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Quaid-i-Azam's Defence Vision

By Brig Ehsan Mehmood Khan

Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was one of the most world leaders of his time, who left his mark on all aspects of future statecraft of the subcontinent and the world at large. He did not have time to write a book nor did he leave behind any monograph. However, a lot can be found in his speeches, communiqués and pursuits as a politician and statesman. Inter alia, his vision on the military instrument of statecraft is quite clear and a beacon of wisdom for the generations to come.

Key Ingredients of the Quaid's Defence Vision

Key ingredients of the Quaid's defence vision included:
• Strong national defence (strong Army especially cavalry, Navy, Air Force).
• No dependence on the international body.
• Self reliance both in defence production and the military system.
• The Watchword (faith, discipline and self-sacrifice)
• The importance of training system.
• Doctrinal evolution.
• Professional confidence.

Contribution towards International Peace
Even before the creation of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam practically contributed towards international peace by supporting the allied defence efforts during World War I. He joined other Indian moderates in supporting the British war effort and urged the Indian Muslims to join British forces. Hundreds of thousands joined and fought in different theatres of war. The Muslim infantrymen and cavaliers, mostly from the areas forming part of Pakistan now, played a heroic and historic role in bringing back the international peace and stability by offering sacrifices including that of their lives.
Yet again, during World War II, Quaid-i-Azam vocally supported the British war effort and asked the Indian Muslims to join British forces. Some 617,353 Muslim soldiers participated in World War II and fought in different theatres of war.

Establishment of the Military Academies
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was an ardent advocate of establishing a Military Academy on the lines of Sandhurst Academy. In 1925, he was appointed as Chairman of a subcommittee to study the possibility of establishing the academy. The members of the subcommittee included Sir Pherose Sethna and Zorawar Singh. Major Lumby acted as Secretary of this subcommittee. Motilal Nehru, resenting Quaid-i-Azam's appointment as Chairman, resigned his membership of the Sandhurst Committee. The Quaid, along with his colleagues, sailed from Bombay in S. S. “Kaisar-i-Hind” on April 10, 1926 and arrived in England on April 24, 1926. Up to April 30, the sub-committee visited various institutions of England, and proceeded to France to visit its military institutions from May 3 to 6. Then it returned to England, where it stayed for another two weeks to visit the remaining English institutions. After that the sub-committee sailed for Canada on May 28, 1926. Having landed on the Canadian soil on June 6, it visited the Canadian military institutions for three days and reached the United States of America on June 9. Having visited the American military training institutions for three days, it returned to England. The sub-committee re-assembled on 1 July where they visited Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. The subcommittee visited France yet again. Based on the information gained during the visit, the committee was able to give concrete recommendations for establishment of the Military Academy in the Subcontinent. Lord Irwin, the Viceroy, who recognized this fact already termed Jinnah's support to the recommendations of the Indian Sandhurst Committee a matter which was “politically valuable” to the British Government.

Quaid-i-Azam's Defence Vision

He always supported the proposal that the armed forces of subcontinent should be completely made up of local officers and soldiers, with no participation of the British personnel. He particularly supported the induction of local officers at all tiers of command, which if not done, would lead to lack of spirit among the locals. Thus, the military career must not be denied to the local citizens. The purpose of writing these lines here is to corroborate that Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had the strategic vision for the state defence besides being well versed with the training system in the Europe and North America, and the Subcontinental operational needs.
Pakistan Military Academy (PMA), known as Quaid-i-Azam's own is a notable legacy of the Quaid. PMA was established in 1947. Some 66 Muslim (Pakistani) cadets were shifted from the Indian Military Academy (IMA) to PMA in 1947. In March 1948, the First Battalion was bestowed with Quaid-i-Azam's patronage as Colonel-in-Chief, and the most coveted claim Quaid-i-Azam's Own. Khawaja Nazimuddin gave the Quaid-i-Azam banner to the Pakistan Military Academy on behalf of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammed Ali Jinnah. The Quaid-i-Azam banner is held by the champion company at every passing out parade. During his address in 1950 on completion of his term, Brigadier Francis Ingall said, “I have given many addresses from this position here and from 1948 to 1951 I was very keen on the question of Pakistan and believed in it. I believed what the Quaid-i-Azam preached. I believe in Islam.”

Atomic Weapons and the Pattern of Future Wars
Quaid-i-Azam was fully cognizant of the evolving character of war in addition to the prospective role of the world body. On January 2, 1948, he articulated, “The First World War of 1914-18 was fought to end war. Its horrors quickened the conscience of the world and set statesmen thinking to devise ways and means of outlawing war. This led to the birth of the League of Nations and the idea of collective security, but the League of Nations proved only a pious hope. It failed to avert World War II. The destruction caused by the first world war pales into insignificance as compared to the devastation and havoc resulting from the last world war and now with the discovery of the Atom Bomb, one shudders to think of the pattern of future wars.”

Responsibility for the Defence of the State
Quaid-i-Azam stood for adherence to the global values and United Nations charter for the purpose of international peace. However, he was skeptical about the capacity of the UN on the way to collective security. He believed that the foremost responsibility for defence of the state was that of the state itself. The question is: Was the Quaid realist? Not exactly, indeed. He believed in the efficacy of liberal values. However, he deemed that the state should have both the will and capacity for its defence. To him, weakness was tantamount to inviting aggression. He is quoted to have said, “Pakistan which has been recently admitted to the United Nations Organization will do everything in its power to strengthen the Organization and help it in the achievement of the ideals which have been set up as its goal. While giving the fullest support to the principles of the United Nations Charter we cannot afford to neglect our defences. However strong the United Nations Organization might be, the primary responsibility for the defence of our country will rest with us and Pakistan must be prepared for all eventualities and dangers. The weak and the defenceless, in this imperfect world, invites aggression from others. The best way in which we can serve the cause of peace is by removing temptation from the path of those who think that we are weak, and therefore, they can bully or attack us. That temptation can only be removed if we make ourselves so strong that nobody dare entertain any aggressive designs against us.”

The Need for a Strong Air Force
Certainly, the Quaid was conscious of the need for strong, well trained and well equipped land forces and navy. Nonetheless, he was equally cognizant of the necessity for a strong air force that could work with other services e.g. army and navy to achieve synergetic strategic outcome on the way to ensuring security of the frontiers of Pakistan. During his visit to Pakistan Air Force base at Risalpur in 1947, Quaid-i-Azam pronounced, “There is no doubt that a country without a strong Air Force is at the mercy of any aggressor. Pakistan must build up her air force as quickly as possible. It must be an efficient air force second to none and must take its right place with the Army and the Navy in securing Pakistan's Defence.”

The Watchword for the Defence Forces

During his visit to PNS Delawar at Karachi on 23rd January 1948, Quaid-i-Azam said, “Everyone of us has an important role to play in strengthening the defence of the country and your watchword should be Faith, Discipline and Self-Sacrifice.”

Armoured Corps: “Corps de Elite”
Quaid-i-Azam had so keen eye to observe and evaluate the significance of various segments of the military forces that he never missed any. For instance, he greatly valued the importance of the armoured corps in the land forces. During his visit to the 3rd Armoured Brigade of Pakistan Army at Risalpur on April 13, 1948, he said, “For centuries cavalry has been regarded as 'Corps de Elite' of every nation. Although you have now changed your mounts for these awe-inspiring machines the tanks, your perseverance, your patience, coolness and dash that had to be displayed by a cavalier, must still remain guiding light. Your Brigade is the only one of its kind in Pakistan Army, in fact in the whole Muslim world.” It may be noted that Risalpur took its name from Risala i.e. Cavalry or armoured corps, and was thus a home of the armoured corps for a long time. The Quaid was greatly delighted to see the armoured brigade personnel and equipment. He indeed corroborated the operational significance of cavalry and the leading role expected from it during war together with other arms.

Self Reliance in Military Hardware

Self reliance in all spheres of the state, including the military realm, has been one of the areas that the Quaid particularly stressed upon. He was proponent of indigenous production of military hardware as much as he supported the aggrandizement of industrial production.

Freedom and the Defence Forces

Freedom of the state has a definitive linkage with the strength and capacity of the defence forces of a country. The Quaid was cognizant of, and stressed upon, it at different occasions. During one of his addresses to the civil and military officers at Karachi on October 11, 1947 he said, “The establishment of Pakistan for which we have been striving is, by (the) grace of God, an established fact today, but the creation of a State of our own was the means to an end and not the end in itself. The idea was that we should have a State in which we could live and breathe as free men and which we could develop according to our own rights and culture and where principles of Islamic social justice could find free play.”

Armed Forces and the National Policy

Quaid-i-Azam looked at the armed forces as the servants of the people and not the architects of national policy, notwithstanding the necessary input from the desks of the military hierarchy that is norms around the world and is imperative for national progress. To this end, said on August 14, 1947, “Do not forget that the armed forces are the servants of the people and you do not make national policy; it is we, the civilians, who decide these issues and it is your duty to carry out these tasks with which you are entrusted.”

The Quaid's defence vision Pakistan was based on the empirical wisdom and the future needs for the defence of Pakistan. The Quaid's legacy lives. Today, Pakistan has a formidable defence system which includes the armed forces and civilian security forces besides the strategic weapons including the nuclear technology. The people of Pakistan stand behind their armed forces and are thus real source of their strength. The Quaid's precepts and guidelines would surely continue to serve as the source of wisdom for the current and the coming generation as well.

The writer is a PhD (Peace and Conflict Studies) scholar, author of ‘Human Security of Pakistan’ (published 2013) and co-author Of ‘Kashmir: Looking beyond the Peril’ (published 2014).

(Courtesy Hilal Magazine)

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