14 April | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

Pakistan seeks archival documents about Ahmad Ali Jinnah’s life

Currently in possession of Zurich Archives, documents include compilation of photographs, history and details of Quaid-i-Azam’s brother, his niece late Fatima Goepfert Jinnah

President Dr Arif Alvi has written a letter to President of Swiss Confederation Viola Patricia Amherd, seeking assistance in providing copies of archival documents about the life of Ahmad Ali Jinnah – brother of Founder of Pakistan Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

The documents, currently in possession of Zurich’s City Archives, are a compilation of photographs, history and details of the life of Ahmad Ali Jinnah and related to the late Fatima Goepfert Jinnah, niece of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In the letter, Dr Arif Alvi stated that given the status and importance of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, having access to these documents was a matter of national value and interest for Pakistani people.

He conveyed that First Lady Samina Arif Alvi had visited Zurich Archives in January 2024, and after reading most of the documents, had taken a personal interest in the matter. He requested Switzerland to gift this historical document collection to the National Archives of Pakistan.

The inventory contains identification documents that Annemarie Etter inherited from Fatima Goepfert-Jinnah, a compilation of photographs and copies of private letters that Fatima Goepfert-Jinnah addressed to her aunt Fatima Jinnah, and the results of research into Ahmed Ali Jinnah’s stay in Zurich as well as documents for the transfer of the holdings to the city archives.

Jinnahbhai Poonja, a prosperous merchant in Karachi, and his wife Mithhibai had seven children – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Ahmed Ali Jinnah, Bunde Ali Jinnah, Rahmat Bai Jinnah, Shireen Bai Jinnah, Maryam Bai Jinnah, and Fatima Jinnah. The immediate family of Quaid-i-Azam comprised of Nusli Wadia – son of Jinnah’s daughter Dina Wadia. Children of Quaid’s sisters are no more alive while Fatima Jinnah did not marry.

In Karachi, the grandchildren of Mariam Bai are Liaquat Merchant, Hussein Ebrahim, Kulsoom Ibrahim, Zehra Chandoo, Gulshan Chandoo, Rohina Peerbhoy, and Moonira Kassam. Other grandchildren of Rehmat Bai and Mariam Bai settled in India’s Mumbai and Kolkata cities. Liaquat Merchant, book author and recipient of Sitara-i-Imtiaz, is also administrator of Jinnah’s estate, managing trustee of The Jinnah Foundation, executive trustee of the Quaid-i-Azam Aligarh Education Trust, president of The Jinnah Society.


Samina Arif Alvi was in Switzerland to launch a new global campaign at the World Economic Forum in Davos, calling for urgent action to improve access to assistive technology for millions of people around the world. The campaign – Unlock the Everyday – is the first ever global initiative on assistive technology and aims to raise awareness of everyone’s right to assistive technology – such as wheelchairs, glasses, hearing aids, prostheses and digital devices – no matter where they live, or their income.

It is estimated that 2.5 billion people today need at least one form of assistive technology and most people will require assistive technology at some point in their lifetime. However, only 10% of people in low-income countries can access the assistive technology they need, compared to 90% in high-income countries. The campaign is calling for global action to address this inequity. Samina Arif Alvi is encouraging global leaders to support the campaign and prioritize assistive technology.