Today we celebrate 141st birth anniversary of the founding father of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. On this day his three pillars of nation building will be largely quoted i.e. Unity, Faith, and Discipline. But from the state of our affairs, it seems they are widely misunderstood. We have to try to understand these three pillars in the light of his speeches and writings. Here I present my three cents view on these:
Unity: What did Quaid mean by unity when he knew that the nation he is founding will be culturally and linguistically diverse. His speech in Dhaka University where he declared Urdu would be national language is instructive. A universal language is an important aspect of unity as it unites people through conversation and dialogue. He believed Urdu is the only language in the country that has a large national and international following and should become the national language of the country. It also brought us closer to Persians, Turks and Arabs as Urdu comprised components of these languages. By suggesting Urdu be National language Quaid did not suggest that regional languages should not be promoted or supported.
The other aspect of unity is the unity of purpose. After reading speeches of Quaid from independence till his death it is quite clear to me that he expected Pakistan to be a modern progressive and social welfare state built on the foundations of Charter of Medina. An important aspect of the charter of Medina is that it granted equal rights to citizens without regard to their religion, race or social status. Charter of Medina also did not propose that a state should have a religion.
Faith: The idea of faith was not about adherence to a religion but rather faith in oneself. It was more an idea of Khudi rather than imposing a religion followed by a majority on all citizens. He believed that the nation of Pakistan will allow expression of individual talents by offering level playing field to all rather than allow the emergence of a class structure where oppressed will forever remain confined to it. Faith is also about believing that honesty and hard work produce results. It is also about believing that God does not change the condition of people until they change themselves.
Discipline: Discipline cannot be achieved without respect for and implementation of the constitution and laws of a nation by everyone irrespective of their status. Unfortunately, we have failed in this respect as well as the other two. Today elites of the country are beyond reproach and can engage in blatant violations of rules, norms and traditions without any fear of reprisal by the law. State institutions that are charged with the prosecution of violators are unable to discharge their responsibility. General Musharraf recent statement; lack of accountability for abuse of power by civilians to enrich themselves and NAB plea bargain are examples that law enforcement agencies are unable to prosecute without bias or favors. Not only that every citizen is engaged in one or the other kind of violation of rules and regulations. It has become a norm rather than an exception to ignore rules, procedures, and standards. It is visible every day in the form of a traffic rule violation and cutting of queue rather than patiently wait for one’s turn.
Quaid gave us solid pillars to build upon but we have failed to erect these. It is still not too late, today on his 141st birth anniversary we can pledge to work towards it. Unity, Faith, and Discipline is the ideology offered by the Quaid once two nation theory delivered independence and was no longer valid to help build a nation.