Quaid-e-Azam’s pan-Islamic vision

Salman Rasheed


The writer is a Karachi-based research analyst and political consultant.

As leader of the Pakistan Movement and eventually becoming the Governor-General of newly formed state of Pakistan on August 14, 1947, our Father of the Nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah shared a pan-Islamic vision like our ideological founder Allama Muhammad Iqbal, the great thinker, philosopher, and poet who inspired many revolutions in the Muslim world.
Sadly, it has become fashionable since the global war on terror after 9/11 to have a narrow vision of Pakistan’s place in the Muslim world with slogans such as “Pakistan first” or “Subse pehlay Pakistan.”  However, this is contrary to our founding fathers’ vision, especially the Quaid, who wanted Pakistan to play a leadership role in the Muslim world, “Remember we are building up a State which is going to play its full part in the destinies of the whole Islamic World. We, therefore, need a wider outlook, an outlook which transcends the boundaries of provinces, limited nationalism, and racialism.” (Speech at Islamia College in Peshawar, on 12 April 1948)
The Quaid envisioned Pakistan to lead a Muslim renaissance and build an Islamic bloc.  Explaining the creed of Pakistan to Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan early in 1943, the Quaid stated that Pakistan would be based where we will be able to train and bring up Muslim intellectuals, educationists, economists, scientists, doctors, engineers, technicians etc. who will work to bring about Islamic renaissance.” After necessary training, they would spread to other parts of the Islamic world “to serve their co-religionists and create awakening among them eventually resulting in the creation of a solid, cohesive bloc – a third bloc – which will be neither communistic nor capitalistic but truly socialistic based on the principles which characterized Caliph Umar’s regime.”
During the Pakistan Movement, Quaid-e-Azam was not just fighting for the freedom of the Muslims of the Indian Subcontinent but advocating for the freedom of all Muslims struggling against colonial powers.  If people read Quaid’s presidential address to the Muslim League’s Lahore Session of March 23, 1940 after passing the Pakistan Resolution, he urged the British Government to meet the demands of the Arabs in Palestine.
Quaid-e-Azam openly supported North African Arabs in their struggle to rid themselves of French rule and oppression.  He considered the Dutch attack upon Indonesia as an attack on Pakistan itself and refused transit facilities to Dutch ships and place, carrying war materials to Indonesia.  He played an important role in the struggle of Muslim countries. He, therefore, provided all possible diplomatic and material assistance to the liberation movement in Indonesia, Malaya, Sudan, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, Nigeria, and Algeria.
The Quaid’s efforts to help Muslim liberation movements was acknowledged by no less than then Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, who wrote in a letter of appreciation to Quaid-e-Azam, “I take this opportunity for the first time to write to you thanking you for your valuable efforts that you are making continuously for the services of Islam and Muslims, not only in India but all the Islamic countries, according to the command of God for Islamic brotherhood and cooperation between the Muslims…the whole of the Islamic world values you and the Muslim League’s stand and admires your continuous blessed efforts in the services of the Muslims,”  When Quaid passed away on September 11, 1948, al-Husseini considered his death as a “great loss” to the entire world of Islam.
During the Indonesian National Revolution, Quaid-e-Azam encouraged Muslim soldiers serving in British Indian army to join hands with Indonesians in their fight against the Dutch Imperial colonization of Indonesia.  As a result, 600-Muslim soldiers of the British Indian Army deserted the colonial forces putting their lot at stake, allied with Indonesians.  Out of these 600 soldiers, 500 of them died in war; while the survivors returned to Pakistan or continued to live in Indonesia.  As a recognition of Muslim soldiers from Pakistan, during Indonesia Golden Jubilee celebration on August 17, 1995, Indonesia granted Independence War Awards to the living ex-Pakistani soldiers and awarded the highest honor Adipura to our Founding Father Muhammad All Jinnah and the Government of Pakistan.
It was Quaid that described the creation of Israel as “the illegitimate child of the West” and Shaheed-e-Millat Liaquat Ali Khan’s meeting with Zionist lobby in America in May 1950 rebuked them, “Gentlemen, our souls are not for sale”
However, we currently have a certain segment of Pakistani advocating recognition of Israel by out government contrary to the policy stance of Quaid-e-Azam and Shaheed-e-Millat, who didn’t sell their souls and conscience for the sake of material gains or the lives of Muslims.  I remind them what Quaid said about Palestine in October 1945:
“Jews are also suffering from the same disease as the Congress. Over half a million Jews have already been accommodated in Jerusalem against the wishes of the people. May I know which other country has accommodated them? I have great sympathy for them and have no ill-will against the Jews but the question is that they have entered Palestine with a set motive to reconquer Jerusalem (which they lost 2,000 years ago) with the help of British and American forces. I hope the Jews will not succeed in their nefarious designs and I wish Great Britain and America should keep their hands off from them, and then I will see how the Jews conquer Jerusalem. Every man and the women of Muslim world will die before Jewry seizes Jerusalem. Slave and a subject race as we are, still our hearts and souls go in sympathy with those who are struggling for their freedom and let us hope that the people of Palestine and Indonesia will survive their ordeals. Subjugation and exploitation, if carried now, there will be no peace and end of wars. And if such exploitation of small nations is to continue even after this bloody war then let us pray to God to send some more destructive force than the atomic bomb to do the work and job of this world.”
In his Eid message in August 1948, Quaid called for unity to address the issues facing the Muslim world, “My Eid message to our brother Muslim States is one of friendship and goodwill. We are all passing through perilous times. The drama of power politics that is being staged in Palestine, Indonesia and Kashmir should serve an eye opener to us. It is only by putting up a united front that we can make our voice felt in the counsels of the world.”
We need statesman-like leadership as displayed by Quaid, Shaheed-e-Millat and Bhutto who also had a pan-Islamic vision of unity, which Bhutto Sahib tried to achieve through 1974 OIC Summit in Lahore and established close ties with Shah Faisal of Saudi Arabia to try to form an Islamic bloc not to create disunity like what is unfortunately happening today.
I strongly urge our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to continue to support a pan-Islamic vision for Pakistan as envisioned by our founding fathers and play the role an honest broker in the affairs of the Islamic World to bring Muslims together.
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