The 1937 election had been fought on the basis of the Act of 1935. The issues then were autonomy and self-government for provinces, and adequate safeguards for minorities. The Agenda was secular. The Muslim League won only two seats in Punjab, and one of its elected members promptly left to join the Unionist Party to become Parliamentary Secretary in the Unionist Government of Punjab. In Sindh and the NWFP the Muslim League found no one to contest elections on a Muslim League ticket. In Bengal it fared better; yet it won only 27% of the Muslim votes and bagged 39 seats. As a result, no Muslim League ministry came into power in any province after the elections while the Congress Party formed ministries in 7 of the 11 provinces. The Quaid-i-Azam therefore felt that he had to rely on the traditional influence of the landlords and pirsand slogan ‘Islam in danger’, to win the election for Pakistan
Mr. Z. H. Lari protested against the induction of feudals and pirsinto the Muslim League and turning it into a reactionary party. He sent a letter on 11thDecember 1943 to the General Secretary of the All India Muslim League, stating his intention of tabling a resolution at the Thirty-First Session of the All-India Muslim League to be held in Karachi from 24 to 26 December, 1943. He proposed that Muslim League ministries functioning in the Pakistan areas should devise and put into effect administrative and legislative measures to improve the social, educational, and economic condition of the Muslim masses. His suggestions were:-
to enforce free and compulsory education
to lay emphasis on vocational, technical, scientific and military instruction
to abolish permanent settlement wherever in force
to bring about peasant-proprietorship
to fix reasonable rent
to industrialize by establishing or financing cottage industries and encouraging large scale industries
to control industry so as to enforce a decent wage to labour and a reasonable price to the grower
to wipe out uneconomic debt
to prohibit uneconomic interest
to separate judicial and executive functions
to remove untouchability
to repeal un-Islamic laws
(Freedom Movement Archives Vol. 268)
On the morning of Thursday 23rd December 1943, Jinnah presided at the meeting of the Working Committee of the AIML at the Reception Committee office in the League pandal at Haroonabad. The General Secretary of the Reception Committee, Yusuf Haroon took Jinnah round the pandal before the meeting.
On Friday 24rd December 1943, The Working Committee of AIML concluded its two day session.
Jinnah inspected the Muslim Women’s National guard started in Karachi with 60 membersb under Mrs Yusuf Haroon, the salar.
Jinnah said his Jumma prayers in the Madrassa mosque
The All Sind Ulema conference under the presidency of Pir of Bharchandi expressed full confidence in the leadership of Jinnah, accepted the principle of Pakistan and assured that they would be prepared to make any sacrifices to achieve that object.
In the evening of 24thDecember 1943, Jinnah was taken in a two mile long procession from Lea Market in a chariot drawn by 30 camels and an escort of 50 chargers. It took three hours to reach Haroonabad where Jinnah unfurled League flag over the Pakistan Parliament. The 31stsession of All India Muslim League commenced at night, besides a large number of delegates, about 50,000 visitors were present.
The proceedings started with a recitation from the holy Quran, followed by recitation of a poem by Iqbal, followed by a speech by the Chairman of the Reception Committee Mr. GM Syed in Urdu. He said, ‘I welcome you all to the land of Sindhu. By Sindhu I mean that part of the Asian continent which is situated on the borders of the river Indus and its tributaries ... Pakistan, connotes the same old Sindhu land… Many a race have intermixed here. Traces of Dravidian, Aryan, Semitic and Mongol traits can be easily seen at a glance… The fertility of this soil has often tempted virile races to come down to this land of Sindhu… In this way, new blood has ever been pouring into its veins…
The non-Muslims of this land, in spite of the fact that they share common interests with us, are joining hands with the non-Muslims of Hind and want to make the inhabitants of this land slaves … under the circumstances, it is the duty of every Muslim of Hind to help us to make our land free and independent. … who for the sake of a great ideal and the Millat, would come to this land to work for the political and social advancement of theMillat. … that from now on well-to-do Muslims of Hind should please direct their activities in the field of trade and commerce to this land, …
History bears witness that in the past you have sent such gentleman as Syed Barelvi and Ismail Shaheed for these purposes. … If people from Gujrat and Bombay could go out to the Frontier to establish Hindu dominance there, could we, too, not repose some hope in you friends? Our future is interwoven with your future. … The inhabitants of this land mostly belong to the agricultural profession, and are very backward in trade and industry. Your money and experience could remove this drawback. We are prepared to afford every facility for this with a view to making your way easier.
At about 11 p.m. the Quid-i-Azam delivered his Presidential address in English.
In the second session on 25thDecember 1943, first resolution was moved by Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman for setting up of a Committee of Action.
The second resolution was moved by my father, Mr. Z. H. Lari by saying that all the Pakistan provinces now had Muslim League ministries; but in spite of this, the Muslims in those areas were still backward, both educationally and economically… The need of the hour was to abolish the class of big zamindars (landlords) and protect the rights of the kisans (peasants).
Mr. Lari said that his resolution had four main parts;
(1) Solid and firm Muslim ministries should be established with the help of the Muslims in their majority provinces.
(2) A practical programme should be chalked out for the economic and industrial advancement of the Muslims of India.
(3) An extensive plan should be made for the educational and general uplift of the Muslims.
(4) A five-year plan for the industrial development of the Pakistan provinces should be adopted.
Mr. Lari stressed that the aim of the establishment of Muslim League ministries, was not to gratify the political aspirations of a few individuals, but to improve the social, educational, and economic condition of the proletariat. He demanded that elementary education should be made free and compulsory, so that every inhabitant of Pakistan would benefit from the blessings of education.
The resolution was seconded by Mr. Tamizuddin Khan, a minister from Bengal and supported by Mr. Hamid Nizami, founder editor of “Nawai Waqt” from Punjab. In his speech, Mr. Nizami said that the Muslim League ‘must show to the people that it was an organisation, not of landlords, zamindars and jagirdars … The setting up of Muslim ministries did not mean that friends and relatives of the ministers be provided with lucrative jobs. The ministers were there to serve the people, especially the poor.’
Nawab mohd Ismail Khan presided in the absence of Jinnah in the afternoon session of the Council. Several Communists, including Dr. KM Ashraf and Mr. RA Dange were present. The central Committee of the Communist party distribute a Leaflet which urged the Muslim League to become a democratic and mass organistation, demand price control and rationing so that food reaches all people.
The Quaid-i-Azam was opposed to Lari’s resolution but was not able to persuade Zahirul Hasnain Lari to withdraw it. He therefore did the next best thing; he supported the resolution and took on himself the responsibility of appointing the members of the planning committee. The Quaid-i-Azam castigated communists who are now found under every flag, and questioned if the agriculturists and the producers of foodgrain are to be bled to father the industrialists. In the final oration of the session in which Nawab Bahadur Yar Jang used to sum up the Quaid-i-Azam’s views on the conference in Urdu, he said that people who base their economic system on the negation of God should quit this pandal. I am sure that when our Planning Committee chalks out an economic system, it will be based upon the Quran’. The Quaid-i-Azam did not want to be deflected from his chosen path, which was to win votes for the Muslim League and strengthen his negotiating position with the Congress and the British (Talbot, 1988; 49).
Lord Wavell told the cabinet on 29 August 1945, ‘The real strength of Mr. Jinnah’s position was the widespread and genuine fear among the Indian Muslims of Hindu domination and Hindu Raj. That fear might or might not be well-founded but its existence and reality there could be no question’. Sir Syed had observed as far back as on 14 March 1888, ‘It may be appropriate or not, but no Muslim, be he a cobbler or a nobleman, would ever agree to the Muslims being relegated to a status where they become slaves of another nation, which is their neighbour, even though time has reduced them to a very low position, and would reduce them still further’. The Quaid-i-Azam admitted, ‘we were unconscious before the war, but now we are fully conscious—to expect Muslim India to agree to Akhand Hindustan and Hindu Raj... I warn you, and I have repeatedly warned you, they mean the independence of Hindu India and the slavery of Muslim India’.
Mr. Z. H. Lari did not quit nor could he be thrown out, as he had the support of the U.P. Muslim League of which he was secretary general, and the Muslim League Assembly Party in the U.P. of which he was Deputy Leader. And as both the President of UP Muslim League, Nawab Ismail, and Leader of UP Muslim League Assembly Party, Khaliquzzaman, were active members of the central executive of Muslim League required by the Quaid-i-Azam to be in Delhi and absent from the U.P., therefore Mr. Lari actually ran the U.P. Muslim League.
The Quaid-e-Azam’s two planks, Islam in danger and feudals unite, propounded at Karachi in 1943 worked in West Pakistan, but not in East Pakistan. East Pakistan was anti-feudal, and implemented land reform after independence to free Muslim cultivators from the stranglehold of big landlords who were mostly non-Muslims. The Muslims of East Pakistan had found the Lahore Resolution attractive for their personal and professional advancement, which was more relevant to them than religious and feudal considerations.
Meray mahboob watan! Teray muqaddar kay khuda
Dast e aghiar main qismat ki anan chor gaya
Apni yak tarfa siyasat kay taqazun kay tufail
Aik bar aur tujhay nauha kuna chor gaya