Latest interview of Saleena Karim on SJ2, given to Talha Mujaddidi, 3 December 2010: or:

Interview to Talha Mujaddidi at Pakistan Ka Khuda Hafiz, 18 September 2009:



TM: What inspired you to write a book setting the record straight with respect to Justice Munir?

SK: My original research began with an accidental discovery that a certain speech of Jinnah (the Munir quote) could not be traced to any of Mr. Jinnah’s speeches but could only be found in Munir’s From Jinnah to Zia (1979) – or so I thought at the time. I had simply intended to write an article explaining the issue with the quote. In fact I almost didn’t even write the article as I had not grasped the significance of what I had found. My research took me in unexpected directions and I began to see there was much more to the story of the quote than I had first realised, but I kept the book relatively short. Sometime after SJ1’s (Secular Jinnah, 2005) release I discovered that the Munir quote actually had its origins in the ‘Munir Report’ of 1954 – i.e. same author, but different publication. Interestingly, the Munir quote was first used to deadly effect in the Pakistan Constituent Assembly debates of 1954, shortly before Ghulam Muhammad dissolved the Assembly. I have reviewed this in detail in SJ2, but otherwise my book is not centred on Justice Munir’s quote.

TM: Some people in the Pakistani media have said that Quaid-e-Azam was not a democrat but was a dictator. Was he a dictator or a democrat, or was he in favor of a Khilafat System? What did Quaid-e-Azam think of an Islamic system of governance?

SK: The Quaid was a strong leader and he often had to make tough decisions. But in no way was he a dictator. Throughout his career he always respected and represented the interests of his people, even when he did not personally agree with them. He is one of the few true democrats of recent history. I have discussed this at length in SJ2.
The Khilafat – by which I assume you mean the Khilafat of the last millennium – no longer exists with good reason. It self-destructed because it was no longer Islamic. The original Khilafat in early Islam had started out as possibly the earliest known precedent to a modern presidency. It had taken the political system in fashion at the time – monarchy – and reinvented it within the dictates of Islamic idealism. Instead of being passed to family members, the new Caliph was elected with no regards to his socio-economic status. Unlike the kings of old, the Caliph did not enforce a despotic rule, and instead consulted with his people on equal terms. But within a few decades this system had gradually declined back into a monarchy combined with theocratic elements. It survived for a time, but its annihilation was inevitable.
There is no crystallised ‘system’ in the Quran, but every Quran-based system must follow the same core principles or it will fall, whether it calls itself a Khilafat, or a presidency, or a parliamentary democracy, or anything else that we could conceive of. I doubt that Mr. Jinnah would have called for the revival of the Khilafat, even though he spoke often of Islamic socialism and Islamic democracy. He never offered his own blueprint for a constitution, but rather he said that the ‘millat and the people’ would be responsible for putting it together. In this he followed the Quranic democratic principle of ‘mutual consultation’ (he himself referred to this Quranic principle). From everything I have read, it is far more likely that Mr. Jinnah envisioned a democratic political system that could operate within today’s global environment, but, just like the original Khilafat, it would be one that was founded upon the universal ideals of justice, liberty and unity – hence his term, Islamic democracy. This is in keeping with the timeless spirit of Islamic idealism, which transformed the monarchy into the Khilafat during the Classical era. I have gone into some detail on Islamic idealism in SJ2.

TM: In SJ2, what do you mean when you say that Quaid-i-Azam is neither secularist nor religionist nor a product of synthesis (secular-Islam)?

SK: Quaid-e-Azam seems to have been misunderstood because many commentators, Muslims included, have not viewed Islam as he did, and so they look at his personality and career through their own prisms. His speeches and writings provide clear and definitive evidence that he was neither a secularist in the technical sense any more than he was a religionist in the technical sense. The same is true for Iqbal, who is wrongly accused of being the leading light in favour of what is sometimes called ‘secular-Islam’ – a supposed mix of old religious concepts and present-day political theories. Without getting too philosophical, Islam and secularism are based on completely different views of the universe, which is why combining them is absurd. Islam is neither a religion nor a polity but a code of conduct that influences our every action. Jinnah said it best when he said that Islam was about life. Both he and Iqbal understood this, and I have provided ample proof from their own statements.
I have spent a long time looking at the peculiar syntax of the Quaid’s statements, and have concluded that he belongs to a distinctly different category of thought, as does Iqbal. I have shown that Mr. Jinnah’s choice of words and phraseology changes in a particular manner from the mid-1930s onward. It is for these reasons that I have said that the Quaid was neither a secularist, nor a religionist, nor a ‘secular-Muslim’. I have also outlined in SJ2 what he really stood for, and again have provided documentary proof. Hopefully readers will see that it is necessary to re-evaluate the Quaid’s so-called ideological leanings before we can find clear-cut answers to other seemingly difficult questions, such as the actual meaning of the Two-Nation Theory.







Send this to a friend

Secular Jinnah
& Pakistan:
What the Nation Doesn't Know

CheckPoint Press, Ireland
Paramount Books, Karachi


Book Data:
6.14 x 9.21 inches
xiv, 318 pages
Includes bibliography
and index

What is the Munir quote?


© Copyright 2010-11 CyberBlurb