The Pakistani-Canadian professor Khalid bin Sayeed, one of the first to author a book on Pakistan in English, notes in his book, “Pakistan: the Formative Phase”, that Mr. ZH Lari was one of two who were daring enough to speak their minds before Mr. Jinnah in the All India Muslim League Council meetings.
For example, when the resolution was placed before the Subjects Committee on the evening of 22 March 1940, Mr. Lari pointed out to Jinnah that Lahore Resolution called for territorial readjustments and independent states in which the constituent units are autonomous and sovereign.”
After meeting the Viceroy in Delhi, Mohammad Ali Jinnah who has been recently styled the Quaid-i-Azam, had left for Lahore by especial train decorated with green flags of the Muslim League and its emblem, engine garlanded and flags mounted. Quaid-i-Azam was accompanied by his sister and Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan, Secretary of All-India Muslim League. The train also brought hundreds of visitors and delegates from various places.
Quaid-i-Azam addressed a number of gatherings at stations enroute, emphasizing the need for discipline among Muslims. He referred to the Khaksar-police clash in Lahore and said: ‘The unfortunate, tragic events of last three days, resulting in loss of life and injury, must not lead you to loose your balance.’
Quaid-i-Azam arrived at Lahore on the morning of Thursday 21st March 1940, where he was received at the platform by Premier of Punjab, Sir Sikander Hayat Khan, Minister of public Works Major Khizar Hyat Khan Tiwana, Minister of Education Mian Abdul Haye, Chairman reception Committee Nawab of Mamdot, Nawab Muzaffer Khan, Begum Shah Nawaz, Mir Maqbul Mahmud, Syed Amjad Ali, Raja Ghazanfar Ali, and a large number of the Punjab Muslim MLAs. Further a large crowd had obtained access to the platform in spite of police and National Guard. It was with difficulty that Jinnah reached the decorated car, which took him to Mamdot house where he stayed and had a talk with Punjab Prime Minister, Sir Sikander Hayat Khan.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the president elect of the 27th Annual Session of the All India Muslim League, first visited Mayo Hospital on Thursday 21st March 1940. He then went to unfurl the League flag outside the pandal in Minto Park on the afternoon of Thursday 21st March 1940, where he grieved over dead and injured and said that we must keep ourselves calm and cool. Ours is the only organization of the Muslims of India. We must, therefore, stand as one man with one voice under this flag, which you have honoured me to unfurl.
The Working Committee of the All India Muslim League, met at 10 a.m. in the League Pandal at the Minto Park, Lahore on Friday 22 March 1940. The open session of the All India Muslim League, commenced at the Minto Park Lahore at 2.45 pm on Friday 22 March 1940 with singing of Iqbal’s ‘Muslim hain hum vatan he sara Jahan hamara’. Several songs in praise of Jinnah including one by Mrs. Humayun Mirza. The two sons of Khan Syedullah Khan, the President of Frontier Muslim League were awarded five rupees each for their song. Hafiz Jullundri described Jinnah as smoke of the fire that was burning in India. Mian Bashir Ahmed’s composition was read by another gentleman, which described Jinnah as embodiment of the will of nine crore of Muslims.
The chairman of Reception Committee, Sir Mohammed Shah Nawaz Khan of Mamdot delivered his address. When he thanked Premier for repairs of Badshahi Mosque, shouts of Sikander Hyat Murdabad was heard from the audience. A crowd demonstrated outside the pandal against the Punjab Ministers when they left in their cars.
Quaid-i-Azam delivered his Presidential address ex-tempore, ‘We have had ample experience of the working of the provincial constitutions during the last two years and a half, and any repetition of such a government must lead to civil war … The problem of India was not of an inter-communal but manifestly of an international character … It was only a dream that Hindus and Muslims could ever evolve a common nationality. The History of the last 1,200 years had failed to achieve unity and had witnessed during those ages an India always divided into Hindu India and Muslim India. The present artificial unity of India dated back only to the British conquest and was maintained by the British bayonet … If the British Government are really in earnest and sincere to secure the peace and happiness of people of this continent, the only course open to us all is to allow major nations separate homelands by dividing India into autonomous national states. There is no reason why these states should disappear … They are not religions in the strict sense of the word but are in fact different and distinct social orders; it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality … Notwithstanding a thousand years of close contact, nationalities which are as divergent today as ever cannot at any time be expected to transform themselves into one nation merely by means of subjecting them to a democratic constitution and holding them together by the unnatural and artificial methods of British Parliamentary statutes. He criticized Congress caucus and Gandhi and said that the power of the League had been realized even by Viceroy who invited him side by side with Gandhi.
The subjects committee met on the night of Friday 22 March behind closed doors. The Press was excluded. Notices of as many as 123 non-official resolutions have been received which was discussed by the Subjects Committee. The main resolution was presented to the Subjects Committee by Jinnah late at night on Friday 22nd 1940 and deliberated until 2 am on Saturday 23 March 1940. The Quaid-i-Azam did not provide copies of the resolution to the members. It was read out by him late at night. ZH Lari moved that consideration of the resolution be adjourned till copies of it were provided to the members in order to enable the members to study the contents of the resolution. The Quaid-i-Azam did not agree. Mr. Lari therefore raised the point of order that the resolution could not be moved without first changing the preamble of the Muslim League, which states that the object of the Muslim League was to achieve full independence in the form of a federation, while the resolution sought to be moved was to create several autonomous and sovereign states. Hence the league preamble should be amended first and then the resolution could be taken. The Quaid-i-Azam once again ruled out his objection by saying that Lari was a clever lawyer but not a good statesman. The Quaid-i-Azam was trying to woo leaders of the Muslim majority provinces by offering them autonomous, sovereign and independent states of their own.
The Subjects committee again met at 10.30 am on Saturday 23 March in the Minto Park as hostile demonstrations were held. The crowd demanded that Khaksar issue be taken first and Sikander should be turned out of League. Quaid-i-Azam said that issue would be examined by Subject committee at the proper time.
On the morning of 23rd March the Muslim subjects of Indian States held a conference in the Muslim League pandal under All India States Muslim League. Sardar Aurangzeb leader of Opposition in NWFP presided in the absence of Raja of Mahmudabad. Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung bitterly complained that Muslim League had ignored three crores of Muslims residing in the Indian states. Abdul Samad Rajsthani moved the first resolution recommending that constitution drafted by him with the help of Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung be adopted. The resolution was seconded and adopted. Rashidi moved the second resolution recommending a committee to enquire into the economic and political conditions, which prevailed in Khairpur state. Nawab Bahadur Yar Jung seconded it. Last resolution demanded special reservation in services, weightage and separate electorate for Muslims in all states.
The second open session of the All India Muslim League, commenced at 3.30 p.m. on 23 March 1940. Quaid-i-Azam accompanied by Sir Shah Nawaz Nawab of Mamdot entered the Pandal in a small procession followed by National Guards. Punjab Premier and Muslim Ministers did not attend. The new Sind Ministers Sheikh Abdul Majid Sindhi and G.M. Syed were present. Mr. Fazlul Huq the Premier of Bengal received a great ovation when he entered the pandal headed by volunteers with drawn sword and had a hearty hand-shake with the Quaid-i-Azam. The General Secretary Liaquat Ali Khan presented the report of the work during the last term that organization of the league started in 1936 has been completed. He referred to atrocities committed upon the Muslims in the Congress governed provinces.
The Premier Fazlul Huq of Bengal, who moved the Lahore Resolution in the open session, referred to my father when he said, ‘To those who proposed amendments in the Subjects Committee yesterday for providing a central government in the resolution, my reply is, we assumed power on behalf of Muslims and other people in Bengal in 1937. We have been given an opportunity by the Almighty to serve our people after a couple of centuries, and we are not going to barter away that power and opportunity to an imaginary and an unknown central authority. They were not going to tolerate Federation of any kind. They did not merely want the postponement of the federal scheme: what they wanted was that it should be abandoned altogether. Muslims constituted 80 millions scattered all over India. It might sound a big number, but as a matter of fact the Muslims were in a weak position numerically in almost every province of India. In the Punjab and Bengal they were in a majority, but not in an effective majority, and were in hopelessly in minority elsewhere. Mr. Fazl-ul-Huq referred to the presidential address of Maulana Azad at the All India Congress session and characterized it as un-Islamic the statement of the Maulana that the Muslims should not feel nervous; 80 millions was not a small number and they need not be afraid. He reminded Maulana Azad that even in the Punjab and Bengal the position of Muslims was not safe. They had to seek the help of other interests and minorities to form coalition governments which were the weakest form of governments known to constitutionalists. As regards other provinces, they were in a very weak position and at the mercy of majority. Until a satisfactory solution was found of this unequal distribution of the Muslim population it was useless to talk of constitutional advance or of safeguards. Unless the defects are removed, all safeguards were illusory.
Seconding the resolution, Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman said that they should consider the circumstances which had forced the Muslims to demand separation. The working of provincial autonomy in the Congress provinces finally decided the question. The Muslims had now realized that their existence was in danger. Maulana Azad said that Muslims should not demand separation because they were strong enough to defend themselves. If the issue between the Hindus and Muslims was to be decided by means of the sword, the Muslims had no fear. They did not need nine crores to settle it. As it was, the issue depended on votes.
Maulana Zafar Ali Khan supporting the resolution reiterated his own proposal of a constituent assembly, consisting of 650 representatives – 300 Muslims, 300 Hindus and 50 minorities – for deciding a constitution for India. The Congress and Sabha leaders should nominate 300 representative and let Jinnah nominate the same number on behalf of Muslims. These men should sit to evolve a constitution which would be acceptable to everyone.
Sardar Aurangzeb Khan (MLA NWFP) congratulated Muslims living in Hindu provinces for lending their support to the resolution which sought freedom for six crore Muslims. He assured the Muslims in the minority provinces that they would lay down their lives to safeguard them.
A women climbed on the stage but was led away by volunteers.
Sir Abdullah Haroon said that it was the duty of the Muslims to pass it without any hitch, as in 1938; the Muslim League had passed a resolution for establishing ‘Independent States’ in the northwestern and the eastern zones’. He warned the Hindus that if Muslims in Hindu provinces were not justly treated, the Hindus in the Muslim Provinces would be treated in the same way in which Herr Hitler treated the Sudetans. The co-religionists in the Muslim minority provinces were assured that they would not forget them, and would be prepared to render them every kind of help in their power.
The session was adjourned till 10 am on Sunday in slogans and counter slogans of Sikander Hyat murdabad and zindabad.
The resolution relating to the Khaksars was discussed in the Subjects Committee from 9 pm on Saturday till 2 a.m. on Sunday when the final draft was approved.
The morning session on Sunday opened at 11.30 a.m. with Nawab of Mamdot in the chair. Jinnah arrived in the pandal half an hour late with his sister. Nawab Ismail Khan of Bihar was the first speaker. He was thankful for the assurance of help that had been extended to Muslim minorities in seven provinces of India by the majority provinces. Haji Mohammad Isa of Baluchistan was thankful to Muslim of minority provinces for the historic resolution and assured them that they would not forget them in case they were in any trouble. The treatment that was meted out to them by the Hindu majority would be reciprocated in Muslim majority provinces to the Hindu minority. Mr. Abdul Hamid of Madras said that the working of provincial autonomy had shown that what was supposed to be freedom of India was really the freedom of the Hindus. The Congress had designs to keep the Muslims under perpetual bondage. Mr. Ismail Chundrigar of Bombay said that the purpose of the resolution was to scrap federation and autonomy and present a new basis for the constitutional dispensation. Syed Abdul Raoof of CP referred to Congress atrocities on Muslims in two and half years of their rule. Dr. Mohd Alam from Punjab who recently left the Congress and joined the Muslim League said the Congress did not want freedom for the country at all. What they wanted was Hindu Raj. The session was adjourned till the evening.
On 24 March 1940, Khan Bahadur Syed Muratib Ali gave lunch at his residence on Davis Road. Premier entertained Jinnah at a garden party for 300 at his residence, attended by the Governor and many ladies.
In the evening Premier Fazlul Huq of Bengal, presided over the All India railway Muslim Employees Association in the Muslim League pandal in the Minto Park. First resolution to secure within a reasonable period, adequate representation of Muslims of all categories and Departments of public service.
The open session of the All India Muslim League, resumed the last sitting at 8.30 pm. on Sunday 24 March 1940, with shouts of Khaksar zindabad and Sikander ko league se nikalo. Discussion was resumed by Syed Zakir Ali of Agra. Begum Mohd Ali addressed the gathering sitting on the chair.
A resolution was passed by the session relating to Palestenian question. It was moved by M R Siddiqui and supported by Sir Raza Ali.
After Maulana Abdul Hamid of UP had spoken, Quaid-i-Azam rose to move the resolution that this session of AIML places on record its deep sense of sorrow at the unfortunate and tragic occurrence on the 19th March 1940 owing to a clash between the Khaksar and the police, resulting in the loss of large number of lives and injuries to many more, and sincerely sympathises with those who have suffered and with their families. It required appointing an independent and impartial committee of inquiry and urges upon the various governments that the order declaring the Khaksar organization unlawful should be removed as soon as possible.
After the resolution regarding Khaksars had been passed, the election of office bearers took place. Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan was re-elected honorary Secretary and the Raja of Mahmudabad honorary Treasurer.
Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan proposed amendment in the League constitution giving more power to the Working Committee.
Bahadur Yar Jung addressed the session for an hour about Islam.
Quaid-i-Azam in his concluding remark said that Lahore session had really proved to be a landmark in history of India because they have defined their goal.
The Lahore session of the All India Muslim League ended on Sunday 24 March 1940 at 11.30 p.m. after four sitting spread over three days.
On 25 March 1940, Quaid-i-Azam told journalists, I firmly believe that the idea of one united India is a dream and given goodwill and a friendly understanding Muslims and Hindus can live as most friendly neighbours free from clashes and frictions in their respective spheres peacefully and develop the governments of their states to their own satisfaction respectively. I know that Muslims will not shirk from any sacrifice, as we have made up of our minds for the realization of our goal that we have set in front of us.
Sir Sikandar Hayat, the Premier of Punjab, in a speech on 11 March 1941 said, ‘And let us above all show to the rest of India, that we in Punjab stand united and will not brook any interference from whatever quarter it may be attempted. Then and then only we will be able to tell meddling busybodies from outside, “hands off the Punjab. If you want real freedom for the Punjab. then that Punjab will not be Pakistan, but just Punjab, the land of five rivers. Punjab is Punjab and will always remain Punjab whatever anybody may say.”.
In the Sindh Assembly in 1942, GM Syed raised the demand for a separate sovereign state of Sindh, which would not be part of a federation that included Punjab. The resolution moved in the Sindh Legislative Assembly by GM Syed on 3 March 1943, which is considered by some as the first Pakistan resolution to be passed by an Indian Legislature, stated, ‘Whereas the Muslims of India are a separate nation ... they are justly entitled to the right as a single, separate nation, to have independent national states of their own, carved out in the zones where they are in majority in the sub-continent of India’.
Pir Ali Muhammad Rashdi wrote that Sindh and Punjab had equal political status as provinces of the British Raj, and Sindh had its own government with Sindhi ministers, yet Punjabis had monopolized all the government jobs reserved for Sindhi Muslims, and ran the administration and police. They feared a time when Sindh would be part of Pakistan with Punjabis in power in the centre.
It is obvious from these quotes that Jinnah made the right political move to woo the leaders of the Muslim majority provinces of Bengal, Punjab and Sindh because they had joined the Muslim League in order to obtain autonomy, sovereignty and independence for their provinces.
This was confirmed by the founder of Pakistan, the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on 24 April 1943, when he said, ‘I think you will bear me out that when we passed the Lahore Resolution, we had not used the word ‘Pakistan’. Who gave us this word? (Cries ‘Hindus’). Let me tell you it is their fault. They started damning the resolution on the ground that it was Pakistan. They are really ignorant of the Muslim movement. They fathered this word upon us. Give the dog a bad name and then hang him. They shouted ‘Pan-Islamism’. When this was exploded, then came the ‘Pakistan’ alliance with other countries - Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Turkey and they will grind down Hindu India. That is the deep game they are playing. You know perfectly well that ‘Pakistan’ is a word, which was really foisted upon us and fathered on us by some sections of the Hindu Press and also by the British Press’ (Zaidi, Vol vi, 67).
The map of India that the Quaid-i-Azam had in mind consisted of a large Indian land mass belonging to 565 princely states which comprised 45.3% of the surface of India, inhabitted by 103 million people as compared to 110 million in Muslim majority provinces and 226 million in Hindu majority provinces in 1947. Each of these states had its own separate treaty with the British Crown. And under the Government of India Act of 2 August 1935 section VI, they could only become part of the Federation of India if they voluntary executed an Instrument of Accession and the same was accepted by His Majesty the King. If they could all be independent and in a position to create their own separate groupings after independence, India would be divided into three or more independent units and would not be in a position to dominate the Muslim group of states following the departure of the British. The Quaid-i-Azam was so taken by the idea that when he went to Madras the following year, he invited the people of South India to create a Dravidian grouping. At the 28th session of the All-India Muslim League at Madras on 14 April 1941, he said, ‘This land is really Dravidistan ... I have every sympathy and shall do all to help, and you can establish Dravidistan where the seven per cent Muslim population will stretch its hand of friendship and live with you on lines of security, justice and fair play.’ This had the support of Conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill who was in favour of many partitions of India, in order to create ‘Pakistan, Hindustan, Princestan, etc.’
The Congress accused the Muslim League of working against India’s freedom. The Quaid-i-Azam replied that freedom under Hindu hegemony would be a farce. The Congress cried that the Muslim League had become an ally of British Imperialism, and the Quaid-i-Azam retorted that the Muslim League ‘would be the ally of the devil if need be in the interest of Muslims’. He said that the reason is not ‘because we are in love with imperialism; but in politics one has to play one’s game as on a chessboard’ (Zaidi, Vol v, 96). Politics on the chessboard of Indian politics dictated that the Quaid-i-Azam strengthen his hand by forging alliances with leaders of Muslim majority provinces.
The Lahore Resolution was a device designed to win the support of leaders of Muslim majority provinces and provide the Quaid-i-Azam with a strong negotiating position vis-a-vis the Congress and the British.