Who broke Pakistan? – by Hamid Mir


The grandson of late Bengali leader Abul Hashim wrote me a letter about my last article on Lahore Resolution published in this newspaper on March 23. Abul Hashim was the Secretary General of Muslim League in United Bengal before the partition of India. I wrote in my article that Abul Hashim and Hussain Shaheed Suharwardi tried to stop the division of Bengal with the help of a Hindu leader Sarat Chandra Bose in 1947 but they were failed and the division of Bengal was a violation of Lahore Resolution. I also wrote that Pakistan was created through a political struggle but after the death of Muhammad Ali Jinnah some military dictators destroyed the democratic institutions in the newly born state and that was why the majority of Bengalis turned against Pakistan.

Mr Ibrahim Khan, grandson of Abul Hashim in a mail sent to me from Dhaka endorsed my position and wrote that “the utter failure of the Pakistani rulers in terms of political knowledge, patriotism and respect for democracy shattered the hopes and aspirations of the new-born nation. Only the Lahore Resolution could have made the Pakistan a state where the Muslims as well as the non-Muslims would enjoy the freedom of their individual national culture and religious practice.”

I have received lot of other mails not only from Bangladesh but also from different cities of Pakistan. It was a great surprise that most of the Bangladeshis and Pakistanis now agree that Lahore Resolution was not implemented properly, pro-American military dictators mistreated Bengalis and that was the reason for the division of Pakistan. Only one reader declared me a traitor and I was mentally prepared for that allegation. Many readers want some more information about the efforts for the creation of a United Bengal by some Muslim Leaguers who had support from Jinnah. Some students asked me who was actually responsible for the breakup of Pakistan? They asked me this question because there is no answer in their textbooks.

It is a historical fact that Bengali leaders of Muslim League and some Hindu elders of Congress tried their level best to stop the division of Bengal between March 1947 and June 1947. Congress President Acharia Kripalani was demanding the division of Bengal. It’s a historical fact that Bengali leaders of Muslim League and Congress formed a six-member committee to stop the division of their province. This committee included Suharwardi, Abul Hashim and Khawaja Nazimuddin from Muslim League and Sarat Chandra Bose, Kiran Shankar Roy and Satya Ranjan Bakshi from Congress. This committee contacted both Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi and started their efforts after getting the blessing from both of them on May 12, 1947. This six-member committee reached an agreement for the creation of a united Bengal state within one week.

Sarat Chandra Bose informed Gandhi about this agreement by a letter written to him on May 23, 1947, but surprisingly Gandhi changed his position. He responded back to Bose in a letter on June 8, 1947, that Pandit Nehru and Sardar Patel are opposing your scheme. In retaliation Sarat Chandra Bose tried to win the support of other Congress leaders by saying that only Brahmins were supporting the division of Bengal not low caste Hindus. He reminded the mistreatment given to his late elder brother Subhash Chandra Bose by Brahmin leaders of Congress, who was thrown out of the Congress. Abul Hashim successfully won the support of Communist Party for United Bengal. Jinnah continued also his support for the United Bengal because he also wanted to stop the division of Punjab. Ultimately all these efforts to stop the division of Bengal failed because Lord Mountbatten was on Nehru’s side.

Division of Bengal was a big blow to the Bengalis. They were 56 percent of Pakistan even after the division of Bengal. They would have been more than 65 percent of Pakistan in case of a United Bengal. Developed and industrial cities like Calcutta became part of India and most of the areas in eastern part of Bengal were poor and under-developed. It was easy for military dictators like General Ayub Khan to exploit both East and West Pakistan by using military power. Media was very weak at that time and common man in the West Pakistan was not aware about the feelings of East Pakistan. If anybody today wants to know the historical truth about the disintegration of Pakistan he must read the book of a retired chief justice of Pakistan, Muhammad Munir From Jinnah to Zia. Justice Munir was the law minister of Ayub Khan.

He wrote on page 92 of his bookL “When I joined Ayub’s cabinet in 1962 I found that no constructive work was being done by the Assembly. Everyday was spent in listening the long speeches of Bengali members about exploitation and about the step-motherly attitude of West Pakistan. Ayub used to listen to these speeches and was bored. I spoke to Ayub and suggested that there could be no fusion or common goal between the two provinces and asked him whether it would not be better that instead of putting up with nonsense, we must ask East Pakistan to take their affairs in their own hands. He suggested to me that I should talk about it to some influential Bengali leader. One day I spoke to a Bengali minister from East Pakistan, Ramizuddin. He asked me whether I was suggesting secession. I said yes or something like it as confederation or more autonomy. He said we are the majority province and it is for the minority province to secede because we are Pakistan.”

This book was published in 1979 in Pakistan but General Zia-ul-Haq banned the book. I still have a copy of this banned book. This book is evidence that a military dictator actually tried to break Pakistan in 1962 through his law minister but Bengalis refused to break Pakistan. Bengalis were forced to take up arms against Pakistan when another military dictator General Yahya Khan tried to silence their voice by tanks and guns in 1971. Military dictators, their crony judges like Justice Munir and some corrupt politicians of West Pakistan broke Pakistan, not Bengalis. We must learn lesson from history. March 26 is the independence day of Bangladesh. Military takeovers were always bad for Pakistan as well as for Bangladesh. May Allah save these two nations from the military dictators forever in the future.

The writer works for Geo TV. Email: hamid.mir@geo.tv

Thursday, March 26, 2009 (The News)




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