We Lost Our Self

Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s landmark speech at the Constituent Assembly’s first meeting on August 11, 1947 in Karachi has been missing for decades and all recent efforts to retrieve it have so far been in vain.

These days, Radio Pakistan runs an Urdu translation recorded in somebody else’s voice of the same speech. Where the original speech disappeared, and whether this was deliberate, remains an unanswered question.

It may be no coincidence that the missing speech has these famous words in it: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan …You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.”

It was also in this speech that the founder had said that the first duty of a government was to maintain law and order, “so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected by the state.”

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