Speech on the Inauguration of the Pakistan Constituent
Assembly on 14th August, 1947
Your Excellency, I thank His Majesty the King on behalf of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and myself for his gracious message. I know great responsibilities lie ahead, and I naturally reciprocate his sentiments and we are grateful for his assurance of sympathy and support, and I hope that you will communicate to His Majesty our assurance of goodwill and friendship for the British nation and himself as the Crown head of the British.
I thank you for your expressions of goodwill and good wishes for the future of Pakistan. It will be our constant endeavor to work for the welfare and well-being of all the communities in Pakistan, and I hope that everyone would be inspired by the idea of public service, and they will be imbued with the spirit of co-operation and will excel in their political and civic virtues which go to make a great nation and help to advance its greatness.
I once more thank you and Lady Mountbatten for your kindness and good wishes. Yes, we are parting as friends and sincerely hope that we shall remain friends.
I wish to emphasize that we appreciate the spirit in which those in the Government service at present and in the Armed Forces and others have so willingly and ungrudgingly volunteered themselves provisionally to serve Pakistan. As servants of Pakistan we shall make them happy and they will be treated equally with our nationals. The tolerance and goodwill that great Emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslim is not of recent origin. It dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians, after he had conquered them, with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims, wherever they ruled, is replete with those humane and great principles which should be followed and practiced.
Finally, I thank you for your good wishes for Pakistan, and I assure you that we shall not be wanting in friendly spirit with our neighbors and with all nations of the world.
Speech on the Inauguration of the Pakistan Constituent
Speech at the Banquet held in Honor of Lord Mountbatten at governor-general's House, Karachi on 13th August 1947.
Your Excellency, Your Highness, and Ladies and Gentlemen,
I have great pleasure in proposing a toast of His Majesty the King.
This is one of the most momentous and unique occasions. Today, we are on the eve of complete transfer of power to the people of India, and there will emerge and establish two Independent Sovereign Dominions of Pakistan and Hindustan on the appointed day, the 15th of the August, 1947. This decision of His Majesty's Government will mark the fulfillment of the great ideal which was set forth by the formation of Commonwealth with the avowed object to make all nations and countries which formed part of the British Empire, self-governing and independent states, free from the domination of any other nation. Since the assumption of the reign of the Government of India by Queen Victoria, a great and good Queen, by the Proclamation and the very Act that was enacted for the assumption of power and authority of the British Crown and Parliament, it was made clear that it will be the deep concern and definite objective of the British Nation to lead India ultimately to the goal of its becoming self-governing and Independent State. In the pursuit of that policy since the days of Macaulay there never was any question about the principle, but there remained always the question of how and when. In that process during the reign of four generations of the British Crown there were controversies and differences of opinion as to the pace for realization of Freedom and Independence. There have been many acts of commission and omission, but at the same time we cannot help recognizing that the British genius and those Britishers who ruled India for over century did so to the best of their judgement and have left their marks in many spheres of life and especially the judicial system, which has been the greatest bulwark and safeguard for the rights and liberties of the people.
Today, it falls to the lot of King George the Sixth, the good fortune of fulfilling the promise and the noble mission with which his Great grand mother assumed the reigns of this subcontinent nearly a century ago. The reign of King George the Sixth will go down in history by the performance of this act voluntarily of transferring power and handing over the government of India which was rightly characterized as the brightest jewel in the British Empire, and by establishing two Sovereign Dominions of Pakistan and Hindustan. Such voluntary and absolute transfer of power and rule by one nation over others is unknown in the whole history of the world. It is the translation and the realization of the Great Ideal of Commonwealth which now has been effected and hence both Pakistan and Hindustan have remained members of Commonwealth, which shows how truly we appreciate the high and noble ideal by which the Commonwealth has been and will be guided in the future.
Here I would like to say, Your Excellency Lord Mountbatten, how much we appreciate your having carried out wholeheartedly the policy and the principle that was laid down by the plan of 3rd June and the Indian Independence Act which was passed by the British Parliament and received the assent of His Majesty the King on the 10th of July with grace, dignity and great ability. You are the last Viceroy of India, but Pakistan and Hindustan will always remember you, and your name will remain cherished not only in the History of these two Dominions but will find a place in the History of the World, as one who performed his task and duties magnificently.
Before I conclude, let me mark our sense of deep appreciation of the Prime Minister, Mr. Attlee, and His Majesty's Government and the British Parliament, and above all, the British nation who enthusiastically and wholeheartedly helped and supported the policy enunciated by His Majesty's Government that the people of India should be free, and that the only solution of India's constitutional problem was to divide it into Pakistan and Hindustan.
This task has now been accomplished. There lies in front of us a new chapter and it will be our endeavor to create and maintain goodwill and friendship with Britain and our neighboring dominion Hindustan along with other sister nations so that we all together may make our greatest contribution for the peace and prosperity of the world.
And now Ladies and Gentlemen, I propose the health of His Majesty, King George the Sixth.
MOST historians and biographers of Jinnah divide the latter’s political career into three main phases. Remarkably though, each one of them, considered distinct in terms of his political orientation and public policy, merged into the next.
The first phase (1904-20) of Jinnah’s political career was coterminous with the period of his deep involvement with the Congress. Then began the second phase which retained the major thrust of his earlier phase in terms of policy concerns and ultimate goals, but in which his erstwhile involvement with the Congress transformed into collaboration at critical junctures on certain issues on which the Congress’s stance was compatible with his own.
This middle phase during which he seemingly sailed in two boats finally ended in 1937, marking the beginning of his mounting decade-long confrontation with the Congress. This third phase spanned the momentous decade of 1937-47. There was, of course, yet another phase — as founder of the new nation — but it was all too brief and troubled.
Nurtured in the cosmopolitan and mercantile atmosphere of Bombay, Jinnah, during the first phase, was not, much different from Badruddin Tyabji (1844-1906), past president of the Congress, with whom he was also closely associated in the Bombay Presidency Association, the province’s foremost political body. Like Tyabji, Jinnah, if only because of his background and of the milieu of the centre of his activity, was largely oblivious of the objective realities of the Muslim situation and of the problems and thought-currents of Muslim India’s mainstream.
Later, however, his membership of the Imperial Legislative Council since 1910 gradually brought about a profound change. It brought him closer to Muslim problems and to the main centres of Muslim opinion in northern India — to Nadwa, to Aligarh, and, above all, to the Muslim League.
The gradual change in his perception of Muslim problems finally led him to recognise that the Muslims had special interests and particular needs which had to be catered to, if they were not to be left far behind in the national struggle.
Thus, began his tilt in favour of separate electorates, conceded earlier in the Morley-Minto Reforms of 1909, and led him to counsel his Hindu brethren in October 1916 that “the question is no more open to further discussion or argument as it has been a mandate of the community”, and that “the demand for separate electorates is not a matter of policy but a matter of necessity to the Mahomedans”.
From 1910 onwards, Jinnah had also begun attending the Muslim League Council meetings and sessions as a special invitee, and participating fully in its deliberations.
The three dominant strands in the first phase of Jinnah’s political career were: (i) a firm belief in a united Indian nation, with Hindus and Muslims being co-sharers in the future Indian dispensation; (ii) working for Indian freedom through Hindu-Muslim unity; and (iii) working for unity in Muslim ranks through strengthening the Muslim League.
These strands continued in the second phase as well. But with the years their position came to be reversed in his scale of priorities, as the Congress’s ultimate objectives underwent a radical change under the influence of Hindu extremists, as exemplified at the All Parties National Convention deliberations on the Nehru Report in December 1928. Here the Muslim demand for federalism, designed to ensure the substance of power to them in their majority provinces, was countered by Hindu insistence on a unitary form of a highly centralised government, with majoritarianism as the basic premise and principle which, for that precise reason, envisaged all power to the Hindu-dominated centre and only marginal powers to the provinces.
Jinnah’s quest for Hindu-Muslim unity, through a national pact, however, continued all through the second phase, and even in the initial years of the third one, ending finally about 1937-38.
In the meantime, Jinnah’s efforts for Muslim unity became increasingly pronounced with the years, becoming a passion with him towards the closing of the second phase. And even as the third phase crystallised, this passion turned into his most magnificent obsession, with himself becoming the supreme symbol of Muslim unity.
National freedom for both Hindus and Muslims continued to be the supreme goal, but the means adopted to achieve it underwent a dramatic change. If it could not be achieved through Hindu-Muslim unity, it must be achieved through Hindu-Muslim separation; if not secured through a composite Hindu-Muslim nationalism, it must be done through separate Hindu and Muslim nationalisms; if not through a united India, then through partition.
In either case, the ultimate objective was to ensure equitable political power for Muslims. If Muslims, to use Penderel Moon’s telling phrase, could not share 'the throne' with the Hindus as equals in Delhi, then they must have a 'throne' to themselves in their majority areas. Thus, a study of Jinnah’s political career shows that 'distinct as they are … each of … [the] main phases merged into the next, and the transitions between them are as important as contents of each in assessing Jinnah’s life-span. Indeed it is imperative for an understanding of him to recognise the continuity of his political progression.'
The clue to his transformation from the 'ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity' to the fiercest protagonist of Hindu-Muslim separation, therefore, lay to quote Hodson, the author of the most authoritative British account of the Great Divide, 'not in any sudden illumination or volte face, but in a long process of reinterpretation of basic concepts in the light of changing circumstances and revelations of facts.'
However, the most basic concept remained unalloyed and constant: that of ensuring equitable power for Muslims in the subcontinent. And when he failed to secure that in a multi-nation country, he devised a viable, permanent Muslim platform in ‘Pakistan’.
Viewed thus, the Pakistan demand represented an extension of Jinnah’s post-1937 posture, and its concretisation into a viable political platform. No wonder, he increasingly became identified in the Muslim mind with the concept of a charismatic community, one which answered their need for endowing and sanctifying their sense of community with a sense of power. This explains why he became their Quaid-i-Azam even before the launching of the Pakistan demand in March 1940.
The writer, HEC Distinguished National Professor, has recently edited Unesco’s History of Humanity, vol. VI, and co-edited 'In quest of Jinnah', the only oral history on Pakistan’s founding father.
Pakistanis have fond memories of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, both as a friend and leader.
On the occasion of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah's sixty-first death anniversary, Dawn.com presents an oral history in which the first generation of Pakistani citizens recall encounters with the pathbreaking leader of their new nation.
The memories and stories of those who knew Jinnah comprise the most vital account of what the Quaid was like both as a friend and a head of state - they sift through the politics and convey a sense of the person.
These memories have been documented by the Citizens Archive of Pakistan (CAP), a non-profit educational institution and heritage centre.
Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11th August, 1947
Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cordially thank you with the utmost sincerity, for the honor you have conferred upon me --the greatest honor that is possible for this Sovereign Assembly to confer-by electing me as your first President. I also thank those leaders who have spoken in appreciation of my services and their personal references to me. I sincerely hope that with your support and your cooperation we shall make this Constituent Assembly an example to the world. The Constituent Assembly has got two main functions to perform. The first is the very onerous and responsible task of framing our future Constitution of Pakistan and the second of functioning as a full and complete Sovereign body as the Federal Legislature of Pakistan. We have to do the best we can in adopting a provincial constitution for the Federal Legislature of Pakistan. You know really that not only we ourselves are wondering but, I think, the whole world is wondering at this unprecedented cyclone revolution which has brought about the plan of creating and establishing two independent Sovereign Dominions in this sub-continent. As it is, it has been unprecedented; there is no parallel in the history of the world. This mighty sub-continent with all kinds of inhabitants has been brought under a plan which is titanic, unknown, and unparalleled. And what is very important with regard to it is that we have achieved it peacefully and by means of an evolution of the greatest possible character.
Dealing with our first function in this Assembly, I cannot make any well-considered pronouncement at this moment, but I shall say a few things as they occur to me. The first and the foremost thing that I would like to emphasize is this --remember that you are now a Sovereign Legislative body and you have got all the powers. It, therefore, places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions. The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a Government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State.
The second thing that occurs to me is this: One of the biggest curses from which India is suffering --I do not say that other countries are free from it, but, I think, our condition is much worse --is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do so.
Black marketing is another curse. Well, I know that black-marketers are frequently caught and punished. Judicial sentences are passed or sometimes fines only are imposed. Now you have to tackle this monster which today is a colossal crime against society, in our distressed conditions, when we constantly face shortage of food and other essential commodities of life. A citizen who does black-marketing commits, I think, a greater crime than the biggest and most grievous of crimes. These black-marketers are really knowing, intelligent and ordinarily responsible people, and when they indulge in black-marketing, I think they ought to be very severely punished, because they undermine the entire system of control and regulation of food-stuffs and essential commodities, and cause wholesale starvation and want and even death.
The next thing that strikes me is this: Here again it is a legacy which has been passed on to us. Along with many other things, good and bad, has arrived this great evil --the evil of nepotism and jobbery. This evil must be crushed relentlessly. I want to make it quite clear that I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any influence directly or indirectly brought to bear upon me. Wherever I will find that such a practice is in vogue, or is continuing anywhere, low or high, I shall certainly not countenance it.
I know there are people who do not quite agree with the division of India and the partition of the Punjab and Bengal. Much has been said against it, but now that it has been accepted, it is the duty of every one of us to loyally abide by it and honorably act according to the agreement which is now final and binding on all. But you must remember, as I have said, that this mighty resolution that has taken place is unprecedented. One can quite understand the feeling that exists between the two communities wherever one community is in majority and the other is in minority. But the question is, whether, it was possible or practicable to act otherwise than what has been done. A division had to take place. On both sides, in Hindustan and Pakistan, there are sections of people who may not agree with it, who may not like it, but in my judgment there was no other solution and I am sure future history will record its verdict in favor of it. And what is more it will be proved by actual experience as we go on that that was the only solution of India's constitutional problem. Any idea of a United India could never have worked and in my judgment it would have led us to terrific disaster. Maybe that view is correct; may be it is not; that remains to be seen. All the same, in this division it was impossible to avoid the question of minorities being in one Dominion or the other. Now that was unavoidable. There is no other solution. Now what shall we do? Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people and especially of the masses and the poor. If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet you are bound to succeed. If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his color, caste or creed is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.
I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community --because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalis, Madrasis, and so on --will vanish. Indeed, if you ask me this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence for this we would have been free people a long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time but for this. Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any region or caste or creed --that has nothing to do with the business of the State. As you know, history shows that in England conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State. The people of England in course of time had to face the realities of the situation and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country and they went through that fire step by step. Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the Nation.
Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual but in the political sense as citizens of the state.
Well, gentlemen, I do not wish to take up any more of your time and thank you again for the honor you have done to me. I shall always be guided by the principles of justice and fair-play without any, as is put in the political language, prejudice or ill-will, in other words, partiality or favoritism. My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest Nations of the world.
I have received a message from the United States of America addressed to me. lt reads:
I have the honor to communicate to you, in Your Excellency's capacity as President of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, the following message which I have just received from the Secretary of State of the United States.
"On the occasion of the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly for Pakistan, I extend to you and to members of the Assembly, the best wishes of the Government and the people of the United States for the successful conclusion of the great work you are about to undertake."
Speech at a Dinner Party given by the late Mr. Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah at the Karachi Club on 9th August, 1947
"Yes, I am Karachi-born, and it was on the sands of Karachi that I played marbles in my boyhood. I was schooled at Karachi", proudly declared the Quaid-i-Azam.
The Quaid-i-Azam said that he then found himself in London from where after passing law, he returned to India. He was undecided what to do. But fate took him to Bombay, where he waited and waited for a long time for a brief. At last he got a brief. He went on in his own way not knowing what fate had in store for him. He now found himself in Karachi and was glad to be here.
The Quaid-i-Azam asserted that the new Sovereign State of Pakistan which had been won by peaceful methods and without dropping a single drop of blood, afforded him some satisfaction. In the course of his arduous work in that connection, it was the masses who came to him instinctively to help him and the intelligentsia came last.
The achievement was without parallel in history. He accepted the Governor-generalship of the Dominion because he knew he was not the agent of an alien power but was the chosen representative of the people.
Continuing, the Quaid-i-Azam adverted to what he characterized as the sacred duty cast upon them for solving the problem of poverty of the people. He was no believer in the mission of making the rich richer and the poor poorer. The task was difficult, of course, but they must make earnest efforts to promote the interests of the masses without necessarily disturbing the equilibrium in the bargain. "We must be just to both." He added Adverting to the minority question, the Quaid-i-Azam declared that he was no believer in formulae and paper resolutions. They were capable of being interpreted and misinterpreted.
"Let us trust each other," roared the Governor-general designate and added; "Let us judge by results, not by theories. With the help of every section --I see that every class is represented in this huge gathering --let us work in double shift if necessary to make the Sovereign State of Pakistan really happy, really united and really powerful".
Concluding, the Quaid-i-Azam acknowledged with gratitude the kind words said of his sister by the host of the evening. "Miss Fatima Jinnah is a constant source of help and encouragement to me." He revealed that, "In the days when I was expecting to be taken as a prisoner by the British Government, it was my sister who encouraged me, and said hopeful things when revolution was staring me in the face. Her constant care is about my health". He was gratified by the good words said of her by Mr. Ghulam Hussain to whom he expressed his thanks for his hospitality.
Broadcast Speech on 3rd June, 1947 from the All India Radio, New Delhi, giving his reactions to June-3 Plan
I am glad that I am afforded an opportunity to speak to you directly through this radio from Delhi. It is the first time, I believe, that a non-official has been afforded an opportunity to address the people through the medium of this powerful instrument direct to the people on political matter. It augurs well and I hope that in the future I shall have greater facilities to enable me to voice my views and opinions which will reach you directly.
The statement of His Majesty's Government embodying the plan for the transfer of power to the peoples of India has already been broadcast and will be released to the press to be published in India and abroad tomorrow morning. It gives the outlines of the plan for us to give it our most earnest consideration. We must remember that we have to take momentous decisions and handle grave issues facing us in the solution of the complex political problem of this great sub-continent inhabited by 400 million people. The world has no parallel for the most onerous and difficult task which we have to perform.
Grave responsibility lies particularly on the shoulders of Indian leaders. Therefore, we must galvanize and concentrate all our energy to see that the transfer of power is effected in a peaceful and orderly manner. I most earnestly appeal to every community and particularly to Muslim India to maintain peace and order. We must examine the plan, in its letter and in its spirit and come to our conclusions and take our decisions. I pray to God that at this critical moment. He may guide us and enable us to discharge our responsibilities in a wise and statesmanlike manner.
It is clear that the plan does not meet in some important respects our point of view and we cannot say or feel that we are satisfied or that we agree with some of the matters dealt with by the plan. It is for us now to consider whether the plan as presented to us by His Majesty's Government should be accepted by us as a compromise or a settlement. On this point, I do not wish to prejudge the decision of the Council of the All-India Muslim League, which has been summoned to meet on Monday, June 9; and the final decision can only be taken by the Council according to our constitution, precedents and practice. But so far as I have been able to gather on the whole, reaction in the Muslim League circles in Delhi has been hopeful. Of course the plan has got to be very carefully examined in its pros and cons before the final decision can be taken.
I must say that I feel that the Viceroy has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression that he has left on my mind is that he was actuated by a high sense of fairness and impartiality, and it is up to us now to make his task less difficult and help him as far as it lies in our power in order that he may fulfill his mission of transfer of power to the people of India, in a peaceful and orderly manner.
Now the plan that has been broadcast already makes it clear in paragraph II that a referendum will be made to the electorates of the present Legislative Assembly in the North West Frontier Province who will choose which of the two alternatives in paragraph four they wish to adopt; and the referendum will be held under the aegis of the Governor-general in consultation with the provincial government. Hence it is clear that the verdict and the mandate of the people of the Frontier Province will be obtained as to whether they want to join Pakistan Constituent Assembly or the Hindustan Constituent Assembly. In these circumstances, I request the Provincial Muslim League of the Frontier Province to withdraw the movement of peaceful civil disobedience which they had perforce to resort to; and I call upon all the leaders of the Muslim League and Mussalmans generally to organize our people to face this referendum with hope and courage, and I feel confident that the people of the Frontier will give their verdict by a solid vote to join the Pakistan Constituent Assembly.
I cannot but express my appreciation of the sufferings and sacrifices made by all the classes of Mussalmans and particularly the great part the women of the Frontier played in the fight for our civil liberties. Without apportioning blame, and this is hardly the moment to do so, I deeply sympathize with all those who have suffered and those who died or whose properties were subjected to destruction and I fervently hope that Frontier will go through this referendum in a peaceful manner and it should be the anxiety of everyone to obtain a fair, free and true verdict of the people of the Frontier. Once more I most earnestly appeal to all to maintain peace and order.