The Bust of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was unveiled at the historic British Museum in a dignified ceremony on 28 November 2017. This was the grand finale of the year-long celebrations organized by the Pakistan High Commission London to mark the 70th Independence Anniversary of Pakistan. Rich tributes were paid to the Founding Father of the Nation on the occasion.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was the Chief Guest at the ceremony. He, together with H.E. Syed Ibne Abbas, the High Commissioner, unveiled the Bust at the China & South Asia Gallery of the British Museum. A large number of people from all walks of life were in attendance, including British parliamentarians, Honorable Justices from UK and Pakistan, diplomatic fraternity, Mayors, Councillors, senior officials of the British government and members of the Pakistani diaspora.
The Bust is being permanently installed at the Quaid’s alma mater, the prestigious Lincoln’s Inn on 29 November 2017.
In his welcome remarks, the High Commissioner said: “The installation of the Quaid’s Bust at his Alma Mater – Lincoln’s Inn Library is the Grand Finale of the High Commission’s year long 70th independence anniversary celebrations. Installation of the Quaid’s Bust will be rejoiced by the Pakistanis and provide impetus for the fast growing Pakistan – UK multi-dimensional relations.”
Speaking about the Quiad, the High Commissioner stated: “A strong willed Jinnah became a beacon of hope, courage and provided voice to millions of Muslims of South Asia. To describe the towering personality of the Father of Nation who was far ahead of his time, I wish to quote Professor Stanley Wolpert, a leading American historian, author and the Quaid’s biographer, who wrote: ‘Few individuals significantly alter the course of history; fewer still modify the map of the world. Hardly, anyone can be credited with creating a nation state – Mohammad Ali Jinnah did all three’.”
About Pakistan, the High Commissioner said: “Today’s modern and moderate Pakistan, 70 years on, adhering to the Quaid’s golden principles of Unity, Faith and Discipline, is on the move forward.”
Speaking on the occasion, the Mayor of London said: “I’m proud to be part of this event to honour the great Muhammad Ali Jinnah, particularly as someone of Pakistani heritage. Muhammad Ali Jinnah is a pivotal figure in history but is also still an inspiration to us today – not just to Pakistanis, but to millions around the world.
“As a champion of democracy, women’s rights and religious freedom, Muhammad Ali Jinnah will always be someone who millions admire. I look forward to visiting Karachi, the city where he was born, during my first official visit as Mayor of London to Pakistan.
“My ambition is to strengthen the ties between London and Pakistan, to share the message that London is open and to encourage more Pakistanis to follow in Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s footsteps by visiting, studying and working in our great city.”
The internationally acclaimed British sculptor, Philip Jackson sculpted the Bust. Sharing his experience of making the Bust, Mr Jackson said:
“To get to the essence of the Man, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, I studied all the still photographs I could get hold of, viewed all the available films, read the words of those that had written about him and spoke to those whose lives he has changed, all to aid the build up in my mind a composite picture of the extraordinary man I was to portray.
“Undertaking a sculptural portrait, is like writing a book. You have to do all your research before you can start. You have to get to know subject, get under his skin, see what makes him tick. Then you can start.”
The High Commissioner thanked the Mayor of London for gracing the occasion. He also expressed his gratitude to Philip Jackson, the sculptor, for his dedication and devotion in making the Bust. The High Commissioner particularly thanked the Lincoln’s Inn for agreeing to install the Bust in its Library. He also thanked the British Museum for providing the venue to hold this august ceremony.
At the end, British Pakistani Sufi opera singer, Saira Peter presented national songs and cheered up the ceremony.