The betrayal of ideals | Pakistan Today

The betrayal of ideals

Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal’s vision shattered


As we celebrate our 67th Independence Day, there is absolutely no sight of ‘Unity, Faith and Discipline’, nor any attempt to eliminate what the Father of the Nation in his address to Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 11 August, 1947, termed in these words: “The first duty of a government is to maintain law and order so that life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected”. Nor any plan in place to tackle what he called “biggest curses from which India is suffering is bribery and corruption” and that adequate measures be taken “with an iron hand” to curb this.

The Quaid’s vision of a modern democratic welfare state with Muslim majority living in peace with members of other faiths can be gauged from his choice of Jogendra Nath Mandal as Minister for Labour and Law and appointment of Muhammad Zafarullah Khan (an Ahmadi) as Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in December 1947. It is unfortunate that both Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam were betrayed in the last days of their lives by men whom they trusted.

Can anybody justify why did Constituent Assembly appoint by Quaid-e-Azam for specific purpose of drafting and approving Constitution, delayed this task after his death in 1948 and when it did finally manage a draft for approval, it was suspended by Governor General Ghulam Mohammad on 24 October, 1954, and a new nominated Constitution Committee was put in place? The unfortunate reality is that Objective Resolution of 1949 was deliberate first act of exploiting religion to delay democratic process. It took more than nine years to finally approve the first constitution.

While Quaid had placed on record that Ayub Khan should never be promoted for failure to protect lives of men, women and children migrating from Amritsar and other adjoining areas from being slaughtered by Sikhs in his capacity as OIC of Pakistan contingent of Punjab Boundary Force, which fact is substantiated by his supersession by juniors Brig Nazir, Iftikhar and Nasir during the lifetime of Quaid. Yet he was promoted after Quaid’s death and then he conspired with Daultana and Ghulam Mohammad to remove Khawaja Nzimuddin, sowing seeds of secession in East Pakistan, already angered by imposition of Urdu as national language and not given seats in proportion to their 54 per cent population in nominated Constituent Assembly of 1955.

The British Raj created feudal system through allotment of lands in return for pledge of loyalty to colonial occupation, a practice still in vogue by our paid bureaucracy and ruling elite. Events like planned demolishing of a mosque located in the vicinity of Lahore railway station, when Punjab was ruled by a Hindu-Sikh dominated coalition, which included two prominent feudal Muslim ministers, beneficiaries of land allotted by the British Raj, who later joined Unionist Party, on the night between 4th and 5th July, 1935, by armed Sikhs, convinced Allama Iqbal that under no circumstances could lives, property and honour of Muslims be secure unless they have self-rule. The fact that the mosque was demolished when it was surrounded by armed members of police and army, exposed brutality and mindset of the feudals of Punjab.

In a letter to Quaid dated 28 May, 1937, Allama Iqbal states that “the manner in which Muslim feudal landlords of Punjab had distanced themselves from national struggle for rights of Muslims, as compared to immense support of middle class and poor Muslims, it is imperative that we stand up for the rights of the oppressed”. When All India Muslim League decided to amalgamate all provincial Muslim Leagues under one banner with a single constitution, the Punjab Muslim League submitted a written application on 11 March, 1938, for affiliation. Unfortunately the person chosen by Allama Iqbal to replace him as president conspired with the members of Unionist Party such as Ahmed Yar Daultana, Mir Maqbool Mahmud and Syed Afzal Ali Hasny and a five-member subcommittee nominated by the League at Delhi suspended affiliation of the Punjab Muslim League, without waiting to hear the delegation authorised by Allama Iqbal, who was sick and confined to bed. On 14 April, 1938, a critically sick Allama Iqbal ordered a delegation comprising Ghulam Rasul, Malik Barkat Ali, Khalifa Shujauddin, Pir Tajudin, Malik Zaman Mahdi and Ashiq Hussain Batalvi to proceed to Calcutta to plead their case. This delegation returned back unsuccessful on morning of 21 April, 1938, and it was under such tragic circumstances and betrayal that Allama Iqbal died.

However much history is distorted, the bitter truth is that most of feudals from Muslim minority areas wanted confederation with autonomy, so that they could retain their lands and assets. This is substantiated by the fact that when Pakistan was created, they opted for India.