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Sculpture of Quaid-i-Azam unveiled at British Museum

29 November, 2017

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LONDON: A bust of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah has been unveiled at the British Museum. Some 400 guests attended the ceremony in central London in which the sculpture of the Quaid was revealed for the first time.

Having been officially inaugurated, the Quaid’s likeness was moved on Tuesday to Lincoln’s Inn, where it will remain.

The Quaid was called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn on April 29, 1896. The unveiling ceremony could not be held at Lincoln’s Inn because of refurbishment work there. For many years Lincoln’s Inn has shown awareness of its link with the founder of Pakistan by hosting the annual dinner of the Pakistan Society.

“We wanted to mark the 70th anniversary of Pakistan’s independence with a befitting tribute to the founder of the nation,” said Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London, Syed Ibne Abbas. Although some voluntary donations were offered, the bust has been paid for by the High Commission. “The planning has been ongoing for the last two or three years and the work was commissioned six months ago,” he said.

Scottish-born sculptor Philip Jackson was commissioned to make the bust. “To get the essence of the man, I studied all the still photographs I could get hold of, viewed all available film, read the works of those who had written about him and spoke to those whose lives he had changed,” he said when asked to describe the creative process that led to the finished work.

“You have to get to know the subject, get under his skin, see what makes him stick. Then you can start,” he said.

Known for his modern style and emphasis on form, Mr Jackson’s work appears in numerous UK cities, as well as Argentina and Switzerland. Mr Jackson’s portrayal of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah shows him with his characteristic eponymous headgear and a Western suit. The wide lapels emphasise Mr Jinnah’s love of good Western clothing and his strong sense of fashion. The prominent display of his monocle in the sculpture suggests that Jackson was interested in the fact that the Quaid was as much an intellectual as a man of political action.

Mr Jinnah’s stern expression suggests a man aware of the huge responsibilities he shouldered at the time of partition.

Other events held in London to celebrate the 70th anniversary included Pakistan Fashion Week, advertisements on London’s red double-decker buses and a production of an Anglo Sufi musical based on the legend of Heer Ranjha at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre.

The sense that Pakistan had laid on a strong series of events to mark the anniversary in the UK has been somewhat dented in recent weeks by the emergence of Free Balochistan posters in the capital. Whilst the High Commission managed to get the Baloch posters removed from taxis and buses, they can still be seen on advertising hoardings.

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