Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Jinnah's Reply to the US Ambassador

The United States of America was the only country whose representative attended the birth of Pakistan on August 15, 1947. Later, he was replaced by an ambassador who presented his credentials on February 26, 1948. It seems that a generous monetary aid was also offered at the same time.

Fortunately, the reply of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder and the first Governor-General, has been preserved. After highlighting the role which the US had played in inspiring freedom movements like those of Pakistan, Jinnah said in unmistakably clear words:
I can assure Your Excellency that after having emerged from an eclipse which lasted over a century and a half, the people of Pakistan desire nothing which is not their own, nothing more than the goodwill and friendship of all the free nations of the world. (Read complete text)
At that time, Pakistan was in dire need of money. Just a while ago, even our former colonial masters, the government of Great Britain, had not flinched from accepting American loans (in fact, from the autobiography of Harry Truman we learn that the British government kept nagging for more than what the Americans were willing to lend them).

The refusal of a starving nation to join the beeline of borrowers (even when the line was headed by their former masters) should have been an eye-opener to the ruling elite of the United States but it seems that it wasn't. Apparently, they eventually succeeded in persuading the later rulers to accept what the founding fathers had categorically refused.

If precedents set by Jinnah should be regarded as the guiding principles of “the ideology of Pakistan” then refusing foreign aid (whether American or Russian) can be rightly regarded as a cornerstone of that ideology. Something to remember while Pakistan celebrates Jinnah’s birthday this year?

1 comment:

  1. Sir, these words of the Quaid touched my heart to the core. The principles set by Quaid e Azam were based on the ideals of "selfhood" put forth by Iqbal, and according to Iqbal "the self is weakened by asking favours". If only we had abided by these principles, and not allowed our collective self to be weakened by this foreign aid!

    Thank you very much for this post :)