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Principle of Muslim Democracy

Jinnah's Ideals

“In proposing this scheme, I have had one underlying principle in mind, the principle of Muslim democracy. It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great law-giver, the Prophet of Islam. Let us lay the foundation of our democracy based on truly Islamic ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that our decisions in the affairs of the State shall be guided by discussions and consultations. I wish you, my brethren of Balochistan, Godspeed and all success in the opening of this new era. May your future be as bright as I have always prayed for and wished it to be. May you all prosper.

- Mr. Jinnah / Quaid-e-Azam

- Speech:  New Era of Progress for Baluchistan

- Context: Speech at Sibi Durbar 

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Deeper reflections

Pakistan finds itself in a privileged position to be gifted with the historical task of constructing its own concept of democracy tailored to Islamic ideals and principles of equality and justice. 

 

Mr. Jinnah toiled for achieving Pakistan so that we may develop our own brand of democracy that may serve as a beacon of light to the Muslim world inhabiting 1.6Bn people. 

 

To re-initiate this effort, at the very outset, we must avoid a steadfast adherence to ancient processes in culture and production. The Muslim populous plans to transcend beyond the ritual precepts and recognize that we can translate ethics into non-theological terms. This is because for all good habits in thought or conduct there are good and real reasons in the nature of things. The citizens of Pakistan recognize that most excellences in human character have a spontaneous root in our nature and therefore, have a rational basis.

The Muslim democracy will find it’s inspiration from a rational interpretration of the Quran.

Translation of this Quranic ideal “Let there be no compulsion in religion” is found in Mr. Jinnah’s doctrine:

“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 Bengalees, Madrasis and so on -- will vanish. Indeed if you ask me, this has been the biggest hindrance in the way of India to attain the freedom and independence, and but for this we would have been free people long long ago. No power can hold another nation, and specially a nation of 400 million souls, in subjection; nobody could have conquered you, and even if it had happened, nobody could have continued its hold on you for any length of time, but for this. 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 or 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. Even now there are some States in existence where there are discriminations made and bars imposed against a particular class. Thank God, we are not starting in those days. We are starting in the days where 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. The people of England in [the] course of time had to face the realities of the situation, and had to discharge the responsibilities and burdens placed upon them by the government of their country; and they went through that fire step by step. 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.

 

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.” 

 

This doctrine applies to the whole. For the specific context of Balochistan - Mr. Jinnah is referring to the Quranic ideal: “While what God possesses is better and more enduring for those whose business is conducted through mutual consultation among themselves.” (Chapter: Consultation - Quran)

Path to progress is through dialogue and empathetic communication to remove doubt, suspicion and build trust between the people of Balochistan and the State of Pakistan. If there's one lesson in history -- it's violence begets violence. Contrastingly, economic activity and market-creation result in peace & prosperity. The transformation in Balochistan needs to be an economic one from which all else will follow.   

 

Further, as a Muslim Democracy, we will strive to provide the people of Balochistan adequate say in their administration, actively seek their consultation and implement their will towards social, economic, political and educational progress.

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Mr. Jinnah's promise to Balochistan for joining Pakistan was based on educational, social, economic and political uplift.

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