Dr Rafique Ahmed is the former vice chancellor of the Punjab University and Islamia University Bahawalpur. He was the student of bachelors in Islamia College Lahore at the time of partition of Sub-Continent and as the worker of Pakistan Movement. He is now vice chairman of Nazaria Pakistan Trust. In an interview with The Nation Dr Rafique remembers about the event led to creation of Pakistan.

Q: What role Islamia College Lahore played in the nourishment of the then youth. Could you memorize any specific event?

A: Oh yes, Islamia College Lahore was one of the prestigious institution in Lahore at the time of partition of Sub-Continent. It was in 1946 when the college administration decided to arrange a price distribution ceremony at Islamia College ground. The ceremony was held in a large tent. Founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam was sitting on the stage set up and students had to climb up through stairs in order to get certificates. I tell you, Quaid-e-Azam;s was charismatic personality and students admired him as their ideal. Even few of them slipped from stairs during the ceremony looking towards their leader. And I was of them. When I slipped from the wooden-stairs then Quaid-e-Azam said to me: “You have to get up yourself, nobody is going to pick you up.”  I considered it as a message to me and to nation. I received two books from my leader.

Q:  How was Quaid-e-Azam’s interaction with students when he visited the Islamia College?

A: He was the great leader even he often sit on the ground of Islamia College along with students to pose a picture with them. I was not selfish as I got many chances to take picture with him but never ever asked him to do so. He always talked very finely, and he was very separate from other leaders of his time.

Q: What was the passion of Muslims at the time of passing of Pakistan Resolution 1940?

A: I was student of ninth class and I along with my friends chanted slogans like “Lay Kay Rahay Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Zindabad. At that time, the Muslim League convention organizing committee imposed ticket of Rs 5 to enter into main arena of the convention. We were empty handed at time, when QuA entered into Manto Park (Now Iqbal Park), we somehow got the attention of the him. Then he inquired about the matter and we told him we got no money and we want to listen to him. He directed no ticket would be collected from students.

Q: You have worked as volunteer at the Wonton Refugee’s Camp for six months. Tell us about the experience and plight of Muslims coming from the East Punjab?

A: According to some estimates and archives reports, there were 5.3 million Muslims at the time partition of Sub-Continent in East Punjab but unfortunately they were forced fully driven out from their lands. As a volunteer and worker of Muslim League I worked for six months and for that we got certificate for it. It is interesting to know for readers that even as huge influx of refugees from East Punjab there was no mess up like situation at Walton Refugee Camp. The government made a policy, which was followed accordingly by administration that no refugee family would stay more than three or four days at camp.

The trains coming from the India were filled with corpses and inundated with blood. The current generation just read the horrific tales about refugees just in textbook but I along with many witnessed those unwatchable movements. 

Quaid-e-Azam visited the camp and spend whole day at the camp. He listen the tales of refuges journeys’ and how the refugees saved their lives from the looting Sikhs and Hindus at their respective areas. Quaid felt disturbed and he was deeply moved and motivated hope in coming refugees.

Q: You being a Lahorite witnessed the partition of undivided India. How was the mood of the people of Lahore at the time of partition especially when it was announced Lahore was going into Pakistan?

A: The panic started in Lahore and the fault lines were active in the peaceful Lahore when it was announced that Lahore was going into Pakistan. Hindus and Sikh were holding the business of the Lahore’s markets. Shah Alami was the hub of their business. Some Muslims set on fire the Shah Alami Market and it remain burning for days and nights. There was no shortage of food rationing and people contributed for refugees. People gathered Dehli Gate, Mochi Gate and Manto Park and made cauldrons for the refugee. Many children who wholes families were wiped out in riots were adopted by families of Lahore.