Consolidation of a State and Search for a Constitution 1947-58

The state of Pakistan had to face many problems in the early days of independence; in the beginning this chapter we shall review these problems briefly.


Deceit in the Demarcation of Boundaries: For the purpose of demarcating the boundaries between t two newly created states of India and Pakistan, a Boundary Commission was formed with Cyril Radcliff as its head. The decision of this Commission laid the foundations of the Kashmir problem. Kashmir which is the largest Muslim state in India, the only road that connected India with Kashmir passed through Pathankot tehsil of district Gurdaspur.

In the initial partition plans Gurdaspaur was shown as a part of Pakistan, but later it was given to India. If Gurdaspur were not given to India there would be no land access for India to reach Kashmir. The Radcliffe Award provided Indians with road access to Kashmir, making it possible for them to move their forces into Kashmir and occupy the state. Accession of Hyderabad and the South Indian princely states of Junagadh and Manawadar created similar problems.

All these were Hindu majority states but their Muslim rulers had decided to join Pakistan. Indians not only refused to accept their decision, they rather moved their armed forces in the states and captured them by force. The Indian National Congress, in this way, defied all the principles she had undertaken to honour as a part of the partition plan.

Problems of Mass Migration: Due to untimely and badly planned partition and the large scale massacre of the Muslims by the Sikhs, the Muslims of the East Punjab were forced to leave their homes and migrate to Pakistan in large numbers. This created enormous social and economic problems. The newly created state of Pakistan had to bear the responsibility of providing shelter and bread to these refuges who were homeless and helpless and were more than ten million in number.

Administrative Problems: In its early days the state of Pakistan was faced with acute administrative problems as well. Most of the employees in the British administration had been Hindus. The Hindu government servants migrated to India, they had to be replaced by the untrained and unskilled local recruits. Karachi, the capital of the new state of Pakistan, lacked the basic infrastructure required for running a state’s machinery.

Government offices were set up in military barracks and tents. The Pakistan government did not even receive its share of the office equipments form India. The government offices had to work without the supply of basic stationery items.

The Canal Water Issue: During the British period the canals irrigating the Indus Basin worked as an excellent and integrated drainage system. This drainage system, one of the biggest of its kind in the world, was cut into two parts in 1947 as a result of the partition of India and the upper heads of the three big rivers i.e. Sutleg, Bias and Ravi, as well as many head-works like Madhupur Headworks at Ravi and Ferozpur Headworks at Sutleg fell in the Indian control.

As a result of Indian occupation of Kashmir, towards the end of year 1947, the situation further deteriorated as the upper heads of river Jhelum and Chanab also became part of the Indian occupied territory. By assuming control over the water courses of Pakistan, India gained a position in which she could cause damage to Pakistan’s agricultural economy by cutting Pakistan’s water supplies. In April 1948, India demonstrated her negative potential by cutting water supplies of vast areas in the vicinity of Lahore; crops grown on thousands of acres were damaged.

Unfair Distribution of Assets and Economic Problems: Pakistan was deprived of its due share of money. Government employees who had opted to serve India destroyed official records before leaving Pakistan. Most of the factories, military equipments and hospitals had become non-functional as the migrating staff had damaged the equipments by making away with the parts.

Unfair Distribution of Military Assets: It was decided, as a part of the partition plan, that the British Indian Army and its assets shall be divided between India and Pakistan. To execute the plan a committee was formed with the British Commander-in-Chief as its head. When the committee started working there were 16 ordnance (armament) factories in the united India; all these factories went to India Indians maneuvered and made it impossible for the committee to continue its work.

At the time of partition consequently the state of Pakistan had to start with an army which was very small and had extremely poor resources. The little military equipments sent to Pakistan were mostly out of order; same was the condition of the naval vessels and aircrafts.

Quaid-e-Azam’s Role as the First Governor-General of Pakistan

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and other opponents of Pakistan were confident that demand for Pakistan would never materialise, they believed that the Pakistan scheme was not viable administratively and financially they predicted that if India were divided the partition shall be undone in very short time and India will soon reunite.


The problems faced by the newly formed government of Pakistan were of enormous magnitude, and at one time it seemed that the speculations of the Congress pundits were about to come true and the country was about to collapse.

The Quaid-e-Azam worked day and night to solve the problems faced by Pakistan in early days, the people of Pakistan who had great love for the Quaid, stood by his side and with the grace of Allah Almighty the problems were solved with astonishing speed. In the following lines we shall review some of the more significant steps taken by the Quaid-e-Azam acting as the first Governor General of Pakistan, we shall also study some important pieces of advice rendered by him on important issues of national importance for the guidance of the nation.

Constitution Making: The Quaid-e-Azam” was elected first president of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He summoned the first session of the assembly on August 11, 1947. He made a statement regarding the guiding principles of the future constitution of Pakistan. He expressed hope that the future constitution of Pakistan shall be democratic and Islamic but by no means of theocratic nature.

Rights of the non-Muslim citizens of Pakistan shall be equal to the Muslim citizens. He advised the Constituent Assembly to take up the task of constitution making at a very high pace and complete it as early as possible Rehabilitation of Refugees: The rehabilitation of refugees was a problem of enormous magnitude for a shot 6 newly created and economically crippled state like Pakistan.

The problem was managed excellently under the able guidance of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, on his appeal the local people came forward to help their brethren who had been uprooted from their homes and were in miserable condition. The Quaid-e-Azam established a “Refugee Relief Fund” to which people donated generously.

Establishment of the Government: The Quaid-e-Azam became the first governor general of Pakistan, he appointed Liaquat Ali Khan as the first prime minister of Pakistan. The Quaid also exercised his discretion in the selection of ministers; he formed a small cabinet of able and competent persons. Although by virtue of his neutral position as governor general, the Quaid was not supposed to interfere in the matters of the cabinet yet the cabinet decided to work under his guidance. He himself presided over cabinet meetings and guided the ministers on matters of national importance.

Guidance for the Public Servants: After independence the responsibilities of the civil and military administration of Pakistan had increased manifold. The Quaid-e-Azam infused new spirit of confidence in the civil servants and encouraged them to work day and night for national uplift. The Quaid-e-Azam addressed the public servants in Karachi, in October 1947; he expressed deep sympathy with those who had lost their relatives in the partition turmoil. Addressing on March 25, 1948, the Quaid warned the public servants to change their colonial attitude. He reminded them that they were no more the rulers of the people, they were now their servants.

Confidence Building: The enemies started making hostile propaganda against Pakistan from the very first day of her birth. They were spreading rumors that Pakistan was not economically viable and that she would soon collapse like a house of cards. The Quaid felt that the nation was being unnerved by the propaganda, and that this situation called for an urgent remedy. The Quaid, despite his failing health, made extensive tours of the country, he met the people, addressed them, gave them courage and hope, and assured them that Pakistan was destined to live for ever and that the conspiracies of its enemies will soon die off. His speeches built the confidence of the nation and infused in the people a new zeal and enthusiasm.

Other Initiatives:

  • Karachi was designated as Pakistan’s capital.
  • The Quaid-e-Azam said that Urdu would be adopted as Pakistan’s national language.
  • For the solution of the economic problems the Quaid-e-Azam instituted “The Pakistan Fund”; people contributed generously to this fund. Arrangements for the establishment of the State Bank of Pakistan were made in a record period of eleven months. On July 1, 1948 the Quaid-e-Azam inaugurated the State Bank in Karachi.
  • The Quaid-e-Azam” instituted the “Federal Court” as the first step towards the establishment of a national judicial system; this was the highest court of the country, which later came to be known as the “Supreme Court of Pakistan”.

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