Next Saturday, December 25th, is the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the state of Pakistan.
Next Saturday, December 25th, is the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the state of Pakistan. The occasion is being celebrated throughout the country with exhibitions and displays and official commemorative ceremonies.
SYNOPSIS: Quaid-i-Azam - the great leader - is what Jinnah is called by his own people. He was born in this house in Karachi on or about December 25th, 1876. The city was then an important commercial centre in British-ruled India, and his father was a prosperous merchant. The room in which he was born has been carefully preserved. Jinnah was very much a Karachi man. He made it his capital; and it was there that he died.
By profession he was a lawyer. He was only 20 when he qualified in England, and returned to build up a successful practice in Bombay. In those days, he was often at odds with the Muslim League, because he hoped to see home rule for a united Hindu-Moslem India. But his suspicions of the doctrines of Mahatma Gandhi led him gradually to the belief that Muslim interests could be safeguarded in a separate Muslim state.
He fought stubbornly with Lord Mountbatten and other British negotiators until he achieved the independence of Pakistan. He became its first Governor-General; but he survived his triumph by little more than a year. On September 11th, 1948, he died from a heart attack, at the age of 71.
A fine mausoleum has been built in Karachi in the past ten years. It clearly shows the veneration in which the people of Pakistan hold their founder. Some say a myth has grown up over the years of a saint-like figure who is not the real Jinnah. But to the people who come there he is Quaid-i-Azam, the great leader.
A map in silver, presented by an admiral and showing India and Pakistan, is one of many treasures connected with Jinnah's life that are now on display at anniversary exhibitions in Islamabad, the new capital. There are historic documents bearing his signature: this one, in 1946, dates from an intense period of negotiation for Pakistan's independence.
Your people, born long after Jinnah died, are paying their tribute to his memory. A mass gymnastic display, in the presence of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, linked a portrait of Jinnah with the words: "Pakistan's story".