Despite being officially recognized as Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birthplace since 1953, there is a possibility that the Quaid was not born at Wazir Mansion but at his maternal grandfather’s house in Jhirik, a small village some 150 kilometers away from Karachi, or at Ali Manzil, a building adjacent to Wazir Mansion.
The dispute arose and persists even after a century because of the apathy shown by different governments in Pakistan, the Sindh Textbook Board, historians, researchers, politicians and media in ascertaining the real birthplace of the founder of Pakistan. This was expressed by government officials, historians and researchers while talking to The News.
“We need to research, debate, correct the record and get decisive about Quaid-e-Azam’s birth place to end this controversy,” said Sindh Minister for Culture and Tourism, Sassui Palijo. “I believe that Jinnah was born at Jhirik in Thatta district,” asserts the young minister, who also hails from Thatta. According to Palijo, there exists evidence in Jhirik collected by learned men and researchers, including Nabi Bux Premi, that claim Jhirik to be Jinnah’s birthplace, apart from textbooks and elders in Jhirik also telling stories about Jinnah’s birth in the village. “The Wazir Mansion was built six years after Jinnah was born in 1876,” she said, and added that she believes Jhirik in fact was Mr. Jinnah’s birthplace. “We would raise this issue in the parliament and get unanimous,” aims Ms Palijo.
Officials from the Quaid-e-Azam Academy, an institute under the auspices of the federal government for research on Jinnah and the Pakistan movement, claim however that Jinnah was not born elsewhere but Wazir Mansion. The director of the academy, Manzoor Ali Khan, and senior research fellow, Shahla Kazmi, told The News that the academy had not come across authentic research claiming that Jinnah was born anywhere but Wazir Mansion. “Instead we see Jinnah’s speech of 25th August 1947 where he stated himself that he was born in Karachi,” said Kazmi. “Further, in her book ‘My Brother’, Fatima Jinnah wrote on page 50 that Jinnah was born at the hands of a midwife in Kharadar, Karachi, which is enough to prove that he was born not in Jhirik but Karachi.” She added that if Jhirik is the birthplace of Jinnah, then authentic documents should be presented in this regard to correct history.
Researcher and archeologist Dr Kaleemullah Lashari, however claims that Jinnah was born in Karachi, but not at the officially acclaimed Wazir Mansion. “He was instead born in an adjacent building called Ali Manzil.” According to Lashari, the plot where Wazir Mansion now stands was numbered 23 in documents at Civil Registrar, and it was later divided in to two. He claims that Jinnah was born at the plot that was undivided which is now named Ali Manzil, and rented out by Jinnah’s family at the time. “We need to have a serious research on official level to decide this matter,” said Lashari.
Historian Hameeda Khoro however remains unconvinced though that Jinnah was born in Karachi and believes that Jhirik is probably the birthplace of Mr. Jinnah. Nevertheless, she also seconded the need to investigate the issue. Shahla Kazmi also stressed upon the need for research in this area. “Pakistani researchers need to come forward and end this controversy, so that we can focus on more important things like Jinnah’s leadership pattern and mission instead of where he was born,” she stressed.