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A Pakistani Patriot Lays His Burden Down

In most of the world, December 25 is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus.  In Pakistan, it is more widely celebrated as the birthday of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founding father whose insistence on a separate state for the Muslims of British India led to the partition of the raj.

Ardeshir Cowasjee, one of Pakistan’s great public intellectuals and writers, has chosen this date to retire as a columnist for The Dawn newspaper, an English language newspaper that consistently offers some of the best Pakistani news anywhere.  His last column mourns the death of Jinnah’s vision for the country: secular, tolerant, open and democratic.

I had the great honor and pleasure of meeting Mr. Cowasjee at a dinner in his beloved city of Karachi a year and a half ago.  His passion for his country, deep knowledge of its affairs, and his love for humanity regardless of race and religion made a powerful impression on me then, and I’ve enjoyed keeping up with his views from time to time since my return.  Pakistan and the world stand in need of more people like him and I am glad to learn from his column that he will continue to write from time to time.

Read Ardeshir’s column here, and go here to see the home page of Dawn.

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  • Ed Snyder

    If Mr. Ali Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan was as Mr. Cowasjee claims, then why did he insist on a seperate state for Muslims to begin with?

  • carvaka

    i actually like to understand what exactly is this jinnah’s pakistan, that pakistan’s liberals so much talk about. jinnah certainly didn’t want to see pakistan in the current scenario but it seems to me that pakistan reached the current state by following policies which originated from the time of jinnah.

    a supporter of two nation theory (that hindus and muslims are different nations) and some one who called for “direct action day” can hardly be called secular . jinnah certainly mixed politics with a particular religion (islam). interestingly as far as i know he never said that pakistan would be a secular country clearly , never even hinted such before independence.
    after independence and partition his insistence of urdu as national language and forcing that on east pakistan certainly speaks of his tolerance to diversity.
    his choice of assuming presidency over prime minister-ship is telling.
    he famously said that USA needs pakistan more than the other way round and even at that time of thinking of using west and USA to match india , militarily.
    pakistan’s first jihad (use of irregulars and religious motifs ) to further political or strategic objective also happened under his presidency during first kashmir war.

    so it looks to me that todays pakistan is in a sense , exactly jinnah’s pakistan.

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