A long-lost letter exhorts Muslims to make movies.

Another yardstick for measuring how far Pakistan has strayed from the thinking of its founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah came to light recently with The Express Tribune publishing a letter written by him in 1945 encouraging more Muslims to join the film industry.

The letter was found in the collection of Mohammad Masud, an 80-year-old political activist who frequently wrote leaders. Jinnah’s letter dated January 6, 1945, was among the few responses the octogenarian got for his labour and tenacity. “I am in receipt of your letter of December 30, 1944, and I wish more Mussalmans would enter into this realm of film industry, and I shall always be glad to do all I can to help it. I have noted that Mr. Mahboob is producing a historical picture ‘Humayun’, and if I have an opportunity of seeing it I might be able to express my opinion about it, but generally I do wish that more Mussalmans would enter this line, as there is plenty of scope for them in the film industry,” says Jinnah in the type-written letter that bears his personal monogram and signature.

Masud had sought Jinnah’s opinion on the role of Indian Muslims in the film industry and subsequent years have seen them call the shots in Indian cinema in practically every department. The lament of Pakistanis sworn to Jinnah’s ideology is that his advice on this front too went unheeded as the domestic film industry lies in a shambles with no effort from the State to prop it up amid growing attacks on creative expression.