Quaid’s Life Revisited at the International Students House in Washington
By C. Naseer Ahmad

Washington, DC: The life of Pakistan’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah was celebrated at the International Students House in Northwest Washington, on May 22, 2005. The movie “Jinnah” – the brainchild and passion of Professor Akbad Ahmed, Director, Middle East Studies, American University, Washington, DC, was shown to a diverse group of students, diplomats and friends of Pakistan.
The movie was preceded by the screening of an interesting documentary on the movie as well as a questions and answers session. In some respects, the documentary was just as interesting as the movie. The documentary included interviews of the screenwriter, Professor Akbar Ahmad, the director and the actors.
The controversy generated by the movie, shown in the documentary, revealed the schism in Pakistani society. The documentary showed the fragility of the faith of the extremists in themselves who made the appearance of the legendary character actor Christopher Lee as an emotional issue. Christopher Lee played well in portraying Jinnah, much to the dismay of religious fanatics.
The story of Jinnah was narrated excellently in the movie. However, for making it of interest to a wider audience not familiar with the history, religious and cultural rifts in the South Asian subcontinent, the movie could have been a bit shorter and less sermonizing.
Dr. Riaz Haider, a Washington-based Pakistani American cardiologist and member of the Board of Directors, International Students House, moderated the program in which Professor Akbad Ahmed presented the documentary, provided historical background and answered questions from the audience. Through his presentation and the responses to the questions, the audience came away with a deeper understanding of the important role Muhammad Ali Jinnah played as a lawyer, politician, and above all, a role model for Muslims who aspire to be effective in a modern world.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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