“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of 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.”
Quaid-e-Azam M.A. Jinnah in address to first constituent assembly, Aug 11, 1947
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the land for which our forefathers sacrificed their lives in order to allow us or to at least to give us a chance to live a free life. To allow Muslims to freely practice their religion without the fear of being attacked by Hindus, who before
partition used to throw dirt and animals inside mosques and attacked people while they used to be praying. For this reason, the land was named ‘The Islamic Republic of Pakistan’ with Islam being the main religion, while all other religions given full freedom to practice their religion at the same time.
After 63 years of independence, we Pakistanis have made ourselves ignorant of the key purpose to get divided. The true spirit of Islam has lost itself in this long span of time and we have become more of hypocrites than Muslims. We only find refuge in complaining and protesting. If a mosque is demolished in some other country, we take out rallies and burn the flags of the country where Muslims are denied their religious rights, playing the basic human rights card.
However, the Muslims living in Pakistan, the land created for Muslims, fail to practice or let others practice Islam and offer prayers. We never close shops for namaz with the exception of the Friday Namaz. We look at men with beards and women with burqas with suspicion. We have been successful in stopping people from other religions attacking mosques and religious gathering but at the same time, we Muslims have started attacking each other’s places of worship and religious gatherings, not leaving a chance of accusing the other sect of being against Islam and labeling the people “kaffir.”
The level of ignorance has reached such new heights that now many educational institutions here have also started scheduling exams at the time of namaz forcing students to either miss their namaz or the exam. The cost of namaz is equalivent to feeding 60 people twice a day for 60 continous days. People abroad talk about how expensive the education there has become, here the educational institutions are nearly forcing students to miss their namaz, think about how expensive education here has become.
For Muslims, the life of The Prophet (PBUH) is an example and we should try to follow his footsteps to some extent at least. He, no matter what the other person did to him, never disassociated himself from anyone and would always be the first one to go and help that person.
Muslims following his footsteps should be kind hearted, ignore the petty differences in beliefs and assist people when they are in need, irrespective of the sect they belong to.
The Quaid’s promise of allowing religious freedom to every individual has not been fulfilled either. Despite 63 years or independence and freedom, we still have not provided religious freedom to minorities. We still do not have a Synagogue for Jews, if there are any in Pakistan, to practice their religion. Compare to our situation the situation in our neighboring country is relatively better in this aspect, especially in cities like Lucknow where the provincial government has 9th and 10th of Muharram as official holidays.
We still have a long way to go in fulfilling the promises made by our Founder to the nation. Despite 63 years have passed, we have not made any significant progress in this aspect instead we have lost the path laid out by Islam which was to a large extent inherited.