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Quaid-e-Azam’s Vision for Pakistan: An Islamic or Liberal State?

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By Moeez Saleem

The founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, is a revered figure in the country’s history, known for his tireless efforts to secure a separate homeland for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. However, a contentious debate persists regarding whether Quaid-e-Azam envisioned Pakistan as an Islamic state or a liberal one. This article will explore the nuances of Jinnah’s vision and the complexities of the Islamic versus liberal state debate.

One perspective suggests that Quaid-e-Azam aimed to establish Pakistan as an Islamic state, rooted in the principles of Islamic law or Sharia. Jinnah’s speeches and statements often emphasized the importance of Islamic values in the new nation. He spoke of justice, equality, and the welfare of the people, all of which are consistent with Islamic principles.

Jinnah’s efforts to secure the rights of Muslims in a majority-Hindu India also highlight his commitment to the protection of religious minorities, a fundamental Islamic principle. Additionally, the Objectives Resolution of 1949, which was passed after Jinnah’s death, laid the foundation for Pakistan as an Islamic state, committing to the promotion of Islamic values.

On the other hand, there are arguments suggesting that Quaid-e-Azam envisioned Pakistan as a liberal state, characterized by principles of democracy, rule of law, and individual freedoms. Jinnah’s famous speech on August 11, 1947, to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, emphasized the importance of religious freedom and the separation of religion from the state’s affairs. He said, “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Furthermore, Pakistan’s initial constitution in 1956 did not declare it an Islamic state. It was only later, during General Zia-ul-Haq’s regime in the late 1970s, that amendments were made to the constitution, explicitly labeling Pakistan as an Islamic Republic.

It is crucial to understand that Quaid-e-Azam’s vision for Pakistan was multifaceted and evolved over time. His primary objective was to secure a separate homeland for Muslims where they could freely practice their religion and live as equal citizens. While Islamic values were important to him, Jinnah also recognized the diversity within Pakistan and the need to protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs.

The question of whether Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah aimed to establish Pakistan as an Islamic or liberal state is complex and has sparked ongoing debates. His vision was shaped by the historical context and the challenges he faced during the partition of India. Ultimately, Jinnah’s primary goal was to create a nation where Muslims could exercise their rights and live in harmony, and whether Pakistan is an Islamic state or a liberal one continues to be a matter of interpretation and debate.

The writer can be reached at:[email protected]

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