Economic Vision of the Quaid-i-Azam

I am grateful to the organisers for holding this seminar on an important, if somewhat less known, facet of the life-work of the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who transformed the All India Muslim League from a run-of-the-mill political party into a mass movement. His role as the founder of an independent sovereign Muslim state in South Asia has been widely acclaimed by historians and scholars. However, his political tour de force has rather overshadowed what he did for the economic emancipation of Muslims before and after Independence. The demand for Pakistan visualised not just freedom from colonial rule but, no less importantly, liberation from the socio-economic domination of the majority community in business, commerce, education and public services. Jinnah knew full well that the areas to be included in Pakistan were economically and industrially backward. They constituted the agricultural hinterland of the industrialised areas of British India. A survey of industrial locations during the year 1939-40, appended below, highlights the vast disparity in industrial development between the two areas: