March 12: Death Anniversary of Jinnah's Pakistan

Appeared in Daily Times on March 13, 2011

Liaqat Ali Khan who presented Objectives Resolution on March 7, 1949

Many leading historians and legal experts have been accomplices of religious right-wing, within the PML and outside the Constituent Assembly, in distorting the spirit of a non-theocratic state Jinnah had been advocating for so long

The week starting March 7 to March 12 had very special consequences for the Pakistan that was going to start its journey post-1949. The non-representative First Constituent Assembly of Pakistan started debate on the document that laid down the aims and objectives of the future constitution(s) of the country. The infamous Objectives Resolution, presented on March 7, passed on March 12, 1949, generated alarm among the minority members as well as Muslim members believing in secular ideals. The resolution called for Islam to be made the basis of the future constitution and statutes while guaranteeing the rights of minorities.

The resolution, although in line with the demands of Abul Ala Maududi, the founder head of the orthodox Jamaat-e-Islami and the strongest opponent of the idea of Pakistan, did not please religious groups completely. The right hand man of Jinnah and his most trusted lieutenant, Liaquat Ali Khan, made sure to drift the business of the Constituent Assembly away from what Jinnah had laid down as the guiding principles in his address to the first session of the same assembly on August 11, 1947. Jinnah had clearly said: “You may belong to any religion or caste or creed; that has nothing to do with the business of the state.” Before this address, Jinnah had made the point clear on a number of occasions.

If we go back to All India Muslim League’s Annual Session on March 23, 1940, in the entire proceedings, none of the speakers made any reference to Islamic system, shariah law or Islamic government — not even Muslim government. The discussion revolved around two main points, i.e. settling the constitutional question of united India through readjustment in its geographical units by making sets of Muslim majority states (please note the plural) as separate administrative units for Muslims; secondly, appropriate, effective and obligatory measures were demanded for the minorities in such territorial readjustments. The explanation of ‘minorities’, it goes without saying, was not restricted to Muslims (who by default would be in majority in such readjustments), but comprised diverse religious communities living in these parts of India.

In 1946 again, when the newly elected members of parliament from All India Muslim League adopted the word ‘state’ instead of ‘states’ in the Lahore Resolution of 1940, no reference to an Islamic system or theocracy could be traced in their discussions and documents relating to the objectives of the League or aims of partition. On April 11, 1946, Jinnah, while speaking to All India Muslim League’s (AIML) Convention in Delhi, said, AIML’s aim was not theocracy: “… neither do we want a theocratic state. None of us could deny the existence of religion as an important factor of our individual lives but there are other things that are very important for life”. He further elaborated it by giving examples of people’s social life and economic life, which he placed as more important things than theocratic considerations. Remember, it was 1946, just a year from his making that speech to the first Constituent Assembly of 1947. It may also be noted that for such views, Jinnah had to face edicts of being a kaafir (non-believer) from religious leaders in 1938.

Now let us get back to what happened in 1949 in a clear divorce from Jinnah’s principle of representative democracy, which should have had nothing to do with religion or theocracy. The session on March 7 starts with the recitation of the Holy Quran (it may be noted that under Jinnah’s presidentship it never started with it, which he viewed as dominance of one religion and against the principles of equality — the very principle for which Muslims had fought in united India for Pakistan) followed by Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan’s speech, at the end of which he presented the 10-liner Objectives Resolution that laid down the foundations of present Pakistan and buried the one Jinnah had envisioned and mobilised the Muslims of India to fight for.

The resolution sparked instant reaction and alarm among the minority members who started proposing amendments to it that very day. The 10 points of the Objectives Resolution reposed the sovereignty of the entire universe in Allah Almighty and delegated authority upon the state of Pakistan through chosen representatives of the people as “enunciated by Islam”, where Muslims would be enabled to order their individual and collective lives in accordance with the teachings of Islam set out in the Quran and sunnah with “adequate provisions for minorities to freely profess and practise their religions and develop their cultures”.

The debate that followed the tabling of this resolution shows almost all the minority members shrieking the dying principle of all-encompassing and egalitarian democracy. The opposition in the first Constituent Assembly comprised the 11-member Pakistan National Congress, all Hindus from East Pakistan. The pressure for Islamic provisions on the Pakistan Muslim League, the party in government, did not come only from its partners Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (led by Maulana Shabeer Ahmad Usmani), Pir Sahib of Manki Sharif from the then NWFP, etc, but was also from some of its own members from provincial chapters of PML according to the research paper written by Kauser Perveen on the Objectives Resolution debate. This pressure also came from the historical baggage of All India Muslim League that had portrayed itself as the sole representative of all the Muslims of united India, thus losing the ability to talk against religious considerations openly and categorically in the absence of the only strong leader who had led it without being able to create a second line leadership capable enough to spell out the secular principles.

Many leading historians and legal experts have been accomplices of the religious right-wing, within the PML and outside the Constituent Assembly, in distorting the spirit of a non-theocratic state Jinnah had been advocating for so long. Hamid Khan is not an exception when he writes his voluminous Constitutional and Political History of Pakistan. In this one-sided account of the Objectives Resolution debate, Hamid Khan picks up Jinnah’s quotes out of context, which are made to appear as supportive of what the resolution claimed, while conveniently ignoring every reference of Jinnah that he had been categorically spelling out against theocracy before and after Pakistan’s birth. Hamid Khan is not alone in this distortion; scores of Pakistani authors have done it on purpose and in utter ignorance.

The resolution, although differed from Maududi’s demands in not including the sentence “sovereignty belongs to Allah Almighty alone and government of Pakistan has no right other than to enforce the will of Allah”. Maududi also called for the shariah as basic law of Pakistan and revocation of all laws that were, in his view, repugnant to Islam. He had also proposed that no law should ever be passed in Pakistan that goes against shariah and that the government should exercise authority within the limits prescribed by Islamic shariah. There was no mention of minorities in the demands made by Maududi though.

Whereas the orthodoxy demanded by Maududi did not become part of the Objectives Resolution, the spirit of the resolution remained the same, which was adopted with increasing tilt towards Maududiisation in subsequent constitutions of Pakistan. The Islamic provisions kept on increasing with every coming constitution till 1973 that made the state of Pakistan, finally, an Islamic state, followed by the interventions of military dictator Ziaul Haq, who made this resolution an integral part of the constitution as against the previous ones that included it as a mere preamble. There matures Maududi’s Pakistan, the seeds of which were sown on March 12, 1949 when the Objectives Resolution was passed. Rest in peace Jinnah’s Pakistan!

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34 thoughts on “March 12: Death Anniversary of Jinnah's Pakistan

  1. Zuberiaa says:

    The entire story of Pakistan has become a continued source of sorrow knowing those who struggled with their campaign for a “separate homeland for Muslims” not a homeland “exclusively for Muslims”. The regard for for other faiths is a built in feature of Islam yet it seems that these characters believe in a different Islam as evident from their deeds that it does not believe in co-existence with tolerance and regard. In ko Allah samjhay inko Pakistan ka khoob satiyanass mara haye kambakhtoan nay.

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  2. aamir riaz says:

    marvi ji, i think instead of relaying on research papers you should read the debates of objective resolution ur self. when i started reading those debates, i have to amend lot of things.
    before commenting on ur article, i need to know, what was the actual number of parliamentarians in first constitutional assembly at that time. as i knew, at the time of oath, there were 69 members and then i red a notification of 6 more members which means there was 75 members strength. if it is correct then explain why only 31 members came at that day?
    you also did not know the role of gama i think. Gama means ghulam muhammad, the finance minster. if u visit national History comision book shop inside Quaid e azam university, you can buy a book Qaid e azam ky Rufqa. it is a small book yet in Urdu. it was prepared by great K.k.Aziz who was heading that institution in 1976. there are 13 interviews of personalities who had direct contact with Jinnah. i think, noor ul huda did those interviews. among 13 people, two were those who had orthodox views and admirers of Maudoodi sahib. both , while talking about OR severaly critisized role of GAMA. it was infact Gama who used his pressure and compelled Liaqat & co not to include that resolution in future constitution as integral part. actually, it was an agreement between numerous conflicting forces at that time and they finally fix a bottom line. that is why in 1956 and 1973 it remains in preamble yet it had no effect on legislation at all. Even bhutto sahib endorsed that agreement. it was zia who in his criminal act include it as integral part.
    before purposing OR Liaqat did two things. in january he dismiss Punjab government by removing Mamdoot and then in same month speaker Molvi tameezudin cancelled the assembly membership of Suharawardy. it was bengali tameezudin who was part and parcel of Liaqat ali khan along with Ch muhammad ali, Zafrullah khan etc in all his illegitimate acts. our discussions regarding OR remains silent on role of Gama ? our criticism remains silent regarding Tamizudin and zafrullah like people? it was Zafrullah who did the 2nd speech which was full of Orthodox views. i think we all should pressurized govt to putt all debates in the website of government of Pakistan. sorry, but it is a starter.
    in the beginning of ur article u called First Constituent assembly as non representative? if u explain it it will be learning. as i knew , according to 1947 act of independence India and Pakistan had two different Constituent assemblies and both had to made constitutions. so no point to call it non-representative
    u wrote that Muslim members believing in secular ideals too supported OR which was not true i think. i already gave Gama example above. it can be clear if u found the original strength of the constituent assembly.
    forgive me , but u putt maudoodi larger then his size. i think, if maudoodi sahib heard it, he will send u flowers. at that time he was not a very famous and powerful. qazi hussain ahmad was the 4rth JI senior member who in his writings accepted that at the time of OR, mollana sahib were in jail and some Insari went in jail on the behalf of PM to took his endorsement. qazi ji wrote it in Jang and if u need it i will try to send that article too. that event, herself is a proof of a weak position of Liaqa & co at that time. remeber, when yahya and zia used JI support it was not because of her popularity but it was due to weakest positions of Zia and yahya.
    u write that “The right hand man of Jinnah and his most trusted lieutenant, Liaquat Ali Khan” butwhen u read those interviews mentioned in the starter, u will realized that jinnah had lot of reservations against him just after three months.
    u mentioned the debate of the word “states” yet in the same article u write that “In 1946 again, when the newly elected members of parliament from All India Muslim League adopted the word ‘state’ instead of ‘states’” so they had every right to amend anything.
    Jinnah had to face edicts of being a kaafir (non-believer) from religious leaders in 1938. i have reservation about the year u mentioned. if u can give reference it will be useful.
    according to views of G.W.chudhary, a veteran Bengali constitutional expert , OR was an ambiguous document. i think G.W.C was right. just read the first point which is clealy in support of elected representatives. it is: Whereas sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone and the authority which He has delegated to the State of Pakistan, through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust; This Constituent Assembly representing the people of Pakistan resolves to frame a Constitution for the sovereign independent State of Pakistan; and then next line is Wherein the State shall exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the people; Wherein the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enunciated by Islam shall be fully observed; so along with other things that document had more than one interpretations. on top of it it was in preamble yet Zia changed that fabric and rest is history.
    u also mentioned the bold role of 11-member Pakistan National Congress, all Hindus from East Pakistan. please tell me was it a religious party. what was their aims? why they failed to develop first secular opposition and instead of it formed a religious parliamentary group? i read all speeches of prem hari barma, chandra chattopadhyay, mr dutta etc, they all spoke as representatives of minorities and neither of them spoke for provincial autonomy, formation of budget, issues of decentralization or any other people issue. if u compare speeches of Congress party Pakistan with Mian Iftiqar u din speech , it is clear that they were actually hooked in liaqat & co game plan. instead of talking about real issues like provincial autonomy, decentralization, budgetary considerations liaqat & co started a debate of Islam and No Islam. it was a typical style. after Mian iftiqar u din, it was Z.A.Bhutto who also did same and by including the sologon islam hamara deen hai, gave a shut up call to his opponents, the religious right. so praising congress party is not a good idea yet a bugh z mauwya only.
    as u invite for discussion, so i tried to write few lines, yet if other friends write then it will lead to a good conclusion. thanks aamir riaz lhore

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  3. Zuberiaa says:

    Aamir Riaz sahib
    Quite an academic approach I must say, overwhelming information, I limit my comments to personal emotions in a cocentrate knowing the person firsthand who drafted/led Jinnah sahib to Muslim League at a time when he was disappoionted and beginning to distance himself from all issues political & otherwise resorting to seclusion from his campaign.
    It is awful what the concept of Pakistan was meant to be and where it has been dragged by a few.
    Regards
    Zuberi / Wash, DC

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  4. aamir riaz says:

    Thanks zubairi ji, it will be an interesting account if people like you write on it. To study documents and newspaper and then analyze it is another thing yet firsthand experience is always a real help to understand and link numerous policies and decisions. as editor http://www.awamijamhoriforum.org or as columnist in the News on Sunday and daily Ajjkal, i tries to write with responsibility yet there is always a room for improvement. u knew, no one write about the composition of the than constituent assembly which is strange.

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  5. Asif Ali says:

    Pakistan still remains conundrum for it’s masses. Currently we are living in West Pakistan and in the presence of Feudalistic democracy, Racist Establishment, Kleptocratic Bureaucracy, we are a willing traveller on the slippery slope of economic and moral decay.

    Being an avid reader,i had a chance to read a book called “Facts Are Facts” by Abdul Wali Khan wherein he named a lot of Mullah of un-divided NWFP Mullahs who were sold out to George Cunningham and were selling their fatwas for merely 10 to 20 rupees.

    Here is an interesting list:

    1. Khan Bahadur Kuli Khan
    2. Khan Bahadur Ghulam Haider Khan of Sherpao
    3. Nawab Zafar Khan
    4. Taj Ali of Bannu
    5. Pir Saheb Manki Shareef
    6. Pir Zakoori
    7. Ama Khel Faqir
    8. Pir Moosa
    9. Maulvi Barkatullah of Asmos
    10. Maulana Muhammad Shuaib of Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind
    11. Haztat Ali, Wazir-e-Azam of Swat & Bunair*
    12. Pir Baba of Ziarat
    13. Pir of Musazai
    14. Pir of Taunsa
    15. Maulana Abdul Baqi of Khyber Political Agency

    If you go through a book namely “Friends and Foes” by K.L. Gauba saheb, you would know that M.A. Jinnah had no clue what Islam was and how to act as a Muslim.

    I know how many “hypocrites” gonna bombard me but let me say that from the official biography of M.A. Jinnah the government removed the words that said “Jinnah was fond of ham sandwiches and loved scotch whisky.

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  6. Asif Ali says:

    So when Sir George Cunningham left India, he employed 18 Mullahs at Mardan & 32 at Pir Baba Ziarat at 30/- rupees per month.

    Selling their religion on such “dirt cheap” price is the hallmark of the mullahs.

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  12. Zuberiaa says:

    Asif sahib:
    Dare no one bombard you for listing those on the hypocrites’ roster who evidently did damage to our deen in all manners possible by selling themselves and their fatwas.
    All Islam or Muslim meant to QA-MAJ was the ability for those who wish to act accordingly to be able to perform their rituals and carry out other religious activities without hindrance by those who were Anti-Islam; MAJ would never have meant to or thought of having this crew of corrupt muftis on-board to craft, doctor & engineer fatwas and sales of those.
    Unfortunately it is Mullahs who act like typical clergy (Do as I say, don’t do as I do) and they are for the major part responsible for destruction of Deen-e-Islam as well as the land that was sought to accommodate religious activities of Muslims freely.
    Thats as far as QA-MAJ’s theories of religion & Muslims were concerned, he principally considered religion to be an individual’s matter between him & his deity, but with a level of freedom & ability to practice & perform. I do not believe he sought any further than that.
    Regards

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