Pakistan mourns the death of Jinnah’s only child Dina Wadia
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi led the Pakistani people in offering condolences to Dina Wadia’s family, saying she was “greatly respected”.world Updated: Nov 03, 2017 23:51 IST
Pakistan on Friday mourned the death of Dina Wadia, the only daughter of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who passed away in New York at the age of 98, though some in the country were unaware that the Father of the Nation had any offspring.
President Mamnoon Hussain and Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi conveyed condolences on behalf of the people to Dina’s family, said a statement from the Foreign Office. Wadia’s son, businessman Nusli Wadia, was informed of “the sadness of the Pakistani nation” on the demise of his mother, who was “greatly respected and admired”.
Messages of condolence poured in immediately after news of Wadia’s death broke on Thursday night. Politicians and activists took to Twitter to offer their respect.
Some, however, commented on social media they were not aware Jinnah had any family or offspring. Some expressed surprise on finding out about the death of his only child.
Nearly seven decades after his death, Jinnah continues to tower over almost all aspects of life in Pakistan but his family has been largely airbrushed out of the official history, mostly because of the Parsi heritage of his wife Ruttie Petit and daughter Dina.
Few official accounts refer to the family of the Quaid-e-Azam, as Jinnah is known in Pakistan.
Jinnah was estranged from Dina because of her decision at the age of 17 to marry Neville Wadia, a member of a leading Parsi business family, in 1938. He met her for the last time shortly before the creation of Pakistan.
English newspapers prominently covered the news of Dina’s death. The Dawn newspaper, which was founded by Jinnah, reported the news on its front page while other dailies gave it good display. The news was also telecast on most channels, which beamed footage of Dina’s visit to Pakistan in 2004, her first since her father’s funeral in 1948.
In comparison, coverage in the Urdu newspapers and news channels was less prominent.
Many political leaders and opinion makers expressed grief and offered condolences to the Wadia family. “She was the last symbol of our leader and nation’s founder. We are sad to see her go,” said information minister Marriyum Aurangzeb.
Former minister Shah Mehmood Quteshi of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party conveyed condolences on behalf of his party. PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi recalled Dina’s visit to Pakistan in 2004 and said: “She was a majestic personality.”
She visited Pakistan twice. During her second trip to Karachi in March 2004, Dina was accompanied by son Nusli and grandsons Ness and Jehangir. They visited Jinnah’s mazar or mausoleum and laid a wreath.
“This has been very sad as well as wonderful for me. May his dream for Pakistan come true,” Dina wrote in the visitors’ book. This statement was widely quoted in the media and her stay at the mausoleum lasted about an hour.
Dina had been at the site once before – in September 1948 after the death of her father. She never visited Pakistan in Jinnah’s lifetime.
She also visited the hall where Jinnah’s personal belongings are on display. Dina showed a liking for three pictures and requested for blow-ups. One of the pictures shows Dina with her parents, another is that of her mother, while the third, which she liked the most, shows Jinnah dictating a letter to someone. Later she paid her respects at the tomb of Fatima Jinnah, her aunt.
Dina spent her final years mostly in New York though she remained close to her son Nusli Wadia, who heads the Wadia Group.
She was also involved in a long-running legal battle to gain control of Jinnah House, the stately mansion in Malabar Hills in Mumbai that her father had bequeathed to his sister Fatima Jinnah. India took over the bungalow after Partition as “evacuee property” but Dina contested Jinnah’s will.
Dina visited Pakistan twice. During her second trip to Karachi in March 2004, Dina Wadia was accompanied by son Nusli and grandsons, Ness and Jehangir. They visited the Quaid’s Mazar and laid a wreath.
“This has been very sad as well as wonderful for me. May his (Quaid’s) dream for Pakistan come true,” she wrote in the visitors’ book. Her stay at the mausoleum lasted about an hour.
She also visited the hall where personal belongings of the Quaid are on display. The Quaid’s daughter showed a liking for three pictures and requested for their blow-ups. One of the pictures shows Dina with her parents, another is that of her mother while the third, which she liked the most, shows the Quaid-i-Azam dictating a letter to someone. Later she paid her respects at the tomb of Fatima Jinnah, her aunt.
Dina Wadia had been at this place only once before — in Sept 1948 after the death of her father. She had never visited Pakistan in the Quaid’s lifetime.