'Kashmiris' oppression proves Jinnah's belief in two-nation theory'.
'Then in 1940, he was one of the main movers behind the passing of the Pakistan Resolution, which eventually resulted in creation of Pakistan in 1947. But he was first an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity, at least until 1940. He had a strong belief in the Quran and the last Prophet of Islam [PBUH], but he also believed that religion was not the business of the state. It was personal,' he said, adding that Jinnah was always a champion of human rights, minorities' rights and women's rights. 'He wanted equal rights for all. He was a man of high integrity,' he added.
'He was a man who altered the course of history and changed the map of the world by creating a country. Had it not been for him, there would have been no Pakistan. And the Jinnah Anthology looks at all these aspects,' he said, adding that its first edition came out in 1999 along with the release of Jinnah, the movie, while its second edition was launched in 2009 at the Pakistan High Commission in the United Kingdom and its third edition came in 2014. The fourth of the book was published earlier this year.
'So there have been four editions of the book in 20 years,' he said, while thanking scholar and historian Prof Sharif Al Mujahid for his contribution to the anthologies.
A clip was played then with Jinnah's speech about the division of India as a voiceover. He said that the division of India was the only practical solution. He explained that Hindu India and Muslim India must be separated as their religion, culture, language, literature, architecture and thus their entire way of life was different from each other. This was in fact because they were different nations and could only be ruled by one or the other through force, which was sure to lead to serious repercussions. Therefore they should be allowed to develop with their own culture and ideology, and not under dominance of each other.
'When you see the operation against oppressed Kashmiris in India-occupied Kashmir you know how right Jinnah was back then,' said Mr Merchant.
'Even in 1944, there were talks between Jinnah and Gandhi to see how both communities could live together in order to keep India united. Gandhi was heard saying at the time that how can converts be a separate nation? And Jinnah told him that Muslims were people with their own distinct features and way of life.
'In 1946, when the British aired their desire to leave India, they also proposed to keep India united through the Cabinet Mission Plan according to which the Muslim-majority areas were to be ruled by Muslim leaders. The Muslims of India were agreeable to the plan but then when it was said that the Government of India Act of 1935 was to be the Constitution of India, Jawaharlal Nehru had a problem with that. And Indian Article 370 was brought up to give Kashmir its own status. Now that Article 370 has been revoked,' he said before reading out various excerpts from the Jinnah Anthology.
Later, Governor of Sindh Imran Ismail said that Jinnah was a very far-sighted man as his two-nation theory can be seen and felt in India to this day. 'There are crimes against Muslims, they are robbed, beaten, taken away in India. On the other hand, here in Pakistan we give religious minorities equal respect and equal rights,' he said.
'Jinnah is one of the few leaders who have left a mark and we feel that mark every day. At the Sindh Governor House, I feel his presence every day. We have also preserved his office there. It is a historical place which everyone should visit,' the governor said.
He also request Mr Merchant to get the Jinnah Anthology translated into Urdu. 'It needs to be translated into Urdu for it to be able to reach a wider readership. The people here, especially the young people need to know Jinnah better as there are so many things about him that can serve as a lesson for us even today,' he said.
'There was a big loss and gap once we lost Jinnah and Pakistan couldn't reach where it should have had he lived longer. But our new generation can be shown how to make this country Jinnah's Pakistan by telling them about his life and his way of thinking,' he said.
Finally, the governor said that no one got to choose their neighbours and one had to learn to live peacefully with their neighbours, though peace with India was not easy unless the Kashmir dispute was resolved. 'We don't want to indulge in war, but if the time comes we will not hold back. We will come with full force,' he said.