Jinnah and the Notion of a Nation-State


  • Syed Jaffar Ahmed


Attempting to contribute in a very modest way to the ideological debate of Pakistan, this article seeks to identify the causes of the country’s persistent ideological predicament. Beginning by narrating certain questions around which the sixty plus years debate has been carried out, the article looks into what responses were provided by the state and the ruling political and religious elite of the country and how these manifested in the policies, pronouncements, and practical steps. However, the failure of almost of all of these responses in achieving their objectives brings one back to square one and one is compelled to see why these met such fate. It is argued that the founder of Pakistan had much clearer vision about the country for the creation of which he had the pivotal and the decisive role. It seems that he knew better than many of those in his times and thereafter, as to what type of state and ideology the country would require for its survival and progress. A democratic and federal character along with assurance of equality of citizens in the eye of the law could alone enable the state to realize the objectives for which the country was established. Similarly, a democratic and federal Pakistani nationhood could represent the ideology of Pakistan which, had it been created, would have also aptly represented the vision of the Quaid-i-Azam.