Saturday, August 27, 2011

On the Objectives Resolution

Pakistan Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani tweeted thusly:

If u care 2 read that debate u will realize many ldrs of Indep mov'mt disagreed with & voted against Obj Res

Simple question: Have u read the entire debate or just extracts? If yes, wht was Fazlul Haq's position? or Iftikharuddin's?

I'm sure you recall Mian Iftikharuddin as the man who owned & published 'Pakistan Times'
The text of my response tweets follows:

Re: "If u care 2 read that debate u will realize many ldrs of #Pakistan Indep mov'mt disagreed with & voted against Obj Res"

"The Objectives Resolution was adopted on March 12, 1949. Not a single Muslim member of the Constituent Assembly dissented".


"Islamization in Pakistan: A Political and Constitutional Study from 1947-1988", A Doctoral Dissertation by Tanveer Khalid, University of Karachi, October 2004. 
Re: "If u care 2 read that debate u will realize many ldrs of #Pakistan Indep mov'mt disagreed with & voted against Obj Res"

As per "Constitution-Making in Pakistan (1947-1956) by Lossiete A. Oracion, Thesis for Ph.D. in General History, March 1968, only the non-Muslim members of the Constituent Assembly argued against and voted against the Objectives Resolution.
Re: "If u care 2 read that debate u will realize many ldrs of #Pakistan Indep mov'mt disagreed with & voted against Obj Res"

"The Objectives Resolution was approved on March 12, 1949. Its only Muslim critic was Mian Iftikhar-ud-din, leader of the Azad Pakistan Party, although he believed that "the Islamic conception of a state is, perhaps as progressive, as revolutionary, as democratic and as dynamic as that of any other state or ideology." [28]"

Note: Doesn't say he voted against the Objectives Resolution.

"Jinnah's Vision: An Indivisible Pakistani Nationhood", Sharif al Mujahid, HEC Distinguished National Professor, Co-Editor of UNESCO's History of Humanity, Journal of Management and Social Sciences, Vol 5, No 1 (Spring 2009) 57-64

{The Objectives Resolution} elicited stolid support from Mian Iftikharudding(1907-62), the foremost leader of the Left in Pakistan's formative years (1947-58). His address on the occasion indicates that he was in perfect accord with the main provisions of the Resolution, even with the sovereignty clause which has spawned a good deal of controversy since the publication of Munir's work. He considered the Resolution "not the product of the League Party in this House" but "the voice of the seventy million people of our country ". Refuting the accusation that the sovereignty clause in the Objectives Resolution smacks of "a theocratic approach", Mian Iftikharuddin asserted that "The members of the Congress Party need feel no more nervous than do the subjects of the British Empire or the citizens of the Irish Free State on the wording of the Resolution". .

On the sovereignty of the people versus that of the sacerdotal authority issue, he explained that we have no ordained priests. We have no licensed Ulema. In other words, we cannot go and appeal to a final authority as can the people of Roman Catholic countries to the Pope or to the Priesthood. We, the Muslims, can appeal to no other authority on earth than the people. The moment the State loses the confidence of the people, it has not business to exist.

However, an intellectual who wouldn't suspend judgment in any one's favour, the Mian sahib also pointed out several failings of the Resolution. He pointed out the failure to mention the removal of the "main cause of inequality", to abolish the princely states (which were, of course, abolished subsequently), and to provide any "safeguard whereby people would be free to vote, whereby people will not be influenced by the masters under whom they work" arguing that,

"Had we brought in such safeguards for them, then onlyh would it be possible for us to give the people of Paksitan a real Islamic democracy and constitution which would have been for the people and of the people...I have no hesitation in declaring that we may be acting with the best of intentions, but the constitution we have to put before the coutnry is a constitution for all time to come and in that it would be very wrong on our part,if depending wrongly on our supposed sincerity, we make a constitution, which those who come after us may be able to misuse....I repeat, no one need object to the word 'Islamic'. If we can use the words 'Roman Law' or the 'British Parliamentary system' and so many other terms without shame or sting, then why not 'Islamic'? But you must give to the world an Islamic constitution. Had we given the world a proper Islamic constitution, a fine ideology, a new way of achieving real democracy, I think, we would have performed a great task. On this occasion I have a right to say - and I am not doing this to blame any member or any section of this House - I am saying as one of them, that we are not doing our duty. The Islamic conception of State is, perhaps, as progressive, as revolutionary, as democratic and as dynamic as that of any other State or ideology".


Previously mentioned Lossiete Oracion (Ph.D. thesis, 1968) reports as follows:

The Muslim speakers monopolised the deliberations on March 10, the fourth day of the fifth session. Launching his speech with congratulations to Liaquat Ali Khan for introducing the resolution, Iftikharuddin soon thereafter changed the tenor of his arguments by saying that its preamble, being similar to those used by other countries, was not a new discovery. He asserted that the words "Islamic State" was no guarantee for justice and fair play and to prove this point enumerated four Islamic states whose constitutions were not democratic at all. At this stage, the President had to call his attention for uttering "impolitic" remarks. By digressing too much from his topic, the speaker's 40-minute speech came to an end without achieving a lucid exposition of the points brought out.

Her footnote here cites the headline in Dawn, dated March 11, 1949, "Nishtar's Reply to Critics Convincing; Mina Iftikharuddin Blocks Opposition".

Commenting on the general performance of the assembly:
a. On individual animosities, any one poring over the Assembly proceedings would not miss the differences between Iftikharuddin, a Communist leaning member on the one side and most of the prominent Muslim League members on the other. Iftikharuddin traded barbs with Liaquat Ali Khan, Dr. Qureshi, Dr. Husain(illegible), Nurul Amin, Brohi, Pirzada, Sardar Amir Azam Khan, and even with the President of the Constituent Assembly, Tazimuddin Khan. Opposition became an obsession to Iftikharuddin as the years rolled on.


In several instances, Iftikharuddin's speeches qualify the speaker as the foremost champion of irrelevancy. His consummate skill in establishing a link between his communistic ideas and any topic under consideration enabled him to say much before the President could declare him out of order.

FYI< Lossiete Oracion (Ph.D. thesis, 1968) writes of the second Constituent Assembly:

"The champion of dissolution in the old House, Iftikharudding was to grace again the pages of the Debates with his often-declared irrelevant speeches which Fate, this time, mercifully curtailed through his throat ailment".

{A few notes of sarcastic comments}:

When Chaudhir Nazir Ahmad Khan refers to Iftikharuddin as "all peasants and labourers above 21 years of age are immature as he is", Iftikharudding riposted, "Some like you are immature even after 50".

Exasperated with Iftikharudding's impolite interruptions, Liaquat Ali Khan was constrained to say, "Those of us who have had privilege of listening to Mian Saheb have found that confusion is not an unusual thing with him".

"Evidently aiming to harass than to improve the work, Iftikharuddin alone tables 75 amendments to the Interim Report of the Committee on Fundamental Rights of Citizens and Minorities".

Two Oppositionists of the first Constituent Assembly, Iftikharudding and Sardar Shaukat Hyat Khan had maintained that the framing of the constitution had been intentionally delayed because "we wan to make our seats secure" before risking an election. In fairness to the rest of the Constituent Assembly members, one has only to examine the record to prove that there was a genuine desire to complete the work but somehow problems arose which defined immediate solutions. Having been expelled from the Muslim League, the two clearly took advantage of any issue they thought would mar the public image of Muslim League leaders responsible for their expulsion.

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