Lahore

The Pakistani-Canadian professor Khalid bin Sayeed, one of the first to author a book on Pakistan in English, notes in his book, “Pakistan: the Formative Phase”, that Mr. Z. H. Lari was one of two who were daring enough to speak their minds before Mr. Jinnah in the All India Muslim League Council meetings.

For example, the Lahore Resolution, which is now called the Pakistan Resolution, neither put forward the idea of one independent Muslim state, nor was the word ‘Pakistan’ used by anyone in the speeches or in the body of the resolution. In fact it stated ‘that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority, as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of (British) India, should be grouped to constitute Independent States in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign. ‘

Mr. Lari pointed this out, when the resolution was placed before the Subjects Committee on the evening of 22 March 1940. The Quaid-i-Azam did not make copies of the resolution available to the members. It was read out by him late in the evening. Mr. Lari moved that consideration of the resolution be adjourn­ed till copies of the resolution were provided to the members. The Quaid-i-Azam did not agree. Mr. Lari therefore raised the point of order that the reso­lution could not be moved without first changing the preamble of the Muslim League, which states that the object of the Muslim League was to achieve full independence in the form of a federation, while the resolution sought to be moved was to create several autonomous and sovereign states. Hence the league preamble should be amended first and then the resolution could be taken. The Quaid-i-Azam once again ruled out his objection by saying that Lari was a clever lawyer but not a good statesman. The Quaid-i-Azam was trying to woo leaders of the Muslim majority provinces by offering them autonomous and sovereign states.

A.K. Fazlul Huq (1873-1962), the Premier of Bengal, who moved the Lahore Resolution next day in the open session, referred to this, and said, ‘To those who proposed amendments in the Subjects Committee yesterday for providing a central government in the resolution, my reply is, we assumed power on behalf of Muslims and other people in Bengal in 1937. We have been given an opportunity by the Almighty to serve our people after a couple of centuries, and we are not going to barter away that power and opportunity to an imaginary and an unknown central authority.’ Sir Abdullah Haroon said that it was the duty of the Muslims to pass it without any hitch as in 1938, the Muslim League had passed a resolution for establishing ‘Independent States’ in the northwestern and the eastern zones’. He warned the Hindus that if Muslims in Hindu provinces were not justly treated, the Hindus in the Muslim Provinces would be treated in the same way in which Herr Hitler treated the Sudetans. The co-religionists in the Muslim minority provinces were assured that they would not forget them, and would be prepared to render them every kind of help in their power.

Sir Sikandar Hayat, the Premier of Punjab, in a speech on 11 March 1941 said, ‘And let us above all show to the rest of India, that we in Punjab stand united and will not brook any interference from whatever quarter it may be at­tempted. Then and then only we will be able to tell meddling busybodies from outside, “hands off the Punjab”. In the Sindh Assembly in 1942, G. M. Syed raised the demand for a separate sovereign state of Sindh, which would not be part of a federation that included Punjab. Pir Ali Muhammad Rashdi wrote that Sindh and Punjab had equal political status as provinces of the British Raj, and Sindh had its own government with Sindhi ministers, yet Punjabis had monopolized all the government jobs reserved for Sindhi Muslims, and ran the administration and police. They feared a time when Sindh would be part of Pakistan with Punjabis in power in the centre.

It is obvious from these quotes that the leaders of the Muslim majority provinces of Bengal, Punjab and Sindh had joined the Muslim League in order to obtain autonomy, sovereignty and independence for their provinces.

This was confirmed by the founder of Pakistan, the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 24 April 1943, when he said, ‘I think you will bear me out that when we passed the Lahore Resolution, we had not used the word ‘Pakistan’. Who gave us this word? (Cries ‘Hindus’). Let me tell you it is their fault. They started damning the resolution on the ground that it was Pakistan. They are really ignorant of the Muslim movement. They fathered this word upon us. Give the dog a bad name and then hang him. They shouted ‘Pan-Islamism’. When this was exploded, then came the ‘Pakistan’ alliance with other countries – Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey and they will grind down Hindu India. That is the deep game they are playing. You know perfectly well that ‘Pakistan’ is a word, which was really foisted upon us and fathered on us by some sections of the Hindu Press and also by the British Press’.

To the Quaid, the Lahore Resolution was a device designed to win the support of leaders of Muslim majority provinces, and to create a unified and well-knit organisation. Therefore he used analogies from army life increasingly, saying, ‘What I want is that there should be lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels and generals; and just as there are soldiers in the army, we must have political soldiers’. The concomitant of this concept of the party was that there should be one supreme unified command and that there should be no discordant voice within the league. In order to achieve dictatorial power he added Section 28A to the Constitution and

Rules of the All-India Muslim League, whereby his nominated working committee of the Muslim League received power to control, direct and regulate all the activities of the various provincial leagues, and to take disciplinary action against individual members.

When M. A. Jinnah became the Quaid-i-Azam (the Great Leader) his axe first fell on Fazlul Huq, the Muslim Premier of Bengal, who dared to criticise him. Echoing the criticism that had been hurled by Jinnah at the Congress high command, Fazlul Huq stated that, ‘the principles of democracy and autonomy are being subordinated to the arbitrary wishes of a single individual who seeks to rule as an omnipotent authority over the destiny of 33 millions of Muslims in the province of Bengal who occupy the key position in Indian Muslim Politics’.

The Quaid-i-Azam expelled Fazlul Huq from the Muslim League, and had this endorsed by the working committee on 17th December 1941. Fazlul Huq formed a new ministry with the help of Hindu members of the Assembly, which did not please the British, as his Hindu allies did not allow him to work for the British war effort or stand against the Quit India movement. Therefore the British governor waited for an opportunity to get rid of him. When his ministry fell, the Quaid-i-Azam openly rejoiced; speaking to the 30th session of All-India Muslim League in Delhi, he said, ‘…Today Fazlul Huq is no more, and I hope that for the rest of his life he will be no more… Bengal has set an example from which others may take a lesson. It is now the voice of the League, the voice of the people, it is now the authority of the millat that you have to bow to, though you may be the tallest poppy in the Muslim World … But I regret to say that the Punjab has not yet played the part that it ought to play. I particularly appeal to the delegates from the Punjab—people are all right in the Punjab— when you go back, please—I won’t say anything more—please substitute the love of Islam and your nation in place of sectional interests, jeal­ousies, tribal notions and selfishness. For these evils have over-powered you and you are being ground down for the last 200 years… Don’t forget the minority provinces. It is they who were the spearheads that Congress wanted to crush with their over­whelming majority in the Muslim minority provinces. It is they who suffered for you in the majority provinces, for your sake, for your benefit and for your advantage.”(Zaidi, Vol vi, 41-43)

The Muslim League had entered a new phase. The de­mand for autonomy, sovereignty and independence of provinces embodied in the Lahore Resolution had become old hat. The provincial leaders still wedded to it were a hurdle, a hindrance and a curse in the words of the Quaid-i-Azam, and therefore they were either discarded or crushed. The Muslim League was transformed into an army engaged in a war of independence, with the Quaid-i-Azam as its supreme commander. The slogan was independence for one single Muslim state of Pakistan in which provinces would be subservient to the central government. But the Quaid-i-Azam’s failure to pay heed to Mr. Lari’s objection to the Lahore Resolution was to haunt Pakistan and resulted in nationalist movements in smaller provinces, and the separation of East Pakistan. And it resulted in the emergence of civil and military dictatorship at the expense of a democratic and parliamentary system of government. The Quaid-i-Azam dismissed the elected government of the Frontier province on 22 August 1947, and the Pakistan Army began operations against insurgents in Balochistan.

When the Pakistan government decided to acquire control of Karachi and make it the capital of Pakistan, the Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on 10 February 1948, declaring ‘That this Assembly records its appre­hension and alarm at the contemplated move of the Pakistan Government to remove the City of Karachi from the control of the Sind Administration and to place it under its own jurisdiction as a centrally administered area. This house, therefore, resolves that Karachi must not be handed over to the central administration at any cost, and further calls upon the leader of the house and his cabinet colleagues to bring home to the Government of Pakistan that such a step would not only cripple Sindh economically and politically, but would also constitute a flagrant contravention of the Pakistan Resolution in Lahore in 1940, which emphasises the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the autonomous units constituting Pakistan, not to speak of the violence which it would inflict upon the loyal and patriotic sentiments of the people of the province towards their own independent state of Pakistan’.

Mahmoud Haroon told the Sindh Assembly, ‘Mr Speaker, Sir, I rise to associate myself not personally alone with this resolution but also to express the views of the residents of the Lyari quarter which forms more than half the inhabitants of this city… the people of Lyari have decided that at any cost they will not allow Karachi to be separated from this province.’

  1. H. Gazdar (Sindh:Muslim) told the Constituent Assembly (legislature) of Pakistan that, ‘the question of separating Karachi from Sind has raised so much ill-feeling amongst Sindhis that it will not be possible for refugees to remain in Sindh’.
  2. A. Khuhro, the Chief Minister of Sindh, was dismissed on 26 April 1948, for ‘mal-administration, gross misconduct … and corruption’ and a special court of inquiry was set up to try him on no less than 62 charges relating to his eight-month period as premier.

The Sindh Muslim League Council declared 2 July ‘Karachi Day’, and organised demonstrations against it, but the governor-general, Quaid-i-Azam M. A. Jinnah signed the Pakistan (Establishment of the Federal Capital) Order, 1948, on 23rd July 1948, and the Sindh Muslim League Parliamentary Party was forced to endorse it, making Karachi capital of Pakistan.

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