Short history of pakistan independence (1900-1947)

(Ehsan ur rehman, faisalabad)

Short history of events occurred after 1947 in Pakistan:
Partition Of Bengal (1905):

Partition of Bengal is an important event that gave impetus to the Muslim Political movement in India.
In 1905, the province of Bengal was divided into two parts by the Viceroy of India Lord Curzen due to administrative issues. Muslims were very happy on the partition as this had enabled them to promote their life conditions but Hindus retaliated furiously saying it the division of motherland. The Congress joined the anti-partition movement.They started widespread agitation, violence and boycott of foreign goods.

The Simla Deputation (1906):
A delegation consisting of thirty five Muslims leaders called on the Viceroy Lord Minto at Simla in October 1906.They briefed him about the demands of Muslims of India. The Viceroy’s attitude was very encouraging and promised to take those demands up with the British government.
The salient points of Simla Deputation were:
_ Separate electorate
_ Reservations of Muslims seats in government jobs.
_ Special share in Municipal or district boards University senates and
_ Muslim representation in Viceroy Executive Council.
_ Muslim University at Aligarh
Formation of All India Muslim League (1906):
On 30th December 1906, the annual meeting of Muslim Educational Conference was held at the residence of Nawab Salim Ullah Khan of Dhaka. Prominent Muslim leaders from all over India attended the meeting. The All India Muslim was, thus, founded on 30th December 1906.
A provisional committee was set up for drafting its manifesto. The central office of the League was set up at Aligarh and the Agha Khan was voted its first president. Eminent Muslim scholar Sayed Ameer Ali launched the London branch of Muslim League in 1908 with a special purpose to “bring the Muslims, as far as possible, into touch with the leaders of thought in England.”
Aims & Objectives of the Muslim League:
At the time of its formation the main objectives of Muslim League were:
1. Protection and promotion of political rights and interests of the Muslims.
2. Cooperation with other communities without prejudice to the above goal.
3. Fostering sense of loyalty, among the Muslims, towards the government.

Annulment of Partition of Bengal (1911):
In 1911 the British government announced the annulment of partition of Bengal. This was done due to strong protest by Hindus.
The Annulment came as a serious blow to Muslims. The Muslims came to realize that they could neither Hindus nor the Britishers for the protection of rights of Muslims.
Quaid Joined Muslim League (1913):
Quaid-e-Azam who was up till that time a member of Indian National Congress joined Muslim League in 1913.
As a member of India’s two most influential political parties Quaid-e-Azam started to work with a renewed determination for his long cherished objective of Hindu Muslim unity.

First World War (1914-1918): In 1914 the First World War started. The Britishers and her allies fought against Turkey. The Khalifah of turkey was greatly respected by the Indian Muslims as the centre of global fraternity and the leader of Muslim Ummah.
The Indian Muslims observed all these developments very keenly. They were depressed over the plight of their Muslim brethren and infuriated against the British rulers.

Lucknow Pact (1916):
The Muslim League and Congress held their joint sessions in Lucknow on December 1916.
A pact was signed by Muslims and Hindus known as LUCKNOW PACT. It was decided that both Muslim League and Congress would submit a jointly agreed scheme of constitutional reforms to the government and impress upon the government to incorporate this scheme in any future constitution of India.
In this Pact, for the first time, Congress accepted the Muslim demand of separate electorate. Muslims had certain reservations regarding the scheme but they were generally happy because Congress had conceded to the basic Muslim demands. Quaid-e-Azam was the chief architect of the Lucknow Pact.
It was at this occasion that Mrs.Sarojini Naidu, an eminent Indian Leader, gave Jinnah the title of the “Ambassador of Hindu Muslim Unity”.
Role of the Quaid-i-Azam:

Jinnah did a lot to unite the two nations along with the recognition of the rights of Muslims.Meeting of both parties held at Lucknow in 1916. The constitutional proposals were approved:
1. One Third seats for Muslims in the Imperial Legislative Council.
2. Separate Electorate
3. Half members of the Executive Council to be elected by the Imperial
Legislative Council.
4. Commissioned ranks of the army for Indians.
5. Expansion of Provincial Legislative Councils.
6. Half members of the Governor’s Executive Council be elected by
Provincial Legislative Council
7. Weightage to minorities in provinces.

Gains from Muslim Point-of-view:

1. Separate Electorate
2. One Third Muslim seats in Central Legislature.
3. Unofficial bill, if opposed by three-fourth members of a community, it will
not be passed.

August 20, 1917 Announcement by British Government:

Secretary of State Montagu promised for:
1. Greater association of Indian in all branches of government.
2. Responsible government
3. Induction of Indians in the commissioned ranks.

Lucknow Pact betrayed by the Congress:
The spirit of Lucknow Pact however did not last long.Th friendly atmosphere created by the Pact soon waned out and an extremist Hindu element soon took over Congress.
The Khilafat Movement:

The Khilafat movement was a religio-political movement launched by the Muslims of British India for the retention of the Ottoman Caliphate and for not handing over the control of Muslim holy places to non-Muslims. Turkey sided with Germany in World War 1. As it began to lose the war,concerns were expressed in India about the future of Turkey. It was a peak period from 1919 to 1922 casting demonstrations, boycott, and other pressure by the two major communities, the Hindus and the Muslims. Being brothers, the Indian Muslims realized their religious duty to help the Muslim country.
Main Points of khilafat movement:
1. Ottoman Khilafat should be kept intact.
2. Territorial solidarity of Turkey be preserved.
3. Control of holy the places should not be given to non-Muslims.
Rowlett Act, 1919:

Rowlett Act was a black law introduced in India. To the law, the government got authority to persecute any Indian and the arrested had no facility of legal assistance and right to appeal just as the ‘Lettres de Cachet’ in France before the French Revolution. Jinnah resigned from the central legislature as a protest.

Jallianwala Bagh Incident, April 1919:

The people gathered in Jallianwala Bagh at Amritsar but General Dyer opened fire to disperse the throng that cast a huge human casualties (379). It is considered one of the great tragedies in India. In 1940, by killing Governor Punjab, Sir Michaal O’ Dayer, ‘Ram Muhammad Singh Azad’ got revenge of the Indian massacre.
The Nagpur Session of the Congress (Dec. 1920) approved non-cooperation with Government but Jinnah opposed and left the Congress because he was against the use of extra-constitutional means of protests.


The Khilafat movement brought Hindu-Muslim communities to cooperation. The leaders made the efforts to revive harmony for preparing constitutional proposals.
1: Delhi Muslim Proposals: March 1927
Important Muslim leaders on the initiative of the Quaid met in Delhi to discuss constitutional and political issues. The major demands were:
_ Punjab and Bengal: statuary Muslim majorities
_ No Weightage in provinces
_ Sind to be separated from Bombay
_ Constitutional Reforms in NWFP
_ One-third seats for Muslims in Central Legislature
_ On communal issues, no law will be passed if three-fourth members of the
concerned community oppose it.
The Nehru Report (1928):
The Congress leader in the beginning welcomed the Lucknow Pact but after sometime the extremist Hindu attitude again dominated and the proposals were ultimately rejected by the Hindu leaders.A committee presided over by Nehru framed new Hindu proposals into a report .
The Nehru Report was published in August 1929.
Quaid-e-Azam’s Forteen Points (1929):
In reply of Nehru Report Quaid-e-Azam gave his fourteen points.In a meeting of Muslim League in 1929 in Dehli ,he gave fourteen point formula which he declared should form the basis of the future constitution of India.He warned that the Muslims will not accept any constitutional formula if these minimum demands were not incorporated in it.
ALLAMA IQBAL’s Presidential Address December 1930:

Dr Allama Muhammad Iqbal ranks amongst the Muslim intellectuals who left a deep impact on history. He inspired Muslims of the Sub-Continent and beyond. He infused a moving spirit and identity in the Indian Muslims. He presented a framework of their political future and talked how that would help to achieve the goal of Ummah. He presented a vision and dream in his Allahabad
Round Table Conference (1930-1932):
As the Muslim league and Congress rejected Simon Proposals , the British government decided to invite Indian leadersfor a discussion on the future constitution of India.Three sessions of this meeting were held.
• First Round Table Conference (November 1930 to January 1931)
• Second Round Table Conference (September 1931 to December 1931)
• Third Round Table Conference (November 1932 to December 1932)
Muslims were represented by Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal among many other eminent Muslim leader. All Muslim demand sincluding separate electorate were opposed by Hindus.
After the Second Round Table Conference the findings and recommendations of the British government were formulated inta a “Communal Award” and were announced on August 1932.
The Communal Award, August 1932:
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald announced the Communal Award:
1. Separate electorate for all minorities of India.
2. Weightage to minorities
3. No Muslim majorities in Punjab and Bengal as was followed in Lucknow Pact
4. One third representation for Muslims in Central legislature
5. One fourth representation for Muslims in services
6. Sind to be made a province
Poona Pact, September 1932:

The Congress expressed strong reaction against the right of separate electorate to the Indian minorities, especially to low caste Hindus whom Gandhi named Harijan (sons of God).
Dissonance in Gandhi is conspicuous that he observed fast unto death on the right to the ‘sons of God.’ An agreement with low caste to surrender the separate electorate right was concluded to save Gandhi’s life.

Government of India Act 1935:
In the light of Communal Award the British government framed a constitutional bill and got it passed by the Parliament in February 1935. The Act titled the Government of India Act had two parts. The most important thing about the Act was that it had a federal character. Indian provinces were given a reasonable amount of autonomy. The Act came into force in April 1937.
Elections (1937):
The elections of 1937 were held with the restricted franchise and separate electorate. The Congress projected itself as an all-India force representing all religions and factions of the society. The Muslim League contested for the Muslim seats. There was a tough competition from the other Muslim organizations. The elections were completed in February 1937. The Congress got majorities in five provinces, Madras, U.P., C.P., Bihar, and Orissa. It emerged as the largest
party in Bombay and won 704 out of 1585 general seats.The Muslim League performed poorly in the elections and got only about 21 percent of Muslim
seats without winning majority anywhere, Bengal, Punjab, NWFP, and Sind. It was mostly due to the organizational problems and opposition by local Muslim groups.

Formation of Provincial Governments:

In July 1937, Congress formed governments in 6 provinces. In NWFP, Khudai Khidmatgar and
Congress formed a coalition government. In the Muslim majority provinces, the Muslim League
could not form the governments. The Muslim League desired to be in government in the U.P. but
the Congress consented to a conditional support:
1. Dissolve AIML Parliamentary Board
2. AIML members not to function as a separate group
3. AIML members to express allegiance to the Congress
Definitely the above-mentioned terms were a device to subvert the existence of the Muslim
League. Therefore, no agreement was possible on this issue.
Congress Raj (1937-1939):
The Congress ruled badly. The period was marked with political corruption and high handedness of the party over the government. Muslim students were offered no opportunity to learn about their own history, culture and religion. Muslims said it was a well calculated and pre planned conspiracy meant to destroy their national identity. In addition to all this, at certain places oppressive measures were adopted against large Muslim communities.

Second World War (1939-1945):
Second World was started from 1939 and lasted till 1945.It involved nations, including all of the powers, eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. It was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people, from over 30 different countries, serving in military units. Britain also took part in Second World War.
Resignation of Congress Ministries (1939):

Viceroy declared India at war with Germany on September 3, 1939. The Congress objected strongly to the declaration of war without prior consultation with Indians. The Congress Working Committee suggested that it would cooperate if there were a central Indian national government formed, and a commitment made to India's independence after the war.
Viceroy refused the demands of the Congress. On October 22nd 1939, it called upon all Congress ministries to tender their resignations. Both Viceroy and Muhammad Ali Jinnah were pleased with the resignations. On December 2, 1939, Jinnah put out an appeal, calling for Indian Muslims to celebrate December 22, 1939 as a "Day of Deliverance" from Congress.

The Lahore Resolution (1940):
The Muslim League held its annual session at Lahore on 22-24 March 1940. The Lahore Resolution was moved by Maulvi Fazlul Haq and seconded by Ch. Khaliquzzaman that finally approved on March 24, 1940. Jinnah rightly expressed his valuable remarks about the political circumstances of India and the Muslims stand. He said: “Indian problem is not communal but international. No Constitution can work without recognizing this reality. Muslims of India will not accept a constitution that establishes a government of the Hindu majority on them. If Hindus and Muslims are placed under one democratic system, this would mean Hindu Raj.”
Later Developments:

The World War II started in 1939 that required heavily men powered battlefield. The British who always believe in bargaining announced an offer in August 1940 with following main poits:

1. Expansion of the Viceroy’s Executive Coucil and the setting up of National Defence Council
2. Special importance to the views of minorities in the revision of the constitution.
3. Power could not be transferred under a system that will not be acceptable to large and powerful minorities in India.
4. Dominion Status: the ultimate goal
5. Cooperation of Indians for the war
Congress rejected it and started Non-Cooperation movement 1940-41. Lahore Resolution remained the ultimate goal for the Muslim Leagues.

The Cripps Proposals (1942):
The Cripps mission was an attempt in late March 1942 by the British government to secure full Indian cooperation and support for their efforts in World War II. The mission was headed by Sir Stafford Cripps. Cripps was sent to negotiate an agreement with the nationalist leaders Gandhi speaking for the Hindus and Muhammad Ali Jinnah for the Muslims, that would keep India loyal to the British war effort in exchange for a promise of full self-government after the war. Cripps discussed the proposals with the Indian leaders and published them. Both the major parties, the Congress and the League rejected his proposals and the mission proved a failure.
QUIT INDIA Movement (1942):
QUIT INDIA movement was a civil disobedience movement launched in India in August 1942 in response to Mohandas Gandhi's call for independence. The Congress Committee proclaimed a mass protest demanding what Gandhi called "an orderly British withdrawal" from India.The British were prepared to act. Almost the entire Congress leadership, and not just at the national level, was imprisoned without trial within hours after Gandhi's speech—at least 60,000 people. Most spent the rest of the war in prison and out of contact with the masses. The British had the support of the Viceroy's Council (which had a majority of Indians), of the Muslims, the Communist Party, the princely states, the Imperial and state police, the Indian Army, and the Indian Civil Service. The British refused to grant immediate independence, saying it could happen only after the war ended.
QUIT INDIA movement failed because of heavy-handed suppression, weak coordination and the lack of a clear-cut program of action. However, the British government realized that India was ungovernable in the long run.
Jinnah/Ghandhi Talks (1944):
The Gandhi-Jinnah talks began in Bombay on September 19, 1944, and lasted till the 24th of the month. The talks were held directly and via correspondence. On July 17, 1944, Gandhi wrote a letter to Quaid-e-Azam in which he expressed his desire to meet him and hold talks with him on the question of Muslim demands and the future political system which was to be established in India after impending British departure. Unfortunately these negotiations ended without agreement. Jinnah failed to convince Ghandi that Muslims were a separate nation and that the Muslim demand for separate homeland was based on “the right of self-determination as a nation and not as a territorial unit” .Ghandi insisted that the Muslim League should join hands with the Congress unconditionally in its struggle for independence against British. Jinnah argued that the problem of Muslims independent homeland should be decided before British leave India. Jinnah Ghandi talks ended in failure.
The Wavell Plan and Simla Conference (1945):
The Simla Conference was a 1945 meeting between Viceroy Wavell and the major political leaders of India at Simla. Convened to agree on and approve the Wavell Plan for Indian self-government, it reached a potential agreement for the self-rule of India that provided separate representation to Muslims and reduced majority powers for both communities in their majority regions.
Quaid-i-Azam represented Muslim League and Congress nominated Maulana Abul Kalam Azad as its representative. The objective of sending Maulana Azad was to give the message to the world that Congress also represented the Muslims. Talks stalled, however, on the issue of selection of Muslim representatives. Seeking to assert itself and its claim to be the sole representative of Indian Muslims, Muslim League and its leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah refused to back any plan in which the Indian National Congress, the dominant party in the talks, appointed Muslim representatives. This scuttled the conference, and perhaps the last viable opportunity for a united, independent India. Thus Wavell plan and Simla Conference broke in failure.
Elections (1946):
The ML’s stand was very clear i.e. the ML is a sole representative of Muslims and Pakistan is its ultimate goal. The ML launched the massive campaign for these destinations. The Islamic slogans became massively popular. In this way, the struggle for the establishment of Pakistan was motivated on the basis of Islam. The role of students was also prominent during the political drive. On the other hand, the Congress put the slogan of independence from British in the shape
of undivided India before the Hindu nation. They proclaimed that their stand was for all the Indian communities.
In December 1945 the elections of Central Legislature were held and the ML won all 30 Muslim seats. The Congress won 57 seats.

Provincial Elections: February 1946:

In the provincial elections, the ML won most of the Muslim seats:
1. Punjab: 79 out of 86 Muslim seats
2. Bengal 113 out of 119 Muslim seats
3. Sindh 28 out of 35 Muslim seats
4. NWFP 17 out of 38 Muslim seats
The ML also showed an impressive performance in the Muslim minority provinces. The ML formed its ministry in Sind, Khudai Khidmatgar (Dr. Khan) in NWFP, coalition government by ML in Bengal, and Unionist (20), Akalis and the Congress in Punjab (Khizr Hayat Tiwana).
The Cabinet Mission (1946):
In March 1946, the British government sent three senior members of the British Cabinet as a last attempt to preserve the unity of Indian federation.The Mission was entrusted with the difficult task of bringing about reconciliation between the Congress and Muslim League. Members of the Mission discussed matters with high ranking Congress and Muslim Leaders.
Offers made by the Mission members to the leaders of the two majority parties were turned down one after the other. In May 1946, the Cabinet Mission announced its plan with the assertion that the proposals were final and could not be amended or negotiated upon. The two major Indian political parties were free to accept or reject the Plan as a whole.
The Third June Plan (1947):
The British Parliament made a statement in the Parliament declaring that India will be given independence by 20th February 1948.Viceroy Wavell was replaced with Mountbatten. The new viceroy landed on Indian soil on March 22nd 1947. He was entrusted with a mission to make a peaceful transfer of power from the British to the Indian hands. A plan was finalized in the Governor’s Conference in April 1947, and was then sent to Britain in May where the British Government approved it
Mountbatten came back from London on May 31, and on June 2 met seven Indian leaders. These were Nehru, Patel, Kriplalani, Quaid-e-Azam, Liaquat, Nishtar and Baldev Singh. After these leaders approved the plan, Mountbatten discussed it with Gandhi and convinced him that it was the best plan under the circumstances. The plan was made public on June 3, and is thus known as the June 3rd Plan.
The following were the main clauses of this Plan:
• The British will not impose a constitution but the Constituent Assembly will frame a constitution.
• The constitution will not be imposed on the areas that do not accept it. Opinion will be
• sought from them if they want to set up a separate CA (Constituent Assembly).
• Punjab & Bengal Assemblies will meet in two parts, members from Muslim majority
• areas and other districts separately to decide if the province be partitioned.
• If any part decides for partition, each group will decide which CA they wish to join.
• Sind Assembly will decide about joining either side.
• Referendum in NWFP
• Balochistan: appropriate method
• Boundary Commission for Punjab and Bengal
• Princely states to decide for themselves keeping in view their geographical contiguity.

Indian Independence Act (1947):

The British government passed the Indian Independence Act on July 15th 1947. The Act reaffirmed the principles envisaged in the Third June Plan. Mountbatten appointed a Boundary Commission headed by Cyril Radcliff for demarcation of boundaries in the Punjab and Bengal. The Boundary Award was completed and submitted to the Viceroy on 10th August and announced on 17th August ,three days after the creation of Pakistan. Lord Mountbatten made substantial changes to the Award and deprived Pakistan of certain Muslim majority areas in the provinces of Punjab and Bengal
Formation of Pakistan (14th August 1947):
Bengal and the Punjab assemblies voted for the partition of their respective provinces. Sindh Assembly and Balochistan Jirga decided to opt for Pakistan. A referendum was held in the North West Frontier Province from 6th to 17th of July. Majority of the voters were reported to have voted in favor of Pakistan.
Mountbatten flew to Karchi to transfer power to the newly created state of Pakistan on 14th August 1947. Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was sworn in as the first Governor General of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan took over as the first Prime Minister. Territory of the state of Pakistan was divided into two parts. These two parts known as East Pakistan and West Pakistan, were separated from each other by nearly one thousand kilometers of Indian Land.


Ehsan ur rehman
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