IT was the vision, commitment and intellect, all combined in the person named M.A. Jinnah, who stated that “Failure is a word, unknown to me”, that Pakistan came into existence on 14 August 1947, with the untiring efforts of Allama Iqbal, the poet philosopher-cum-politician. They both succeeded, with support of many pioneers of AIML, despite the intrigues of the Congress and their nexus with Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy of British India, and betrayal of a few within the Muslim ranks, who supported Congress. MAJ and Allama’s vision of Pakistan was a modern democratic welfare state, with laws based on Islamic jurisprudence that stressed upon equality and equal opportunities for all citizens.
There was to be no space in Jinnah’s vision for two classes, reminiscent of the Hindu supremacist mindset of two caste systems. MAJ believed that “Islam came in the world to establish democracy, peace and justice; to safeguard the rights of the depressed. It brought to humanity the message of equality of the rich and the poor, of the high and low. The Holy Prophet fought for these ideals for the major part of his life”. It was this objective of self-rule by citizens, through their chosen representatives, in free and fair elections, instead of being ruled by men, who neither had the intellect, nor the moral or legal authority to hold power and decide their fate. MAJ would never have allowed Pakistan or its sovereignty to be compromised by adventurers, who ridiculed the Constitution or involved this country in proxy wars by giving space to private militias.
The AIML was established at Dacca on 30 December 1906 under the presidency of Nawab Viqarul Mulk and a 57-member provisional committee including Mohsinul Mulk was tasked to draft a resolution. However, because of Mohsinul Mulk’s health issues, this process was delayed till 29, 30 December 1907 when it was adopted at Karachi under the chairmanship of Adamji Peerbhai. The first meeting was held at Aligarh in March 1908 presided by Mian Shah Din of Lahore, which decided to establish the Central Office and elected Agha Khan as President for three years. The First annual session was held at Amritsar presided by Ali Imam in December 1908 which demanded separate electorates for Muslims and seats in the Council in proportion to their population.
By 1909, MAJ formally joined the League, and in a letter dated 10 February, published in The Times of India supported their demand. He started regularly attending League meetings. In the next meeting held at Delhi in January, Maulana Mohammad Ali and others wanted the League Office to be shifted from Aligarh to Delhi because they apprehended influence from British members of Aligarh College. By 1912 Agha Khan excused himself and in December 1913 he submitted his resignation. It goes to credit of Allama Iqbal and Syed Wazir Hasan who convinced MAJ to preside Annual Session held at Lucknow in December 1916 which appointed a 71-member committee, consisting of MAJ, Agha Khan, Raja Saheb of Mahmoudabad, Maulana Mohammad Ali, Malik Barkat Ali, Fazalul Haq, Maulana Zafar Ali etc., to coordinate with the Congress in what was called Lucknow Pact.
The arrest of Maulana Mohani, Maulana Zafar Ali, and Maulana Shaukat Ali on sedition charges for protesting against events in Turkey, sparked protests. The Delhi Session presided by Fazalul Haq, condemned the Raj for its attitude towards Ottoman Empire following armistice in November 1918. Nation-wide protests followed. The Raj enacted Rowlatt Bill in March 1919 and MAJ resigned from the Imperial Legislative Council. On April13, 1919, the Jallianwala massacre occurred and Allama Iqbal condemned it while addressing the Amritsar Session, presided by Maulana Shaukat Ali, in December29-31 1919 which formally elected MAJ as president AIML. The Lahore Session held in May24, 25 decided to reorganize the League and reposed confidence in MAJ.
A resolution drafted jointly by MAJ and M Barkat Ali was moved by Sir Abdul Qadir to ensure ”full and complete provincial harmony for every province” and sought “ Guarantee for the Muslim majority in the Punjab, Bengal, and the NWFP in case of any territorial redistribution”. An amendment moved by Dr Ziauddin was incorporated seeking “The mode of representation in the legislature and in all other elected bodies shall guarantee adequate and effective representation to minorities in every province, subject however, to the essential proviso that no majority shall be reduced to a minority or even to equality”. The resolution sought “Guarantee for full religious liberty; separate electorate for Muslims with option to abandon in favour of joint electorates, if necessary”.
This resolution formed the basis for political struggle, although it was opposed by Congress in the Nehru Report, published in August 1928, which did not incorporate League Resolution, demanding amongst others joint electorates. Quaid had gone to England on May5 1928 and returned back by September. In his absence there was a clear division with the likes of Abul Kalam Azad, Raja Saheb Mahmoudabad and Ch Khaliquz Zaman supporting the Nehru Report, whilst the group led by Mohammad Yakub, Maulana Mohammad Ali, Malik Barkat Ali opposing it. Quaid condemned the Nehru Report as an attempt to create dissension amongst Muslims.
When the Subjects Committee met, prior to the League session at Calcutta in December 1928, presided by Raja Saheb, Quaid made a logical presentation and a 23-member committee was constituted consisting of Raja Saheb, MAJ, Zafar Ali Khan, Liaquat Ali, MBA, Saifullah Kitchlu, etc., which submitted its proposal and AIML rejected Nehru Report, because it served no “useful purpose”. The League stood united reposing their confidence in leadership of MAJ. Quaid stressed upon the importance of a Constitution to be drafted by First Constituent Assembly, which he addressed on 11 August 1947 and stressed upon significance of oath taken by all paid public office holders, with no role in politics. Unfortunately, those at helm after Quaid’s death wavered away from his vision and today we are neither the welfare state, nor a security state that likes of Iskandar Mirza, or Ayub propagated, but a country on the verge of financial bankruptcy.