Mr. Baig who was secretary to the Quaid-i-Azam from 1934 to 1940, wrote that the President of the Muslim League, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876-1948), ‘Though extremely articulate vocally, he had surprisingly little facility for expressing himself in writing and was glad to pass on most of this work to me’.
The Quaid-i-Azam at the time of partition wanted Nawab Iftikhar Husain Mamdot (1905-1969), who had become President of the Punjab Muslim League on the death of his father, to be the Chief Minister of Punjab instead of Oxford educated Malik Sir Feroze Khan Noon (1893-1970) who was High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom from 1936 to 1941, Indian member of the Viceroy’s Council from 1941 to 1943, and was far more qualified to run the government. The Quaid sent Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman to preside over the election and ensure that the Punjab Muslim League Assemby party did not elect Noon. The same was the case in Bengal, where the Quaid-i-Azam preferred Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin (1894-1964) of the Nawab of Dacca family to the more competent Oxford educated Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (1892-1963), who with Abul Hashem was architect of Muslim League victory in election in Bengal. Suhrawardy, who was prime minister of undivided Bengal, was not only replaced by Nazimuddin, but was barred from entering East Pakistan and a special resolution was passed to annul his membership of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly.
The President of the Muslim League, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, got himself elected as the first president of the sovereign assembly of Pakistan on 11 August 1947. He became the first governor-general, the head of state of the independent and sovereign Pakistan on 15 August 1947. Although Nawabzada was the prime minister, the Quaid-i-Azam chose the cabinet and presided over its meetings, a practice which British monarchs had not indulged in for two centuries. The cabinet passed a special resolution to allow Jinnah to deal with provincial ministers, and in case of central ministers, his decision was made final.
After the 1945-46 elections, the Quaid-i-Azam declared that he had achieved the sort of success which even dictators like Hitler and Mussolini had never hoped for, and did not mind behaving in that manner even to those who were closest to him beginning with his only child, who married against his wishes.
Raja Amir Ahmed Khan of Mahmudabad (1914-1973) was an important member of the All India Muslim League as treasurer of the All India Muslim League, President of the All India Muslim Student Federation and member of the All-India Muslim League Working Committee. The Quaid was so rude to Raja Saheb, who was staying with him, that Raja Saheb packed his bags and left, although he had to wait for hours at the railway station before he got a train, and lived in Iraq rather than in Pakistan after Independence.
The Quaid-i-Azam appointed Yusuf Haroon (1916-2011) as one of the youngest Muslim League members of the Indian Constituent Assembly. He had sent him to Bantwa to persuade the Memon community to transfer their business to Pakistan. Yet the Quaid-i-Azam threatened Yusuf Haroon with arrest for disagreeing with him. Thereupon, Yusuf Haroon told me that he took the first flight to UK. Both of these blue-eyed boys of the Quaid-i-Azam were like family members to him and they and their parents had played key roles in the Freedom Movement. After the death of the Quaid-i-Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan made Yusuf Haroon the youngest Chief Minister of Sindh. He released Masud Khadarposh‘s dissenting note to the Hari Commission, in which Masood had condemned the absentee landlordism with arguments from Islam, and recommended confiscation of feudal properties to free the peasants from unbearable oppression. Yusuf Haroon also tabled a bill for land reform which was not liked by Sindhi politicians. Therefore he was sent to Australia as the High Commissioner of Pakistan, where a well knowm American magazine nominated him as one of the ten most handsome diplomats. He was known in intimate circles as Sani, which was short for Yusuf Sani, i.e., the Second Yusuf, a name given to him by Jamal Mian for his good looks.
Raja Saheb, who had not come to Pakistan after partition, was later invited to Pakistan, to unite the Muslim League and head it. He came to Pakistan but did not take part in politics. He lived with his daughter in Karachi for some time and then left to live and work in London. His son Sulaiman (born 1943) arrived in Karachi after completing his studies at Cambridge, to woo a Cambridge friend of ours. He was fascinated by our green and purple mulberry fruit trees and told me the ways to breed silk worms on them. However, after his mother vetoed his idea of marrying and living in Pakistan he went to India and was elected to the assembly in 1985 and 1989.
The Oxford University Press has published censored correspondence between the Quaid-i-Azam. and the Quaid-i-Millat Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan. Ashraf Liaquat Ali Khan told me that while going through his father’s papers his British wife asked him, ‘How come your parents tolerated Jinnah’. They tolerated him because Liaquat was dependent on him for his position in the Muslim League. Liaquat was born in Karnal in Punjab, therefore he first contested the election of the Punjab Provincial Council but was defeated by a unionist candidate. Therefore he contested the next election for the U.P. Provincial Council from Muzaffarnagar and succeeded from the Rural Muhammadan Constituency in 1926. He was elected Deputy President of the U.P. Legislative Council in 1932 with the support of Nawab Chattari, leader of the National Agriculturist Party. Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan’s second wife was a Christian, Sheila Irene, who had done MA in Economics from Lucknow University and was a lecturer in economics at Indraprashtsa College Delhi when she met Nawabzada. She married him in December 1932 and became Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan. When Liaquat visited London in 1933 with his new bride and met Jinnah and his sister, the western educated liberal couple, a rarity at that time, were an immediate hit with Jinnah, but not with Fatima Jinnah. At the twenty-fourth session of the All India Muslim League at Bombay in April 1936 Jinnah proposed the name of Liaquat as General Secretary of the All-India Muslim League. This was contested by a member from Punjab, but Jinnah stopped him by saying that he required the comfort of a home and car in Delhi, which were available to him with Liaquat.
Although Liaquat was nominated by Jinnah as General Secretary of the All India Muslim League and member of the Parliamentary Board, he did not contest the crucial 1937 election on a Muslim League ticket, which was resented by a number of Muslim Leaguers. For example M.A.H. Ispahani wrote to Jinnah on 22 November 1937, ‘… he (Liaquat) is guilty of the same offence as the Nawab of Chattari and Sir Muhammad Yousuf. By his attitude on the eve of last election, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan has forfeited the confidence of the staunch Muslim Leaguers, and I am sure the only one who feels that the proper treatment for this gentleman is either dismissal from the Party or the demanding of an unqualified apology for his past attitude’. His election as secretary of All India Muslim League again became an issue at the twenty-ninth session of the All India Muslim League in April 1942 in Allahabad. As Liaquat did not think that he could win against my father, he told Jinnah that he would not stand for the secretaryship of the All India Muslim League. Chaudhri Khaliquzzaman told me that Jinnah once again intervened on behalf of Liaquat and told him to ask my father if he was prepared to give up his law practice in Allahabad and shift to Delhi. And the Quaid-i-Azam wrote to Begum Liaquat Ali Khan that if she cared for her husband’s career then she should take care of him.
In America they write about the political mistakes and human frailties of their founding fathers, Washington and Jefferson, including their illegitimate relations with black women without ever thinking that it could in any way affect their contribution to American independence and establishment. Why do we have to believe that if we discuss the political mistakes and human frailities of our founding fathers it will in any way affect their contribution in creation and establishment of Pakistan? In fact there is a great deal to be learned from their mistakes. It is a pity that those of us who had first hand knowledge of their frailities and blunders have never told the full story.
When I questioned Mirza Abul Hasan Ispahani about the deliberate misstatement in his book on the Quaid-i-Azam, he said, ‘What could I do? After all he was our leader’. Begum Shaista Ikramullah wrote about how she met the Quaid and his sister in Delhi in her book, From Purdah to Parliament (1963), with her uncle, but failed to mention how badly her favourite cousin, Suhrawardy, was treated by the two Quaids. When I pointed this out to her she could only say that her husband was in the service of the government. However, over two decades after the death of her husband, and three decades after the death of the two Quaids, and now styled as Begum Shaista Suhrawardy Ikramullah, she wrote a biography of Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (1991), and mentioned the treatment meted out to him without mentioning the role of the two Quaids. Such was the mindset of people who could have told the truth about our freedom movement. There was only Yusuf Haroon who was prepared to say that if he had another life he would support Lari against Jinnah every time, but was told by Jamal Mian (1919-2012) not to speak in public about it. When Jamal Mian came to my house with Begum Ikramullah he gave the same advice to me, although he was full of praise for my father for his guidance to him in the assembly.
As Secretary of the U.P. Muslim League Parliamentary Board, my father wrote to the Quaid on 5th July 1946 that he should choose professionals and commoners with progressive views instead of feudals and reactionaries who had no knowledge of the Constitutional law, to the Constituent Assemblies of India and Pakistan, which had been given the task of preparing the constitution of the two countries. Although the U.P. Muslim League endorsed my father’s views and submitted the names to represent the U.P. (Dawn 6th July 1946, page 6, column 4), the Quaid-i-Azam selected feudals and maulvi who had no legal background to represent the U.P. although the Muslim League required legal experts to help draft the constitution of the two new states.
My father became leader of the opposition in the U.P. Assembly and created a coalition of opposition parties in the Indian Constituent Assembly after the Quaid-i-Azam left for Pakistan. He also took lead in the abolition of feudalism in India as member of the Abolition of Zamindari Committee. And as a member of the Indian Constituent Assembly he took part in drafting the Indian constitution, and demanded that Urdu should be declared the official language, but the ruling Congress Party refused.
Abul Kalam Azad who was one of the longest lasting presidents of the Congress during the second world war and education minister of India at that time, convened a conference of Muslim organisations including the Muslim League and asked them to join the Congress. Some members of the Muslim League attended the meeting and a few also crossed over to the Congress.
My father went to see Mahatma Gandhi, who espoused the cause of a common language of Hindus and Muslims called Hindustani by publishing a magazine in both Urdu (Arabic) and Hindi (Devanagri) scripts. The Mahatma was in maunvrat (a vow of silence) and could communicate only by writing. Therefore he wrote down his answers on the back of telegrams that he had been receiving from desperate people threatened by riots. He wrote, ‘I am quite clear that Muslims as a mass cannot and should not join the congress unless they are invited and welcomed with a whole heart. I fear that this feeling is lacking at present’. Mahatma was killed for fasting to get Pakistan its due share in the assets left by the British. The poet Israrul Huq Majaz wrote:
Hindu chala gaya, na musulman chala gaya
Insan ki justju main aik insan chala gaya
My father called a meeting of all the Muslim political, religious, social and cultural organisations and asked them to unite to create an effective organisation of Muslims. This led to virulent attack on him from Hindu leaders and newspapers. An Amrit Bazar Patrika editorial said that Lari and his friends who had not gone to Pakistan were there to harm India from the inside. A National Herald editorial said that Lari’s move was a warning to central and provincial governments, because it was the Muslims of U.P. who had won Pakistan for Jinnah. A Leader editorial called Lari’s programme as mischievous as that of the old Muslim League, and advised that the government should keep a strict watch over them.
My father resigned from the Indian Constituent Assembly in protest against their not making Urdu an official language, and the Government of India declared him to be an intending evacuee and froze his property on 17 May 1950. He wrote to the Indian government, saying that unless they cancelled their order he would be forced to leave the country. In a speech the Indian Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, referring to the activities of my father in a public meeting in Lucknow, said that those who made Pakistan should go to Pakistan. We left for Pakistan that year. Shamsul Ulema Khawaja Altaf Husain Hali, had described the parting in the following verses;:
‘Rukhsat aiy Hindustan, Aiy bostan bay khizan
Rah chukay teray bahut din hum bidesi mehman
Naqsh hayn dil par hamaray sab madarten tery
Hum na bhulen gay kabhi din teray aur ratain teri
Tu nay sarwat di hukumat di riyasat di hamain
Shukr kis kis meherbani ka karain teri ada
Par gila yeh hai kay jo kuch apna ham laiy thay sath
Wo bhi tu nay hum say lay kar kardiya belkul gada
Torr dalay jald tu nay ahed aur paiman sab
Bay wafa suntay thay sach, aiy hind tera nam hum
Dair tak rahta hay jo insan nahin rahta aziz
Suntay hayn diwar wa dar say teray yeh paigham ham’
- Lari with Indian Governor General and others
- Raja saheb Muahmudabad with Fatima Jinnah
- Jinnah with Begum Liaquat