For all his talk of a “Naya Pakistan”, our Prime Minister (PM) in waiting harked back to two old Pakistan ideas, which seem to resonate with Pakistanis on an emotional level. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chief spoke of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s Pakistan of Medina as his ideal. Obviously these two are distinct ideas. While Jinnah did say on a couple of occasions that Muslims had learnt democracy 13 centuries ago in a bid to convince his co-religionists that a modern democratic state was not antithetical to Islam, his political ideals were drawn from the western model in general and Britain in particular. This is why in his famous inaugural address, he referred to Catholic and Protestant conflict in Great Britain and did not refer to Islam or Islamic History even once. Nevertheless there is at least one Indian American historian who, in his prejudice, has conflated the idea of Pakistan with a desire for New Medina, despite the fact that neither Jinnah nor his associates ever used the term in any context. Interestingly during the independence movement the Medina Covenant between Muslims and Jews was invoked by Maulana Madni of Jamiat-e-Ulema Hind in support of composite nationalism and against the creation of Pakistan. The learned Maulana from the Deoband seminary had seized on the clause in the covenant that declared Jews and Muslims of Medina one Ummah or one community by virtue of common residence in Medina. What was conveniently ignored of course was that in that covenant the final authority lay with the Holy Prophet (PBUH) who was the lawgiver and prime signifier of the joint community. Prime Minister in waiting Imran Khan’s claim to Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s mantle actually proves to be quite superficial. Unlike the PTI Chief, Quaid-e-Azam was never a rabble-rouser. As one biographer put it, even in the heat of battle for Muslim rights, Jinnah deliberately kept himself above crude communalism. Imran Khan on the other hand has attempted to use a specific appeal to one very volatile theological issue as the central plank of his election campaignIt is precisely for this reason that the Medina model cannot be replicated in absence of supreme prophetic guidance. Early Muslims understood this and in time embraced a temporal system of government that was most effective in their time, monarchy. The title of Caliph was retained but it was a title in name only. In all these years, the law of Islam developed at a considerable distance from the state itself. Lex Islamic us was a source of guidance for temporal legal disputes but the lawgivers were inherently secular. There were of course penal consequences in criminal matters but that had more to do with the sovereign’s decree than religion. This was of course not novel at all, given that this is how common law developed in England and Roman law in mainland Europe, though in those places a distinction between ecclesiastical and secular laws emerged circa 13th Century. Since Islam was not a monastic religion, Muslims never needed a separate ecclesiastical code. Legal pluralism in Muslim societies was the norm and not a departure from ab initio unified codes.Jinnah’s Pakistan is an achievable ideal given that it works within the established model of the democratic state. First and foremost it is based on the idea of the equality of citizenship for all people no matter what their religion. The Medina Covenant proves that such a position is in no way contradictory to Islam. Jinnah’s speech on August 11, and his subsequent actions show very clearly the intent to have no state religion at all and to relegate religion to the personal sphere. This became abundantly clear when an attempt to introduce fresh legislation on personal law was made in the West Punjab Assembly in 1948.With its majority, the Muslim League there was about to pass the law but it was specifically vetoed by Jinnah himself. By appointing Jogindranath Mandal as the law minister in the first cabinet, Jinnah clearly signalled that law-making itself would not be subject to religion. By appointing Sir Zafrullah Khan as his foreign minister, Jinnah was making an even more important point. By appointing Sir Zafrullah as both Pakistan’s pleader before the Punjab boundary commission and Pakistan’s first foreign minister, Jinnah was reposing confidence in not just his great ability as both a lawyer and a diplomat but was also signalling that Pakistan would not be held hostage by the “reactionary mad Mullahs”. It is true that Jinnah did not use the word “secular” publicly but Jinnah’s reasons for this were the same as Nehru’s — the word had connotations that were counterproductive in the deeply religious societies they were leading. Yet Jinnah’s model for Pakistan was every bit as secular as the model proposed by Nehru and Ambedkar. Indeed, many members of the Indian Constituent Assembly who did speak of a secular state referred to Jinnah’s August 11 speech in Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly. All this is on record. Jinnah’s Pakistan means, in plain words, a secular democratic state that is based on justice and fair play and which protects a citizen’s life, property and religious belief.Prime Minister in waiting Imran Khan speaks of Jinnah’s Pakistan but his own methods have been entirely contrary to Jinnah’s principles. By using the same rhetoric that Majlis-e-Ahrar used against Jinnah, the PTI Chief has reignited the Khatm-e-Nabuwat issue. PM Khan’s claim to Jinnah’s mantle actually proves to be quite superficial. Unlike Mr Khan, Quaid-e-Azam was never a rabble-rouser. As one biographer put it, even in the heat of battle for Muslim rights, Jinnah deliberately kept himself above crude communalism. Imran Khan on the other hand has attempted to use a specific appeal to one theological issue as the central plank of his election campaign. Can he now deliver Jinnah’s Pakistan? I hope so but I certainly do not believe so. Perhaps Mr Khan has it in him to still reverse swing the ball as he used to in his cricketing days. I am afraid however that this might require a little political ball tampering. The writer is a practicing lawyer and a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School in Cambridge MA, USA. He blogs at http://globallegalforum.blogspot.com. Twitter @therealylhPublished in Daily Times, August 6th 2018.