Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartazj Aziz has many feathers in his cap. As a student he actively took part in Pakistan Movement. In an interview with The Nation he recalls the various unforgettable moments of Pakistan Movement. He got Mujahid-e-Pakistan Medal in 1947. Sartaj Aziz was born in 1929 in the Pashtun Kakakhel family in Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the 1940s Aziz was a young activist of Muslim League. At the time Aziz was studying in Islamia College of Lahore. He got Bachelor's degree in Economics from Punjab University in 1949.

The three-day general session of Muslim League in Lahore’s Manto Park from March 22 to 24 is considered to be the turning point in history of Pakistan Movement. Tell us about your experience.? 

I was student when famous Pakistan Resolution was passed in annual convention of Muslim League. It is pertinent to note that Hindu, Sikhs, and Christian students were studying in Government College Lahore (Now GCU) and Forman College (now FCU) at that time but Islamia College of Lahore was the only college at that time where only Muslims students were enrolled. Those were historic moments when Muslims demanded a separate state for themselves. I along with other students ran campaign for Indian general election in 1945 for the Muslim candidates of the Muslim League. Next year, in 1946 there were provincial elections and the wave for the Independence reached its peak. At that time, the organizing committee had assigned duties to the students of Islamia College and we were divided into ‘batches’ (group of students) and were sent to the different parts of the Punjab to run campaign for Muslims candidates.

You worked as volunteer for Muslim Students Federation. What were the feelings of students and how did you contribute into disseminating Muslims League voice at grass route level?

I was made finance secretary of the group. At leas, 86 to 87 groups of students were made and the results were unprecedented. Muslim candidates won 90 percent seats in January 1946 elections of the legislative councils of British Indian provinces in Muslims majority areas proving the fact that Muslim League was the only representative party of Muslims.

How you see the series of events from Lahore Resolution in 1940 to creation of Pakistan?

Under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah Muslims of Sub-Continent struggled for a separate state. People’s support was unprecedented. Muslims League flags could be seen everywhere at the time of 1940 resolution. Quaid-e-Azam never compromised on the cause of Pakistan.

Plight of refugees coming from East Punjab was no secret and communal riots broke out at the time of Partition. Do you remember the incidents?

When it was announced that Lahore was going to be in Pakistan there was movement in Hindu majority areas and Sikh influenced places. Several incidents of riots took place. Almost all the trains coming from East Punjab were looted and ransacked, and filled with blood of Muslims.

Much devastation occurred in months of August and September but when the Army took the control of borders the situation became normal in October. I was personally in Abbottabad for summer vocation from college.

You mobilized the people of NWFP province (now KPK) referendum conducted in 1947. What was the people’s mood towards Muslims League?      

Yes, interestingly, I worked extensively as a student activist for the Muslim League in Punjab. When I went to my hometown in Abbottabad I met Jalal Baba and Inayatullah and they were happy to see me and asked me to mobilize the people of NWFP to cast vote in favour of Pakistan. Only in NWFP referendum was heldfrom 6th July to 17 in 1947. Nearly 3 million votes were cast in favour of Pakistan. The turnout was 51 percent.

It is said Hindus controlled economy of the Sub Continent. Can you explain how they controlled it?

The economy at the time was Hindu centric and Hindu businessman gave loans to Muslim farmers who were unable to pay the money in the given time. Hindu businessmen took over the lands of poor Muslims. MSF ran campaigns that vote for Muslim League and you would be able to get out of the loan trap. It was one of the famous slogans at that time.

Any message for the youth of Pakistan?

Just work hard for a democratic and welfare Pakistan!