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Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Jinnah, Muhammad Ali (məhämˈəd älēˈ jĭnˈə) [key], 1876–1948, founder of Pakistan, b. Karachi. After his admission to the bar in England, he returned to India to practice law. Early in his career he was a fervent supporter of the Indian National Congress and an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity. Jinnah was a member of the legislative council of the viceroy from 1910 to 1919. He joined the Muslim League in 1913 and was elected its president in 1916 and 1920. He played a major role in negotiating the so-called Lucknow Pact (1916) between the League and the Congress, in which the latter conceded that Muslims should have a separate communal electorate to ensure them adequate legislative representation. Hindu-Muslim cooperation soon broke down, however, and the Congress reversed this position. Finally totally disillusioned with the Congress, Jinnah resigned from in 1930. From 1934 until his death he headed the Muslim League and guided its struggle for an independent Pakistan, a state that would include the predominantly Muslim areas of India. His support of the British during World War II increased his influence. Jinnah's claim that the Muslim League represented the Muslims of India was substantiated in 1946, when in the elections for the Indian constituent assembly, the League won all the seats assigned to the Muslim electorate. Jinnah's firm stand and widespread Hindu-Muslim riots forced the Congress to accept establishment of the separate state of Pakistan, and in Aug., 1947, India was partitioned. Jinnah was appointed the first governor-general of the dominion of Pakistan and, although dying of tuberculosis, was elected president of its constituent assembly.

See H. Bolitho, Jinnah (1954); A. S. Ahmed, Jinnah, Pakistan, and Islamic Identity (1997); A. von Tunzelmann, Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire (2007): J. Singh, Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence (2010).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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