Islamabad, Jun 4: Pakistan's state-run broadcaster has turned to All India Radio for a copy of the historic 1947 speech by the country's founder, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, in which he had said people would be free to practice any religion without interference by the state.
Murtaza Solangi, the Director General of Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation, has written to his counterpart in All India Radio seeking a copy of Jinnah's address to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, 1947 - three days before the emergence of Pakistan as an independent nation.
Jinnah's speech, which includes a charter of rights of minority communities, was suppressed and even removed from text books during the regime of military ruler Zia-ul-Haq in the 1980s.
The current PPP-led government has commemorated August 11 as Minorities Day but no audio copy of the important speech is available in the country.
“This speech is very important for people who want to direct the country to the goal of a modern, pluralistic, democratic state,” Solangi told PTI.
Solangi initially contacted the BBC for a copy of the speech but the British broadcaster was unable to locate it in its extensive archives.
He then turned to All India Radio, which operated stations across the subcontinent before Partition.
“I raised the matter at international forums like the
Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. When I visited New Delhi in November last year, I learnt a copy of the speech was available with AIR's international division. “After that, I wrote to the Director General of AIR, seeking a copy,” Solangi said.