Quaid-e-Azam addressed many a group during his struggle for Pakistan. While addressing foreigners he told them not to worry because Pakistan would not be a theocratic state. Likewise he declared the new state to be the laboratory for testing all Islamic concepts. Similarly he advised students about his famous “work, work and work” concept. But when he addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan he gave definite guidelines and cautioned about pitfalls that could harm Pakistan. This address therefore is considered to be his Magna Carta for Pakistan.
Have we lived up to his advice? Aren’t their serious dichotomies between what he said and how our constitution has evolved? Or else is our constitution is a good document but our values beliefs and attitudes have prevented us from truly implementing it in its true spirit?
Sovereignty: Constituent Assembly
The Constituent Assembly has got two main functions to perform:
•The first is the very onerous and responsible task of framing our future Constitution of Pakistan and
•The second of functioning as a full and complete sovereign body as the Federal Legislature of Pakistan.
The first and the foremost thing that I would like to emphasise is this --- remember that you are now a Sovereign Legislative body and you have got all the powers. It, therefore, places on you the gravest responsibility as to how you should take your decisions.
This mighty sub-continent with all kinds of inhabitants has been brought under a plan which is titanic, unknown, unparalleled. And what is very important with regard to it is that we have achieved it peacefully and by means of an evolution of the greatest possible character
The first observation that I would like to make is this: You will no doubt agree with me that the first duty of a Government is to maintain law and order, so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the State
Bribery, Corruption, Jobbery and Nepotism
Our condition is much worse is bribery and corruption. That really is a poison. We must put that down with an iron hand and I hope that you will take adequate measures as soon as it is possible for this Assembly to do so.
Here again it is a legacy which has been passed on to us. Along with many other things, good and bad, has arrived this great evil -the evil of nepotism and jobbery. This evil must be crushed relentlessly. I want to make it quite clear that I shall never tolerate any kind of jobbery, nepotism or any influence directly or indirectly brought to bear upon me.
Equal Rights, Privileges and Obligations
Now, if we want to make this great State of Pakistan happy and prosperous we should wholly and solely concentrate on the well-being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor
•Fraternity If you will work in co-operation, forgetting the past, burying the hatchet you are bound to succeed
•Equality & Fraternity If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you, no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this State with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make
Absolute Equality & Fraternity
We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority communities, the Hindu community and the Muslim community – because even as regards Muslims you have Pathans, Punjabis, Shias, Sunnis and so on and among the Hindus you have Brahmins, Vashnavas, Khatris, also Bengalese, Madrasis, and so on– will vanish.
Therefore, we must learn a lesson from this. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place 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. As you know, history shows that in England conditions, some time ago, were much worse than those prevailing in India today. The Roman Catholics and the Protestants persecuted each other.
Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.
Today, you might say with justice that Roman Catholics and Protestants do not exist; what exists now is that every man is a citizen, an equal citizen of Great Britain and they are all members of the nation.
Pluralism & Equality
Now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.
Justice and Complete Impartiality
My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest Nations of the world.
We request the readers to debate, comment and derive the guidelines for the values of:
National Purpose (Equality of all people, institutions, provinces, Liberty or Freedom and Fraternity or Brotherhood); Personal values (Integrity, Service before Self and Excellence in Whatever We Do); National Values (Pluralism, Federalism, Constitutionalism, Internationalism; Equal Rights of Minorities; Joint Electorates etc)? Additionally does it give us the basis for our Common National Identity and the basis for evolving our National Interests?
Note: The emphasis and topics of various tenets are added by the scribe. We request the readers to publish their comments/critique in all newspapers and magazines for a wider debate. Let us make Pakistan more secure!
The writer has been CI at NDC and a visiting faculty for “Statecraft and National Security” at the National Security Workshop and the Administrative Staff College. E-mail: mak366 @ hotmail.com.