During the years (1937-1947) when Pakistan movement was at its peak, Fatima Jinnah's role was nothing less than a beacon of hope for the Muslim women. She herself became a role model not only for the Muslims women of South Asia, but for the women of whole Asian society.
Passionate political worker, a determined activist for women’s rights taught us the lesson of determination and strength in order to live a life with a mission. We all criticize how women in Pakistan face gender discrimination and harassment who pursue a career in power, leadership and politics but Miss Jinnah showed us how a woman can make a real difference in a society with good faith.
Fatima Ali Jinnah widely known as Māder-e Millat ("Mother of the Nation"), was a Pakistani politician, dental surgeon, stateswoman, and one of the leading founders of Pakistan. She was the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder and the first Governor General of Pakistan.
After obtaining a dental degree from the University of Calcutta in 1923, she became a close associate and an adviser to her older brother, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who later became the first Governor General of Pakistan. A strong critic of the British Raj, she emerged as a strong advocate of the two nation theory and a leading member of the All-India Muslim League.
After the independence of Pakistan, Jinnah co-founded the Pakistan Women's Association which played an integral role in the settlement of the women migrants in the newly formed country. She remained the closest confidant of her brother until his death. After his death, Fatima was banned from addressing the nation until 1951; her 1951 radio address to the nation was heavily censored by the Liaquat administration. She wrote the book My Brother, in 1955 but it was only published 32 years later, in 1987, due to censorship by the establishment, who had accused Fatima of 'anti-nationalist material'. Even when published several pages from the book's manuscript were left out.
Jinnah came out of her self-imposed political retirement in 1965 to participate in the presidential election against military dictator Ayub Khan. She was backed by a consortium of political parties, and despite political rigging by the military, won two of Pakistan's largest cities, Karachi and Dhaka. The U.S. magazine, Time, while reporting on the 1965 election campaign, wrote that Jinnah faced attacks on her modesty and patriotism by Ayub Khan and his allies.
Jinnah died in Karachi on 9 July 1967. Her death is subject to controversy, as some reports have alleged that she died of unnatural causes. Her family members had demanded an inquiry, however the government blocked their request. She remains one of the most honoured leaders in Pakistan, with nearly half a million people attending her funeral in Karachi.
She became a virtual recluse after Jinnah’s death, until in 1965 when she was pulled out of her self-imposed political retirement to challenge Field Martial Ayub Khan in a Presidential election. Khan had imposed Pakistan’s first Martial Law in 1958 and had enjoyed significant popularity during the early years of his regime. A year later, she passed away at the age of 71 on July 9, 1967.
Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah Her tremendous struggle towards independence is remarkable and this Independence day, let us all promise to encourage women in society to participate in politics and give them equal representation in terms of leadership and power.