Jinnah & Today’s Politics in Islamabad

The case of independence movement of Pakistan led by Jinnah and his politics is pretty much different than the situation we have now in Islamabad.

One cannot compare the past and present. But if you must, how can one forget the “Direct Action Day” that started at the end of January of 1947 and lasted for nearly five weeks. And there was not a single condemnation that came from Jinnah during the Rawalpindi riots in March of 1947 against the Sikhs by the Muslims. On the other hand on 13th Sept 1947 when the slaughter of Muslims in East Punjab was at its worst, Jinnah said: “The Sikhs have sworn to kill every Muslim in India in revenge for the killings in Rawalpindi.”

When Dawn newspaper was banned on 29th January in Punjab because of the Civil Disobedience Movement in the province by the Muslim Leaguers who were dynamic supporters of the cause of Pakistan, Jinnah was still in Karachi issuing statements in favor of Civil Disobedience and condemning the ban on Dawn.

But if you still say Jinnah was a constitutionalist, recall the event when on 10th of February 1947 the Union Jack was removed from the High Court building and Muslim League flag was hoisted instead. This was pretty much unconstitutional. In this regards the Principal of Islamia College Dr Omar Hayat and many other students were apprehended by the police. Jinnah again issued the condemnation against the arrest but nothing came out officially from Jinnah against such acts.

The point is, Jinnah never ordered or supported the communal riots nor did he order the hoisting of ML flag on High Court instead of Union Jack. But his silence in all the issues was more of an agreement with all the events rather than disagreements or neutrality; he knew that Pakistan was not possible without street politics.

If anything, the Pakistan Movement gained true success through street politics and pressure tactics.

Still, one cannot just compare the political situation of 1947 with 2014. But if one must, the brutal facts must be acknowledged.

Some people believe that Pakistan came into being by passing some bureaucratic and colonial hurdles while sipping coffees and smoking cigars in the guest houses in a time when everything was peaceful on the streets.

Jinnah was a shrewd politician. But, nonetheless, a politician, who, many a times during the Pakistan Movement, was consciously result-oriented rather than process-oriented.

Police Under Abbasids

Philip K Hitti in his book “History of the Arabs” (Page 322) referenced Al-Mawardi (Page 417, 418 and 431) regarding the role of police, that worked under the police department called “diwan al-Shurtah”, during the Abbasid caliphate.

Al Mawardi enumerates, among other interesting duties of this prefect of police, the maintenance of the recognised standards of public morality between the two sexes and the chastisement of those who dyed their grey beards black with a view to gaining the favor of the ladies.

The Punjabi-Muhajir Bureaucracy & Case of Urdu As National Language

Immediately after the death of Jinnah, all the executive powers that the government had were assumed by Liaquat Ali Khan. Liaquat Ali Khan cultivated his relationship with the bureaucracy and strengthened it during the four years of his rule. Interestingly, the better the Pakistani government was in the outset with regards to democracy and little or no influence of army over the government and the non-existence of the military-bureaucracy nexus, the bureaucracy and government accommodated abundant Urdu-speaking/Muhajirs apart from Punjabis.

The appointment of CSP Aziz Ahmed as the Chief Secretary of East Pakistan proved a turning point between the relation of East and West Pakistan. Aziz Ahmed, interestingly, was the same bureaucrat who is said to have influenced Ayub Khan to purge the Muhajirs from the bureaucracy during the late 1950’s so he could maintain a control of power over the entire bureaucratic setup. Aminullah Chaudhry in his book “Political Administrators: The Story of the Civil Service of Pakistan” writes that Aziz Ahmed may have been a competent bureaucrat but he was no where near worthy of becoming a Chief Secretary of sensitive region like East Pakistan where the general feeling was already in the air that Bengalis have been deprived of the representation in government jobs, including the civil services. A.J. Dash, a civil servant and chairman of East Pakistan Public Service Commission, delineated Aziz Ahmed as “sour, taciturn and dyspeptic; and that he seemed to suffer from some inferiority complex, perhaps he came from plebeian stock in the Punjab ….”

On the other hand, the primary polemical issue between East and West Pakistan was that of the “language”. The towering issue remained on the horizon, always and ever active and conspicuous, throughout the time leading to the independence of East Pakistan. When the central government of Pakistan opted for Urdu as a national language, the turmoil broke out in the East Pakistan which then had representation of 50% of the total population of Pakistan whereas Urdu was believed to be a language spoken by even less than the 10% of the total population of Pakistan. Inversely, the central government’s decision to set Urdu as a national language came out of the notion to promote national integrity  and truncate the gaps that existed between people belonging to different ethnicity and religion.

In March of 1948 when Jinnah visited East Pakistan in an effort to resolve the cry over the pugnacious issue of language, he addressed fervently in favor of Urdu at a massive rally at Dacca’s Paltan Maidan. He advised the youth, the students, who were in a bridgehead against the imposition of Urdu as a national language, to not get flim-flammed by the hidden forces antithetic to the ideology of Pakistan. For the time being, in a deference to Jinnah, the language movement assumed a low profile, but it never died. However, as soon as the news of the death of Jinnah came down to East Pakistan, the language movement rose its head again and not just naturally alone but on provocation of the civil bureaucracy. As Aminullah argues “the language problem was mishandled from the word go and the issues could have been assuaged by taking prudent administrative measures” where bureaucracy was part and parcel of the administrative setup. Some bureaucrats even turned up with the stand fast idea of  changing the script of Bengali from Devanagri to Persian or Arabic to grapple with the language issue in an evolutionary way. Another absolute piece of virtu that sprouted from a non-Bengali Education Secretary of East Pakistan, a CSP, F.A.Karim, was to make Arabic or Persian the national language of Pakistan instead of Urdu. Howeverm, during the 1950’s, the Basic Principles Committee Report plainly advocated the admission of Urdu as a state language. Thus the language riots became more conspicuous and bloody.

The major problem with the initial setup of Pakistan after its independence was the unbridled influence of bureaucracy over the central government in Karachi that had often led to grievous maladministration at the later stage. Both the Muhajir and Punjabi dominated bureaucracy pioneered the  most controversial decisions in nascent Pakistan at the expense of East Pakistan. The imposition of Urdu as a state language, as recommended in the Basic Principles Committee Report, was open-and-shut of the fact that the bureaucracy was sturdy enough in public policy-making and administration to predominate the entire politics of East and West Pakistan with or without the support of central government.

The Case of Darul Uloom Deoband, Pashtuns and Jihad — II

The Jihadi movements in the frontier area made the British intelligence believe that the militancy is slowly coming down to a fine art. At that time the British intelligence was unsure about the hand-in-glove cooperation between the frontier tribes and Darul Uloom Deoband,  but they did believe that the fanatics from the sub-continent were actively supporting the militancy in the frontier region against the British power.

Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madni writes again in his book  Tehreek Reshmi Rumal that we (Daruloom Deoband) would assist the frontier tribes and supply them with all the crucial information to keep them at advantage and step ahead of British. Madni further writes that the Pashtun mullas were the best men upon whom the spirit of nationalism and religion was easy to be invoked.

Interestingly, those people who did not agree with the Jihad of the frontier tribes in the frontier region saw their houses burnt down at the hands of Jihadist on account of rejecting the holy insurgency. Maulana Barkatullah, a known anti-colonialist  would ardently support such practices. While the proclamation of Jihad against the British was obtained from the Ottoman commander commander in-chief in Hejaz (present day KSA), it was noted that Obaidullah Sindhi himself wanted to become the Home Minister of India whereas Maulana Barkatullah wanted Premiership once the British were gone from the sub-continent.

At that moment, Maulana Mehmud ul Hasan sent a letter addressing all his students in frontier region, ordering them to pledge their support to Haji Turangzai in the Jihad against the British. On the otherside, Haji Turangazi went on to consult with the Afghan emir about when the final attack should be made on British. The notable Mullahs from different tribes involved in the Jihad against the British at that time were Mullah Mehmud Akhunzada, Mullah Abdul Halim and Mullah Sayed Akbar from Afridi tribe; Mullah Babra in Bajur; Mullah Sandaki in Swat; and Mullah Chaknawar and Haji Turangzai in Mohmand. All these Mullahs were fearsome and resolute against the British colonials. They, and other Mullahs, were responsible for mobilising and organising the Mujahids in Mehsud, Mohmand and other upper Kohisatni tribes of Pashtuns.

Thousands of Rupees, tens of horses and hundreds of rifles were provided to the frontiner Mujahideens from the Darul Uloom Deoband to fight against the British; on the other hands, thousnads of Kabuli Rupees and other material support were provided to the Mujahideen from Afghanistan. At every moment the Darul Uloom Deoband kept on providing motivational support to the Mujahjideen in frontiner region who were now almost up in arms against the British and ready to wage a massive Jihad against them any moment.

In the meanwhile, when the frontier tribes gained material strength against the British, Obaidullah Sindhi, including other Ulemas from Darul Uloom Deoband, travelled to Afghanistan with the objective of securing more financial and material support from Afghanistan Emir and mobilise the Afghan youth to fight for Turkey against the British.

During the year 1916, the top echelon of Mujahideen devised a plan against the British — both in sub-continent and Turkey — which was supposed to be presented to the Ottoman vizir. All hell broke loose on the Jihadi movement when the letters that contained all the plans against the British and were sent to Ottomans were intercepted by the CID. Those letters were written on silk in order to avoid the eyes of British intelligence. This was how this whole moment later came to be known as “Tehreek-e-Reshmi Rumal”.

After the letters on silk were caught by the British, many of the people were charged by the British for treason. They included Mullahs from Darul Uloom Deoband; Maulana Madhni, Mehmud and Maulana Mohammad were transported to prison camp in Malta by the orders of British colonialist on account of high treason.

Despite after that, the frontier tribes maintained strong links with the Darul Uloom Deoband and kept sending their kids to study there. This connection between the frontier tribes and the Deobands can still be found today, and which seems to be as strong today as it was then; or perhaps have grown more stronger with the passage of time.

An Analysis Of The Different Theories Of The Origins Of Pashtoons, by Dr Hanif Khalil & Javed Iqbal

An Analysis of the different theories of the origins of Pashtoons, by Dr Hanif Khalil & Javed Iqbal

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