NEW DELHI – India’s national broadcaster All India Radio (Air) has handed over to Pakistan two important tapes containing speeches of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
The tapes were handed over to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi earlier this week after a year-long effort by the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PCB) and right to information activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal.
Air, however, informed its Pakistani counterpart PCB that it could not locate a third tape in which Jinnah had addressed the country’s constituent assembly on August 11, 1947 and has promised to handover more material as and when it locates it from its archive.
The two tapes contain Jinnah’s June 3, 1947 speech in reaction to the colonial British government’s plan for a referendum on whether the North West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) should be part of India or Pakistan and August 11, 1947 speech in which Jinnah declared Pakistan as a secular state.
PCB director general Murtaza Solangi wrote to his Air counterpart on March 29 last year, seeking copy of Jinnah’s first presidential address to the constituent assembly in Karachi. Solangi in his letter noted that he was told during his 2011 India visit that the Jinnah speech was in the Air archives.
Jinnah in that speech had spoken of his vision for Pakistan, just four days before it was carved out of India as a sovereign state. Jinnah in that speech had said that Pakistan would be a state with equal rights for all citizens irrespective of community, colour, caste and creed and said people were free to go to their places of worship.
Air informed the PCB that while it did not have the recording of that particular speech, it had two other recordings, which were subsequently handed over to the Pakistan High Commission after due clearance from the ministry of information and broadcasting.
In one of the speeches, Jinnah had exhorted the constant assembly to shape up a Pakistan meant for the welfare and well-being of all communities. Sources in the Air said that Jinnah talked of tolerance and goodwill shown by the Mughal emperor Akbar was not of recent origin since “13 centuries ago Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) not only by words but deeds treated the Jews and Christians handsomely after he conquered them.” Jinnah had added that the history of Muslims wherever they ruled was replete with those humane and great principles which should be practiced and followed by Pakistan.
The second tape is Jinnah’s June 3, 1947 address in which he opposed the British plan of referendum to NEWP and appealed to all to maintain peace and order after India’s partition.
PCB has announced that it will soon broadcast the two tapes after conducting quality and authenticity tests.