By Dr. Mohammad Saleem
On Friday, 15 August 1947, the Quaid-e-Azam was sworn in as the first Governor-General of Pakistan. The oath was administered by the Chief Justice of Lahore High Court, Mian Abdur Rashid who later on became the first Chief Justice of Pakistan. A salute of 31 guns was given. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah took over as the first Governor-General of Pakistan. Immediately after that the first Cabinet of Pakistan was sworn in with Liaquat Ali Khan as the first Prime Minister. The following were the ministers in his cabinet:
1. I.I. Chundrigar
2. Ghulam Muhammad
3. Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar
4. Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan
5. Jogindar Nath MandaI
Quaid-e-Azam’s ADC Mian Ata Rabbani writes: ‘On that day, the Quaid was looking as handsome as ever in his white sherwani and Jinnah cap. He was looking very happy. Just to start a conversation, his Aid-de-Camp, Mian Ata Rabbani, said to him; Sir, it is becoming cloudy, it might rain”. He answered: “No, my boy I know these clouds well. Karachi clouds have no water in them.’
Eid-ul-Fitr was to be celebrated on Tuesday, 18 August 1947. Rabbani writes: I was the fortunate one to accompany the happy and relaxed Quaid, and of seeing another side of that remarkable man. We had known him as a leader, a politician, a legislator, a lawyer, a well-dressed, well-mannered and westernized man. That day he surprised me pleasantly by starting on a masterly discourse on the philosophy and significance of Ramazan and Eid. As we left the Governor-General House (in a car), he asked me how many days in Ramazan I had fasted. “About half of the month, Sir”, I replied. “Why half of the month? Why not the full month? You are young and healthy,” he exclaimed.
“I was on the move, Sir, for most of the month”, I submitted meekly. He replied, “You should complete the count now that you are settled”. He then went on to explain to me the significance and the philosophy behind fasting in some depth. He said that besides helping the religious spirit and the purification of the soul – fasting teaches mankind discipline, self-control, self sacrifice and devotion. Abstention from all evil for one month prepares him to face all forces of evil with discipline and determination. Besides, it tones up the physical system and is good for health.
After Eid prayers, as he sat in the car, the Quaid-e-Azam instructed the driver to take a different route for the return journey. It was yet another fine point in the tradition of the Hadith of the Holy Prophet (Peace be upon him).
On the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the Quaid-e-Azam said in his message: “Those of our brethren who are minorities in Hindustan may rest assured that we shall never neglect or forget them. Our hearts go to them, and we shall consider no effort too great to help them and secure their well-being, for I recognize that it is the Muslim minority provinces in this sub-continent who were the pioneers and carried the banner aloft for the achievement of our cherished goal of Pakistan.”
After the declaration of 3 June 1947, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and his elder brother Dr. Khan Sahib, the then Chief Minister of the Frontier province, did their best to establish an independent state of Azad Pukhtoonustan to be later on absorbed in India. On 18 June 1947, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan had a meeting with the Quaid-e-Azam but without any fruitful conclusion. On 7 July 1947, Dr. Khan Sahib announced that if the result of the referendum in the province would be in favour of Pakistan, then his ministry would resign.
However, after announcement of the referendum result, he backed out and said that the final decision about his resignation could be made only by his party! The referendum had clearly shown that Dr. Khan Sahib had lost the confidence of the people. But instead of immediately resigning, he clung to his ministry. On 15 August 1947, Pakistan came into existence. At the time of independence, the NWFP was the only province of Pakistan where the Muslim League did not have a majority. In the provincial assembly, the red shirts had 19 seats against 17 seats of Muslim League.
The Quaid-e-Azam was of the view that no vindictive action should be taken against a person merely because he had opposed the creation of Pakistan. Therefore, Dr. Khan Sahib continued to be the Chief Minister of his province. But on 15 August 1947, Dr. Khan Sahib and the members of his cabinet absented themselves from the flag hoisting ceremony. Why? Was he not faithful to Pakistan? Did he want to insult the Pakistani flag or was he refusing to take an oath of loyalty to Pakistan? Or was he not attending the ceremony because of the security risk?
In every case, Dr. Khan Sahib had no right to remain the Chief Minister of the province. In spite of all this, the Quaid-e-Azam waited for a weak so that Dr. Khan Sahib may change his attitude but reports were being received that there was no such change. On 22 August 1947, the Quaid-e-Azam therefore issued orders for the dismissal of the provincial ministry and, after consultation with Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, issued instructions to the Governor of the province to invite Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan to form the Government. Thus, a weak after the independence, the red shirt ministry of Dr. Khan Sahib came to an end.
It is said that instead of dismissing the ministry of Dr. Khan, the Quaid should have dissolved the provincial assembly and called for new elections. But, was it really the time to hold new elections? In East Punjab, Hindus were playing holy with Muslim blood. Muslim women were being abducted. Millions of Muslim refugees were reaching Pakistan after crossing a river of their own blood. India was manoeuvring to capture Kashmir and thus was determined to destabilise Pakistan. At that time, the most important task was to save Pakistan and to ensure people that by the grace of God Pakistan had come to stay and not for becoming again a part of India. There was no justification at that time make people busy in elections. Some people make this propaganda that Jinnah’s temperament was not democratic. We will discuss it in detail.
All persons, including his adversaries, admit that the Quaid-e-Azam was a highly honest and uncorruptible person. He was a very intelligent leader who called a spade a spade at the face of the British rulers and the Congress leaders.
There is no doubt that the colleagues of the Quaid-e-Azam had always a great regard for his opinion but at the same they did not hesitate to express their own opinion. Mian Bashir Ahmad who was a member of the Muslim League Working Committee from 1942 to 1947 writes: “In the Working Committee, he sometimes listened for hours without putting a word himself. He wanted everyone to say something whenever an important problem was discussed in the Working Committee meetings. I remember him saying on one occasion rather humorously to one of our Punjab members in Urdu: Won’t you too say something?” Syed Hasain Imam, was a member of the Working Committee from Bihar and leader of the Muslim League party in the Council of State which office he continued to hold till 1947.
He writes: “I must record that the Quaid-e-Azam, having once appointed the Parliamentary Board (in the elections of 1945-46), —-never interfered in its work.” He further states: “The Quaid-e-Azam always gave the widest latitude for discussion at meetings of the Working Committee and the Council of the All-India Muslim League and heard with patience all the points of view and arguments put forward.” Sir Mohammad Yamin writes: On 22 March 1940, when the subjects committee was considering the draft manuscript of Lahore resolution, Sh. Rashid Ahmad, a member of the Committee, addressed Quaid-e-Azam stating that we have recognized you as our leader. Now whatever you state we will accept it blindly. Quaid-e-Azam, instead of appreciating this attitude, expressed his resentment.
He said that you people have come from different parts of India to give your opinions, not for just dittoing my suggestions. If that were the case, I would have published my opinion in the newspapers and you should have accepted it! On one occasion, an eminent Muslim League leader proposed in a meeting of the League Council that the Quaid-e-Azam be elected life president of the Muslim League. Quaid-e-Azam discountenanced the proposal saying that according to democratic principles he must come to the Council every year, afford an opportunity to the councillors to assess his performance during the outgoing year and seek a renewal of their confidence on the basis of his work and service. Quaid-e-Azam never gave a decision on any important matter without being authorized by the relevant bodies. All these things are witnesses to his faith in democratic values.
In 1939, on the resignation of the Congress ministries, the Quaid-e:Azam asked the Muslims to celebrate Friday, 22 December 1947, as a day of deliverance and thanksgiving. Thereupon, one of his close associates, 37 year old Isphahani, who received a rude shock by this decision wrote him a very strongly worded letter: “ I did not expect such a command from you – The progressive elements in the League – find to their utmost regret and disappointment that you are gradually drifting more and more into the arms of reactionaries and jee hazoories (yes men). In spite of this letter, the Quaid-e-Azam and Isphahani remained on good terms to his last days. After the establishment of Pakistan, the Quaid-e-Azam appointed him as Pakistan’s first ambassador to USA. . Can any dictator tolerate the writer of such a letter?
In the absence of any material against the Quaid-e-Azam, it was propagated that he considers the other Muslim Leaguers as his subordinates and not as his colleagues. Mountbatten stated that Jinnah will listen to only one of his advisers and that adviser was Jinnah himself. It has also been stated that he was proud personified and a dictator. Moreover, he was so proud of himself that he considered it against his dignity to walk over earth. The fact is that these characteristics were being associated with the Quaid-e-Azam because he will not yield before the adversaries of Muslims.
He was certainly not a dictator. By virtue of his honesty and sagacity, he enjoyed the full confidence of the Muslim nation and he ruled over their hearts. Even after becoming the Governor General of Pakistan, his temperament did not change. The following incident is a proof for the same:
Immediately after independence, the Government of Pakistan ordered a Viking aircraft for the personal use of the Governor-General. The manufacturers of Vikings suggested some additional fittings and accessories for office work during flights, – at a nominal additional cost.
The Governor-General approved the additional fittings. When the manufacturer’s invoice for a small additional sum arrived at the Ministry of Finance which was headed by Mr. Ghulam Mohammad, the Ministry passed the sum with a disapproving note that referred to the meagre foreign exchange reserves and for the lack of “prior approval” of the Ministry for this additional sum of a few hundred pounds. The note however went on to say that although they could not easily afford it, they would somehow scrape up the required sum for the convenience of the Father of the Nation.
When the file came to the Governor-General, he looked at it and simply smiled. He did not ask the Finance Minister to withdraw his note and he was not a man of the type accepting such favours. He quietly wrote back to admit that it was a mistake not to have obtained the Ministry’s prior clearance before asking the manufacturers to go ahead and that he was sorry for the omission. In any case, he added, that in the given situation, he could do without the additional fittings for which the order should be cancelled. Had the Quaid-e-Azam been of dictatorial temperament, could the Finance Minister dare to write such a note?
The fact is that the Quaid-e-Azam was a symbol of the greatness of Muslims before the British rulers and Hindu leaders. He was always clear and straightforward. Diplomacy was not a part of his temperament. Whatever he thought to be correct, he will express it publicly. His statements were always lucid and explicit. He had contempt for duplicity and machination. Every man working with him knew where did he stand. He made his decisions independently and was never prepared to change his stance merely for regard, affability, threat or entreaty.
After the massacre of Muslims in East Punjab and Delhi, those remaining alive were forced to migrate to Pakistan. The objective was to create such problems for Pakistan that it may collapse like a house of cards. Sheikh Abdullah, former Chief Minister of occupied Kashmir writes in his book titled “Atish-e-Chinar”: “Once when I was sitting in the company of Sardar Patel, he stated that there is only one way of demolishing Pakistan. The maximum number of Muslims from India should be pushed into Pakistan so that it may collapse under their pressure and may be forced to bow before India. However, the Muslims showed patience and perseverance. They did not loose heart even in most adverse circumstances.
On 30 October 1947, the Quaid-e-Azam made a speech at a mammoth rally at the University stadium, Lahore. He said: “Some people might think that the acceptance of the 3-June plan was a mistake on the part of the Muslim League. I would like to tell them that the consequences of any other alternative would have been too disastrous to imagine. On our side we proceeded to implement this plan with a clean conscience and honest intentions. Time and history will prove that. On the other hand, history will record its verdict on those whose treachery and machinations let loose forces of disorder and disruption in this subcontinent causing deaths of lakhs, enormous destruction of property and bringing about suffering and misery to many millions by uprooting them from their homes and hearths and all that was dear to them.
The systematic massacre of defenseless and innocent people puts to shame even the most heinous atrocities committed by the worst tyrants known to history. We have been the victims of a deeply-laid and well-planned conspiracy executed with utter disregard of the elementary principles of honesty, chivalry and honour. We thank Providence for giving us courage and faith to fight these forces of evil. If we take our inspiration and the guidance from the Holy Quran, the final victory, I once again say, will be ours.”
From the very beginning the Quaid-e-Azam was of the view that Urdu should be the national language of Pakistan. Consequently, when about seven months after the establishment of Pakistan, he went to East Pakistan and addressed a mammoth public meeting of over 3 lakhs at Dacca on 21 March 1948, he expressed his opinion explicitly on the issue of national language. He said: “Whether Bengali’ shall be the official language of this province is a matter for the elected representatives of the people of this province to decide. I have no doubt that this question shall be decided solely in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants of this province at the appropriate time. But let me make it very clear to you that the state language of Pakistan is going to be Urdu and no other language. Anyone who tries to mislead you is really the enemy of Pakistan. Without one state language, no nation can remain tied up solidly together and function.” Many years after the death of the Quaid-e-Azam, when both Urdu and Bengali were declared the state languages of Pakistan, the bond between the two wings of Pakistan was weakened and at last broken in 1971.
On 24 March 1948, making a speech at the Dacca University Convocation, the Quaid-e-Azam said: “There can, however, be only one lingua franca, that is, the language for intercommunication between the various provinces of the State, and that language should be Urdu and cannot be any other. The state language, therefore, must obviously be Urdu, a language that has been nurtured by a hundred million Muslims of this sub-continent, a language understood throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan and above all, a language which, more than any other provincial language embodies the best that is in Islamic culture and Muslim tradition and is nearest to the language used in other Islamic countries.”
Ata Rabbani writes: There were a few, a very few, who were privileged to see the Governor- General at any time and even without prior appointments. Three names given by him are of the then bureaucrat, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, the grand old man of Sindh, Sir Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah and the Financial Advisor to the Governor-General, Sir Archibald Rowlands.
Ata Rabbani also writes: (After the establishment of Pakistan), as far as I can recollect, only three VIPs had the honour of being house guests in the Governor-General House, during the period of my assignment. They were the Duke Duchess of Gloucester and His Highness Nawab Sir Hamidullah Khan of Bhopal. Before the arrival of the Duke and the Duchess, Sir Lawrence Smith, the then British High Commissioner in Pakistan sought an audience with the Governor-General to suggest that as the brother of the King of England was visiting Pakistan it would be a fitting gesture if the Governor-General was to receive him personally at Karachi airport.
The Governor-General very politely and diplomatically indicated that by doing so he did not want to create a problem for His Majesty’s Government. At any future date if his brother was to visit London, it surely be inconvenient for HM The King to receive him at the London airport. The High Commissioner got the point and was silenced.
It has been well-said that he was so wise that he could not be deceived; he was so intrepid that he could not be intimidated and he was so honest that he could never be purchased.