If someone seeks a word to define a big chunk of the Pakistani population, the perfect choice would be “deluded.” The urban upper-middle class, which supports PTI (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) loves to compare Imran Khan with Quaid-e-Azam. It’s a great injustice to elevate Imran Khan to the level of Quaid, whose 40 years of contributions to the sub-continent’s judiciary, legislature and politics are incomparable. They also stand poles apart when it comes to their political views. The current young generation was raised in the post-Zia period. Other than Pakistan Studies, their only other source of information is their leader on a container, which makes them think of him as a new Jinnah. The trend of willingly or unwillingly belittling Jinnah is quite common in Pakistan, even amongst our “progressive” academics who often rely on a shock value to stay relevant on social media instead of being honest. If our “intelligentsia” is behaving that way then we can’t expect better results from the youth getting their information from a half-informed ex-PM with an ultra-conservative mindset, who just happens to be a very good manipulator. From the very first day as PM, Imran Khan used the infamous slogan of ‘Pakistan ka matlab kea – la ilaha il Allah to stay relevant in politics, even though Jinnah himself condemned this slogan when a person chanted it in front of him during the annual session of Muslim League in 1947. Jinnah replied, “Neither the Muslim League Working Committee nor I ever passed a resolution ‘Pakistan ka matlab kea’ – you may have used it to catch a few votes.” However, it’s associated with Quaid-e-Azam in our textbooks. The trend of willingly or unwillingly belittling Jinnah is quite common in Pakistan, even among our “progressive” academics. In 1943-44, some members of the Muslim League brought a resolution, which called for the creation of ‘Khilafat-e-Rashida ka nizam’. Jinnah stopped that resolution from being adopted and didn’t let his colleagues propagate the idea of a religious state in his presence. Muslim League was a disorganised unit which contained people from every walk of life, but if we’re to focus on Jinnah alone then it leaves no room for the state that Imran Khan and his followers have in mind. On 10 August 1947, Jinnah got oaths altered in Pakistan by omitting words like ‘swear’ and ‘so help me God’ from them to separate religion and state. For him, the only thing that mattered was competence. In Jinnah’s Pakistan, a non-believer could become the Chief Executive – without uttering words like ‘so help me God’ during an oath – if elected by the majority. Quaid also stopped people from declaring Islam as a state religion. He appointed a Dalit, Jogendra Nath Mandal as Pakistan’s first Minister of Law and Labour to frame the constitution of Pakistan. These weren’t isolated cases either. While Congress was supported by the Islamist parties like Majlis-e-Ahrar and Jamat-e-Islami, Muslim League was in bed with the Hindu parties like the Justice Party of Shudras and the Scheduled Castes Federation of Dalits. The Islamists supported Congress because, in the early 1920s, Gandhi supported and participated in the Khilafat Movement to become popular through right wing populism, while Jinnah didn’t endorse the idea and stayed clear. Shudras and Dalits constituted the majority of the Indian population, and their representatives were allies of the League because of Jinnah’s secularism and Congress’ hostility toward them. Brahmins were less than 5% of an entire population, and they were the ones who dominated Congress and big Indian Enterprises, which prevented others from progressing socially, politically and economically because of complete monopoly and bias. Congress also had a militant wing, Hindu Mahasabha, which followed Hindutva. It was co-founded by Lala Lajpat Rai in 1915, who was a member of both the Congress and Hindu Mahasabha in 1924 when he called for separate countries for Muslims and Hindus by partitioning Punjab and Bengal in half. This was six years before Iqbal suggested the creation of one large Muslim Province within British India. In the 1940s, a vague ‘Pakistan’ demand was raised; but in reality, until the December of 1946, Jinnah was open to having a settlement with the Congress and living under one federation, provided he was offered something good in exchange, like autonomy for Muslim majority areas and the protection of non-Brahmins in Hindu majority areas. This was the reason why Muslims in the Hindu majority areas also supported the whole movement, and not because ‘Pakistan was going to become an exemplary Riyasat-e-Madina’ as Imran Khan claims. However, Congress called the session of the constituent assembly without consulting other stakeholders in the December of 1946, which led to a deadlock. This deadlock then paved the road for a separate and sovereign Pakistan, which led to the isolation of Muslims in Hindustan. While two new dominions of Pakistan and Hindustan were being created, Congress also called for the sub-division of Punjab and Bengal on religious lines, as suggested by Rai years ago. Despite strong protests from the League, Mountbatten went ahead with the partition of provinces, which caused mass migration and bloodshed. While Jinnah was willing to negotiate on the territorial nature of ‘Pakistan’, he made things pretty clear about its constitution from the start. He stated that it’d be a non-theocratic parliamentary democracy based on the principles of social justice, equality and fair play. When Jinnah faced an anti-democracy attitude, he claimed that Islam and its idealism taught Muslims the principles of democracy, social justice and equality centuries ago; hence, it’d be inaccurate to call Pakistan anti-Islamic or think that it’d be in conflict with the principles of Islam. This way, Jinnah tried to convince the Muslims that modern democracy was the only way forward. A similar approach was used by an English Philosopher, John Locke, who is now known as the founder of liberalism and political secularism. In personal life, Locke, unlike Jinnah, was a religious person but politically still secular. He used a verse from the bible to justify secularism. The verse reads, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” Since, Jinnah was inspired by English Liberals like Locke, Gladstone and John Morley, he used their approach to propagate secular democracy among the Muslims. He recalled, “I happened to meet several important English Liberals with whose help I came to understand the doctrine of liberalism. The liberalism of Lord Morley was then in full sway. I grasped that liberalism, which became part of my life.” Unfortunately, these Islamic references are being used out of context ever since Jinnah passed away. If Islamists use it to justify theocracy, then half-informed ‘intelligentsia’ uses them to prove that Jinnah was ‘inconsistent’. Jinnah also supported the first wave of feminist movement in the 1890s England; wanted to lift the ban on interfaith marriages and divorce in 1912; emancipated Indian soldiers so they too could become officers; ended martial race rule in Bengal; drafted the Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929; opposed forced purdah and so on. Jinnah’s mindset and his achievements are too big for a populist leader like Imran Khan; hence, Jinnah shouldn’t be brought down to his level. The writer is a freelance columnist.