Published in 1986, ‘Facts are Facts’ by the late Wali Khan was an instant hit. ‘Facts are Facts’ is an attempt to contest text book versions of Pakistan’s history. In a bid to generate debate, the Viewpoint is serializing this text
Partition proposals before Mountbatten-II
Another issue arose as a result of the difference between Governor Caroe and the Congress. The leader of the Interim Government Jawaharlal Nehru expressed the desire to tour the Frontier Province, visit the various Agencies and discuss with his tribal brothers India's future and their place in it. Caroe was alarmed. All along he had been trying to impress upon the Government that all tribals were anti-Congress and pro- Pakistan. To prove his point, plenty of false evidence had to be cooked up. The so called "leaders" of the tribals who presented petitions to the Government were galley slaves of the British. One such example was recorded in Iskander Mirza's book. Iskander Mirza had no hesitation in mounting an attack on India using the tribals of Waziristan, Tirah and Momand. These British minions had in their employ Pirs and Faqirs who could be used to create unrest among the tribals. On 20 April 1946, Masood Malik Gulab Khan wrote a letter to Jinnah:
I, on behalf of all the Masoods of South Waziristan Agencies, beg to assure you of our armed help for the achievement of Pakistan, whenever so ordered by the Muslim League High Command. We have full faith in your leadership in these critical times—wish you a long life and health. I am also ready to send a Masood armed escort as your bodyguard, if so ordered. Pakistan Zindabad. [Erland Jansson, India, Pakistan or Pakhtoonistan, p. 175]
It is difficult to believe that an individual from South Waziristan would write to Jinnah in Bombay offering to fight the British on behalf of the League. That he could have written such a letter without the advice and consent of the political agent is unlikely. Anyone, who has inside information about the relationships between the Maliks and the Agents, can smell a conspiracy from a mile!
To Malik Gulab, Jinnah replied, "I am in receipt of your letter of the 20 April, and thank you very much for the sympathies and confidence in my leadership. With regard to my staff, I have my own arrangements. While thanking you for your kind offer, there is no need just now to trouble you." [Erland Jansson, India, Pakistan or Pakhtoonistan, p. 175]. Who asked a Waziristan Chief to address Jinnah as Quaid-i-Azam? Several questions arise, but the most amazing fact is that a Malik of North Waziristan makes a direct contact with an Indian politician. How could he give Jinnah assurance that the entire Agency would be in favour of Pakistan? How come the Political Agent or any other British outpost was unaware of this letter? For the same reason, one of the leaders of the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement, Yakub Khan, was being threatened with death? His only crime was that a Khalifa of Faqir of Ipi had directly written to him. Neither could the letter be produced as proof, nor could any witness prove Yakub Khan's crime. These dual standards were not confined only to Waziristan. Malik Bawar Khan of the Khyber Agency sent a telegram to the members of the Cabinet Mission. "Khyber Agency tribes have full confidence in Jinnah. Muslims cannot accept anything except Pakistan." [Khyber Mail, 5 April 1946]. Malik Gulab Khan had probably secretly despatched the letter, referred to in an earlier paragraph, but Malik Bawar Khan's telegram was published in the English daily of Peshawar. This public display of loyalty did not bother the British.
The above examples explain why Caroe was worried about Jawaharlal's intended visit to the tribal areas? Caroe wanted to stop this trip because the Muslim League was most unwilling to let Nehru visit the tribals. The Pir of Manki Shareef toured the tribal areas and spread the malicious rumour that Jawaharlal Nehru intended to destroy their freedom and make them slaves of the Hindus. Governor Caroe’s weekly report to the Centre contains a detailed account of this tour. He wrote that the Pir of Manki Shareef had gone on a tour of Khyber, Momand and Malakand. In Peshawar, the Muslim League held a function at which Barrister Qayum said:
The Hindu-Congress is on the warpath. In the tribal belt we have an immeasurable reservoir of strength. You must organise and unite from Gilgit to Quetta. The hour of trial is coming. Be prepared. Islam in India needs your help in this hour of trial. Tell Pandit Nehru that if he wants to talk, he should go to Mr. Jinnah. There is no sense in talking to the tribals. [Dawn, 13 October 1946]
The events that transpired when Jawaharlal Nehru arrived in the Frontier, despite the advice of the Governor, have been recorded by Erland Jansson in the form of confessions of some of the Government officials. Masood Malik Gulab Khan told Jansson, "The assistant political officer, one Abdul Mannan, was particularly helpful and would encourage and guide them secretly." Malik Gulab Khan also admitted that he paid Rs 200 to snipe at Nehru’s plane when it landed at Razmak.
Erland Jansson's conversation with FariduIIah Shah, the Assistant Political Officer of Khyber, makes the situation perfectly clear:
At that time Colonel Khursheed was Political Agent of Khyber Agency. Two or three days before Nehru's arrival Khursheed sent for me and told me Nehru was coming to Khyber. He said that if the tribals would receive him in a docile way, all Mohammadans of this part of the country would go under the suzerainty of the Hindus; as a Muslim I should do something. But at the same time he warned me not to tell him all the actions I would take. Do you know why? He was a religious man, and if he was asked anything he could say he did not know! I went straight to Jumrud where I contacted a certain Malik Kuki Khel called Swatai Khan. The only question he asked was, "What would be the reaction of the political agent?" I told him, "Don't worry." I very strongly told him that nobody was to be killed. They should resort to very heavy sniping. On return from Jumrud, I contacted Mullah Sahib of Manki Shareef. He had a lot of disciples among the Shinwaris and Mullagors. So he also went on tour to Landikotal and Mullagor area. [Erland Jansson,p.186]
The above is an example of the obsequiousness of the Maliks and Khans. I feel that the British spoiled their tribal game by causing the incident at Malakand. Nehru and his party were attacked. They were injured and the truth was out! There was an important geographical difference between Malakand and other Agencies. All other Agencies lay between the tribal areas on one side and Afghanistan on the other. Malakand was located between Mardan, Swat and the Dir State. It was natural that the Maliks of this area were relatively more dependent on the Political Agent. Sheikh Mehboob Ali, the Political Agent of Malakand, had recently been charged with bribery. During the war when he was the Deputy Commissioner of Kohat, he had embezzled large quantities of funds during the construction of underground shelters. It is said that his bungalow in his village, Sheikhan, was built with materials stolen from Kohat. Therefore it became obvious why he showed extra efficiency in the attack. People realised that while the other Agencies still retained the tribal spirit, Malakand was secure in the Political Agent's pocket. Without his consent no tribal could have touched Jawaharlal Nehru. The attack upon Jawaharlal was supposed to prove that the Khudai Khidmatgar popularity had taken a down turn and that the Pakhtoons accepted the political leadership of the League. It did neither. It only proved that the British had temporarily taken leave of their senses. They did not even remember that the Khudai Khidmatgar Movement was confined to the Frontier and that its leaders were not even allowed to step into the tribal areas. The members of the Assembly were elected from the Zilas of the Frontier Province. The tribals did not have any vote. The British were deliberately getting the issues mixed up. They were aware that the Khudai Khidmatgar was a popular movement. They had to take help from political agents, underling retainers, Maliks, Mullahs and Pirs to incite the tribals against the existing Government using the name of Islam. Their ultimate aim was to use the tribal unrest to somehow seize the power from the Khudai Khidmatgars and present it to the Muslim League. In this manner the partition proposal could be rationalized. Another political circus was held in the Frontier. The Muslim League was asked to convene an assembly. Truck loads of people were collected from all over the provinces. Mountbatten was invited and informed that this angry crowd was about to attack the cantonment and the Government. Neither the police, nor the army could control this violent mob. Only if Mountbatten asked them, would they disperse. Governor Caroe wanted to prove to Mountbatten that only the Muslim League could have arranged such a massive gathering. He hoped that Mountbatten would be convinced that since the Muslim League had collected such enormous crowds at the Cunningham Park in Peshawar, it was proof of the fact that the Pakhtoons had joined the Muslim League, leaving forever their loyalties to the Khudai Khidmatgars.
(To be continued)
The book in PDF form can be accessed at: http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf