By Mian Muhammad Javed
In the meanwhile Jinnah’s legal assistant rose and picked up the monocle from the floor. He is known to have never abandoned his sense of propriety even while dealing with colleagues, clients, political comrades and arch political rivals. At the same time Quaid dealt with political adversaries with grace. He possessed spontaneity and a sharp wit of which we find several examples. Here are a few. While undertaking a journey Quaid would generally travel by train. His seat would be reserved in first class compartment. On the other hand, Congress leaders like Gandhi, Nehru & others to gain politic mileage, used to sit in the third class compartment. Gandhi is reported to have remarked once that he travelled in third class because there was no fourth class in the train. Journalist once confronted Jinnah with a question as to how Congress leadership travelled in third class like the proletariat while he enjoys the first class journey. Quaid’s reply was sharp. He said that he travelled in first class but pays from his own pocket to buy the ticket, while the congress leaders travel in third class without ticket. It made headlines.
Although, Quaid-i-Azam could speak exhaustively on issues but in reply to questions he was usually brief and to the point. He would not harangue people with long sermons. Some of my friends and relatives had good memories of meeting and hearing him. Mr. Nasim Anwar Baig a Muslim student leader and member of Pakistan movement relates accounts of such an incident. A group of Muslim students had an opportunity to call on the Quaid. During the freedom movement, ‘What brings you here’ asked Quaid straightway. It was explained by students that Congress aligned Hindu students in colleges were arming themselves with weapons and they had come to seek his blessings to do likewise so that they can defend themselves from possible attacks by militancy minded people. ‘No’ came the unambiguous reply from Quaid.
Instead he advised them to go to their educational institutions and devote time to their studies and acquire knowledge which he explained was their best weapon. As against this it is shocking to note the actions of governments when terrorism has been taking its toll in the country. As if gun running was not enough, in today’s Pakistan there is demand for more and more licenses of prohibited bore weapons. In order to highlight another aspect of his character, it is pertinent to refer to another story which is attributed to Late Mr. Qudrat Ullah Shahab a well known and respected member of civil service. He per chance found some important papers in office files containing information which could be very useful for Muslim League. He managed access to Quaid and presented the papers personally to him. After thanking him for the information Quaid advised him not to repeat the practice and strictly follow the official rules.
Sense of justice and fair play was implicit in the actions of Quaid right from the beginning. He advocated equal rights for all citizens. In this respect Quaid-i-Azam viewed members of minority community worthy of equal treatment in all respect. My late father Mian Muhammad Ibrahim was a great fan of Quaid. He recalls Quaid’s observations which he made before the people of Gujranwala during freedom movement. A group of Hindu and Muslim residents had gathered to greet him. As usual he was brief and gist of what he said was that Muslim League when in power would treat every body with justice and fairplay, regardless of cast, creed and faith. On the other hand Nehru on a different occasion while addressing a similar crowd in Gujranwala had only a politics based message for Muslims to the effect that they should go and forge unity among themselves implying that they should support Jamiat Ulema Hind (JUH), a political party aligned with Congress and sort of pinpointing to a fissure in Muslim community. Quaid was a visionary. He was always thinking about future times when his dream of Pakistan would be realized.
An advice from Quaid was recalled by my late uncle Mian Muhammad Younis who was contemporary of Hamid Nizami and Altaf Gohar at Islamia College Railway Road Lahore. Whenever in Lahore Quaid would pay a visit this institution and meet with the Muslim students’ community there. During one of his visit Altaf Gohar brought to the notice of Quaid that Younis would leave Islamia College shortly to join Mclagan Engineering College and that he would most likely lose opportunity to meet Quaid in future. Quaid patted Younis on the back and remarked that future Pakistan needs a large number of engineers to build the nation and asked Younis to go to Mclagan Engineering College and pursue studies there to become a good engineer. This small incidence is reflective of foresight in him. Twenty-first century saw unprecedented technological development in some of the developing countries like China. One of the noteworthy reason for their quick achievement is that they heavily invested in technical & engineering human resource and consequently have attained phenomenal economic growth. It is generally believed that about one third of the ministers in the cabinet of government of Peoples Republic of China (PRC) are engineers by profession. Of course the country needs engineers who are competent and honest.
|Quaid-e-Azam negotiating with Mountbatten|
|The Quaid visiting a refugee camp|