Unfinished agenda of Jinnah’s Pakistan
MUSLIM League was established as a political party at Dacca in 1906, at a meeting headed by Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk and Nawab Mohsin-i-Mulk where it was formally proposed by Nawab Salimullah Khan and supported by others like Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Zafar Ali Khan etc.
March 23 will always be a date of historical significance in the struggle for freedom from British Colonial Raj and the creation of Pakistan under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam MAJ and other pioneers of the political struggle waged by politicians on platform of All India Muslim League.
Earlier on 23 March 1931 Bhagat Singh, a freedom fighter was executed in Lahore after a sham trial by a British judge.
It was again in Lahore on 23 March that a resolution was adopted at Lahore’s Manto Park, adjacent to Lahore Fort, in an open session under the presidentship Of Quaid-i-Azam, which laid the foundations for creation of Pakistan on 14 August 1947.
It is unfortunate that even after a lapse of over seven decades MAJ’s vision of a modern democratic welfare state has not been realized.
Jinnah understood the diversity of various units that formed Pakistan and the importance of a constitution to be adopted in his address to the First Constituent Assembly on 11 August 1947.
Unfortunately, after his tragic demise the remnants of the British Raj in connivance with paid bureaucracy took over this country, ignoring his advice to paid servants of the state given on 14 June 1948 at Quetta, where Mr Jinnah told them about the importance of oath to the constitution and that they had no political role in running affairs of the country.
It is a brutal reality that the All India Muslim was alone in the political struggle for the creation of a separate homeland where Muslim majority could live in peace with members of other faiths and ethnicities.
The only formidable political group which supported Quaid was led by Jogendra Nath Mandal, a leader of Hindu Dalits from Bengal and his group of legislators in Bengal Legislature which voted to join Pakistan, when many other Muslims voted against.
In 1940 Mandal became a minister in the cabinet of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy.
When rioting broke out in 1946 in East Bengal, he urged the Dalits not to participate in violence against Muslims, whom he perceived to be victims, like his own community, of hatred by upper caste Hindu.
MAJ appointed him as Pakistan’s First Law Minister and he was also nominated by the Quaid as one of five representatives in the Interim Government of India in October 1946.
It is also a bitter fact that even after 1946 elections, when Muslims had a numerical majority in Punjab, the Unionist Party led by Khizr Hayat tried to form a coalition with Congress and Akali in March, which did not materialize because Akalis pulled out. This was the final nail in the coffin of the Unionist Party in Punjab.
MAJ arrived in Lahore on 21 March 1940 and a grand reception was planned for him.
Unfortunately, without any warning, Allama Mashriqi’s Khaksar Tehreek, which had never supported Quaid, had a violent confrontation with Unionist Party Premier Punjab Sikandar Hayat led government on 19 March, which resulted in many casualties and fatalities.
There was a violent clash with police at Bhatti Gate and a British police officer was killed and many injured.
Later on, hundreds of police enforcement arrived and the Khaksars were mercilessly brutalized with scores of fatalities.
This evoked anger amongst Muslims living in the walled city, who vented their anger against Sikandar Hayat.
The situation became so critical that Sikandar phoned MAJ to postpone the planned session of AIML at Lahore.
However, Quaid was adamant that the historic meeting would go ahead as planned.
Sceptics have doubts that this could be a conspiracy to delay this meeting.
On 22 March, an Open Session of AIML was held at Lahore where Quaid delivered a presidential address highlighting political developments in preceding two years viz-a-viz activities of Congress and British government and League’s policy about the war in Europe.
While elaborating about Two-Nation Theory, he made a reference to a letter written by Lala Lajpat Rai to Bengal’s C R Das in 1924, where the former stated that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and they can never form part of one united nation.
Events in India under Modi’s government where Hindu supremacist have gone on a rampage killing Muslims, raping their women and taking over their lands are testimony to the vision of MAJ and other pioneers of freedom struggle waged by AIML.
Earlier Allama Iqbal had elaborated that the destiny of Muslims lies in creation of a separate homeland.
A draft resolution was prepared by 21 members of Working Committee comprising Liaquat Ali Khan, Nawab Ismail, Malik Barkat Ali, Haji Abdullah Haroon, Maulana Zafar Ali, Nawab Mamdot, etc, which proposed that “ Geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in NW and NE zones should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign”.
Allama Iqbal had in 1929 unambiguously declared the units which today comprise Pakistan by name Sind, Balochistan, Frontier, Punjab etc in NW India.
Ashiq Hussain Batalvi, Joint Secretary Punjab ML did raise an objection to unambiguously specify names of units, but he was overruled by Liaquat Ali Khan.
It was decided by Quaid that resolution would be presented on 23 March by Maulana Fazal l Haq, supported by Ch Khaliquz Zaman and seconded by one person from each federating unit of India with a Muslim population namely Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar from Bombay, Abdul Rauf from CP, Abdul Hameed Khan from Madras, Aurangzeb Khan from Frontier, Qazi Essa from Baluchistan, Abdul Mateen Chaudhry from Assam, Nawab Ismail from Bihar and Maulana Zafar Ali Khan from Punjab.
—The writer is contributing columnist, based in Lahore.