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Speech at Sibi Durbar on 14th February , 1948.


Mr. Dundas, Members of Shahi Jirga, Sardars of Baluchistan and other Leaders and Representatives of the people of Baluchistan.

It is indeed a matter of genuine pleasure to me to be present here amongst you in the first Shahi Durbar of Baluchistan held under the authority of our new Muslim State of Pakistan. As you all know, my personal connection with Baluchistan extends over a long period. I can now look back with satisfaction to the days when the people of this Province fought shoulder to shoulder with me in our struggle for freedom. You have contributed in no smaller measure than your brethren of other province of Pakistan towards the achievement of our goal have.

The history of political reforms for Baluchistan is connected with the history of the struggle of the Mussalmans for freedom. There are many of you who will recall the number of occasions when I took up the cause of the people of Baluchistan both inside the Indian Legislature and outside; and, now that I have the honor to be the first Governor-general of our great country –Pakistan, it is natural that the question of reforms and securing for the people of Baluchistan an adequate say in the administration and governance of their Province, should be constantly in my mind. If in this direction my wishes have not so far been realized, it is due to the circumstances over which I had little or no control.

Gentlemen: It is just six months since we have achieved our Independence. During this period we have not so far seen a single day of peace. We have had to face calamities the parallel of which is not known in the history of the world. But we have not remained idle. We are still struggling to complete the task in the face of difficulties, which we had no way of anticipating when the partition of India was agreed upon. We have yet to secure our due and rightful share from the sister Dominion of India. The attention of my Government, therefore, was kept riveted to other dangerous problems of more immediate and urgent importance. You will therefore, forgive me if I was not able to attend to the affairs of Baluchistan as speedily as I would have wished. Let me assure you, however, that I have not for one moment allowed the affairs of Baluchistan to slip out of my mind. I have thought and thought, considered and pondered over the ways and means of improving the lot of our people in this Province and of enabling them to secure for themselves the same position and the same political status within the polity of Pakistan, which are open to their brethren in other provinces as far as they could be brought about as practical propositions.

Gentlemen: The relations of the old Government of India with Baluchistan before the partition are well known to you. It is not for me to remind you how that Government, which was a subordinate branch of the foreign administration, had kept Baluchistan divided in several parts, each with a different name and status, yet all bound together in shackles of backwardness. The administration handed over to us was on the one hand, quite impervious to the desires and wishes of the people for moral and material progress, and on the other, impatient of criticism and obvious to the necessity of political reforms of any sort. Consequently, the people of the Province remained in a static position educationally, socially, economically and politically. Nay, I would go so far as to say that the people had to content themselves for a long time with a state of political and administrative stagnation. And yet, all this may sound paradoxical in the face of the fact that so far as the tribal areas of Baluchistan were concerned the Governor-general exercised his executive functions in his discretion, and in regard to the areas which used to be known as British Baluchistan and leased territories, he governed to such an extent as he thought fit, through a Chief Commissioner appointed by him in his discretion.

Then came the fruit of our national efforts in the form of the Indian Independence Act of 1947, whereby the British Government acknowledged the supreme authority of the people of this sub-continent and they were obliged to transfer full powers to them. With the passing of this Act, the treaties and agreements which were in force between the British Government and the states and tribes, all lapsed. The obligations of British Government and all powers, rights, authority, or jurisdiction execrable in relation to the tribal areas also disappeared. In other words, the tribal people were free to come to such arrangements with Pakistan as the successor authority of British Government, as may be agreed upon. Side by side with this, the Chief Commissioner’s Province of British Baluchistan was made a part of territories of Pakistan as laid down by the Indian Independence Act, and the Province of Baluchistan accepted the position and decided to send their elected representative to the Pakistan Constituent Assembly. It was in this state of freedom when, of their own free choice, the people of Tribal Areas gave their verdict, through the referendum held in this province in the Summer of last year when they decided to join the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. No sooner did this happen, than I, as governor-general of Pakistan, felt it my duty to assure the people of Baluchistan on behalf of the Government of Pakistan, that all agreements and allowances would continue until such time as they could be modified after the consultation with them.

The departure of British authority had left several gaps in the juridical and administrative machinery of Baluchistan. These were filled by making temporary legal and administrative arrangements. The relations of the Government of Pakistan with the tribes were reaffirmed on the basis of the referendum until they could be consulted again. All this arranged under powers vested in me as governor-general of Pakistan deriving authority from the unmistakable will of the people of Baluchistan expressed through the Shahi Jirga. Orders were passed declaring that all laws that were in force in the administered areas, tribal areas including the areas of Marri and Bugti Tumans and Baluch areas adjoining the Dera Ghazi Khan District of the Punjab (Which are not included in Baluchistan), would continue to be enjoyed by them. I had to make these arrangements provisionally because the administration of the country had to go on. This did not mean that I wanted to perpetuate the state of affairs prevailing under the British Government. The final constitution, as you all know, will be framed by the Constituent Assembly in consultation with the representatives of all these areas. Nor did I forget in the meantime, while making these temporary fulfillment of this desire that I decided to attend your first Durbar so that I may get the opportunity of meeting you and exchange views with you in order to ascertain the ideas which you may have formed about future form of Government for your Province.

The Constituent Assembly may take some time to accomplish its task of framing the final constitution of our State. It is a stupendous task and it may take 18 months or two years before it can come into full operation. And so I wanted something to be done without delay for the period between now and the time when the new constitution would finally emerge and be inaugurated; something which would enable the people to share the responsibilities of their Government and give them a voice in its administration. After very careful consideration, I have decided to make a small but all the same an important move immediately to enable the people to associate themselves with the government of their province. I hope that this will bring citizens of Pakistan living in Baluchistan closer to the governor-general and the head of your administration. I had to think hard. There were legal and constitutional difficulties in the way of setting up a representative form of Government. But there was no time to waste. I did not want to wait for the requisite legal and statutory provisions to be enacted in their full form. All that will naturally come in time. For the present, however, I have come to the conclusion that our immediate object can best be achieved by making the Governors administration of Baluchistan more directly the concern of the governor-general himself acting in close collaboration with the acknowledged representatives of the people. For this purpose, I have decided to constitute a governor-general’s Advisory Council, a body which will enable the people to play their full part in the administration and governance of their Province, and which will enable me as governor-general to keep a close watch over the affairs of Baluchistan and to make the problems of the people of this great province my own special care as I am bound to do under the present provisional constitution of Pakistan. I may here draw your attention that as a matter of fact the present constitution –the Indian Independence Act and adaptations o f Government of India Act, 1935–make the position of the governor-general and his responsibilities clear. As regards the Chief Commissioner’s Province, the adaptations that are in operation in the present Constitution, lay down:

That it shall be administered by the governor-general acting to such extent as he thinks fit, through a Chief Commissioner to be appointed by him in his discretion.

The executive authority of the Federation extends to British Baluchistan but notwithstanding anything in this Act, no Act of the Federal Legislature shall apply to British Baluchistan unless the governor-general in his discretion by public notification so directs, and the governor-general in giving such a direction with respect to any Act may direct that the Act shall in its application to the province, or to any specified part thereof, have affect subject to such exceptions or modifications as he thinks fit.

The governor-general may in the discretion make regulations for the peace and good government of British Baluchistan, and any regulations so made may repeal or amend any Act of the Federal Legislature or any existing Indian law which is for the time being applicable to the Province and, when promulgated by the governor-general, shall have the same force and effect as an Act of the Federal Legislature which applies to the province.

The members of the Advisory Council will of course be a nominated but let me assure you gentlemen, that it will not be a nominal body. It will have the power to advise the governor-general on any matter, which in its opinion is connected with the good of the province. Similarly, the governor-general will refer any matter, which may come before him through the Chief Commissioner for the opinion and advice of the Council. The Budget of the Province for instance, will be checked and scrutinized first by the Advisory Council in all its details and it will be free to submit its recommendations to the governor-general.

From what I have stated, you will see that I am only trying to make a beginning in giving the people of Baluchistan their due share in the administration and I am affording to them the opportunities to play full part in the shaping of their future administration and advancing the welfare of the people generally. For instance, all plans for the future political, economic, social and educational development of the Province will be prepared and submitted through the Advisory Council and it will be for the governor-general to see that these plans are implemented with consultation and advice of the Council. Thus gentlemen, in some ways you will he better off than the other Provinces of Pakistan. Here you will have in fact, a governor-general’s Province and you will become my special responsibility and care and let me assure you that in the sphere of the activities of the Council the governor-general will adopt such measures as may be necessary in consultation with his advisory council from time to time.

The notification, which is to be issued on this subject, will set out the functions and the scope of the Advisory Council, as well as its composition. It will contain people’s representatives of the Administered Areas, which used to be known as British Baluchistan and the leased areas. It will include representatives of the Tribal Areas. It will also reflect the considered opinion of the members of the Shahi Jirga and the Municipality of Quetta. In the creation of this Council, as you wil1 observe, special care has been taken to ensure that power and authority is derived as far as possible from the people. At the same time, the setting up of the Advisory Council will not in any way detract from the status of these areas, nor from the freedom of the inhabitants of these areas to mould their future constitution and to form the administration in accordance with their own customs and traditions. The setting up of the Council will in no way affect that measure of independence, which already enjoyed by the people of Tribal Areas nor can it change the present status of the leased Areas. On the other hand, this new measure is intended to bring about a harmony of ideas between the Government and the people in the various areas of Baluchistan and to make the Government machinery efficient and responsive to the people. It will impose upon the administration of Baluchistan the responsibility of marching in step with the wishes of its people and afford the people opportunities for sharing henceforth-, with their Government the cares and responsibilities of the administration.

I may point out that Baluchistan is a deficit province already to the extent of one crore and a half and Pakistan will have to bear to further financial burden to help the people as indicated above but I am hopeful that Pakistan will not hesitate to bear it for the sake of the progress and welfare of the people of Baluchistan.

In proposing this scheme, I have had one underlying principle in mind, the principle of Muslim democracy. It is my belief that our salvation lies in following the golden rules of conduct set for us by our great lawgiver, the Prophet of Islam. Let us lay the foundation of our democracy on the basis of truly Islamic ideals and principles. Our Almighty has taught us that “our decisions in the affairs of the State shall be guided by discussions and consultations. I wish you my brethren of Baluchistan, God speed and all success in the opening of this new era. May your future be as bright as I have always prayed for and wished it to be. May you all prosper.

Pakistan Zindabad

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