These were the days when seventy years ago, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had departed from us forever. In this brief duration of seventy years our powerful leaders have served the country and nation in such a way that if Quaid-e-Azam witnesses, maybe he will not be able to even recognize that this is the same Pakistan which he had promised the Muslims and whose prosperity and progress was dearer to this great personality, than even his own life. All his life Quaid-e-Azam struggled for some basic principles and basic values — his disagreement with the English was on this basis and his clash with the Congress was due to this reason- the truth is that these principles and values had become a part of his character. The demands of prudence could not move him from his motto, for even a moment, and he never felt fear and hesitation against the biggest powers in the world. His proverbial courage and boldness was the reflection of this same principle; and his self-confidence and frankness of speech the image of this philosophy of life. When Quaid-e-Azam had raised the slogan of Pakistan both friends and strangers had mocked this ‘craziness’ of his; had advised him to become a ‘realist’ and had made out the power of the English to be a bugbear. But Quaid-e-Azam showed the world that the final victory belongs to those who remain steadfast in their principles and the greatest power too has to bend in front of those who follow a true motto. Today the same ‘realist’ gentlemen are sacrificing the motto of the nation against expediencies, and turning Pakistan into the tent-bearer of foreigners, by creating fear and despair and an inferiority complex among the nation. Quaid-e-Azam held begging to be an insult to national honour and self-respect, but today this beggary is becoming our national habit. How far have we traveled from Quaid-e-Azam’s destination! Even the worst enemies of Quaid-e-Azam admitted his honesty. They knew that even the greatest greed of rank, position, wealth and respect cannot bring about a stumble in his firm footing, neither could he be bought at any price. There was hardly a trial in which Quaid-e-Azam was not put to the test but he was not for sale. He also had an intrinsic hatred of bargaining and court intrigues. Whatever he wanted to say he would declare openly and whatever he wanted to do, he did publicly. The entire life of Quaid-e-Azam is like an open book which has no hidden chapter. Although if the powerful personalities that claim to follow him just look into their own collars, they will clearly see the difference between the natural steadfastness of Quaid-e-Azam and their own profitable fickleness — so cheap is the conscience and so low the price of faith, in this age of inflation. Quaid-e-Azam held begging to be an insult to national honour and self-respect, but today this beggary is becoming our national habit. How far have we traveled from Quaid-e-Azam’s destination! The brothers of Joseph feel no shame in selling their loyalties in lieu of a few pieces of contracts, licenses, permits and ministries. Now this slave-selling is turning into nation-selling. The traders of nation, country and conscience were also present during the time of Quaid-e-Azam. It was the English who had taught them that, but Quaid-e-Azam never supported or encouraged them. The law of PRODA (Public Representatives and Officers Disqualification Act) was created at the directive of Quaid-e-Azam and it was he, himself who conducted disciplinary action against the Chief Minister of a province, but alas his life did not prove faithful to him and this deed remained incomplete. Quaid-e-Azam had given the lesson of ‘unity, discipline and faith’ to the nation. Even today this instruction of Quaid-e-Azam, can be seen in government offices written on huge tablets; but the displays of ‘unity, discipline and faith’ occurring these days are not hidden from the people of vision. Quaid-e-Azam had said that, ‘No single class will be allowed to loot and plunder and have a monopoly. Every person living in Pakistan will have equal opportunities to progress. Pakistan has not been created for the loot and plunder of the rich, capitalists, landlords and nawabs. This a country of the poor and only the poor have a right to govern it.’ But this dream of Quaid-e-Azam is yet unrealized. These are not objections for the sake of objections, and neither is the objective to criticize a particular group or power; but we want that on the seventieth death anniversary of Quaid-e-Azam all of us — the government, political parties and ordinary citizens — reflect seriously that is our conduct and method of action today the same as that of Quaid-e-Azam and are we guiding the nation on the path set by Quaid-e-Azam. If we do not consider the character and action of Quaid-e-Azam worthy of emulation in the circumstances of today, then we should admit this in frank words. On the other hand, if we are sure that those basic principles and democratic values being dedicated to which Quaid-e-Azam had led the Muslims, are useful even today, then we will have to account for our thought and action. Writing just three days after the passing away of Quaid-e-Azam, Saadat Hasa nManto, who like the former did not last long in independent Pakistan, wrote perceptively, making sense of the widespread mourning around him,‘Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was not our flag. He was just a leader of the white community, who had created this flag and waved it for the first time. “Pakistan” is our flag — not even Pakistan, for it is too limited. Our flag is “Islam”, which also means justice. “This is not the time to vanquish the flags, but to glorify them.”’ Quaid-e-Azam would have agreed to that. Raza Naeem is a Pakistani social scientist, book critic, and an award-winning translator and dramatic reader based in Lahore. He has been trained in Political Economy from the University of Leeds in UK, and in Middle Eastern History and Anthropology from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, US. He is currently the President of the Progressive Writers Association in Lahore. His most recent work is an introduction to the reissued edition (HarperCollins India, 2016) of Abdullah Hussein’s classic novel The Weary Generations. He can be reached at: [email protected] Published in Daily Times, September 9th 2018.