Jinnah’s Midnight Speech – 14 Aug 1947

There is this nice joke we have here. Even though India and Pakistan got independence at the same time, Pakistan celebrates it’s independence day one day before India. And that is because Pakistan’s official language is Urdu written from front to back and India’s is Hindi, written from back to front.
Nehru and Jinnah gave their midnight speeches at the same time. It seems that Pakistan didn’t have any official recording station and they had to request All India Radio to record the speech. AIR recorded it, and it was consigned to store rooms for more than fifty years. Pakistan asked it, but, well, India is still searching. But, it looks like Outlook Magazine, for some reason dug it up in 2013 and published a transcript of it. Well, there is nothing in that except thanking anyone and everyone. But, the historicity, it’s the first speech as Pakistan’s head of state.

I thank his majesty, the King, on behalf of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and myself for his wishes and message. I know great responsibilities lie ahead and I naturally reciprocate his sentiment and we greatly appreciate his assurance of sympathy and support and I hope that you will please communicate to his majesty our assurance of goodwill and friendship for the British nation and the crown head of the British government. I thank your excellency for your expressions and good wishes for the future of Pakistan.
It will be our constant efforts to work for the welfare and well-being of all the communities in Pakistan and I hope that everyone will be inspired by the idea of public service and they will be imbued with the spirit of cooperation and will show the political and civic virtues which go to make a great nation.
I once more thank you and Lady Mountbatten for your kindness and good wishes. Yes, we are parting as friends and I sincerely hope that we shall remain friends. I wish to say that we appreciate the spirit in which those in the government service at the present and in the armed forces and others have so willingly and ungrudgingly volunteered themselves to provisionally serve Pakistan. As servants of Pakistan we shall make them happy and they will be treated equally with our nationals.
The tolerance and goodwill that the great emperor Akbar showed to all non-Muslims is not of recent origin. It dates back 13 centuries ago when our prophet not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians handsomely after he conquered them.
He showed to them outmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims where they ruled is replete with those humane and great principles and which should be followed and practised by us.
Finally, I thank you for your good wishes for Pakistan and I assure you that we shall not be wanting in friendly spirit with our neighbours and with all the nations of the world. Before I conclude, I wish to express our thanks to some of the messages of goodwill and friendship that have reached me. The first one is from President Truman on behalf of their great American nation. Second is from Egypt. Third from France, fourth from Syria and fifth from Nepal our neighbour. I am sure you will all join me in expressing our cordial thanks for their friendly messages that we have received from these nations. In all, I have to conclude the proceeding of this assembly and this assembly now stand adjourned sine die.


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