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Mohammad Ali Jinnah

(1876—1948) creator of Pakistan

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Indian nationalist, Muslim leader, and founder of Pakistan.

Born in Karachi, the son of a merchant, Jinnah was educated at schools in Karachi and Bombay before qualifying as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn, London (1895). He returned to India in 1896 and established a legal practice in Bombay (1897–1906). Jinnah joined the Indian National Congress in 1906. Elected to the Imperial legislative council in 1910, he became a member of the Muslim League in 1913 and an organizer of the Indian Home Rule League. As an advocate of Muslim rights, he was instrumental in the signing of the Lucknow Pact (1916), which in principle provided for separate Muslim and Hindu electorates on Indian independence.

In 1919 he was appointed to represent Bombay Muslims in the Imperial legislative council but resigned from the council later that year in protest over legislation to prevent ‘revolutionary activity’. In 1920 he left the Indian National Congress and the Home Rule League because he disagreed with Mahatma Gandhi's Hindu politics and campaign of civil disobedience. He continued to work for the Muslim League as president and remained hopeful of Hindu–Muslim unity well into the 1930s. However, relations between the League and the Congress deteriorated and in 1940 the League resolved to form a separate Muslim state of Pakistan on independence. Jinnah participated in constitutional meetings (1942, 1945, and 1946) that culminated in partition and the establishment of an independent Pakistan (1947). He was appointed the first governor-general of Pakistan and officially given the title ‘Qaid-i-Azam’ (‘great leader’), but died in office the following year.

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