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Mohammad Ali Jinnah deserves credit for carving out a homeland for his countrymen. A tribute to the founding father.

One of the most revered historical figures in Pakistan is its founding father, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Known to his people as Quaid-i-Azam or 'the great leader,' Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a man of indomitable will and dauntless courage. He was considered the unifying force that brought Indian Muslims under the banner of the Muslim League, later carving out a homeland for them despite stiff opposition from the Hindu Congress and the then British government.

Born on December 25, 1876, in Karachi to a wealthy merchant, Mohammad Ali Jinnah received his early education at the Sindh Madrasa and later in Karachi at the Mission School. He travelled to England for further studies in 1892 at the age of 16. In 1896 Jinnah qualified for the bar, which he was called to in 1897. Jinnah began his political career in 1906 when he attended the Calcutta session of the All India National Congress in the capacity of private secretary to the president of the Congress.

Time magazine said of him: "His greatest delight was to confound the opposing lawyer by confidential asides and to outwit the presiding judge in repartee."

By 1940 the Muslim League adopted the 'Lahore Resolution' calling for separate autonomous states in majority-Muslim areas of northeastern and eastern India. In 1946 violence between Hindus and Muslims broke out after Jinnah called for demonstrations opposing an interim Indian government in which Muslim power would be compromised. Against the rising tide of ethnic unrest, Jinnah demanded the partition of India. Britain, eager to make a clean break with India, finally relented and Pakistan was born.



Unfortunately Jinnah did not live to see his new country take shape. He died of tuberculosis just 13 months after the formation of Pakistan on September 11, 1948.

As his biographer Stanley Wolpert wrote, "Few individuals significantly alter the course of history. Fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state. Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three."

Quaid-i-Azam's Tomb is elevated on a 54-square-metre platform and is built in impressive white marble with curved Moorish arches and copper grills. The cool inner sanctum has a four-tiered crystal chandelier given by the People's Republic of China. The cenotaph is framed with silver railings and is usually lined with people who come from far and wide to pay their respects and watch the impressive changing of the guard that takes place three times a day. The mausoleum is a prominent Karachi landmark.


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Source: By Abigail Mathias, Gulf News

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