Father and daughter

Recently, a Lahore journalist was vehement in denying that Jinnah had anything to do with his daughter Dina Jinnah after she married a Parsiturned-Christian, Neville Wadia. Following the expected lines of selective recall regarding the Quaid´s personal life which marks today´s Pakistan polity, the journalist´s detailed thesis was based on the laws of apostasy and fornication developed vigorously during Gen Zia-ul Haq´s regime and after he died in 1988.

According to the first law, a Muslim man can marry a non-Muslim woman after converting her (which is what Jinnah did when he married Ruttie Petit), but a Muslim woman can never marry a non-Muslim man. Any Muslim who converts out of Islam is an apostate and liable to be killed. Pakistan does not have a law that awards death to an apostate, but there is tacit acceptance that vigilante action can be taken against the offender by a Muslim citizen. (A Muslim convert to Christianity was actually killed a few years ago in jail after the court refused him bail.) But Dina Wadia´s marriage attracts another law that is in force in Pakistan these days: that of stoning of death, or lashing, for fornication. Dina´s marriage to Neville Wadia is deemed void because she was not permitted to convert, and if the wedlock was unlawful she lived in sin with her spouse. And that would at least make her liable to lashing.

Jinnah married Ruttie in 1918, Dina was born in 1919, and lived with her parents as a Muslim till 1929, then her mother died. Then she lived ; with Jinnah and his sister Fatima for  some time in England where she went ´to school. Coming of age, she rebelled and married Neville.

Jinnah was put off by the marriage and didn´t attend the wedding, but he never broke off with Dina, nor did he change his will, made in 1929, nominating Dina the major beneficiary of his property after Fatima Jinnah. Dina kept in touch with her father and met him whenever she could ,was sympathetic to his pursuit of a separate i homeland for the Muslims, and was present at his funeral in 1948. Dina continues to receive her share of the money from the Jinnah Trust in Karachi.

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Himal Southasian