By Prof Dr M Yakub Mughul
After a long struggle, under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-i-Azam, the Muslims got a separate homeland - Pakistan on August 14, 1947. This day has, therefore, a historical importance, the day on which the downtrodden Muslims of the South Asia got a place, where they could live freely and mould their lives accordance with the principles of Quran and Sunnah. On this day Pakistan emerged not only as the biggest Muslim state of the Islamic world but also as a fifth largest country on the world map. If Pakistan had not been created, the Muslims in India would have remained there as a nameless nation or a religious minority. Pakistan is a great gift of Allah, which came into being on 27th Ramzan-al-Mubarak, Yaum-al-Juma, so that the Muslims should bow before Allah for this great favour of a sovereign state.
The Quaid, on the occasion of Independence Day, in his message to the nation said: "It is with the feelings of the greatest happiness and emotion that I send you my greetings. August 14 is the birthday of the independent and sovereign state of Pakistan. It marks the fulfillment of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland." He added: "Today is Jumma-tul-wida, last Friday of the Holy month of Ramazan, a day of rejoicing for all of us wherever we may be in this vast Sub-continent and for the matter of that throughout the world. Let the Muslim congregations in their thousands, in all the mosques, bow in all humility before the Allah Almighty and thank Him of His eternal kindness and generosity seeking His guidance and assistance in the task of making Pakistan to a great state and themselves into its worthy citizens".
"Finally, let me tell you, fellow citizens, Pakistan is a land of great potential resources. But to build it up into a country worthy of the Muslim nation we shall require every once of energy that we possess and I am confident that it will come from all whole-heartedly. Pakistan Zindabad".
The British had fixed June 1948 for granting independence to the sub-continent, but later, they hurriedly announced August 14, 1947 for the partition of India in order to cripple newly established country-Pakistan and to create problems for it so that it could not survive.
The Quaid-i-Azam at first devotedly worked for the cause of Hindu Muslim Unity and spent most of energies and efforts towards its attainment. His efforts were appreciated and he was acknowledged by the Hindu themselves as "Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity." But the force of emerging conditions soon led the Muslims of the Sub-continent to change their outlook and adopt a different course.
The Congress, like the British, had always opposed the Muslims demand for separate homeland and preferred a unitary form of government. This was abundantly clear in the Nehru report as well as in the stand taken by the Indian National Congress at the Round Table Conference. In both cases, it was recommended that there should be a unitary form of government with maximum powers vested to the centre. The problem with the Congress leadership was that it always itself to express the "of the nation" without realising the force of Muslim opinion opposed to its policies and programmes.
The Muslims were not prepared to submit to a central government with the Hindu majority domination. They realised that they will remain "permanent minority" and could not hope for turning the majority rule in the opposite direction. The more they saw the powers vested in the centre, the more they feared it must necessarily, in practice, favour the Hindus, who formed the bulk of the population.
Allama Iqbal considered Quaid-i-Azam as his mentor and used to write him letters on political issues. Iqbal wrote a letter to the Quaid on May 28, 1937 wherein he discussed the future of the Muslims in prevailing conditions in India. He said: "To my mind the new constitution with its idea of a single Indian Federation is completely hopeless. A separate federation of Muslim provinces reformed on the lines I have suggested above, is the only course by which we can secure a peaceful India and save Muslims from the domination of non-Muslims. Why should not the Muslim of north-west India and Bengal be considered as a nation entitled to self-determination just as other nations in India and outside India are? Personally I think that the Muslims of north-west India and Bengal ought to ignore at present the Muslim minority provinces. This is the best course to adopt in the interests of both Muslim majority and minority provinces."
Attlee the Prime Minister of Great Britain announced on February 20, 1947 that transfer of power to responsible Indians not later than June 1948 would take place. It was simultaneously announced that Wavell was being recalled and replaced by the Viscount Mountbatten. Lord Mountbatten arrived on March 22, 1947 and he was warmly welcomed by Nehru. Lord Ismay had warned his government that this appointment was both a collusive acts with Congress and insult to the Muslims.
After the decision of the British Government, Mountbatten was trying to become the common Governor-General of India and Pakistan. He desired that after partition he should be the Governor-General of both of the new states.
In mid-May Nehru invited Lord Mountbatten to continue as Governor-General of the new India and he immediately accepted the offer. In a meeting with the Quaid on July 2,1947 Lord Mountbatten put forward his proposal of a common Governor-General. However, Quaid-i-Azam did not agree with his proposal and informed Mountbatten that as all the Governors of the provinces after the establishment of Pakistan would still be British, as would be commanders of each of three armed services, the Governor-General must be a Pakistani to demonstrate that the country was really independent. Quaid-i-Azam also rejected his idea that Quaid-i-Azam should be Acting Governor-General. Being aware of the partiality of Mountbatten in favour of the Indian National Congress and his leadership, the Quaid did not want to take any risk.
There upon Mountbatten said: "Do you realise what this cost you?" Quaid-i-Azam replied, "I may cost several crores of rupees in the assets." Mountbatten replied, "It may well cost you the whole of yours assets and the future of Pakistan."
Due to the opposition of Attlee, the Prime Minister of UK, and Lord Mountbatten for the partition of India and the partiality to Congress leadership later, and threat to Mr Jinnah Pakistan was deprived of getting its due share and Kashmir's future was left unsettled so that Pakistan may not consolidate itself.
While addressing the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on August 11, the Quaid had declared that the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan was the only 'solution' of the problem of India. 'Any idea of a United India could never have worked and in my judgment, it would have led us to terrific disaster.'
The economic factor and the fear of Hindus domination also played a vital role in the struggle for separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent.
The Establishment of Pakistan brought the greatest responsibilities on the shoulders of Quaid-i-Azam, who was not only the first 'Governor-General of Pakistan but also at the same time the Father of Nation. Had to build the newly born State, starting from the scratch.'
At the time of independence there was no administrative machinery to assume the day-to-day official business. Actually Pakistan was born with a number of serious disadvantages. In 1947, it was not only, politically and administratively backward as compared to the rest of India but also economically the poorest part of the British India. Its economy was basically rural based.
The majority of its population lived in the countryside and three-fourth of its GNP was contributed by the agricultural sector. The new country did not have its own currency. Being basically agricultural, the areas that in 1947 were set apart to form the State of Pakistan did not possess the institutional infrastructure to support a modern economy. In view of these handicaps, it was not therefore surprising that few people regarded Pakistan as economically not viable. The Quaid-i-Azam rose as a great Muslim leader in India. He galvanised and united the scattered Indian Muslims on the basis of Muslim nationhood. He categorically announced that there were two nations in India, Muslims and Hindus. He gave Muslims a destination in the form of a separate Muslim State in the Lahore Resolution, adopted by Muslim League on March 23, 1940.
The Quaid worked for the development of the areas comprising of Pakistan. He pressurised the British Government to introduce reforms in these areas. On the other hand he made Muslim League active in every corner of India. Due to his efforts, Muslim League branch was established in Baluchistan in 1939 and people of that area not only became aware of Muslim League but also supported Pakistan demand. Similarly under his leadership, Muslim League had also won all the four bye-elections in 1946 in NWFP, which was under the influence of the Congress.
No doubt, it was Quaid's efforts and belief that made not only the British Government but also the Hindu dominated Congress agreed to the partition and establishment of two independent States in India, one for the Muslims and the other for Hindus. It was also due to the competent leadership of Mr Jinnah that Baluchistan, which was under the influence of princely States and Jagirdars, had given its verdict for Pakistan. NWFP too, which was under the Congress rule had voted for Pakistan. Hence, all Muslim majority areas i e, Bengal, Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan, and NWFP voted for Pakistan and even Muslim minority areas also voted for Pakistan. This was a great success of Mr Jinnah. No doubt, the establishment of Pakistan is an outcome of the efforts of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. His own qualities, character, knowledge, calibre, courage, way of reasoning, decision making, strength, perseverance, sense of honour and integrity were proved his weapons to crown him with success.
The Quaid-i-Azam was an indefatigable political leader. It was due to his honesty and sincere approach that he was able to carve out the sovereign state of Pakistan, despite so many obstacles and impediments in his way.
The Quaid-i-Azam will be remembered in history as one of the few world leaders who combined in themselves many lofty traits such as statesmanship, courage, sense of responsibility, integrity, forwardness, and dedication for the cause. He was a great parliamentarian, his logic unassailable. He was unpurchaseable and had always the courage to say what he considered was in the interest of the Muslims of the Sub-continent. The problem of refugees and their rehabilitation was the most crucial, one, which faced Pakistan at the time of its creation. Over one million Muslims were killed ruthlessly. Nearly over twelve million Muslims had been forcibly driven from Indian territories into Pakistan. Mass killing of Muslims and mass exodus was maliciously designed to cripple the newly established Muslim State of Pakistan.
Quaid-i-Azam met this challenge with courage and determination. He moved his headquarter to Lahore to give his personal attention to the problems of refugees. Quaid-i-Azam Relief fund was created in which rich and wealthy citizens of Pakistan were asked to donate generously for the rehabilitation of the refugees.
Lord Mountbatten wanted to weaken Pakistan. He, therefore, influenced Radcliff to award Muslim majority Tahsils of Pathan Kot and Gurdaspur to India to provide land route to her to send its army to Kashmir.
One of the major problems, which the Government of Pakistan had to deal with, was that of finance. After partition the assets were to be distributed between the two countries as per agreed formula. But the Indian Government delayed the payment of Pakistan's share of assets with the intention to create as much disorder as possible and aggravate the economic crises in Pakistan. The finances of the country, however, were so carefully and efficiently managed by the Government of Pakistan under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam, so that in very first year Pakistan had a surplus budget - a performance, which was repeated in subsequent years.
At the time of independence there was a balance of Rs 4 billion in the Reserve Bank of India. Pakistan's share was Rs 1 billion but it was agreed to give 0.75 billion to Pakistan. The first installment of Rs. 200 million (Rs 20 crores) was paid to Pakistan. The payment of remaining amount was stopped on the advice of Sardar Patel. Gandhi kept fast till death and announced that he will not break his hunger strike till the release of amount to Pakistan. Thus, Indian Government was compelled to give another installment of Rs 500 million (Rs. 50 crores). However, remaining amount of Rs 50 million (Rs 5 crores) was never given to Pakistan.
The Quaid-i-Azam gave monetary independence to the newly created country by establishing the State Bank of Pakistan and completed the judicial structure of the administration by creating the Federal Court. B R Ambedkar called him the 'most incorruptible politician' of undivided India who gave the watchwords of Unity, Faith, and Discipline to the nation that he had founded.
On the external front, Pakistan kept good relations with all its neighbours, even with the countries that were hostile. It was because of the policy of the Quaid who believed in peace within and without and in the principle of "live and let live". The Quaid-i-Azam followed a policy of good will and friendliness towards Bharat (now India). He also offered to enter into arrangements for 'Joint Defence' with India.
While addressing to the gazette officers in Chittagong, on March 25, 1948, the Quaid warned them: "You are not rulers, you do not belong to the ruling clan, make the people feel that you are their servants and friends. Maintain the highest standards of integrity, justice and fair play. If you do that, people will have confidence and trust in you and look upon you as friends and well - wishers." The Quaid advised to the officers of Government House, Peshawar, on April 14, 1948 that "you should not be influenced by any political pressure, political party of individual politician".
Quaid-i-Azam did his best to make Pakistan self-sufficient and viable. He was totally against jobbery and nepotism. He rejected capitalist and communist systems for Pakistan and advised Muslims to adopt a system in Pakistan based on the principles of Islam. He had created an Independent Muslim State for the practice of Islamic principles. He also announced that minorities in Pakistan would remain secure and they would also enjoy their rights. As Islam itself protects the rights of minorities, there should be no misconception in this regard.
William Rushbrook a great historian writes about the achievements of the Quaid as under: "Probably no other Head of State, which had recently gained its independence, had been called upon to face the difficulties, which confronted Quaid-i-Azam. In West Pakistan, situation was bad enough, but at least he had some trained members of the All India Services on which to build the administration. Out of the initial confusion, when the Government in Karachi had to carry on records no precedents, no accommodation, and scarcely typewriter and with millions of homeless and penniless refugees from India to resettle. So long as Mr Jinnah lived, there was little real trouble, but after his death in 1948 the old difficulties emerged again."
-- (The writer is the Director of Quaid-i-Azam Academy, Karachi.)