Jinnah’s vision for Pakistan
Posted: 20 Sep 2012 05:51 AM PDT
In clear concise and consistent terms, Mr Jinnah laid down his vision for Pakistan. After this, there is no room for discussion in my view. Popular sovereignty with equal rights regardless of religion – this is the essence of a modern democratic state. No vague notions of sovereignty being vested in a deity etc. -YLH
Document No: 01472105
Interview with Mr. Doon Campbell, Reuters’ Correspondent, New Delhi, 21st May 1947
Q. What sort of relationship do you envisage between Pakistan and Hindustan?
Ans. Friendly and reciprocal in the mutual interest of both. That is why I have been urging: let us separate in a friendly way and remain friends thereafter.
Q. How would you divide the armed forces? Do you envisage a defence pact or any other kind of military alliance between Pakistan and Hindustan?
Ans. All the armed forces must be divided completely, but I do envisage an alliance, pact or treaty between Pakistan and Hindustan again in the mutual interest of both and against any aggressive outsider.
Q. Do you favour a federation of Pakistan states even if there is to be partition of Punjab and Bengal?
Ans. The new clamour for partition that is stated is by the vocal section of the caste Hindus in Bengal and the Sikhs in particular in the Punjab will have disastrous results if those two provinces are partitioned and the Sikhs in the Punjab will be the greatest sufferers; and Muslims under contemplated Western Punjab will no doubt be hit, but it certainly will deal the greatest blow to those, particularly the Sikhs, for whose benefit the new stunt has been started. Similarly in Western Bengal, caste Hindus will suffer the most and so will the caste Hindus in Eastern Punjab.
This idea of partition is not only thoughtless and reckless, but if unfortunately His Majesty’s Government favour it, in my opinion it will be a grave error and will prove dangerous immediately and far more so in the future. Immediately it will lead to bitterness and unfriendly attitude between Eastern Bengal and Western Bengal and same will the case with torn Punjab, between Western Punjab and Eastern Punjab.
Partition of Punjab and Bengal, if effected, will no doubt weaken Pakistan to a certain extent. Weak Pakistan and a strong Hindustan will be a temptation the strong Hindustan to try to dictate. I have always said that Pakistan must be sufficiently strong as a balance vis-à-vis Hindustan. I am therefore, deadly against the partition of Bengal and the Punjab and we shall fight every inch against it.
Q. Will you demand a corridor through Hindustan connecting the Eastern and Western Pakistan States?
Q. Do you envisage the formation of a Pan-Islamic state stretching from the Far and Middle East to the Far East after the establishment of Pakistan?
Ans. The theory of Pan-Islamism has long ago exploded, but we shall certainly establish friendly relations and cooperate for mutual good and world peace and we shall always stretch our hand of friendship to the near and Middle East and Far East after the establishment of Pakistan.
Q. On what basis will the central administration of Pakistan be set up? What will be the attitude of this Government to the Indian States?
Ans. The basis of the central administration of Pakistan and that of the units to be set up will be decided no doubt, by the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. But the Government of Pakistan can only be a popular representative and democratic form of Government. Its Parliament and Cabinet responsible to the Parliament will both be finally responsible to the electorate and the people in general without any distinction of caste, creed or sect, which will the final deciding factor with regard to the policy and programme of the Government that may be adopted from time to time.
As regards our attitude towards Indian States I may make it clear once more that the policy of the Muslim League has been and is not to interfere with the Indian States with regard to their internal affairs. But while we expect as rapid a progress as possible in the various states towards the establishment of full responsible government, it is primarily the concern of the ruler and his people.
As regards the position of the states in the light of the announcement made by His Majesty’s Government embodied in the White Paper of the 20th of February, I wish to make it clear that the states are at liberty to form a confederation as one solid group or confederate into more than one groups, or stand as individual states. It is a matter entirely for them to decide. And it is clear, as I can understand, that paramountcy is going to terminate and, therefore, they are completely independent and free. It is for them to adjust such a matter as there may be by virtue of their treaties and agreements with the paramount power. They must consider as completely independent and free states, free from any paramountcy, as to what is best in their interest and it will be open to them to decide whether they should join the Pakistan Constituent Assembly or the Hindustan Constituent Assembly – Constituent Assemblies must be and will be two sovereign Constituent Assemblies of Pakistan and Hindustan.
Q. In general terms what will be the foreign policy of Pakistan? Will it apply for membership of the United Nations?
Ans. The foreign policy of Pakistan can only be for peace and friendly relations with all other nations and we shall certainly play our part in the membership of the United Nations.
Q. On which major power is Pakistan most likely to lean?
Ans. The one that will be in our best interests. It will not be a case of leaning to any power, but we shall certainly establish friendship and alliances which will be for the benefit of all those who may enter into such an alliance.
Q. What sort of relationship do you envisage between Pakistan and Britain?
Ans. The question can only be decided by the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and as I understand the situation, a relationship between Pakistan and British can be established which will be really beneficial for both. Pakistan cannot live in isolation, nor can any other nation do so today. We shall have choose our friends and I trust, wisely.
Q. What are your views in regard to the protection of minorities in Pakistan territories?
Ans. There is only one answer: The minorities must be protected and safeguarded. The minorities in Pakistan will be the citizens of Pakistan and enjoy all the rights, privileges and obligations of citizenship without any distinction of caste creed or sect.
They will be treated justly and fairly. The Government will run the administration and control the legislative measures by its Parliament, and the collective conscience of the Parliament itself will be a guarantee that the minorities need not have any apprehension of any injustice being done to them. Over and above that there will be provisions for the protection and safeguard of the minorities which in my opinion must be embodied in the constitution itself. And this will leave no doubt as to the fundamental rights of the citizens, protection of religion and faith of every section, freedom of thought and protection of their cultural and social life. – API
Q & A text sourced from photocopy of original: Dawn, 22nd May 1947 (with thanks to Mr. Inamullah Khawaja). See also copy in Zaidi, Z.H. (ed) (1993) Jinnah Papers: Prelude to Pakistan, Vol. I Part I. Lahore: Quaid-i-Azam Papers Project, p.845, which was obtained from an original typewritten document containing corrections in Jinnah’s own handwriting as well as his signature.
Courtesy Jinnah Archives – Emphasis is mine.