Fact is that Quaid’s speech of August 11, 1947 is presented out of its context. Quaid-e-Azam delivered this speech in a very special situation. The position was that it was the first session of the legislative assembly of Pakistan, in which Quaid-e-Azam was elected Chairman. The speech was made to thank the members for this election.
He was speaking with an injured heart before the nation. The sub-continent was going through a blood-bath, man was killing man and rights were trampled. This was the background in which he was clarifying that the State we are getting will provide equal rights to every citizen irrespective of the religion, whether it be Islam or Hinduism. The speech was not to settle the kind and manner of the state; the question was to assure the citizens their rights and safety for life and property. Islam keeps at par Muslims and non-Muslims in this respect. This has been the tradition of Islam and not of the Secularism.
Similarly, the words “Business of the State”, used by Quaid-e-Azam are greatly exploited. Here again intellectual dishonesty is committed, because “business of the state” never means “nature of the state”, it rather concerns the working and administration. There could not be any other interpretation.
Some people use this speech to justify secularism. To these people, I would say that before and after this particular speech, many a time Quaid-e-Azam spoke without break, stressing continuously the need for Islamic identity, to make Islamic Law the basis (of legislation), to design the state system in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah and to establish the society around the principle of Islamic justice and equity (adl). In his speech of July, 1948 at the time of inauguration of the State Bank of Pakistan, and in his Eid message that year, he declared, “We want to enact Islamic Law in the country”. The question now in that why the Quaid’s speech of August 11, stands unique and separate from all the rest of his statements? Is it so that the said speech has annulled all other speeches and declarations he made? Is it his only speech God-revealed and the rest carry no value? To understand the view point and thinking of a person, would we consider all what is available of him, or would choose to look at one solitary statement and that even out of the context? If there is need to see things in total, then Quaid’s concept of the Islamic state is quite clear.
Do these people think that Quaid-e-Azam was an unprincipled person lacking integrity? He would promise the people calling them to come forward and join the struggle of Pakistan as an ideological nation and as standard-bearer of Islamic system and law. But when three days were left in the independence, would he negate all what he had done and said? Would he rather back out and say that he, in fact, had been working for a non-religious secular state? After that (speech of 11th August), would he then again contradict himself and between September 1947 and July 1948 repeatedly stress the need for Islam, in all the speeches he delivered?
Sorry. Quaid-e-Azam never contradicted himself. He was not an unprincipled person. He can never be blamed for confused thoughts or slandered for hypocrisy. He always held his views with courage and valour. He would openly express what he considered was right. He never made conflicting statements. So, this speech of Quaid-e-Azam will have to be seen in the context of his other statements and will have to be reconciled and interpreted accordingly. Quaid was right to say that in Islam there was no theocracy, and the rights of citizens – whether Muslim or non-Muslim – were equal, provided they fulfilled the requirements of citizenship. Yet this never means that Pakistan would be a secular state, or one that would neither have relation with religion or where Islamic laws would not be enacted. We believe that this would be a misleading interpretation of his speech.
In my view this is a false accusation against Quaid-e-Azam. It is the biggest and worst slander than what any critic or opponent could dare label against him. But those who pose to be standard-bearers of Quaid’s thoughts, ware themselves busy to deform his character. As against that, the way we interpret Quaid’s views, fully fits his character and harmonizes all what he ever said. Through this interpretation we see a picture of the Quaid, characterized with honesty, justice and reflecting his true aspirations.