Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Lahore Resolution

Pravin Pania has some interesting claims about the Lahore Resolution.  He says that the Resolution as passed, intended:
Sovereignty First.  Then, Perhaps, Confederacy.

However, the Resolution, as interpreted by Jinnah's Muslim League (which expelled Fazlul Haq, whom Pania names as the author of the resolution) was:

Confederacy First.  Then, Perhaps, Sovereignty

After the removal of Fazlul Haq, Muslim League leadership was determined to undo the sentiments of the Lahore Resolution.  It continued with plans for the creation of a state of Pakistan, and in the process, also won favor with the British policy of 'divide and rule'. However, the Lahore Resolution stood tall and firm on its own account record, and refused to disappear. 
Pakistan promoters were thus left with only two alternatives: to either pass another resolution that clearly sets forth a state of Pakistan, or amend the Lahore Resolution.  The main difficulty, however, was that both alternatives required approval of the full session of the Muslim League, and Jinnah was still unsure of the level of support to be received from Muslim majority provinces.  As a result, Muslim League leadership embarked on a highly dubious means of amending the Lahore Resolution in smaller and unrepresentative bodies, thus foregoing the need for full session approval.  
At a much smaller Legislators' Convention held in Delhi in April 1946, it was decided that a united state of Pakistan would be formed.  Many Bengali Muslim members were unhappy with the change.  Abul Hashim, a senior Bengali leader in attendance, objected that the demand for the creation of Pakistan effectively amended the Lahore Resolution. Under its own constitution, only a full session of the All India Muslim League could make amendments. The Legislators' Convention had no such right. [6]
When Abul Hashim made his complaint, Jinnah, the lawyer, could see the problem clearly enough but his first attempt to get around it was feeble in extreme.  He suggested that the letter 's' after the word 'State' in the Lahore Resolution was a typographical error.  When Liaquat Ali Khan produced the original minutes of the meeting Jinnah had to concede that he was wrong and word 'States' was indeed in the original text.  He then fobbed off Abul Hashim's objection by assuring the convention that the Lahore Resolution had not been amended.  The resolution, he said, would be the document laid before the future Pakistani Constituent Assembly that, as a sovereign body would take all final decisions.�[7]  
In spite of Jinnah's tampering, Abul Hashim's efforts did have some limited success.  Most notably, on May 12, 1946, Muslim League leadership adopted a memorandum of minimum demands, stating, "After the constitutions of Pakistan Federal Government and the provinces are finally framed by the constitution making body, it will be open to any province of the group to decide to opt out of this group, provided wishes of the people of that province are ascertained in a referendum to opt out or not."[8]  Nevertheless, a new formula had been created, in direct violation and reversal of the Lahore Resolution. Effectively, the new formula stated:   

Confederacy First.  Then, Perhaps, Sovereignty.  
Pakistan was born on August 14, 1947 in spite of the Lahore Resolution, not because of it.  For many, it remains an illegitimate creation conceived of deception and born in betrayalThe existence of a Pakistani state violates the true vision, words and spirit of the Lahore Resolution.  Nevertheless, Pakistan still pretends to venerate this document, as it is the only major resolution in existence passed by the full session of the All India Muslim League. To add insult to the injury, the resolution has since been dubbed the "Pakistan Resolution", and a national monument to this effect is in Lahore.  In reality, it is in Delhi, where the Legislators' Convention was held in 1946, that proves to be the most appropriate place for Minar-i-Pakistan.  

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