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coronavirus
Coronavirus
VERY HIGH
Source: covid.gov.pk
Pakistan Deaths
29,162
2524hr
Pakistan Cases
1,393,887
7,53924hr
Sindh
533,496
Punjab
469,540
Balochistan
34,131
Islamabad
122,098
KPK
187,983

TEXT: Pakistan today faces a crisis of leadership. Pakistan has leaders of political parties, regions, provinces, tribal and ethnic entities, religious and sectarian groups. There is no leader today whose appeal cuts across these societal entities. Similarly, there is no leader who has developed the capacity to mobilize all kinds of people from different regions and political or cultural orientations. Most leaders find it difficult to rise above their personal and group or party interests.

The leaders who have made a significant impact on the course of history, politics and society of a country demonstrate some important traits that are viewed as integral to the concept of leadership. An important trait of leadership is an intellectual capacity backed by modern education but not delinked from local political and societal context against the backdrop of a deep understanding of dynamics of history. This builds a thought process to analyze the current situation, develop a vision of the future and the pathways to achieve that vision. A leader combines idealism with pragmatism. He goes beyond talking about what is to be done and mobilizes others for taking concrete steps in a particular political and societal context to achieve a goal articulated by him but widely shared by his followers. He is not simply a talker but also an achiever. It is the achievement that makes him the leader of eminence.

Most leaders who have made a significant imprint on history this eminence through a long-drawn struggle, starting from a low level to reach to the top rank by their intellectual ability, honesty and determination and hard work. They articulate the concern of the society and convince the people at large that they have the solution of their current problems and give them a vision of the future and lead them to achieve that goal. When we talk of great leaders of different nations, it is important to understand their background, the leadership path and how and why they were able to win the confidence of the people? What contributed to their political glory, i.e., personal and contextual factors and a sense of judgement and pursuance of an agenda that has a wider appeal in a diversified society.

It is difficult to suggest if any current political leader in Pakistan has demonstrated these qualities. However, Pakistan’s history provides an example of a leader who not only met these criteria but also created new standards of honesty and a strong sense of purpose that focused on the welfare of the people. He stood for people rather than for himself. He is Quaid-I-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who led the political movement for the creation of a nation-state--a homeland—for the Muslims of British India and changed the course of history of this region and impacted the world history and politics.

Quaid Azam Jinnah did not inherit leadership of the All-India Muslim League from his father. He was not a son of a feudal lord or an affluent industrialist. He was not part of any political dynasty. Nor did he create a dynasty to rule Pakistan. He started his professional and political career as an intelligent and self-confident young person who believed in hard work and had performance orientations. He completed the Bar-at-Law in the UK in April 1896 and returned to Bombay in July and started his legal career by registering as a lawyer with the Bombay High Court in August of that year. He was appointed magistrate in Bombay in 1900 but he left the job after few months to return to law practice. His initial politics was shaped by his active interaction with Indian liberals and the cosmopolitan and achievement-oriented mercantile atmosphere of Bombay.

Jinnah joined the Congress Party as an ordinary member in 1906. He was elected to the Imperial Legislative Council in 1909 from Bombay’s Muslim constituency. He joined the All-India Muslim League as an ordinary member in 1913, and maintained the membership of both parties until 1920, when he left the Congress Party for good and devoted himself completely to the cause of the Muslims and the Muslim League. By this time, his credibility was established as a top law practitioner who could present his perspective in a persuasive and logical manner and who had a deep understanding of political problems of India in general and the Muslims in particular. It was not long that he took a lead role in the Muslim League and played an important role in shaping Muslim politics in British India. He emerged as the most outstanding advocate of the Muslim rights and interest. His politics was focused on evolving a political framework for India that protected and advanced the cultural and civilizational identity of the Muslims and their political rights and interests in the constitutional arrangements in India. His role in the signing of the Lucknow Pact (1916) between the Congress and the Muslim League and his famous Fourteen Points presented in his speech to the Muslim League in 1929 showed his professional skills and leadership qualities. His Fourteen Points were a concise statement on the securities and safeguards needed by the Muslims of British India in the future constitutional and political arrangements.

He was conscious of the decline of the Muslims not only in India but also elsewhere. He focused on reviving the glory of Islam by focusing on the regeneration of the Muslims in British India. In a way he moved ahead with the mission initiated by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and Allama Iqbal. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan worked on modern education and social reforms among the Muslim to meet the challenges of the changed political conditions in the post-1857 period. He asked them to assign priority to modern education while not compromising on their Islamic heritage and identity. Allama Iqbal was concerned about the decline of Muslims and identified options for their regeneration and Islamic renaissance in British India. He inspired them by the notion of “Khudi”, “Mard-e-Momin” and the glorious spirit of Islamic teachings and principles and self-confidence to change the situation.

Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah took practical steps for revival and regeneration of the Muslims of British India in a manner to protect and advance their civilizational and cultural identity derived from the teachings and principles of Islam and their rights and interests as a distinct community in the modern state system which the British had evolved in India. Syed Ahmad Khan, Allama Iqbal and Jinnah inspired several other Muslims who also played a leadership role inside and outside the Muslim League for asserting distinct Muslim identity and worldview and how to secure their future.

Out of the Muslim leaders in British India during 1920-1947, Jinnah with his intellect, a deep understanding of Muslim history and pragmatic approach to achieve the ideal of a separate homeland emerged as the charismatic leader. Charisma is the product of peculiar political conditions but what matters most are the personal qualities of the leader and his capacity to change the political context to his vision of the future. Jinnah was always confident of himself and his cause and understood the aspirations of the Muslims of British India and expressed these as concrete demands. No other leader was able to articulate and aggregate the concerns of the ordinary Muslims with such a clarity and determination. That is why that his followers developed a strong faith in his capacity to solve their problems and that he would secure their future a distinct national identity. While sustaining the trust of the Muslims of different regions of British India, Jinnah possessed an extraordinary legal and constitutional insight that made him exceptional negotiator for delicate constitutional and political affairs. He was also well-disciplined and organized person enabling him to manage the political affairs in a systematic manner.

It was not surprising that most analysts of his role recognize him as the charismatic leader. Some of the well-known writers who recognize his charismatic qualities, include among others, Sharif al Mujahid, Stanley Wolpert, Sikander Hayat, R.J. Moor, Waheed-uz-Zaman, Akbar S. Ahmad, and Qayum Nizami. Even those who disagree with his politics and the demand for a separate homeland, recognize him as a person with exceptional intellect and an honest and determined leader who changed the map of British India.

He the status of the most eminent Muslim leader of the Sub-Continent with magnetic appeal for the Muslims of different parts of British India after a long and dedicated work for the protection and advancement of their rights and interests. It was after his return to India in 1934 and the taking-over the command of the Muslim League that he embarked on road to charismatic and undisputed leader of most of the Muslims. By 1939-40, Jinnah concluded that the future of the Muslim would not be secure in a federal constitutional framework in India after the exit of the British because his experience of interaction with the Congress leadership that had adopted a hostile attitude towards the political demands of the Muslims.

Jinnah argued that Muslims were not a community but a nation, and as a nation they wanted their independent homeland to secure their future as a distinct national identity and organize their lives in accordance with the ideals and principles of Islam. His speeches and statements in 1940-47, including the exchange of letters with Mahatma Gandhi in 1944, provide strong arguments on the nationhood of the Muslims of British India and why they needed a separate homeland. Keeping in view the goal of Pakistan, the Muslim League was willing to give a try to the Cabinet Mission Plan (1946), but the negative disposition of the Congress Party left no doubt in the minds of Muslim political leaders and activists that they could not agree to anything less than a separate homeland.

Though Jinnah’s political discourse employed Islamic idiom and reference to Islamic teachings and principles in the post-1934 period, he never thought of creating a religious state based on orthodox and fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic religious text. Trained in British liberal and legal traditions and being a jurist of stature, he wanted Pakistan to be a modern democratic state that derived its ethical guidance from Islam’s teachings and principles of social justice, equality, honesty, and fair play. As the modernist Muslim of the 1940s, he was convinced that the modern notions of democracy, constitutionalism and the rule of law coincided with the teachings and principles of Islam. He believed that Islam provided a moral basis for the state and society. He was fascinated by the concepts of socio-economic justice and equality and constitutionalism as articulated in the teachings of Islam.

Jinnah believed that the Constituent Assembly would frame the constitution for Pakistan, and he emphasized the notion of equal citizenship irrespective of religion, caste, or region. His address to the Constituent Assembly on August 11, 1947, not only talked of the state not discriminating citizens on the basis of religion but he also talked of the threat of corruption and nepotism to the new state of Pakistan

If we want to rectify the ills of contemporary politics in Pakistan, improve the quality of democracy and governance, we need to carefully examine Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah’s personal qualities, intellect and sense of history, professional legal and political skills, reputation as an honest and dedicated person who built his political career by hard work and commitment to the welfare of the Muslims. He rose to political eminence not because of his family background but due to his hard and committed struggle over a long period of time. At the personal and professional level, he enjoyed outstanding reputation as a leader who had no personal greed in leadership. As a selfless and committed leader, he won the trust of the ordinary Muslims. His strength was a self-sacrificing and honest personality, exceptional intellect, and popular reverence. He earned his charismatic leadership.

“If we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous, we should concentrate on the well being of the people, especially of the masses and the poor. Everyone of you, no matter what his colour, caste or creed, is first, second or last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations”.

Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Address to the Constituent Assembly

of Pakistan August 11, 1947

DR. HASAN ASKARI RIZVI

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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