You might want to sit down for this.
I think we need to scrap Jinnah’s 14 Points. Remember the fourteen points all high schoolers are made to memorise and reproduce in exams? Yes, those. Get rid of them.
But listen. Hear me out. I’m not a blasphemer. I love Jinnah just as much as any other Pakistani. And what I have to say is something I think Jinnah would agree with too.
For starters, there were some good points in there. Like how all provinces should have a uniform measure of autonomy and full liberty of belief, worship and observance, propaganda, association and education should be guaranteed to all communities. Who can disagree with that, right? My problem is something else.
I understand that states engage in ‘nation building’ everywhere. They teach their young and impressionable minds the ‘essentials’ of being a citizen. Apparently, it provides for a cohesive society that works together towards achieving a better future. At least that’s what we are told.
The question is, do we really need to learn all this? Do we really need Jinnah’s fourteen points today? Some would say it’s essential for the unity of the country but how, really? Do you even remember the 14 points? Tell me, honestly, isn’t there something else you wish you had spent your time memorizing?
For example wouldn’t you rather know more about your constitutionally granted rights?
Wouldn’t you much rather know about the rights that ensure the security of person, that explain the safeguards as to arrest and detention, that guarantee your freedom of movement, freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom to profess religion? Wouldn’t you like to learn about the safeguards to religious institutions? How about knowing a thing or two about the rights against discrimination in respect of access to public places and in service, preservation of languages, script and culture?
What’s the point of learning about Jinnah fourteen points, when they won’t help us when we are disposed of our legally acquired property? What’s the point of the two nation theory, when we can’t exercise and profess our religion as we please?
I say, we spend more time teaching our people what their rights truly are. You know, the things they can take the state to court for. The next time they’re dispossessed of their ancestral home or picked up by a state agency it might be better to know what their rights actually are. The Quaid’s 14 points will be of no help in getting them back home. Knowing what their rights are, just might.
Pakistan-Studies is compulsory up until the undergraduate level in Pakistan, which is about 16-17 years of our educational lives. Spend that time teaching your kids about the twenty something constitutionally granted fundamental rights they are entitled to, and they shall be in a better position to stand up against most illegalities that the state subjects upon them.
I don’t know how the Quaid’s 14 points improve the everyday lives of ordinary Pakistanis. But I CAN assure you that teaching our young about their rights will certainly help them live better, more dignified lives.