Although Pakistan is a relatively young country, it has produced many great figures. In this blog series we’ll take a look famous Pakistanis who made a difference in their country and in the world.
Probably the most famous Pakistani in history is Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Born in 1876, Jinnah led the political movement that prompted the split of the Indian subcontinent after the end of the British occupation.
Jinnah was born to a merchant family in the city of Karachi. During his younger years, he attended multiple schools, and was actually not a very good student. He was often bored in the classroom and disliked learning math. At the age of eleven, his aunt visited from Bombay India, and after a little convincing, Jinnah’s family allowed her to take him back with her. The family hoped he would do better in school there, but unfortunately, he was at that time still a poor student even in a new environment.
He soon returned to Karachi, and was married at 15 to a 14 year old named Emibai. After his marriage, Jinnah continued his education in London, but the relationship was short-lived as his young wife died while he was studying abroad. Later, while he was still away, his mother also passed away. However, Jinnah stayed in England to complete a law degree, before returning to Bombay, where he set up a legal practice and remarried.
It was his second time in Bombay, many years later, that motivated Jinnah to become involved with politics, and he began to actively participate in the movement to free India from British rule. He had joined the Indian National Congress, a separatist movement, and the also joined the Muslim League in 1913. Three years later, he was elected the president of the organization.
It took years, but slowly and surely the country moved towards independence. Although, as it did, unrest started between the Hindus and Muslims. Jinnah’s goals then shifted, and he began to envision two separate states rather than just to free India as a solo country. And while he and Mahatma Gandhi disagreed on what was best for India, their relationship remained cordial.
In 1942, he led the Muslim League in asking for two separate nations to be created. Five years later, on August 14, 1947, Jinnah’s vision became a reality, and Pakistan and India became two separate nations. Jinnah was sworn in as the leader of the brand new country of Pakistan, his life’s work coming into fruition.
Unfortunately, even after all his victories, Jinnah’s health was deteriorating quickly. Not long after independence was achieved, he returned to his hometown of Karachi to live his final year, and died of tuberculosis in 1948. His tomb is in Karachi and is an impressive monument built to honor both the man and his legacy. There is a 53-hectare park around the mausoleum, and receives millions of visitors a year.
Jinnah’s matchless vision and guidance helped to found the nation of Pakistan into the independent country it is today. Today, he is one of the most loved figures of Pakistan, and is still celebrated for his influence and work.