“People of Pakistan are far ahead of their leaders.
They are waiting for leaders with Mr. Jinnah’s vision and integrity.”
These were some of the thoughts shared by speakers at the Special Seminar on ‘Muhammad Ali Jinnah: His Vision and Struggle’ organized by the Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS), here in the capital today. The eminent panel included Senator (R) Javed Jabbar, Former Federal Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan; Prof. Dr. Riaz Ahmad, President Anjuman Faiz-ul-Islam; and Prof. Dr. Iqbal Chawla, Former Dean of Faculty of Arts & Humanities, University of Punjab, Lahore. CASS Research Assistant Shaza Arif delivered the introductory remarks and moderated the proceedings. She stressed that every generation in Pakistan needs to learn about Muhammad Ali Jinnah, given that a firm grasp of Pakistan’s history and a clear direction of the state’s future remains weak without understanding him. Senator Javed Jabbar, in his Keynote Address, shared that Jinnah’s vision of Pakistan evolved decades before the word ‘Pakistan’ was even conceived or the freedom movement even began. In fact, his concept of what ‘Muslims’ were or should be, did not begin with the Lahore Resolution. Senator Jabbar observed that one only needs to look at Jinnah’s speeches of over 42 years to see how futuristic he was, his acute clarity of thought, and his desire for change, combined with his willingness to be pragmatic rather than obstinate. He argued that one major example of Jinnah’s vision can be seen from the fact that he stressed the importance of compulsory elementary education for all children in the subcontinent at a time when no one was interested in such a model. The Keynote Speaker further shared that more than equality, equity was the cardinal principle of Quaid’s political life, vision, and thinking, be it political, gender, or institutional equity. On the current and future trajectory, Mr. Jabbar strongly urged that political equity for Pakistan could only come through electoral reforms. He also called for direct political representation of women and the need to practice austerity, following Jinnah’s model, in the current economic crisis. ‘People of Pakistan are far ahead of their leaders. They are waiting for leaders with Mr. Jinnah’s vision and integrity,’ he concluded. Prf. Dr. Riaz Ahmad, President Anjuman Faiz-ul-Islam, giving an account of Jinnah’s struggle, political journey, and the case for Pakistan, informed the audience that Quaid-i-Azam learned politics from spending hours and hours in parliament, observing how politicians argued in parliamentary debates. According to the speaker, Jinnah as ‘Quaid’ was exceptional, but the legal acumen, high sense of integrity, responsibility, and sound character displayed by young Jinnah, was also extraordinary. Quoting Jinnah, Dr. Riaz Ahmad said that ‘Pakistan not only means freedom and independence,’ it is a Muslim ideology that has to be safeguarded. ‘Pakistan is Jinnah’s precious gift and treasure to us which we must protect’, he reminded. Prof. Dr. Iqbal Chawla lamented that as a state, Pakistan had failed to safeguard its hard-won freedoms and taken an endless series of wrong turns in every sphere of life and thus totally shunned the spirit, which led to Pakistan. He pointed to several internal and external socio- and 1geopolitical challenges Pakistan was currently facing. Dr. Chawla was of the view that these problems were ‘primarily of our own making and led to the strengthening of centrifugal forces reinforced by powerful and resourceful international state-led internal mafias in all sectors of life.’ Jinnah, he said, wanted Pakistan to be inclusive, with an impartial government, complete religious freedom, rule of law, and equality for all. Delivering his Concluding Remarks and Vote of Thanks, President of CASS Air Marshal Farhat Hussain Khan (Retd) thanked the speakers and acknowledged that Quaid-i-Azam was the most charismatic leader, and Pakistan was fortunate to have him as a leader. However, he lamented that the Pakistani nation had diverted from his authentic vision. ‘By following his governance guidelines, we can once again build and strengthen our institutions’, he urged and announced that CASS would commemorate Iqbal and Jinnah’s lives in special events every year. The seminar was followed by the inauguration of the ‘Jinnah Corner’ in the CASS Library containing important works on Muhammad Ali Jinnah, attended by a large number of retired and serving Air Force officers, diplomats, students, and academia.