Services of Liaquat Ali Khan for the Muslims of the Sub-continent

Services of Liaquat Ali Khan for the Muslims of the Sub-continent

Liaquat Ali Khan (1895-1951) was a barrister by profession; he joined the All India Muslim League in 1923. After that time he devoted his entire life for the well being of the Indian Muslims. He was elected general secretary of the All India Muslim League in 1936 and a member of the Central Legislative Assembly in 1945.

Services of Liaquat Ali Khan for the Muslims of the Sub-continent

He was appointed finance minister in the interim government formed by Lord Wavell in October 1946. The budget given by him broke the back of Hindu money lenders and industrialists who contributed exorbitant amounts to the Congress fund and the Congress in turn protected their interests.

Liaquat Ali Khan’s budget was welcomed by the oppressed classes for being a “poor man’s budget”. Due to his sincere and tireless efforts for the cause of the Muslim nation he was able to gain the confidence of the Quaid-e-Azam. He was called the Quaid’s right hand. Liaquat Ali Khan became the first prime minister of Pakistan after independence; he held this position till he was assassinated in a public meeting (jalsa) Rawalpindi.

Liaquat Ali Khan always stood side by side with the Quaid-e-Azam” and rendered unforgettable services for the cause of the nation. The Objectives Resolution passed by the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan in 1949 was such a great initiative for which Liaquat Ali Khan will be remembered forever in the history of Pakistan. In 1950 he presented the outlines of the proposed constitution of Pakistan in the form of Basic Principles Committee Report. The report, however, could not materialize due to later developments.

Accession of States and Tribal Areas

The areas captured by the British and brought under the direct control of the British Crown were called “British India”. India at that time was divided into a large number of small and large states. There were many Indian rulers who did not offer resistance to the British advance; they rather decided to remain loyal to the British. The British in turn allowed them to continue ruling their states provided they rendered full support to the British Raj.

A British officer called “Resident” served as a link between the British government and the local ruler in each state. He made sure that the British policies were carried out by the ruler. (The local rulers held the titles of Rajas, Maharajas, Mirs, Nawwabs, Mehtars and Nizam etc). At the time of independence these princely states were 635 in number.

Apart from British India and the princely states, in certain areas on the north western boundaries of India and in Baluchistan, centuries old laws prevailed and old judicial practices were followed. These areas were never made a part of the British India. A British officer having the rank of “Political Agent” served as a link between the local tribal administration and the British government.

These tribal areas were located on the border of Baluchistan and the NWFP (North Western Frontier Province, now renamed as the Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa- KP). Ninety nine percent of the population of this area was Muslim; they became a part of Pakistan as a result of Indian partition in 1947.

Muslim and Non-Muslim members of the provincial assemblies of the provinces sat in separate session and decided whether they wanted the division of their respective province or not and wanted their province to join the Indian Federation or Pakistan. The non-Muslim members of the Punjab and Bengal assemblies voted for the division of their respective provinces, so the provinces were divided on the basis of Muslim and non-Muslim population. The Sind Assembly members opted for Pakistan.

The NWFP was being ruled by a pro-Congress government at that time but the people of the province had expressed their no- confidence on the government by staging protests and taking out procession, and there were sound reasons to believe that the assembly had lost its mandate to rule. In these circumstances the government decided to calls a referendum in the province. Majority of the people decided in favour of Pakistan. Baluchistan had still not attained the status of a province.

A Jirga of the tribal chiefs decided that the representative of the province will sit in the legislative assembly of Pakistan. India flouted the efforts of the southern states of Junagadh and Manawadar to accede to Pakistan and captured the states through military action. Hyderabad met the same fate. Hyderabad was a Hindu majority state but its Muslim ruler, who had the title of Nizam, wanted his state to join Pakistan.

Kashmir was the largest Muslim princely state in India but it was ruled by a Hindu Maharaja. Afraid of the mass scale unrest in the state, the Maharaja of Kashmir had taken refuge with the Indian government. Taking advantage of the situation, the Indians staged the drama as if the Maharaja had signed a deed of Kashmir’s accession with India. After this the Indian forces entered into the state of Jammu and Kashmir and occupied a large part of it.

The princely states located within the Pakistan territory maintained their independent position for sometime but became part of Pakistan one after the other. With the efforts of the Quaid-e-Azam’s ten states had acceded to Pakistan by April 1948.

The states that did not accede to Pakistan in the early days were Dir, Sawat Chitral and Hunza located in the area adjoining the NWFP (now KP), Bahawalpur located on the borders of the Punjab and Sind and Kalat, Kharan, Lasbela and Makran in the Baluchistan area. In 1970 all states were dissolved and amalgamated into the neighboring provinces.

Constitution Making in Pakistan

Constitution and its Significance: Constitution is a state’s fundamental law, which stipulates rules and regulation regarding different organs of the state. All states have three basic organs; legislature, executive and judiciary. A constitution determines the composition and mutual relationship of these organs as well as the nature of citizens’ relationship with the organs of the state.

Constitutional Evolution (a brief survey)

After adopting the Objectives Resolution the Constituent Assembly formed a committee to frame guiding principles of the future constitution in the light of the resolution. The constitution makers had to face many practical problems. The greatest difficulty was posed by the geographical position of the country. About 1600 Km Indian territory separated the East Pakistan from the West.

Services of Liaquat Ali Khan for the Muslims of the Sub-continent

Confidence between the two wings of the country had started shaking in very early days after partition. The western wing had four provinces but the total population of these four provinces was less than the single province of East Pakistan. The East Pakistan demanded representation on the basis of population, but the four provinces of the West Pakistan insisted that the powers and resources should be distributed between the two wings on the basis of parity. Equal status of East and West Pakistan.

The political instability created due to the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan created further hindrances in the way of constitution making. Differences between the Governor General and the Assembly developed in October 1954. Governor General Ghulam Muhammad dismissed the Assembly under the charges of incompetence and corruption.

The speaker of the Assembly Molvi Tameez-ud-Din challenged the Governor General’s order in Sind High Court. The Sind High Court Full Bench agreed with the speaker’s contention and declared Governor’s order unconstitutional and null and void. The federal government challenged the High Court decision in the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The Supreme Court upheld Governor General’s decision and decided that the Constituent the state of Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947.

In order to run the state in accordance with the will of its citizens and in order to determine the rights and duties of the citizens of the state, a constitution was urgently required. Obviously a constitution could not be framed in one day. The government of India, before partition, was being run under a constitutional statute called “The Government of India Act 1935”. After the creation of Pakistan, certain amendments were made in this act and it was adopted as the temporary constitution of Pakistan.

The Quaid-e-Azam” wanted the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan to frame the permanent constitution of Pakistan in very short time. The Quaid was not only the governor general of Pakistan; he also held the office of the elected president of the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan.

We have already studied in the first chapter that the founders of Pakistan had high moral and spiritual ideals in their minds and they wanted the constitution of Pakistan to be a reflection of these ideals. They also wanted Pakistan’s constitution to reflect the true Islamic spirit. The Quaid-e-Azam” did not live to see his dreams actualized; he died on September 11, 1948.

The Objectives Resolution (1949):

In March 1949, the Constituent Assembly adopted the guiding principles for the future constitution of Pakistan. The principles were framed into a document, known as the Objectives Resolution. The resolution was passed by the Constituent Assembly on March 12, 1949. Following are the salient features of the Objectives Resolution:

  • Sovereignty of the universe belongs to Allah Almighty alone.
  • The state will exercise its powers through the elected representatives of the people.
  • The principles of democracy, liberty, tolerance and social justice will be upheld.
  • The state will enable the citizens of Pakistan to shape their lives according to the principles laid down by Quran and Sunnah.
  • Fundamental Rights of the non-Muslims shall be protected; non-Muslim citizens shall be free to act according their religion and culture.
  • Fundamental Rights of the common citizens shall be safeguarded, independence of judiciary shall be ensured.

By adopting the Objectives Resolution the Constituent Assembly discharged its paramount duty of setting standards for the fundamental character of the state of Pakistan.

The 1956 Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan

After the approval of the Governor General the Constitution was promulgated on March 23, 1956. Following are the salient features of the constitution:

  • The State of Pakistan was for the first time declared to be the “Islamic Republic of Pakistan”
  • The constitution was moderately flexible and had the quality of adjusting itself to the changing circumstances.
  • “Guiding principles of State Policy” were made part of the constitution. Safeguards were provided for the citizens of Pakistan.
  • Federal system of government was established. The federation consisted of one Federal and two provincial governments; one in the east and the other in the West Pakistan. Federal government enjoyed vast powers.
  • The British parliamentary system was adopted with necessary adjustments. Prime minister was the head of federal executive, the National Assembly elected the prime minister. Provincial executive heads were called chief ministers, who were elected by the respective provincial assemblies.
  • Unicameral Legislature was established, both the provinces were represented on the basis of parity in the federal legislature.
  • This was a Republic type of constitution. The head of the state, who was called President was elected by the National Assembly and the two provincial assemblies.
  • Every Pakistani citizen who had attained the age of 21 was eligible to vote.
  • The president could dissolve assemblies in the states of emergency.

Islamic Provisions (1956 Constitution)

  1. Only a Muslim could be elected president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
  2. Under the Principles of Policy the state of Pakistan was duty bound to create conditions under which the citizens of Pakistan would be enabled to shape their lives according to the injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah.
  3. Islamic education was made compulsory, (organization of Zakat, Auqaf and Masajid was made the responsibility of the state.
  4. Adultery, gambling, use of narcotic drugs and drinking of wine was prohibited.
  5. Provision was made for the establishment of an institute of Islamic Learning and Research.
  6. It was the responsibility of the state to take care that no law repugnant to the spirit of Islam is passed and promulgated.
  7. It was undertaken that all existing laws shall be amended in accordance with the Islamic spirit. A commission, established under this constitution, shall frame proposals to amend all the present piece of the legislation in the light of Islamic injunctions.

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