The writer is a Karachi-based research analyst and political consultant.
July 1, 1948 is a significant date in the history of Pakistan, as the opening day of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). The opening ceremony of SBP was the last public event attended by the Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah before his death on September 11, 1948. The newly-appointed SBP Governor Zahid Hussain, a close companion of Quaid-e-Azam, hosted the event.
Quaid-e-Azam realised the importance of establishing an independent central bank. In his speech on the ocassion, he stated, “The opening of the State Bank of Pakistan symbolises the sovereignty of our State in the financial sphere and I am very glad to be here today to perform the opening ceremony.”
Furthermore, Quaid’s speech provides all Pakistanis insight into his economic vision for Pakistan, which our schools must teach to our youth and the state of Pakistan must project on all forms of media.
Quaid’s speech clearly articulates his vision of transforming Pakistan into an Islamic banking and economic system despite claims of many commentators of Jinnah being a secularist.
After observing the economic consequences of two world wars, Quaid-e-Azam was weary and cynical about adopting Western economic system. The second last paragraph of Quaid’s speech is the most important as he explains what he expected the SBP’s research organisation to deliver upon.
“I shall watch with keenness the work of your Research Organisation in evolving banking practices compatible with Islamic ideals of social and economic life. The economic system of the West has created almost insoluble problems for humanity and to many of us it appears that only a miracle can save it from disaster that is now facing the world. It has failed to do justice between man and man and to eradicate friction from the international field.
“On the contrary, it was largely responsible for the two world wars in the last half-century, The Western world, in spite of its advantages of mechanization and industrial efficiency is today in a worse mess than ever before in history. The adoption 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 which alone can save it and secure the welfare, happiness and prosperity of mankind.”
During the Pakistan Movement, our Father of the Nation also made his intentions known that he wanted to implement an Islamic economy for Pakistan. All India Muslim League Council, as usual, held its annual session in 1944 at Karachi.
Being confident of the success of the Pakistan Movement even that stage, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan moved a resolution in the Council proposing the constitution of an economic planning committee, for making plan of the shape of economy that should be in vogue after Pakistan would come into being.
The first meeting of this planning committee took place on November 5, 1945 at the Anglo-Arabic College, Delhi. Addressing the inaugural meeting of the Planning Committee, Quaid-e-Azam stated his preference for an Islamic economic system:
“It is not our purpose to make the rich richer and accelerate the process of accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few individuals. We should aim at leveling up the general standard of living amongst the masses, and I hope your Committee will pay due attention to this very important question. Our legal should not be capitalistic, but Islamic and interests and welfare of the people as a whole should be kept constantly in mind.”
While addressing the All India Muslim League session in Delhi on April 24, 1943, Quaid-e-Azam expressed his disgust of the exploitation of the masses by landlords and capitalists, labelling it anti-Islam. “I should like to give a warning to the landlords and capitalists who have flourished at our expense by a system which is so vicious, which is so wicked and which makes them so selfish that it is difficult to reason with them. The exploitation of the masses has gone into their blood. They have forgotten the lessons of Islam.”
Quaid-e-Azam was clear in his economic vision for Pakistan, now it is time for us a nation to be clear and fulfill his mission towards implementing a true Islamic banking and economic system as an alternative model to the world.
I personally appeal and kindly urge Prime Minister Imran Khan to direct the SBP and relevant government departments on the economy to study the transformation of Pakistan’s economy into an Islamic system as per the dream of Quaid-e-Azam and as a foundation for establishing an Islamic welfare state and just society on the lines of State of Madina.