‘We have the ten commandments for the individual; we want the ten commandments for the state,’ Mary Parker Follett wrote in 1918.

It is possible to identify ten essential principles of politics that may be acceptable universally because they are based on a certain worldview about human nature attributable to some of the most influential visionaries and leaders across cultures, such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Allama Dr. Sir Muhammad Iqbal, Mary Parker Follett, Deshbandhu C. R. Das, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and others.

The birth of Pakistan in 1947, including the present-day Bangladesh was possibly the birth of the first state based on these principles. Therefore, they are being listed here as articulated by the pioneers of this movement, but each point can also be elaborated with reference to other like-minded thinkers mentioned above.

1. We should follow common goals, not political parties.

There should be just one political organization whose doors should be open to all schools of thought, but if this is not possible then all political organizations should discover common goals and help each other in pursuing them. The first option was taken by the All-India Muslim League (1906-1958), and the second by the All-India Muslim conference (1929-1934).

2. All rights of religious minorities must be decided in consultation with them.

This was the only reason given for the need for a new state by those who demanded Pakistan. It formed the cornerstone of the Lahore Reolution adopted by the All-India Muslim League in March 1940, and was reaffirmed in the Delhi Reolution adopted by 90 percent of the elected legislators of the Indian Muslims in April 1946. The presenter of the Objectives Resolution in the first constituent assembly of Pakisan also expressed clearly that a non-Muslim can be the head of the administration (such as Prime Minister) in an Islamic state.

3. Authority should flow from the lower units to the higher.

This was the essence of Iqbal’s concept of khudi as a political idea, and remained the cornerstone of the politics of Muslim League from its inception up to the creation of Pakistan.

4. We should critically reflect on the revelations of historical experience.

This was the method of the Muslim constitutional thinkers throughout the history of Islam right up to the 1950s, and has been kept alive at least in Pakistan by the leaders of the uniform culture.

5. Universal agreement must be the fundamental principle of our constitution.

Iqbal described universal agreement as the fundamental principle of the Muslim constitution, and it remained the guiding principle of the Pakistan movement throughout. The distinction between government and opposition has no place in this vision.

6. Our ideal principles should be solidarity, equality and freedom.

These three principles are the essence of the Unity of God as a working idea, and the mission of the Prophet of Islam was to universalize them. This awareness was widespread among the Muslims in the first half of the twentieth century, best articulated by Iqbal in his poetry and prose.

7. We should realize our ideal principles through the process that is ‘state’.

From the self-development of a single individual to the unification of the entire humanity is a continuous process. State is the name we give to a part of that process, and do not conceive it as a thing.

8. Sovereignty de facto should reside in the people.

According to Iqbal, this principle was realized early in the Islam. Jinnah called the constituent assembly of Pakistan a ‘sovereign’ body, and the Objectives Resolution passed by this assembly in March 1949 conceives the people as having received sovereignty  directly from God. The state receives it through the people, and only as a trust.

9. The Divine Law should be absolutely supreme.

No human being should be compelled to obey laws made by fellow human beings, and be free to follow only the Divine Law. Iqbal called it one of the basic principles of Muslim constitution (but we need to remember that the purpose of this supremacy is to preserve the de facto sovereignty of the people, and also keep in mind the historical process from Shah Waliullah to Iqbal, which culminated in a reinterpretation of Islam as the Divine Law of Nature). The Objectives Resolution acknowledges the sovereignty of God over the entire universe, and the people as its direct recipients withut any intermediary.

10. We should form a family of states having common ideal principles.

Iqbal pointed out that history was gradually revealing it that Islam is neither an empire, as it inadvertantly became in the earlier days due to historical cirumstances; nor is it a mess of isolated states, as seem to be the case in the Muslim world at present. It is rather a commonwealth of sovereign states bound together by common ideals rather than physical force.