Friday, November 16, 2007


M. A. Jinnah, the pork eating, whiskey swigging and Seville Row suited creator of Pakistan, became the Sherwani and Salwar clad, and Karakuli capped Muhammad Ali Jinnah, to visibly demonstrate his Muslim identity, immediately after Pakistan was created.

That is the attire in which Pakistan has revered and remembered the Qaid-e-Azam for 60 years.

Is there a change in the air? Why has Jinnah begun to be seen in his Seville Row suits again, that too over the shoulder of the President of Pakistan? Does it symbolize a silent recognition by Pakistan that the increasingly Islamic route that the country has taken in its journey as a separate nation has been a disaster and that it needs to be quickly brought back to the modern secular model that Jinnah had envisioned in his speech to the Constituent Assembly in August 1947?

Even Pervez Musharraf, who similarly started out in a Sherwani when he seized power, now prefers to be seen in a suit. This whiskey-drinking, dog-loving President of Pakistan wants to take Pakistan on the path of “Enlightened moderation” as against the increasingly Talibanised form of Islam that the country has been sliding into for many years now.

Musharraf is as hated by ‘Islamic’ leaders in his country as would have been Jinnah had he been alive today. Can he pull off the virtually impossible and bring Pakistan back from the brink of the disaster it finds itself in?

To achieve that, Musharraf will have to do much more than wear a smart suit and say 'cheers' to the forgotten and discarded Mr. M.A. Jinnah.