By Mian Muhammad Javed
Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah the most revered leader of the Muslims of the Subcontinent was a man having inter alia a strong moral character unmatched by any other contemporary leader of those days. He is quoted as an example of impeccable integrity on which he never compromised. He is a role model for those who believe that in a Muslim nation personal character of leadership is as important as other necessary inherent qualities of leadership which get radiated to inspire people at large. This is in variation from the secular world concept that leadership may have personal weaknesses but should excel in political or military acumen merely. It is rather strange and beyond understanding that most of the subsequent political leadership in Pakistan instead of looking at and emulating the most successful and adored personality of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and his traits never tire of eulogizing the services and examples of foreign leaders, many of whom considered personal conduct not a matter of public scrutiny and took pride in their adventures which were frequently based on unaccepted social norms. An ideological state having been created it would be only right that politicians clamoring to play a leadership role in such a state should follow a proper role model of which the shining example is that of trend setter Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan who was an embodiment of qualities of head and heart. In the context of prevailing political situation in Pakistan where there are serious problems of internal security and country is facing foreign pressures it is all the more important that inspiration should be drawn from examples set by the Quaid in dealing with internal dissidents and outsiders.
He took firm stand on principles, remained adamant in face of unruly opponents and ported a strong sense of self-respect. Even with colonial masters of the day he would neither put up with improper behavior nor would tolerate a slight. It would be opportune to recall some of the incidents to elaborate on his conduct. One incident dates back to the period in his life when he started legal practice as a young lawyer. He always pleaded cases with solid arguments without involving an iota of imploration. In the course of hearing in a court of law the English magistrate due to some reason or other reminded Jinnah that he was in the court of a 1st class magistrate. Prompt came the reply by Jinnah that the advocate in him was of no lesser class. Jinnah carried his sense of self- respect every where in dealing with Indian leaders of the day including those belonging to Indian Congress. He never allowed himself to be brow beaten. Jinnah was endowed with an impressive personality by nature, and on top of it he would dress himself immaculately and maintain a posture and facial expression which commanded respect from all who were in company. It is narrated that on visit to London for political parleys he stayed in hotel. In the morning he descended from his hotel suite into the breakfast hall, using stairs. When the people present in the restaurant noticed him they all rose involuntary and stood up as a gesture of respect to him. Another interesting story about Quaid also relates to his appearance in a court of law as pleader of a client. While making arguments, monocle which Jinnah was using for reading from his notes slipped from his eye and dropped on the floor. The magistrate mischievously grinned and felt delighted, anticipating that Jinnah would have to bend in his court to pick up the monocle. He was disappointed when Jinnah put his hand in his pocket, brought out another monocle and applied it to his eye while continuing the arguments.
In the meanwhile Jinnah’s legal assistant rose and picked up the monocle from the floor. He is known to have never abandoned his sense of propriety even while dealing with colleagues, clients, political comrades and arch political rivals. At the same time Quaid dealt with political adversaries with grace. He possessed spontaneity and a sharp wit of which we find several examples. Here are a few. While undertaking a journey Quaid would generally travel by train. His seat would be reserved in first class compartment. On the other hand, Congress leaders like Gandhi, Nehru & others to gain politic mileage, used to sit in the third class compartment. Gandhi is reported to have remarked once that he travelled in third class because there was no fourth class in the train. Journalist once confronted Jinnah with a question as to how Congress leadership travelled in third class like the proletariat while he enjoys the first class journey. Quaid’s reply was sharp. He said that he travelled in first class but pays from his own pocket to buy the ticket, while the congress leaders travel in third class without ticket. It made headlines.
Although, Quaid-i-Azam could speak exhaustively on issues but in reply to questions he was usually brief and to the point. He would not harangue people with long sermons. Some of my friends and relatives had good memories of meeting and hearing him. Mr. Nasim Anwar Baig a Muslim student leader and member of Pakistan movement relates accounts of such an incident. A group of Muslim students had an opportunity to call on the Quaid. During the freedom movement, ‘What brings you here’ asked Quaid straightway. It was explained by students that Congress aligned Hindu students in colleges were arming themselves with weapons and they had come to seek his blessings to do likewise so that they can defend themselves from possible attacks by militancy minded people. ‘No’ came the unambiguous reply from Quaid.
Instead he advised them to go to their educational institutions and devote time to their studies and acquire knowledge which he explained was their best weapon. As against this it is shocking to note the actions of governments when terrorism has been taking its toll in the country. As if gun running was not enough, in today’s Pakistan there is demand for more and more licenses of prohibited bore weapons. In order to highlight another aspect of his character, it is pertinent to refer to another story which is attributed to Late Mr. Qudrat Ullah Shahab a well known and respected member of civil service. He per chance found some important papers in office files containing information which could be very useful for Muslim League. He managed access to Quaid and presented the papers personally to him. After thanking him for the information Quaid advised him not to repeat the practice and strictly follow the official rules.
Sense of justice and fair play was implicit in the actions of Quaid right from the beginning. He advocated equal rights for all citizens. In this respect Quaid-i-Azam viewed members of minority community worthy of equal treatment in all respect. My late father Mian Muhammad Ibrahim was a great fan of Quaid. He recalls Quaid’s observations which he made before the people of Gujranwala during freedom movement. A group of Hindu and Muslim residents had gathered to greet him. As usual he was brief and gist of what he said was that Muslim League when in power would treat every body with justice and fairplay, regardless of cast, creed and faith. On the other hand Nehru on a different occasion while addressing a similar crowd in Gujranwala had only a politics based message for Muslims to the effect that they should go and forge unity among themselves implying that they should support Jamiat Ulema Hind (JUH), a political party aligned with Congress and sort of pinpointing to a fissure in Muslim community. Quaid was a visionary. He was always thinking about future times when his dream of Pakistan would be realized.
An advice from Quaid was recalled by my late uncle Mian Muhammad Younis who was contemporary of Hamid Nizami and Altaf Gohar at Islamia College Railway Road Lahore. Whenever in Lahore Quaid would pay a visit this institution and meet with the Muslim students’ community there. During one of his visit Altaf Gohar brought to the notice of Quaid that Younis would leave Islamia College shortly to join Mclagan Engineering College and that he would most likely lose opportunity to meet Quaid in future. Quaid patted Younis on the back and remarked that future Pakistan needs a large number of engineers to build the nation and asked Younis to go to Mclagan Engineering College and pursue studies there to become a good engineer. This small incidence is reflective of foresight in him. Twenty-first century saw unprecedented technological development in some of the developing countries like China. One of the noteworthy reason for their quick achievement is that they heavily invested in technical & engineering human resource and consequently have attained phenomenal economic growth. It is generally believed that about one third of the ministers in the cabinet of government of Peoples Republic of China (PRC) are engineers by profession. Of course the country needs engineers who are competent and honest.
Quaid was a great human being. a great man and a great leader. Above all, he was an upright and honourable person. His personal qualities and his commitment to the cause of Pakistan had infused in him such a degree of confidence that he could look into eyes of blue blooded royal family personage like Earl of Mountbatten without fear and argue to win his case for creation of a new state. Compare it with disposition of most of the political masters who followed him. We at international level have come under pressure on account of alleged inability to do enough on terrorism. An impression has been created that we have become apologetic and are acting at the behest of foreign powers for economic gains but at the cost of self esteem. This impression must be dispelled and by actions it must shown to the world that we are an honourable nation where actions are guided solely keeping in view long term interests of people of Pakistan who are able to face adverse circumstances with fortitude without compromising on their dignity and self respect.
In the end it is essential to describe Quaid’s reaction to a situation on another occasion. It is known that after creation of Pakistan, the newly born state had to pass through difficult times. Millions of refugees migrated to Pakistan from India and makeshift camps were set up to house them. There was a big camp set up at Walton Lahore. Having been subjected to worst atrocities by rioters refugees were in miserable condition mentally and physically. On the other hand there was an acute shortage of resources in the new state. Quaid-i-Azam came to Walton to meet with these homeless citizens of Pakistan. He felt disturbed and was deeply moved. He extolled their sacrifices but told them frankly that he had nothing to give to them. His proposition was that “Let us resolve to work hard jointly to solve all the problems and build a prosper Pakistan”. He motivated and instilled hope in them. It is a matter of record how all refugees were settled. This is the sort of politics we need. Learning from this leadership should take people into confidence, show commitment and work sincerely for their betterment. It is only instructive that Quaid’s sayings, speeches and actions are studied and disseminated to create a proper political and leadership culture worthy of a democratic welfare state. Only then we shall be able to guard our national sovereignty with honour and pride and shall be able to face the challenges of the new world order.