Miss Fatima Jinnah, known as ‘Mother of the Nation’ and ‘Khatoon-e-Pakistan’, younger sister of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, was born in 1893. Of his seven brothers and sisters, she was the closest to the Quaid. Jinnah became her guardian upon the death of their father in 1901. Due to her brother’s keen interest, and despite strident family opposition, Miss Fatima received excellent early education.
After obtaining a dental degree from University of Calcutta, she became a close associate and an adviser to her older brother Muhammad Ali Jinnah who latter 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 significantly played an integral role in the settlement of the migrants in the newly formed country. After the death of her brother, she continued to remain a prominent philanthropist.
Miss Fatima Jinnah initially lived with her brother for about eight years till 1918, when he got married to Rutanbai. Upon Rutanbai’s death in February 1929, Miss Jinnah wound up her clinic, moved into Jinnah’s bungalow, and took charge of his house; thus beginning the life-long companionship that lasted till Jinnah’s death on September 11, 1948.
THE SAD PART OF HER STORY
Being Called an American and Indian agent
According to a ‘Time’ Magazine story datelined Christmas Day 1964.
“At closed meetings with groups of electors, Ayub answered practical questions sensibly enough, but kept lashing out at the opposition with growing anger. Countering Miss Jinnah’s repeated charge that he had been unable to restrain the U.S. from helping Pakistan’s No. 1 adversary, India, he set out to portray her as pro-Indian and pro-American. Ayub’s campaign, in fact, was turning increasingly anti-American.”
She received the ‘label’ for contesting the 1965 presidential election against the dictator Ayub Khan, in an electoral system devised by the dictator himself. She lost the election and her loss was the loss of democracy in Pakistan.
BIOGRAPHY OF QUAID-E-AZAM
Jinnah’s unfinished biography of the Quaid, My Brother, was published by the Quaid-i-Azam Academy in 1987.
Fatima Jinnah died in Karachi on 9 July 1967. The official cause of death was heart failure, but rumours persist that she was murdered at her house. It is claimed that some officials of the local Karachi police said that she was found beheaded in her drawing room. In 2003, the nephew of the Quaid-i-Azam, Akbar Pirbhai, reignited the controversy by suggesting that she was assassinated by the Ayub Khan establishment.