Quaid-e-Azam Address to Officers of the Staff College, Quetta

 14th June, 1948

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah addressing Officers of Staff College, Quetta 1948I thank you, gentlemen, for the honour you have done me and Miss Fatima Jinnah by inviting us to meet you all. You, along with other Forces of Pakistan; are the custodians of the life, property and honour of the people of Pakistan. The Defence Forces are the most vital of all Pakistan Service and correspondingly a very heavy responsibility and burden lies on your shoulders.

I have no doubt in my mind, from what I have seen and from what I have gathered, that the spirit of the Army is splendid, the morale is very high, and what is very encouraging is that every officer and soldier, no matter what the race or community to which he belongs, is working as a true Pakistani.

If you all continue in that spirit and work as comrades, as true Pakistanis selflessly, Pakistan has nothing to fear.

One thing more, I am persuaded to say this because during my talks with one or two very high-ranking officers I discovered that they did not know the implications of the Oath taken by the troops of Pakistan. Of course, an oath is only a matter of form; what are more important are the true spirit and the heart.

But it is an important form, and I would like to take the opportunity of refreshing your memory by reading the prescribed oath to you.

“I solemnly affirm, in the presence of Almighty God, that I owe allegiance to the Constitution and Dominion of Pakistan (mark the words Constitution and the Government of the Dominion of Pakistan) and that I will as in duty bound honestly and faithfully serve in the Dominion of Pakistan Forces and go within the terms of my enrolment wherever I may be ordered by air, land or sea and that I will observe and obey all commands of any officer set over me…..”

As I have said just now, the spirit is what really matters. I should like you to study the Constitution, which is in force in Pakistan, at present and understand its true constitutional and legal implications when you say that you will be faithful to the Constitution of the Dominion.

I want you to remember and if you have time enough you should study the Government of India Act, as adapted for use in Pakistan, which is our present Constitution, that the executive authority flows from the Head of the Government of Pakistan, who is the governor-general and, therefore, any command or orders that may come to you cannot come without the sanction of the Executive Head. This is the legal position.

Finally, gentlemen, let me thank you for the honour that you have done me by inviting me. I will be glad to meet the officers informally, as suggested by the General Officers Commanding in his speech, and such a meeting can be, arranged at a time convenient to us both. I have every desire to keep in close contact with the officers and men of the Defence Forces and I hope that when I have little more time from the various problems that are facing us in Pakistan, which is for the moment in a state of national emergency, and when things settle down–and I hope it will be very soon–then I shall find more time to establish greater and greater contact with the Defence Forces.

Pakistan Zindabad

Declaring Independence…Again

Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah

In 1947, we gained independence from the British. Let us honour the memory of the courageous souls who secured our freedom by taking the moment of this anniversary of Independence Day to renew our independence by rejecting the poisonous mindset that has infected and divided our nation. Let us return to the promise of freedom described in Quaid-i-Azam’s speech of 11 August 1947 and his vision set forth at the first Constituent Assembly.

Jinnah’s speech, when read out loud in the National Assembly on the event of its anniversary earlier this week, gained desk-thumping cheers as the Quaid’s words echoed in the hallowed halls.

The only time desk-thumping cheers from both the treasury and opposition benches rang out in the house was when the speaker, while reading out a portion of the Quaid’s speech so lawmakers “seek inspiration and guidance from his wisdom”, finished that famous paragraph often seen as his unfulfilled wish to see Pakistan as a secular state:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other places of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed – that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

The scene must have been reminiscent of our leaders listening to these words sixty-four years ago whose chests swelled with pride and love for their fellow countrymen.

As we fly our flag with that same pride in our hearts today, let us remember what each part of the flag symbolises.

  • The green representing Muslims who founded this country so they would not be tyrannised as a minority
  • The white stripe representing the minorities who are promised a safe home here
  • The crescent moon representing progress
  • The star representing the light of knowledge that guides us

In 1947, we declared our independence from Britain. Today let us pay tribute by declaring independence from the violence, hatred, bigotry and sectarianism that threatens to divide us. Let us not only recall the words of Quaid-i-Azam, let us go forth and live them.


A Way That Heals

Bilawal’s speech in London at the memorial for Salmaan Taseer was a much needed affirmation of the principles and values that were envisioned by Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It was Jinnah’s vision that saw the founding of our great nation, a fact that came against the objections of the same people who today celebrate the murder of an innocent man.

I’ve watched the video of Bilawal’s speech several times, and each time it fills my eyes with tears and my heart with a yearning for justice – not only for Salmaan Taseer and his family but for everyone who is abused and threatened for speaking their minds.

Bilawal’s speech helped me know that, as I wrote earlier this week, I’m not the crazy one and I’m not alone. But, as I also wrote, we need to expand our discussion beyond blasphemy laws and address the issues that result in such tragedies.

I have also been watching the way that America is dealing with its own tragedy of the attempted assassination of one of its own politicians only a few days after Salmaan Taseer’s murder.

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama gave a speech in honour of those killed in America last week, and his speech speaks not only to their own tragedy but to ours as well.

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.

As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let’s use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy and remind ourselves of all the ways that our hopes and dreams are bound together.

When I read those words, it was like he was speaking about my Pakistan. This is exactly what we need also. We need more hope and encouragement, and less anger and hatred. We need to stop only saying bhai and start actually acting like brothers. Yes I disagree with the blasphemy laws. But we need to find a way to come together as a nation and focus on our commonalities instead of our differences.

I agree 100% with Bilawal’s statment that ‘Democracy is the best revenge’. But democracy requires a united people. That is why tyrants and dictators have always used the ‘divide and conquer’ strategy. That is why certain people are organizing street protests and making threats against lawmakers. Extremists threaten the nation with anarchy, and then they go into the streets to prove it.

But we cannot be hostages to the threats of extremists. There may have been 30,000 people who protested to defend the blasphemy laws, but there are 180 million Pakistanis who did not show up to their rally. Changing the blasphemy laws – or any laws – is not going to happen quickly. But before we can do anything, before we are going to see any progress, first we must “pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds”.

Now or Never

Over and over again I see my friends shake their heads and say, “Yes, Qadri is a terrorist and should hang for his crime. But we should not be in the streets because how do you think the fundos will react? It will mean more violence.”

Perhaps they are right. Perhaps a strong showing of solidarity with Salmaan Taseer’s vision for a compassionate and merciful justice system would so enrage these brainwashed fundamentalists that they would strap bombs to themselves and blow themselves up in our mosques and our shrines. Perhaps they would be so outraged at our request for common decency and humanity that they would take to the streets with weapons and shoot down innocent women and children. Perhaps they would even be so bold as to make a direct attack against the state by gunning down government officials in broad daylight.

Oh, that’s right – they already are doing this.

I hear that supporters threw flowers to Mumtaz Qadri as he entered the courtroom. These jihadis are so brazen that they feel no shame, they fear no consequences for showing their allegiance to such evil in open public. Why would they? When was the last time a self-proclaimed compassionate liberal stood up for his principles?

Oh, that’s right – it was yesterday. And the jihadis shot him for it.

The difference between Salmaan Taseer and the rest of us wasn’t his famous glasses or his businesses or his political office. It was his willingness to live and die for his beliefs.

Jihadis are willing to die for their twisted perversion of religion. Do we not have the courage to stand up for ours?

This is when my more fundamentalist brothers ask me, “what, exactly, are your liberal principles.” This is a question liberals love to fight about, but I suggest that really its quite simple. Let’s start with the names of Allah…

الرحمن – The Compassionate

الرحيم – The Merciful

السلام – The Source of Peace

الغفور – The All Forgiving

الودود – The Loving

Salmaan Taseer died because he demanded compassion and mercy. Are these not two of the names of Allah? Are these not worth standing up for? I suggest that these are the principles worth standing up for openly, publicly, and without shame.

Dr Awab Alvi asks a good question in today’s Express Tribune: Have we given up on Pakistan? The good Doctor hopes that we have not. I share his hope, but the answer we must decide together.

Another question we must ask ourselves is: Are there more reasonable, right-thinking people than there are of brainwashed fundamentalist jihadi killers? If there are, we need to start acting like it.

I still believe in the goodness inherent in Pakistan. I still believe that inherent in the promise of Jinnah’s dream of an Islamic nation are those names of Allah – Compassion, Mercy, Peace, Forgiveness, Love.

I still believe that we are able to come together and sacrifice for the good of the nation. I have seen it only recently when we pulled together to help our countrymen who were devastated by the floods. Where is that same sense of loyalty and nationalism when it comes to defending our very sovereignty from violent attacks?

The 15 January protest against blasphemy laws has been canceled in light of yesterday’s events. While I sympathize with the thinking, I cannot help but wonder if this is the right decision. If we stand down every time the jihadis make a noise, we will be herded like sheep to our doom.

Governor Punjab Salmaan Taseeer’s security was infiltrated and he was gunned down by a brainwashed jihadi in the streets of Islamabad. The killer and his supporters have been openly unapologetic, even celebratory about this attack. This was more than simply an attack against one man for daring to demand compassion and mercy, this was an act of war on reason and on the state. Will we defend our homeland or will we lay down in our beds as the dream of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah is murdered in the streets?

Pakistan Zindabad.