WHY JINNAH?

The choice of name reflects the organization’s commitment to the core values embodied in Pakistan’s enterprise of state-formation by its founder, the Quaid-i-Azam, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, as reflected in his address to the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. It also reflects an attempt to ensure that the values of humanism and tolerance that Jinnah stood for stimulate a renewed interest in ensuring civil liberties and fundamental rights for the citizens of Pakistan.

Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s speech of August 11, 1947 stated the fundamental values that he hoped would define Pakistan as a plural, inclusive country. His words to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan that day are still significant today. They lay out the possibility of another future for Pakistan.

This is the speech that allows us to imagine a new Pakistan. It provides reformists with a politically unifying metaphor that resists challenge in most forums of society and state. This is the vision and the possibility that inspired the formal establishment of Jinnah Institute on August 11, 2010.

“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. 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. 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.”

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