The Muslim League demand in the 1946 election was Pakistan—a homeland for the Muslims of India. The Muslim League fought and swept the polls in 1946 on the platform that the Muslims of India were one nation and were united under one leader (the Quaid-i-Azam), one party (the Muslim League), one language (Urdu), one religion (Islam), one nation (Muslim) and one country (Pakistan). The Quaid-i-Azam now said, ‘There never has been, for all these centuries, either social or political unity between these two major nations. The Indian unity that we talk of up to to-day is held by the British Government, and they have—by their ultimate sanction of the police and the army—maintained peace and law and order in this century. 

The Quaid-i-Azam said, ‘We are a nation of a hundred million, and what is more, we are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civi­lization, language and literature, art and architecture, names and nomenclature, sense of value and proportion, legal laws and moral codes, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitudes and ambitions, in short we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law we are a nation’. 

The Pakistan Resolution was actually passed by the All-India Muslim League Legislators’ Convention held in Delhi from 7thto 9thApril 1946. This came about because the Muslims, who had ruled over the sub-continent and run a world empire for over a thousand years, did not want now to be ruled by the Hindu or the British, and therefore voted overwhelmingly for an independent Muslim state of Pakistan in the 1945-46 elections. After that, no Muslim League leader, not even the Quaid-i-Azam, who was looking for safeguards for Muslims, could go against it. 

A subjects committee comprising 10% of the Muslim League legislatures was formed to draft the resolution, and after five hours of deliberation, they submitted a resolution that was presented to the convention by HuseynShaheed Suhrawardy. The resolution stated ‘That the zones comprising Bengal and Assam in the North-East and the Punjab, North West Frontier Province, Sindh and Baluchistan in the North-West of India, namely Pakistan zones where the Muslims are in a dominant majority, be constituted into a sovereign independent state and that an unequivocal undertaking be given to implement the establishment of Pakistan without delay.’ The resolution was unanimously passed and thereafter members stood up and took a pledge to be true to Pakistan, and also signed a pledge to that effect.

Speaking on the occasion the Prime Minister of Sindh declared that there were no Muslims in India who did not believe in Pakistan, and that the elections had proved that 90 per cent of the Muslims were with the league and determined to achieve Pakistan. The Quaid-i-Azam declared in his concluding address, ‘Muslim India is one and Pakistan is our demand... If there is any safeguard known in the world for minority provinces, the most effective safeguard is the establishment of Pakistan... There are those who say to us, “What is the good of your talking of Pakistan when you cannot form ministries even in your majority provinces?” I say to them: this is the very reason why we want to get rid of the existing act of 1935 and establish Pakistan’.

MAH Ispahani wrote, ‘Some people pose the question whether the Delhi Convention had the right to make a basic change in the resolution adopted at an open session of the League... The Lahore session could not be considered to be as representative of the Muslim nation as the Delhi Convention which was attended by about 470 legislatures duly and constitutionally elected by the vote of the entire nation ... The members attending the session signed a solemn pledge that they would undergo every suffering and sacrifice to uphold the Muslim national demand for Pakistan’ (Ispahani, 1966, 160).

The reluctance of the Congress and the British Government to concede Pakistan dissolved following the Direct Action Day observed by the Muslim League on 16th August 1946, which resulted in the Great Calcutta Killing and was followed by riots all over India. As long as murder and arson occurred in urban areas, the British Indian Army found it possible to restore order; but when the violence spread to scattered villages, the army was less effective because there were not enough soldiers to protect the minorities. Lord Wavel sent a withdrawal plan to London, and Mountbatten was sent to India with instructions to extricate the British from the mess in India. 

Speaking on the occasion the Prime Minister of Sindh declared that there were no Muslims in India who did not believe in Pakistan, and that the elections had proved that 90 per cent of the Muslims were with the league and determined to achieve Pakistan. The Quaid-i-Azam declared in his concluding address, ‘Muslim India is one and Pakistan is our demand... If there is any safeguard known in the world for minority provinces, the most effective safeguard is the establishment of Pakistan... There are those who say to us, “What is the good of your talking of Pakistan when you cannot form ministries even in your majority provinces?” I say to them: this is the very reason why we want to get rid of the existing act of 1935 and establish Pakistan’.

MAH Ispahani wrote, ‘Some people pose the question whether the Delhi Convention had the right to make a basic change in the resolution adopted at an open session of the League... The Lahore session could not be considered to be as representative of the Muslim nation as the Delhi Convention which was attended by about 470 legislatures duly and constitutionally elected by the vote of the entire nation ... The members attending the session signed a solemn pledge that they would undergo every suffering and sacrifice to uphold the Muslim national demand for Pakistan’ (Ispahani, 1966, 160).

The reluctance of the Congress and the British Government to concede Pakistan dissolved following the Direct Action Day observed by the Muslim League on 16th August 1946, which resulted in the Great Calcutta Killing and was followed by riots all over India. As long as murder and arson occurred in urban areas, the British Indian Army found it possible to restore order; but when the violence spread to scattered villages, the army was less effective because there were not enough soldiers to protect the minorities. Lord Wavel sent a withdrawal plan to London, and Mountbatten was sent to India with instructions to extricate the British from the mess in India. 

Lord Mountbatton told Jinnah on 2 June 1947 that the Muslim majority provinces would be part of Pakistan after territorial adjustments, as per the Lahore (Pakistan) Resolution of 1940 proposed by the Quaid-i-Azam and opposed by Mr. Z. H. Lari in the subject committee on the night of 22-23 March 1940 at Lahore. The Quaid-i-Azam, who had repeatedly said that he would never accept a motheaten, mutilated and truncated Pakistan, gave his nod of ap­proval to the plan, broadcast his assent from All India Radio on 3rdJune 1947, and called a meeting of the All India Muslim League Council to confirm it. The council met at the Imperial Hotel, New Delhi, on Monday morning, June 9, 1947. Mr. Z.H. Lari, who followed the Quaid-i-Azam, strongly condemned the plan for ‘giving a truncated sovereign state to Muslim India’ (S.S. Pirzada, page 567) (A.M. Zaidi, page 238). 

According to the minutes of the Muslim League meeting, ‘Mr. Z.H. Lari, made a fervent appeal to the house to reject the plan’. He said, ‘In our Bombay session, we had rejected the Cabinet Mission’s proposal only because the Congress had opposed grouping and had not accepted it in the sense in which the Cabinet Mission intended it to be implemented. The Congress had thereby insisted that Assam should not be included in Pakistan, and we never wanted Assam to be separated from Pakistan. When we have once rejected the Cabinet Mission plan on this basis, the question now arises whether today we will get Assam according to H.M.G.’s plan or not. I want to tell the house that not only will we not get Assam, but also large portions of Punjab and Bengal have been divided and they will be lost of [sic] Pakistan.

‘… If on a matter of principle it is correct that Bengal and Punjab should be divided, then the Muslims who opposed the Congress Government in Bombay Presidency and the U.P. should be similarly given a separate homeland, because they in number far exceed the Sikh community. We undertake to transfer population in such a way that we would establish our majority in all the districts, which may be given to us in a divided U.P. 

‘… If you were willing at last to accept this mutilated Pakistan, I want to put to you the question why did you create so much agitation, when you could have arrived at a compromise with the Congress on the basis of what you are willing to accept now, had been offered by the Congress leaders even four years back, and that if the Muslims are willing to accept it now there was no sense in all the bloodshed which had taken place.’ (Appendix III. Appendices to Jinnah Papers Page 842).

Mr. Lari tabled an amendment to the resolution moved by the Quaid-e-Azam. The amendment by Mr. Lari said, ‘Whereas the division of Punjab and Bengal is totally unacceptable, and whereas the scheme embodied in the June 3 plan does not provide any protection to the Muslim population of minority provinces of India, this council accepts the offer of Mr. Gandhi, made on 4 June 1947, to confer with the Congress with a view to devising an alternative to the June 3 plan, and postpones consideration of the June 3 plan to a later date to be fixed by the President.’ 

According to Aftab Ahmed Khan, ‘the Quaid-i-Azam, contrary to parliamentary practice, intervened in the debate from the chair and made a personal appeal to members to reject my father’s amendment.’ Maulana Hasrat Mohani supported ZH Lari’s amendment but it secured only 8 votes and was rejected. The Sind Premier, Mr. Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah, supporting the Plan, urged upon the Council to accept it (Pirzada, 1970, 567).

Sardar Jafri wrote:

‘Kaun azad hua

Kis kay mathay say ghulami ki siyahi chuti

Meray seenay main abhi dard hai mahkumi ka

Madar-e hind kay chehray pay udasi hay wahi

Khanjar azad hayn seenun main utternay kay liyya’