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The founder of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, pleaded for a separate country for Muslims but his political upbringing in a pluralist society prevented him from declaring Pakistan an Islamic state. Contrary to the general perception in India, Mr Jinnah was arguably a secular and liberal Muslim who wanted a Pakistan where all citizens would be equal in the eyes of the constitution irrespective of their religion, caste or creed, although one then justifiably wonders why did he demand a separate nation for Muslims in the first place. Several top leaders of the Hindu Right in India too acknowledge his secular credentials now. Jinnah may have wanted a secular Pakistan but leaders like Liaqat Ali Khan and power hungry, opportunistic religious leaders, particularly Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, wanted it to be otherwise. In this beautifully written series titled, "Objectives Resolution and Secularism", Pakistani journalist Mr Wajahat Masood delves deep into history to find out how Jinnah's dream of a secular and democratic Pakistan was shattered. – Editor

 

On September 1, 1947, Shabbir Ahmad Usmani had issued a press release whose every word was a reply to the speech delivered by the Qaid-e-Azam in the Legislative Assembly on August 11, 1947 just 20 days ago. Some sentences are reproduced here: "I want to make it very clear that this resounding victory of Qaid-e-Azam (the establishment of Pakistan) owes to the discipline and restraint of the Muslims. Muslims are religious by nature and the basis of the Two-nation Theory is also religion. If the Muslim Ulema-e-Deen (religious scholars) had not joined this movement lending it a religious hue, Qaid-e-Azam or any other leader with however great diplomatic abilities or even the Muslim League would not have been able to generate such degree of passion among the Muslims. Nonetheless, with the joint efforts of the Ulema-e-Deen and the Muslim leaders, the Muslims woke up and agreed upon one objective. We should now necessarily put all our efforts to prepare the Constitution of Pakistan by keeping before us the natural and universal principles of Islam as they are the sole remedy for the current malady. If we failed to do so, then the western democracy will pervade with all its vices and the destructive nationalism will replace the internationalism of Islam." -- Wajahat Masood...