The ‘Idea’ and the ‘Meaning’ of Pakistan

By Mehmood Aslam

Does it signify something special? Is it just another holiday for us to relax at our homes?

Pakistan is an ideological state, created after perpetual efforts, sacrificing millions of lives by the Muslims of the subcontinent, who had lived under a prejudiced, repressive, hostile British Raj for nearly two centuries. In addition to a largely hostile Hindu leadership working in tandem with extremist Hindu factions, who often did not shy of displaying open animosity towards Islam and Muslims.

Muslims gradually realized that something ought to be done no matter the cost, if they want to secure their future generations from subjugation and live their lives in honor and freedom according to the tenets of their religion. The movement gained momentum with the passage of time and the historical ‘Pakistan Resolution’ was passed on this day in 1940. The resolution was actually a promising gesture from the attendees that Pakistan will be formed even if it demands sacrifice of all what they had. The poem composed by AsgharSodai, Pakistan KaMatlab Kia, La ilahail Allah, became the rallying call of a united Muslim front. Allah SWT blessed that collective effort and in a period of seven years, they achieved that goal, as Pakistan became a reality, reviving with itself the oft-neglected concept of Muslim nationhood.


The powerful idea behind the newly formed state; Islam, the basis for unity and nationhood, as opposed to race, language, color, ethnicity or ancestry, made Pakistan a spiritual successor to the Ottoman or Abbasid Caliphate.

An achievement of that scale does not come without sacrifice. The partition was a massacre. More than 1.5 million Muslims were mercilessly martyred during migration, by the Hindus and Sikhs. The Hindu in particular saw it as a division that would scar ‘Mother India’. Retaliation was fierce, but motivation surpassed resistance. Determination enabled the Muslims to forbear and the sacrifices paid off. Interestingly these days, certain elements work tirelessly to try to erase this historical reality from the minds of the Pakistanis, especially the youth. Backed by hostile forces, they succeeded to some extent, and we saw a section of people who began ridiculing the ‘Two Nation Theory’ questioning the events and circumstances that led to the partition. A newly cooked up alternate-narrative would lead some to deny the historical ideological basis for Pakistan, claiming Muhammad Ali Jinnah to be a secularist who divided India to merely secure economic benefits for the Muslim minority in India. Regardless of the fact that this whole idea is easily dismissible after examining historical facts, to have people question the basis of their identity finding their way to top positions on mass-media platforms is something that requires utmost attention.


As the late General Zia-ul-Haq, famously said:


“Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.”


Regardless, whether one agrees with the analogy or not, but what is certain is that if a people are made to forget their own history and identity, question the very basis of their existence and loose their purpose in life unsure of their place as a citizen of the world, it is not difficult for their enemies to overcome them militarily or enslaving them, perhaps not in the literal sense, but in the sense of mentally colonising them. It is thus not far-fetched to label all such efforts to distort and disfigure the history of the Pakistan Movement, as subversive enemy propaganda aimed at the masses, circulated and propagated by fifth-columnists at the behest of hostile external forces.


The people of the subcontinent had left their homes, belongings and everything they had, from every nook and corner of British-India, for what? Despite seeing the obvious that Hindu-India would be more favored and blessed by the British rulers. Having lived in those conditions, what was the attraction for them in Pakistan, is something no intellectually honest historian will be able to deny.


As Muhammad Ali Jinnah once remarked:


“We, the two major nations [Hindus and Muslims], not only differ in religion but have two totally different cultures. Our religion [Islam] contains a code of life in the conduct of every department and we want to live in accordance with the same ideals…”  (27 Nov 1945)

A few days earlier on the 20th of November, 1945, he addressed the Frontier Muslim League conference and said:


“We have to fight a double-edged battle, one against the Hindu Congress and the other against the British Imperialists, both of whom are capitalist. The Muslims demand Pakistan, where they could live according to their own code of life, their own cultural growth, traditions and Islamic Laws.”


Today, by the Grace of Allah SWT, a number of activists, intellectuals, historians and scholars are standing up for the ideological defense of the idea of Pakistan. It is not easy to befool an entire nation. As events unfolded, a lot of people saw through the disinformation campaign and exposed the fallacies of those working on a clear hostile agenda. Following the footsteps of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the ideology of Muhammad Iqbal, they have been succeeded in uniting the people of the four provinces; social, political and religious organizations and all the segments of society, reviving the spirit of unity among them, on the basis of the Kalima La ilahail Allah that the Muslims displayed during the Pakistan Movement.


Following historical quotes from the speeches of the great leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah are more than enough to clear any misconceptions or doubts over him or over how he imagined Pakistan:


“Islam has taught us this, and I think you will agree with me that whatever else you may be and whatever you are, you are a Muslim. You belong to a Nation now; you have now carved out a territory, vast territory, it is all yours . . .”


– Speech at a public gathering at Dacca

– 21 March 1948

– Jinnah: Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, Introduction by S.M. Burke, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2000, p. 148




“I could not understand a section of people who deliberately wanted to create mischief and made a propaganda that the constitution of Pakistan would not be made on the basis of Shariat.”


– Quoted by Mr. Justice (Retd.) Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui, former Chief Justice of Pakistan and reported in The Express Tribune newspaper in its edition of 26 December 2012. Justice Siddiqui was speaking at a conference organized by Baqai Medical University, Karachi to commemorate Jinnah’s 136th birth anniversary.




“Whatever I have done, I did as a servant of Islam, and only tried to perform my duty and made every possible contribution within my power to help our Nation. . . We Musalmans believe in one God, one Book – the Holy Qur’an – and one Prophet. So we must stand united as one nation. You know the old saying that in unity lies strength; united we stand, divided we fall.

I am glad that there is full realization on your part that now the position is basically different. It is no longer a foreign government as it was, but it is now a Muslim Government and Muslim rule that holds the reigns of this great independent sovereign State of Pakistan. It is now the duty of every Musalman, yours and mine, and every Pakistani to see that the State, which we have established, is strengthened . . .


In the end, I warmly thank you for the wholehearted and unstinted declaration of your pledge and your assurances to support Pakistan, so that it may reach the pinnacle of glories of Islam and become a great and mighty nation among other nations of the world.”


– Jinnah: Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, Introduction by S.M. Burke, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2000, p. 198




”Pakistan is the premier Islamic State and the fifth largest in the world. . . The constitution of Pakistan has yet to be framed by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. I do not know what the ultimate shape of this constitution is going to be, but I am sure that it will be of a democratic type, embodying the essential principles of Islam. Today, they are as applicable in actual life as they were 1,300 years ago. Islam and idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of men, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan.”


– Radio Broadcast to the People of the United States of America

– 1 February 1948

– Jinnah: Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, Introduction by S.M. Burke, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2000, p. 125




“It is only when Pakistan is established that Indian and Egyptian Muslims will be really free. Otherwise there will be a menace of a Hindu imperialist Raj spreading its tentacles right across the Middle East.”


– To the Prime Minister of Egypt.

– 1946

– The End of the Great Game




“The establishment of Pakistan for which we have been striving for the last ten years is, by the grace of Allah, an established fact today, but the creation of a State of our own was means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own desires and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.”


– Address to the military officers of Civil, Naval and Air forces

– 11 October 1947

– MADINA CHARTER AND QUAID E AZAM, By S. H. Qadri, Research Associate, MUSLIM Institute




“Islam and its idealism have taught democracy. Islam has taught equality, justice and fairplay to everybody.


The Prophet (PBUH) was a great teacher. He was a great law-giver. He was a great statesman and he was a great Sovereign who ruled. No doubt, there are people who do not quite appreciate when we talk of Islam. . . Islam is not only a set of rituals, traditions and spiritual doctrines. Islam is a code for every Muslim which regulates his life and his conduct in even politics and economics and the like.


Why this feeling of nervousness that the future constitution of Pakistan is going to be in conflict with Shariat Laws? . . . Islamic principles today are as applicable to life as they were 1,300 years ago.”


– Address to the Karachi Bar Association

– 25 January 1948

– Jinnah: Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, Introduction by S.M. Burke, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2000, pp. 97-98




“There can . . . be only one lingua franca, that is, the language for inter-communication between the various provinces of the State, and that language should be Urdu and cannot be any other. The State language, therefore, must obviously be Urdu, a language that has been nurtured by a hundred million Muslims of this sub-continent, a language understood throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan and above all, a language which, more than any other provincial language, embodies the best that is in Islamic culture and Muslim tradition and nearest to the language used in other Islamic countries.”


– Speech at the Convocation of Dacca University

– 24 March 1948

– Jinnah: Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, Introduction by S.M. Burke, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2000, pp. 157-158




“What more can one really expect than to see that this mighty land has now been brought under a rule, which is Islamic, Muslim rule, as a sovereign independent State.”


– Jinnah: Speeches and Statements 1947-1948, Introduction by S.M. Burke, Oxford University Press, Karachi, 2000, p. 201




“They fail to see that a group of people, who deliberately want to make mischief, is involved in propaganda that the foundation of Pakistan will not be laid on the principles of Islam. Today, also the principles of Islam are applicable to life in the same way as they were thirteen hundred years ago…. Let us make this, (the constitution of Pakistan). We will make it and show it to the whole world.”


– Karachi

– 25 January, 1947

– MADINA CHARTER AND QUAID E AZAM, By S. H. Qadri, Research Associate, MUSLIM Institute

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