Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah (25 Dec 1876 – 11 Sep 1948)

Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, is the sole personality of the modern world who changed the course of history by carving out the nation state of Pakistan by fighting against the triad antagonistic forces of the British, the Hindus and the traditionalist Muslim clergy.

Born in Karachi and educated as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in London, Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century, initially advocating Hindu-Muslim unity and helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress. Jinnah also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims should a united British India become independent.

By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Indian Muslims should have their own state as Allama Muhammad Iqbal had envisioned 10 years earlier in his Allahabad address. His charismatic leadership reorganized the fragmented Muslim league and elevated them from the minority status to a strong political entity craving for a separate homeland. The League, which from that year onwards supported a separate nation for the Muslims, won most reserved Muslim seats in the elections of 1946. Intransigence of Congress for giving full rights to the Muslims continued and both could not reach a power-sharing formula for a united India, leading both organizations, and the British, to agree to separate independence for a predominately-Hindu India, and a Muslim state, to be called Pakistan.

The first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation’s government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim refugees who had emigrated from India. He personally supervised the establishment of refugee camps for those who had migrated to be part of the new nation of the newly born country. He firmly believed in the principle of equality for all regardless of religion, cast, creed or sect. Jinnah died at age 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the British Raj. He left a deep and respected legacy in Pakistan and he remains the ever greatest leader and the father of the nation.