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Statement On Protection For Minorities In Pakistan

Quaid-e-Azam with the representatives of Minorities
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Governor General designate of Pakistan, at a press conference, assured the minorities in the Pakistan Dominion that they would have protection with regard to their religion, faith, life, property and culture. They would, in all respects be citizens of Pakistan without any discrimination and no doubt along with it they would have the obligations of citizenship. The minorities would have to be loyal to the State and owe true allegiance to the State.

The same principle, the Quaid emphasized, would apply to the minorities in India as well. One cannot have minorities disloyal to the State and sabotaging the state. Every citizen must be loyal to his State.

Citizens of Pakistan

Question : Could you as Governor General make a brief statement on the minorities problems?

The Quaid: At present I am only Governor-General designate. We will assume for moment that on August 15, I shall be really the Governor-General of Pakistan. On that assumption, let me tell you that I shall not depart from what I said repeatedly with regard to the minorities. Every time I spoke about the minorities I meant what I said and what I said I meant.

Minorities to whichever community they may belong; will be safeguarded. Their religion or faith or belief will be secure. There will be no interference of any kind with their freedom of worship. They will have their protection with regard to their religion, faith, their life, their culture. They will be, in all respects, the citizens of Pakistan without any distinction of caste or creed.

They will have their rights and privileges and no doubt, along with it goes the obligation of citizenship. Therefore, the minorities have their responsibilities also and they will play their part in the affairs of this state. As long as the minorities are loyal to the State and owe true allegiance and as long as I have any power, they need have no apprehension of any kind.

Loyalty to the State

Question: You said that minorities in Pakistan, if they are loyal, will be dealt with generously and justly. May we take it this applies to Muslims in Hindustan as well?

The Quaid: It applied to any minority, anywhere in the world. You cannot have a minority, which is disloyal and plays the role of sabotaging the State. That minority, of course, becomes intolerable in any State. I advise Hindus and Muslims, both of them; I advise every citizen to be loyal to his State.

Interest in Hindustan

Question: Would your interest in the Muslims of Hindustan continue as it is today?

The Quaid: My interest will continue in India for in every citizen and particularly the Mussalmans.

Question: As President of the All-India Muslim League what measures do you propose to adopt to assure the safety of Muslims in Hindu provinces?

The Quaid: All that I hope for is that the Muslims in the Indian State will be treated just as we propose to treat non-Muslim minorities. I have stated the broad principles of policy, but the actual question of safeguards and protection for minorities in the respective states can only be dealt with by the Constituent Assembly.

Question: You must have seen reports that in one or two provinces Congress ministries have indicated their intention of abolishing separate electorates and weightages?

The Quaid: I cannot go into these details. The actual provisions with regard to protection and safeguards can only be discussed in the two Constituent Assemblies, where the minorities are represented.

Problems for Constituent Assemblies

Question: Will they be discussed by the Constituent Assembly jointly or separately?

The Quaid: I cannot prophesise. In the first instance it is really the domain of each Constituent Assembly. Representatives of the minorities are in both Constituent Assemblies and therefore, those are problems of the Constituent Assemblies of India and Pakistan to deal with. I can only express the hope that they will be dealt with in a manner which will give the minorities a sense of security and confidence. I cannot discuss the details.

Question: What are your comments on the recent statements and speeches by certain Congress leaders to the effect that if Hindus in Pakistan are treated badly, they will treat Muslims in Hindustan worse?

The Quaid: I hope they will get over this matter and follow the line I am suggesting. It is no use picking up the statements of this man here or that man there. You must remember that in every society there are crooks, cranks and what I call mad people (laughter) in every part of the world and this is hardly the place where we can say: What about this man’s statement.

Matter of Minorities Alone

Question: Would you like the minorities to stay in Pakistan or would you like the exchange of population?

The Quaid: As far as I can speak for Pakistan I say that there is no reason for any apprehension on the part of the minorities in Pakistan. It is for them to decide what they should do. All I can say is that there is no reason for any apprehension as far as I can speak about Pakistan. It is for them to decide. I cannot order them.

Secular or Theocratic

Question: Will Pakistan be a secular or theocratic State?

The Quaid: You are asking me a question that is absurd. I do not know what a theocratic state means.

A correspondent suggested that a theocratic state meant the state where only people of a particular religion, for example, Muslims, could be full citizens and non-Muslims would not be full citizens.

The Quaid: Then it seems to me that what I have already stated is like throwing water on duck’s back (laughter). For goodness sake, get out of your head the nonsense that is being talked about. What this theocratic state means I do not understand.

Another correspondent suggested that the questioner meant a state run by Maulanas.

The Quaid: What about the Government run by Pundits in Hindustan?(laughter).

“When you talk democracy,” the Quaid went on, I am afraid you have not studied Islam. We learnt democracy thirteen centuries ago.

Cordial Relations

Asked what would be the relations between Pakistan and India, the Quaid said: “I have already answered that long before and I repeat it here. I sincerely hope that they will be friendly and cordial. We have a great deal to do, both states, and I think that we can be of use to each other, not to say the world. Being neighbors, from our side I do not think you will find goodwill wanting and I hope and appeal to the press and news agencies to impress this more upon Hindustan.

Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

“Pakistan’s Foreign Policy”, said the Quaid, in reply to further questions, “would be most friendly to all nations. We stand for peace in the world. We will make our contribution, whatever we can do.

Question: Will Pakistan seek admission into the U.N.O and have diplomatic representation abroad?

The Quaid: Let me get into the saddle and then I will tell you what we will do.

Question: Is there any possibility of Pakistan continuing to remain in the British Commonwealth?

The Quaid: We shall consider that question when the time comes.

Question : Is it not a fact that according to the Lahore Resolution, Pakistan will have to be sovereign State?

The Quaid: We have got all the powers, absolute, full powers, to do what we like.

Source: South Asian Studies: bi-annual Research Journal, Vol.17, No. 1 (Quaid-i-Azam Number) January 2002, PP. 85-89. Also cited in Dawn, July 14, 1947.

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