On December 25, we celebrate Mohammad Ali Jinnah — leader, barrister, politician and the founder of Pakistan.

The Quaid served as the leader of All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's independence on 14 August 1947, and later as Pakistan's first Governor-General until his death in 1948, shortly a year after the nation came into existence.

Even today, years after his passing, his words remain relevant — some even more so today than before.

On his 144th birth anniversary, we revisit his words of wisdom and hope they will inspire our readers to think and reflect.

Freedom to practice religion

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed — that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

Women's rights

"No nation can rise to the height of glory unless your women are side by side with you. We are victims of evil customs. It is a crime against humanity that our women are shut up within the four walls of the houses as prisoners. I do not mean that we should imitate the evils of the Western life.

"But let us try to raise the status of our women according to our own Islamic ideas and standards. There is no sanction any where for the deplorable conditions in which our women have to live. You should take your women along with you as comrades in every sphere of life, avoiding the corrupt practices of Western society."

Protection of minorities

"Minorities to whichever community they may belong, will be safeguarded. Their religion of faith or belief will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind will their freedom of worship.

They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life, and their culture. They will be, in all respects, the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or creed."

Unity

"I have no doubt that with unity, faith and discipline we will not only remain the fifth largest State in the world but will compare with any nation of the world….You must make up your mind now. We must sink individualism and petty jealousies and make up our minds to serve the people with honesty and faithfulness.

"We are passing through a period of fear, danger and menace. We must have faith, unity and discipline."

Bridging sectarian divide

"Let me warn you in the clearest terms of the dangers that still face Pakistan [...] What we want is not to talk about Bengali, Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pathan, and so on. They are, of course, units. But I ask you; have you forgotten the lesson that was taught to us thirteen hundred years ago?

"If I may point out, you are all outsiders here. Who were the original inhabitants of Bengal – not those who are now living here. So that is the use of saying, 'We are Bengalis, or Sindhis, or Pathans, or Punjabis'. No, we are Muslims."

Freedom of speech and expression

"I want you to keep your heads up as citizens of a free and independent sovereign State. Praise your government when it deserves.

"Citicise your government fearlessly when it deserves, but do not go on all the time attacking, indulging in destructive criticism, taking delight in running down the Ministry or the officials."

Looking after the destitute

"It is your sacred duty to look after the poor and help them. I would never have gone through the toil and suffering for the last ten years had I not felt our sacred duty towards them.

"We must secure for them better living conditions. It should not be our policy to make the rich richer, but that does not mean that we want to uproot things. We can quite consistently give all their due share."

Safeguarding journalists

"I say, protect the innocent, protect those journalists who are doing their duty and who are serving both the public and the government by criticising the government freely, independently, honestly which is an education for any government."

Get rid of corruption

"Corruption is a curse in India and amongst Muslims, especially the so-called educated and intelligentsia. Unfortunately, it is this class that it selfish and morally and intellectually corrupt. No doubt this disease is common, but amongst this particular class of Muslims it is rampant."

Work honestly and be faithful

"Work honestly and sincerely and be faithful and loyal to the Pakistan Government. I can assure you there is nothing greater in this world than your own conscience and, when you appear before God, you can say that you performed your duty with the highest sense of integrity, honesty and with loyalty and faithfulness."

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