No one knows who killed Jinnah. Can Imran Khan answer?
It is indeed ironical that everyone who questions the idea of India today, from the liberals here to Pak PM Imran Khan, somehow see the idea of Pakistan is sacrosanct and well-heeled. But what they do not speak about is how the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah was treated after the Islamic country was formed. Till date no one knows who killed Jinnah.
- Sowjanya Kaushik
Fatima Jinnah (inset) had accused then Pakistani leaders of conspiring to kill Jinnah and also deliberately neglecting his health
On every stage, on every occasion, on every platform Pakistani Prime-Minister Imran Khan is often seen repeating the same accusation - that the RSS is responsible for the death of Mahatma Gandhi. In every speech, including his speech at the United Nations General Assembly, in front of a 180+ nations Imran Khan demanded to know who killed Gandhi. However, the fact remains we know who killed Gandhi – And he was hanged for his heinous deed. But, has Imran Khan ever wondered who killed the ‘Baba-i-Qaum’ Mohd Ali Jinnah?
We are often told the creator of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Governor General Mohd Ali Jinnah died of tuberculosis at the age of 70. Let us examine a few facts and take a closer look at the last few weeks in the life of Quaid-e-Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah.
As we all know, Jinnah did not participate in the First Independence Day celebrations of Pakistan on Aug 14th 1948. The last public function he attended was the opening of the Bank of Pakistan in July 1948. He was in the mountains of Ziarat and was too weak to travel to Karachi. His speech was broadcast to the nation via radio on Pakistan’s first Independence Day.
In Aug 1948, As Jinnah was recovering in the mountains of Quetta, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan came to meet him. Jinnah’s sister, Fatima Jinnah informed him that Liaquat Ali Khan was requesting an audience. Jinnah asked, “Fati, do you know why he has come?” Fatima Jinnah replied that she didn’t know and couldn’t guess. Jinnah said, “He wants to know how serious my sickness is and How long I will last”.
Later, Mr. Ghulam Mohammed, the then Finance Minister came to meet Jinnah. As he was leaving he stopped by to have a word with Fatima Jinnah and told her, “Miss Jinnah, You must know that Quaid-e-Azam’s Independence Day speech has been played down. Liaquat Ali Khan’s speech was printed on posters and pamphlets and pasted on buildings all over the cities. It was also thrown from airplanes all over the big cities”.
As the health of Quaid-e-Azam continued to deteriorate, a decision was taken to move him to the city of Malir. The palace of the Nawab of Bhawalpur was a suitable place in which Jinnah could be accommodated until he recovered completely. The doctors even spoke to Jinnah and got his consent to move to Malir which was closer to Karachi and had better medical facilities. It was around Aug-Sept 1948. However, at that time the Nawab of Bhawalpur was in London. Miss Fatima Jinnah requested the govt that the Pakistani High Commissioner in London should contact the Nawab of Bhawalpur and take his consent for hosting Jinnah at the Malir Palace for a few days. Jinnah’s personal physician Col. Ilahi Baksh too seconded the request and followed it up with the Pak Govt. But, somehow, the High Commissioner could not locate the Nawab and it did not occur to anybody to ask the Junior Nawab living in Malir as to where his father was!
Fatima Jinnah with her brother Mohmmad Ali Jinnah
The Last 24 Hours of Jinnah
The doctors then decided to move Quaid-e-Azam from Quetta to Karachi. On September 11th 1948, Jinnah was flown to Karachi in his favorite Viking Aircraft. The plane landed at the Mauripur Airport at 4.15 pm. Upon arrival at the Mauripur Airport, Miss Fatima Jinnah immediately noticed two things:
1. There was nobody, absolutely nobody to receive Jinnah at the Airport. Not the PM, not the Home Minister, not even the Chief Secretary or the IG of Police. The only person present at the Airport was Jinnah’s Military Secretary Col. Geoffrey Knowles. (It is often believed that he was still reporting to Lord Mountbatten).
2. The road from the Mauripur Airport to the Governor General Residence had NOT been cleared. It was teeming with Bullock Carts, Camel Carts, Donkey Carts and Hand-pulled carts.
Officially, the govt of Pakistan maintains that Quaid-e-Azam had himself strictly stated that this visit should be treated as a Private Visit. He also clarified that no one need follow official protocol and come to the airport to receive him. The govt of Pakistan insists that his sister Fatima Jinnah communicated this wish (That no-one come to the airport to receive Jinnah) to PM Liaquat Ali Khan.
However two things are quite hazy. First, the supposed request was oral and there is no written instruction regarding the same. Second, assuming that the oral request had been made and Jinnah (through his sister Fatima) had indeed told the Pakistan Govt that his visit was private – Even then—way back in 1948 – It is quite startling and very unbelievable that none from the govt went to receive Jinnah at the airport. And the govt did not take any measures to clear the streets from the airport to his house. Though obviously the govt was well aware of the fact the Jinnah was very ill.
When Quaid-e-Azam Governor General Mohd Ali Jinnah landed at the Mauripur Airport at 4.15 pm, there was just one Military Ambulance and a Cadillac car. Jinnah (who was on a stretcher) was gently placed in the Military Ambulance. Fatima Jinnah and the European Nurse Miss Dunham sat in the Ambulance while the other doctors and staff sat in the car. Slowly snaking its way through the streets of Karachi and tackling all the camel-carts and donkey-carts enroute, the Ambulance began a slow journey towards the official residence of the Governor General. But just 4 miles into the journey, the ambulance came to a halt. The driver announced that they had run out of petrol.
Fatima Jinnah's book 'My Brother' was banned by Pakistan government for being 'Unislamic'
Fatima Jinnah writes, “After we had covered about four miles, the ambulance coughed, as if gasping for breath, and came to a sudden stop. After about five minutes, I came out of the ambulance and was told that it had run short of petrol. The driver started fidgeting with the engine, but it would not start as I entered the ambulance again, the Quaid’s hands moved slightly, and his eyes looked at me in an inquiring manner. I bent low and said to him, there is a breakdown in the engine of the ambulance.” He closed his eyes. Sister Dunham and I fanned his face by turns, waiting for another ambulance to come, every Minute an eternity of agony.
The ambulance had come to a halt in the middle of the Karachi Refugee Colony. Houseflies and mosquitoes were buzzing all over the face of the Father of Pakistan. Fatima Jinnah and Miss Dunham took turns fanning him with their dupatta. Miss Fatima Jinnah suggested that Jinnah be moved to the Cadillac and the journey be continued. But the team of doctors refused by saying that the Cadillac could not accommodate a stretcher.
But somehow, the person who had checked the vehicles before they were sent to the airport had made sure that the petrol tank of the Cadillac was full. But he had forgotten to check the petrol tank of the ambulance. And it did not occur to anybody sitting there that the petrol from the Cadillac could simply be transferred to the Ambulance.
It is rich that Imran Khan who is an heir of a gory legacy lectures a civilization that is known to harbor every thought and faith for thousands of years. While the Idea of Bharat is still intact, the Idea of Pakistan was flawed since its conception and has been on shaky ground since then.
It was a little over an hour before the next Ambulance arrived. For more than one hour, Jinnah lay in that broken down ambulance, in the midst of a refugee colony with houseflies and mosquitoes buzzing all around him. Officially, the Pakistan govt maintains that the delay in sending the second ambulance was simply the result of poor communication systems. It is said that Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan went to the terrace of his residence. From there he happened to notice that the blue flag had not been raised on the residence of the Governor General. Absence of the flag meant that Jinnah had not yet reached home, so he made some enquiries and learnt that the ambulance had broken down in the midst of the Refugee colony. He then made arrangements for the second ambulance to be sent.
Even the second Ambulance arrived without a Flag or a convoy! Somehow, though one precious hour had already been wasted, it did not occur to anybody that at least the second ambulance should have a Flag on it, which would help it move faster through the traffic. And, strangely there is no record of anyone being suspended or punished for having failed to check the Ambulance before sending it to the airport.
Jinnah reached home. At around 9.00 pm his doctor Col. Ilahi Baksh gave him an injection. Col Ilahi Baksh himself writes that, he bent down, whispered into the ears of the Quaid that he was going to give him an injection to perk-up his heartbeat and ‘Insha-allah’ Quaid would live and guide them for many years to come. However, within two hours of this injection being administered Quaid-e-Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah died peacefully in his sleep.
Jinnah's doctor Ilahi Baksh and his biography on his last days with Jinnah. He confirms the deliberate neglect of Jinnah's health by Pak governemnt. His book was banned too.
Lies Propagated over Jinnah’s death
There are several facts that one must take into consideration while remembering the death of Jinnah.
1. Miss Fatima Jinnah had telegraphed her friends in USA. She was assured that a highly qualified doctor from the US would arrive in Karachi latest by 15th Sept. The doctor would take a look at Jinnah’s symptoms and case-history. Jinnah, as we all know died on the 11th.
2. Way back in 1948 itself, there were arguments about Jinnah’s affiliation. The Sunni sect persisted in saying Jinnah was a Sunni. Though he was born a Shia, he grew disgusted with the ‘false’ Islam of the Shias and when two of his sisters married Sunni Muslims and he too had ‘converted’ from Shia to a Sunni. Some eye-witnesses were willing to testify to this.
3. The Shia sect of course claimed that Jinnah had born and died a Shia. And while he considered Islam to be one religion, he had never ‘converted’ to the Sunni sect and remained a devout Shia throughout his life.
4. However, further problems arose when the Shia’s started squabbling amongst themselves. The Ismaili’s insisted that he was an Ismaili by birth and remained an Ismaili until death. The Imamiyyah (known as the Twelver sect) insisted that he had ‘converted’ to their sect.
5. Court Cases are still being filed and counter-filed in Pakistan even to this day. Different judgements have been passed during the last 71 years. It is, as of today completely unclear as to which sect Jinnah belonged to.
6. Most importantly, Fatima Jinnah wrote a book titled ‘My Brother’. The book was banned in Pakistan. A book written by Jinnah’s sister on Jinnah was banned in Pakistan because it was apparently un-Islamic! Later, Fatima Jinnah unsuccessfully contested elections against General Ayyub Khan. After her defeat, she too died under mysterious circumstances.
The way their own Quaid-e-Azam Mohd Ali Jinnah and his family was treated soon after creation of the Islamic state, showcases the despotic and mean way of the leaders of the country since the beginning. Nothing much changed over the years in a country that has seen bloodshed, killings, murders, coups for the sake of power.
Hence, it is rich that Imran Khan who is an heir of such a gory legacy lectures a civilization that is known to harbor every thought and faith for thousands of years. While the Idea of Bharat is still intact notwithstanding the latest attacks in the name of liberalism, the Idea of Pakistan was flawed since its conception and has been on shaky ground since then. Fall of a country which cannot honor its own leaders is inevitable and will occur sooner than anticipated.
(Author is a researcher, scholar, writer and a video blogger based in Bengaluru)