Sunday, June 05, 2005

Islam and Constitutional Republics - Episode I

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, First Prime Minister of Pakistan, gave a speech to the Commonwealth Club of California on May 16, 1950. The audio is at:

The following is a part of this speech I love to quote:
"... we have proved it to the world more than once. We established Pakistan because of our passion for what we call the Islamic way of life. This is no narrow sectarian, or medieval, or theocratic or intolerant conception. It means no more and no less than this: that we believe in God and atheistic doctrines cannot flourish amongst us. That we believe in the equality of men and the equality of civic rights and opportunities for all, irrespective of their religious belief. That we believe in social justice, ... that we believe in democracy, not as a political creed; but as a part of our religious faith ... the way of life that we have chosen for ourselves, [is] not a new concoction, but one that is based on a body of belief and tradition that have been handed down to us by our forefathers"
The speech the Nawabzada gave to Congress was part of our High School English curriculum. (I think it was Congress; thought I have faint recollection of it having been the very University Churchll gave his "Iron Curtain" speech)

Dr Adil Najam recently mentioned to me a speech by the Nawabzada to the Constituent Assembly about the Pakistani flag; a speech that mentions what the Pakistani attitude to minorities should be. I have requested him for information on how and where to get a transcript or recording.

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