMF assistance. Falling exports and hike in the prices of fossil fuels are another alarm to the failing economy. But, on the other hand, there are initiatives like CPEC that can offset the outgoing cash flows with Foreign Direct Investments. A 62 Billion Dollar deal with China has the potential to cater to any shortcomings in the long run for Pakistan. In short, the Government of Pakistan has made a mess but it is not without cure.
China has its sights set on Gwadar. An economist from Harvard has rightly referred to the phenomena as, “the Game of Ports”. While Iran has inaugurated its own deep sea port, it is not match for Gwadar considering that Chinese exports will transship through Gwadar and fuel supplies to China will flow through on sea and land into China. International trade organizations like World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Customs Organization (WCO) have issued reports favoring Gwadar as the port of the future set to become even more important than Jebel-e-Ali port. The reason is the consumers connected through Gwadar; the world’s largest population China and Pakistan. This could give an extraordinary boost to flow of goods and services creating jobs and opportunities throughout both countries. As a result, developed countries like France, Germany and the United Kingdom have indicated active participation in CPEC. On the other hand, growing need of transparency, anti-corruption movement by new political entities like PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) are signs of an improving scenario. A philosopher once wrote, “sometimes, hope is all you have.” With this positivity and initiative, it can be concluded that the dream of the Quaid is still within reach. And it is our duty and prerogative to muster all our energies to realize that dream, for ourselves and for the coming generations, just like our great leader imagined for us.