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
It is a paradox that Jinnah did not wait for another political party to come to power and, on his own, rejected the two-nation ideology and accepted secularism. It was, therefore, a fair game for people to ask the leaders of the Muslim League to define their ideology after Jinnah had made some surprising comments in his speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He had suggested to the people that they should change their past and that the policies of the new country should be governed by the principles which had been enunciated in this speech. Whoever accepted Jinnah as his leader and trusted his political acumen, intelligence, and wisdom, must have concluded with him that the two-nation theory of the Muslim League was not his ideology nor that of Pakistan. His concept, on the contrary, was secularism. If one thinks carefully, it becomes apparent that as a result of the policies of the British rulers India was partitioned on the basis of communalism, and, with the departure of the British, communal politics was rejected. This sequence of events has a moral which is reflected in the following Persian couplet:
HARCHE DANA KUNAD, KUNAD NADAN;
LAKE BAD AZ KHARABIYE BISYAR!
What a wise man does in time,
A fool does late,
After creating a lot of damage!
The Muslim League gave the communal policies of the British religious twist by suggesting that voting would be on communal lines. Hindus would vote for Hindus and Muslims for Muslims. The Congress Party was in favour of a joint electorate. Later, when Jinnah made it clear that in Pakistan there would be no discrimination on the basis of faith, caste, creed or community, how could the Muslim League advocate and adhere to the principle of separate electorate? In the light of the new policy proclaimed by Jinnah, the Muslim League had to accept the principle of joint electorate.
14 AUGUST 1947
The days of freedom were drawing closer. In the country thousands of communal fires were continuing to smoulder. It looked as though every one was intent upon cutting the other's throat. Young boys and girls and children, who had led sheltered lives and had never stepped outside their carpeted drawing rooms and bed-rooms, were brutally murdered. All human values were eroded. It was most ironical that these conditions coincided with the country winning its fight for freedom. While houses were set on fire, and streams of blood flowed in towns and cities, parades were held, bugles were sounded, salutes given. Celebrations were held in every part of the country. In the city of Karachi unending streams of refugees were escaping from their burning homes, while the murderers' bullets were riddling human bodies. Families, who had never stirred out of their homes, were walking barefoot on the roads and open spaces. In the same city 14 August was being celebrated as the day of emancipation, partition and creation of Pakistan.
Lord Mountbatten and Lady Edwina came to Karachi to proclaim the end of the British Empire by giving the oath of office to the new Governor-General of Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Neither Mr. Jinnah nor Liaquat Ali Khan, who was appointed as the Prime Minister of Pakistan, went to the airport to welcome the Mountbattens. Instead, Ghulam Husain Hidayatullah, Governor of Sind, received them on behalf of the Government of Pakistan. The leaders of the Muslim League had a peculiar mentality. They often overlooked minor matters of protocol and decorum. They had the impression that showing disrespect for others will earn them respect. Jinnah created another issue by insisting that he should be provided a higher chair than Mountbatten in view of the fact that he was the Governor-General of Pakistan and President of the Constituent Assembly. But the British diplomatically turned this request down hinting that Jinnah would assume the office of the Governor-General only when the Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten, delivered the oath of office. Until such time that all powers inherent in the office were transferred to him, Jinnah had no official position. It was also made clear to him that even if he became Governor-General, his office would be lesser in importance than that of the Viceroy.
As soon as the question of prestige and protocol was settled, another problem arose. It was rumoured that the Sikhs of Punjab were infuriated and had planned to assassinate Jinnah by throwing a bomb at him when he went to the Assembly House. When Mountbatten arrived, he was asked what he wished to do in the light of the above information, regarding the ceremonial procession? Mountbatten said that the decision was not his to make; it was upto Jinnah and the party. When he realised that Jinnah-had left this decision to him, Mountbatten said:
If any one has planned that he would explode Jinnah by a bomb, it is probable that when I go with him in the carriage, there may be no such attack on him because by doing so they would be killing the Governor-General of India along with the Governor-General of Pakistan; that is why, I have no objection to the procession being taken out.
After this assurance arrangements were made for the ceremonial procession. After the function when Jinnah and Mountbatten reached the Government House safe and sound, Jinnah said, "Thank God, I have got you back alive." To this Mountbatten replied. "Thank God, I have got you back alive!"
These were the gory circumstances in which we attained independence. After transferring the power, the British departed. The Union Jack was furled after two hundred years. It was replaced by the flag of Pakistan.
(To be continued)
The book in PDF form can be accessed at: http://www.awaminationalparty.org/books/factsarefacts.pdf