March 23, 1940: Pakistan Resolution

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From March 22 to March 24, 1940, the All India Muslim League held its annual session at Minto Park, Lahore. This session proved to be historical.

On the first day of the session, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah narrated the events of the last few months. In an extempore speech he presented his own solution of the Muslim problem. He said that the problem of India was not of an inter-communal nature, but manifestly an international one and must be treated as such. To him the differences between Hindus and the Muslims were so great and so sharp that their union under one central government was full of serious risks. They belonged to two separate and distinct nations and therefore the only chance open was to allow them to have separate states.

Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore, the landmark where the historic Pakistan Resolution was passed

In the words of Quaid-i-Azam: “Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs and literature. They neither inter-marry nor inter-dine and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations that are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their concepts on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other, and likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state”.

At the All India Muslim League Working Committee, Lahore session, March 1940

He further said, “Mussalmans are a nation according to any definition of nation. We wish our people to develop to the fullest spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way that we think best and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people”.

On the basis of the above mentioned ideas of the Quaid, A. K. Fazl-ul-Haq, the then Chief Minister of Bengal, moved the historical resolution which has since come to be known as Lahore Resolution or Pakistan Resolution.

At the All India Muslim League session, March 1940, Nawab Sir Shah Nawaz Mamdot presenting address of welcome

The Resolution declared: “No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign”.

Quaid-i-Azam is presiding over the session while Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman is seconding the Resolution

It further reads, “That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in the units and in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights of the minorities, with their consultation. Arrangements thus should be made for the security of Muslims where they were in a minority”.

Quaid-i-Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan and Nawab Muhammad Iftikhar Hussain Khan of Mamdot at the Lahore Session, March 1940

The Resolution repudiated the concept of United India and recommended the creation of an independent Muslim state consisting of Punjab, N. W. F. P., Sindh and Baluchistan in the northwest, and Bengal and Assam in the northeast. The Resolution was seconded by Maulana Zafar Ali Khan from Punjab, Sardar Aurangzeb from the N. W. F. P., Sir Abdullah Haroon from Sindh, and Qazi Esa from Baluchistan, along with many others.

The Resolution was passed on March 24. It laid down only the principles, with the details left to be worked out at a future date. It was made a part of the All India Muslim League’s constitution in 1941. It was on the basis of this resolution that in 1946 the Muslim League decided to go for one state for the Muslims, instead of two.

Pakistan as visualized by Chaudhry Rahmat Ali

Having passed the Pakistan Resolution, the Muslims of India changed their ultimate goal. Instead of seeking alliance with the Hindu community, they set out on a path whose destination was a separate homeland for the Muslims of India.

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Why Pakistan Armed Forces are Indo-centric?

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Sultan M Hali:

India has never accepted Pakistan’s existence and always considered the division of Bharat a cardinal sin. The members of the Indian Congress had initially agreed to the partition with the understanding that the fledgling nation would barely survive a few weeks. Enough impediments had been placed in its path to ensure its destruction. The mass exodus of Muslims from India headed towards Pakistan and freedom but was set upon by marauding hordes of extremist Hindus and Sikhs, who looted raped and massacred the refugees. Pakistan’s share of the assets both in terms of finances, machinery and weapons was not handed over to the new state.

To tighten the screw on Pakistan, Kashmir, Hyderabad, Junagadh and other Muslim states were annexed through forceful occupation. In all this turmoil, one institution remained a thorn in India’s side and that was the Pakistan Army. Bedraggled and under-equipped, the Pakistan Army mostly comprised stragglers, who had themselves barely escaped from the mad frenzy of the communal rioters. It goes to the credit of Pakistan’s founding fathers, Quaid-e-Azam and Liaquat Ali Khan, who thwarted the machination of the Indian Congress, which wanted the Indian armed forces to remain undivided under one on Commander-in-Chief after the departure of the British. The duo of Quaid and Liaquat saw through the macabre Congress stratagem since it would have left Pakistan undefended and at the mercy of the Indian malevolence.

Congress did not want Pakistan to have separate defence because it wanted Pakistan to crumble and beg to be taken back into the fold of united India or failing which, India would gobble up the fledgling Pakistan. After Independence, our founding fathers organized the Armed Forces and deputed them to protect the incoming refugee caravans. The first test for the army and air transport elements of the air force came when India occupied Kashmir. It was baptism under fire but Pakistani Armed Forces despite being outnumbered and ill equipped and devoid of directions from their British Commanders, did well to liberate a sizable portion of Kashmir from the clutches of Indian occupation and would have unshackled the rest of the Valley if India did not approach UN for a ceasefire and agreed to the UN Resolution calling for a plebiscite to settle the Kashmir issue. Pakistan Armed Forces went to war twice more in 1965 and 1971 and nearly in 1999 at Kargil but the Kashmir issue remains unresolved.

Pakistan Army may have committed the folly of upsetting the applecart of democracy by usurping power four times, for which they are answerable to the people of Pakistan and the current dispensation in the Army is trying to make amends. As far as India is concerned, it partly realized its dream of dismembering Pakistan, when it stage-managed the turmoil in 1971 and ultimately severed our eastern wing from us. It has tried similar tactics in the western wing too. Operation Meghdoot (1984) to capture Siachen; Operation Brasstacks (November 1986-March 1987) in which General Sunderji had grand designs of dismembering Pakistan at its narrowest belt opposite Rajasthan; Operation Parakram (December 13, 2001 – June 10, 2002) when belligerent India amassed its troops on its borders with Pakistan; following 26/11 Mumbai attacks, India contemplated surgical strikes. These Indian adventurisms were thwarted by the vigilant Pakistani Armed Forces, backed by a credible nuclear arsenal. Ultimately, in December 2009, Indian Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor croaked that India has developed, modified and tested the Cold Start Strategy to take on Pakistan with conventional weapons before the nuclear weapons can be deployed or launched.

If anyone still has doubts why Pakistan’s Armed Forces are Indo-Centric, they should listen to Indian Army’s musings. Its 19th Chief of Army Staff, General Ved Parakash Malik, who in his Observer Research Foundation discourse of January 2010k titled ‘India’s Strategic Culture and Security Challenges’ spills the beans: “We must realize that our enemy is not Pakistan or its civil society. It is the Pakistan Army.” He qualifies his conclusion by claiming that “Our major security problem with Pakistan currently is terrorism. Experts in India and abroad have no doubt that the 26/11 Mumbai incident originated in Pakistan, and like most such incidents in the past, it was encouraged and supported by the ISI, which works under the Pakistan Army. Even Dr Manmohan Singh said, there is enough evidence to show that, given the sophistication and military precision of the attack, it must have had the support of some official agencies in Pakistan.” Dr. Manmohan Singh would be better advised to look for the sophistication and military precision provided by agencies closer to home.
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Must Watch: Jinnah (film) in English

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Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with his untiring efforts, indomitable will, and dauntless courage united the Indian Muslims under the banner of the Muslim League and carved out a homeland for them, despite stiff opposition from the Hindu Congress and the British Government.

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