Book review: What Fatima Jinnah thought

Linked with Fatima Jinnah – Pakistan (1893 — 1967).

Published on daily, by Sorayya Khurshid, November 23, 2008.

Sorayya Khurshid had the opportunity of living next to Fatima Jinnah in 1956. She took care to write a diary of her sittings with her and we are lucky that she did that because it explains the personality of Ms Jinnah and lets us have a glimpse of her views. Sorayya’s brother Khalid Hasan has rendered the book into Urdu and we are face to face with some of the facts in history we didn’t know before …

… Mr Jinnah’s library didn’t have many books. Sorayya once borrowed Shakespeare and his Heroines from there for reading. Ms Jinnah believed Jinnah stood for Islamic socialism and wanted the Constitution framed on those lines and didn’t like feudalism (p.63). The wheeling-dealing that ensued after 1947 was begun by Liaquat Ali Khan who strangely changed after becoming prime minister — ‘maybe he was always like that’ (p.65) …

… Ms Jinnah saw through the patriotism of Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and thought he was a ‘power-hungry man who would stop at nothing’ (p.77). Kashmiri leader Chaudhry Ghulam Abbas was also in the same category pretending to be what he was not. She said, ‘At times I see only a dark future for Pakistan’. But Suhrawardi she thought was a courageous and brilliant leader and was pleased when he called on her, although she admitted he had a colourful side to him unlike Jinnah who loved only Ruttie (p.84).

Major General Akbar Khan of Raiders in Kashmir called and wanted to confirm that Jinnah had ordered army chief Gracey to attack India but he did not. Ms Jinnah said she could not confirm because Jinnah did not know much about what was happening towards the end of 1947. She said: ‘In fact, he did not know anything about it (Kashmir attack by tribals) at all and was very sorry that a thoughtless step had been taken in such a crude and unorganised manner’ (p.87).

Ms Jinnah thought General Ayub was not a clean man and during his posting in East Pakistan was involved in smuggling (p.88). She did not like Dr Khan Sahib becoming chief minister of West Pakistan as she thought the family of Ghaffar Khan was with the Congress and were not loyal to Pakistan. She said, ‘Liaquat Ali Khan never consulted me; in fact, he seldom came to see me. That might be because of his wife whom I never liked and Liaquat and Rana knew it. She dominated Liaquat (p.94). Jinnah had realised he had the wrong man as his deputy but it was too late to change him … (full text).

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