- The Prophet encouraged equality and justice
- Hazrat Umar gave key positions to non-Muslims, if they were up to the merit
- Jinnah had 2 minority-members in the first cabinet of 7 (1 Hindu, 1 Ahmedi)
- Pakistani non-Muslims have a duty to be a part of such fora and contribute positively.
- No one has followed a meritocracy in recent years, so they are wincing at IK’s selection of experts for the economic coordination committee and taking up issue with non-issues like 1 Ahmedi member.
- The rule of meritocracy has been established, a triumph of PM IK. Those opposed to the criterion of merit are disappointed.
IK is an anomaly in many ways. One of them is: heis head-of-state who upholds the Quaid-e-Azamas a role-model. The PPP has given that status to whoever is the most recently deceased Bhutto, the PML-N is all about promoting their blood relations to the exclusion of all sense of merit. MQM’s foundation was membership to a certain ethnic group in direct contradiction to Jinnah’s vision of inclusivity; JI demanded a blanket implementation of Shariah Law regardless of the religious minorities, also going against Jinnah’s clearly stated guidelines regarding religious freedom for all.
Against this background comes Imran Khan, upholding Jinnah as his role-model and showing it through word and deed.
We learnt in grade 4 that the white in our flag represents the religious minorities. As they are a part of the nation, so they must contribute to Pakistan’s progress. The list of those who did that and did that well, is long. To name a few, in Pakistan’s first cabinet of 7 ministers, Jinnah had hand-picked JogendraNath Mandal, a Hindu, to serve as the Law Minister; Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, a prominent member of the Ahmediyya community was among the leading proponents of the Pakistan movement. He served as Pakistan’s debut Foreign Minister.
HazratUmar integrated non-Muslims in his administration, based on their capacity. Interestingly, the Caliph requested his Syrian governor for a Greek who could manage the accounts of the revenue department. Thus, a Christian was appointed as the head of the accounts administration in Madinah, the Prophet's city. (Al-Ansab, by Al-Baladhuri)
Fast forward to 2018. The Economic Coordination Committee is recently constituted by the Pakistan government. The list is a triumph for meritocracy; the PTI government has already lived up to one of its promises by looking beyond personal affiliations, reaching across party lines and ethnic and religious biases to give this country’s economy a chance. This, is what a true meritocracy looks like. This is what the Greats have done.
The mark of true statesmanship is to apply a simple criterion based on merit and sincerity to the mission, and select the right person for the right job. PM Khan is following in the footsteps of political giants as he follows this criterion; he is definitely the first one to do it in recent history and so some are finding it hard to accept. They will continue to be shocked until they look to the sense of justice and equality practiced by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the wisdom, the largesse of Hazrat Umar, the political acumen and foresight of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Only in this context do the actions of PM Khan make sense. And, I ask you, is there really any other context that a Pakistani should care about?