The July 4 Outlook carries a story titled “Dreams from two founding fathers” by Akbar Ahmed, comparing Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, with Thomas Jefferson.
Unfortunately, the writer missed a key point: Individuals, no matter how great they may have been during their lives, in the end are only as good as their legacies.
The story that Mr. Ahmed ignored is that while we in the United States live Jefferson’s dream every day, Pakistan stands as a repudiation of everything Jinnah believed in. Official state institutions and most Pakistanis have turned their backs on Jinnah’s legacy.
Jinnah’s vision was that of a secular Pakistan where religious tolerance and plurality would be respected and observed without reservation. Today’s Pakistan, where Hindu and Sikh minorities are on the verge of oblivion, where certain Muslim faithful are officially designated as heretics, where civil wars are raging between Shiites and Sunnis and between Islamists and Sufis, is a cruel reminder of how far the country has veered from its founder’s vision.
I have a personal stake in hoping and praying that Pakistan will someday rediscover the vision of its founder. My family, belonging to the non-Muslim minority in Kashmir, was driven out by Pakistani-armed mujaheddin in 1990, fresh from their victory in Afghanistan. Ever since, Pakistan has been in the news, slowly devouring Jinnah’s legacy from within.
by Vijay Sazawal, Darnestown