Governor-General of Pakistan
Born: 25 December 1876
Profession: Lawyer,Governor-General of Pakistan
Affiliation(s): All India Muslim League (1913–1947)
Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Urdu: محمد علی جناح, born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai, 25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948) was a lawyer, politician and statesman, and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam (Urdu: قائد اعظم —”Great Leader”) and Baba-i-Qaum (بابائے قوم) (“Father of the Nation”); his birthday is a national holiday there. Jinnah served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan’s independence on 14 August 1947, and as Pakistan’s first Governor-General from independence until his death on 11 September 1948.
Born in Karachi and educated as a barrister at Lincoln’s Inn in London, Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress (Congress) in the first two decades of the 20th century, initially advocating Hindu-Muslim unity and helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress. Jinnah also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims should a united British India become independent.
By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Indian Muslims should have their own state, and his party gained strength as Congress refused to cooperate with the British. The League, which from that year supported a separate nation for Muslims, won most reserved Muslim seats in the elections of 1946. Ultimately, Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for a united India, leading both organizations, and the British, to agree to separate independence for a predominately-Hindu India, and a Muslim state, to be called Pakistan.
The first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation’s government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim refugees who had emigrated from India. He also called for minority rights in Pakistan and personally supervised the establishment of refugee camps for those who had fled the new nation of India after the separation. Jinnah died at age 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the British Raj. He left a deep and respected legacy in Pakistan, though he is less well thought of in India. According to his biographer, Stanley Wolpert, he remains Pakistan’s greatest leader.