Mohammed Ali Jinnah was born on Christmas Day 132 years ago.
Though Jinnah is looked upon as the person who created Pakistan and in process divided India, he was by all means a secular person.
He is considered a founder of Pakistan though Jawaharlal Nehru's ambitions also played an equal role in the creation of the Islamic republic of Pakistan.
In this era it could be unbelievable that Jinnah who was fond of alcohol, cared little about halal meat and rarely offered Namaz, became the champion of Islamic cause. He couldn't read or write Urdu and barely spoke a few sentences.
A secular and nationalist, Jinnah had plunged into freedom movement but this successful lawyer had later got disenchanted with Congress. His address to the constituent assembly of Pakistan is often quoted:
"...you are free- you are free to go to your temples mosques or any other place 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... in due course of time Hindus will cease to be Hindus and Muslims will cease to Muslims- not in a religious sense for that is the personal faith of an individual- but in a political sense..."
Unfortunately, later Pakistan drifted from Jinnah's secular path. The population of Hindus dwindled in the country. Ahmadiyyas and the Christians faced wide persection. Initially it was the Mohajir-Punjabi schism and later sectarian clashes caused further divide.
Today sixty years after its creation Pakistan has left the path envisioned by Quaid-e-Aazam MA Jinnah and stands at the crossroads. Though India has also seen internal strife, riots and massacres, Pakistan has become just an instrument in the global geopolitics and as an American foothold in the region.
With an unstable Afghanistan on one side, growing Talibanisation and militancy apart from fears of uprising in the frontier, Pakistan has a tough course ahead. It needs a charismatic and accomodative leader, at least, one able successor to Jinnah, who can lead the country through these troubled times.