I am Pakistani
“It was not concern of our predecessor Government; it was not concern of theirs to worry about it; they were here to carry on the administration, maintain law and order and to carry on their trade and exploit India as much as they could. But now we are in a different position altogether. Now I give you an example. Take America. When it threw off British rule and declared itself independent, how many nations were there? It had many races: Spaniards, French, Germans, Italians, English, Dutch and many more. Well, there they were. They had many difficulties. But mind you, their nations were actually in existence and they were great nations; whereas you had nothing. You have got Pakistan only now. But there a Frenchman could say 'I am a Frenchman and belong to a great nation' and so on. But what happened? They understood, and they realized their difficulties because they had sense, and within a very short time they solved their problems and destroyed all this sectionalism, and they were able to speak not as a German or a Frenchman or an Englishman or a Spaniard, but as Americans. They spoke in this spirit: 'I am an American' and 'We are Americans'. And so, you should think, live and act in terms that your country is Pakistan and you are Pakistani.”
- Mr. Jinnah / Quaid-e-Azam
- Speech: National Consolidation
- Context: Speech at a Public Meeting in Dacca 21 march 1948
In recent past, the Muslims of India were a numerical minority, weak, educationally backward, economically nowhere, suffering denial of human rights, fearing political supremacy and domination of social order by an antagonistic nation that was in quantifiable majority.
Despite all the odds, Mr. Jinnah’s courageous leadership organized this backward Muslim minority into a polity, created a new nation, changed the problem in India as not of an inter-communal character, but manifestly of an international one and as a result, forever altered the map of the world by giving birth to the state of Pakistan.
The history of Mr. Jinnah’s freedom struggle impels the citizens of Pakistan to defeat all forms of sectionalism and yield to more generous, enlarged and enlightened views of national unity.
We have America’s example: “You cannot become thorough Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. America does not consist of groups. A man who thinks of himself as belonging to a particular national group has not yet become an American.” (Mr. Woodrow Wilson)
In America’s case, the European immigrants had their great nation-states already in existence. Whereas, Punjabi, Pashtun, Sindhi, Baloch, Muhajir and others don't have anything but Pakistan. European immigrants in America de-prioritized their old allegiances and took on a new national identity. In this lies a lesson that the citizens of Pakistan must shed their sectional outlook, focus on national unity and view themselves as Pakistanis.
Diversity and Unity
National consolidation, however, does not mean the evaporation of sectional diversity. Diversities of manners, customs and traditions are a good thing as they enable different people to produce different types of excellences. Pakistan will work towards promoting diverse expression and considers the absence of diverse characteristics undesirable.
The uniting umbrella of a national identity aims to serve as a vehicle of social cohesion that will result in collective economic success. Every sectional group in Pakistan will learn that the excellence of any one group in the country is to the advantage of all the groups. The inevitable truth is that diversity intensifies national unity.
Relations with the foreigner
In national feeling there is always latent, or explicit, an element of hostility to foreigners. Group feeling produces a limited and often harmful kind of morality. However, we must acknowledge that universal welfare is higher than the supposed interest of one’s own group or nation.
For this reason, the citizens of Pakistan will take their inspiration from the Quranic doctrine: “We have made you into races and tribes so that you may get mutually acquainted” and “We have made you nations and tribes that you may know one another.”
Pakistan’s national spirit aims to unite its people to work relentlessly towards its progress but it will never harbor hostile sentiments or intent against any other nation. All nations are part of the global community each with its own mission. We must acquaint ourselves with each other’s history, culture, traditions and philosophies so that we may know each other -- for in all knowledge there is an assimilation of the knower to the known.