Khan Abdul Qalyum Khan

uaid-i-Azam’s name has been in history as a person, who succeeded in establishing a great homeland for the Muslims of the Sub-Continent. This is one of the rare cases in history where a nation has been created and a country carved out not as a result of the coup d’etat, use of force or with the help of the traditional and conventional armed forces.

He was in the beginning associated with the Indian National Congress. Having worked in that party he came to the conclusion that in a united India the Muslims of the Sub-Continent had no future for them except as second rate citizens with no hope of changing an unalterable religious majority. He, therefore started organizing the Muslim League. The Muslims’ mind was confused. They were in a minority, educationally backward, ill-organised and very poor as compared to the dominant Hindu community. In the normal course if united India had attained freedom, the Muslims would have always been in the minority. There were many political parties amongst the Muslims, but not one of them had realized that the partition of this sub-continent was the only way out.

Quaid-i-Azam sounded a clarion call to the Muslims of the sub-continent that they were not a minority but a nation and as such they were entitled to a homeland of their own.  He had to deal with formidable opposition. Imperialist Britain was opposed to the idea of the partition of the Sub-Continent. The Hindu majority under the Congress party was very organized throughout the country. In addition to this Quaid-i-Azam had to contend with the active opposition of nationalist Muslims, namely Sheikh  Abdullah in  Kashmir, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in NWFP, G.M. Syed in Sindh, and the late Abdul Samad Achakzai in Balochistan and the leader of the Unionist Party Sir Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana in Punjab. In addition to this a very large section of Ulema was also opposed to the creation of Pakistan.

This wonderful leader of the Muslims had strong heart in a frail body an iron will and determination of the kind in which there was no parallel amongst leaders at that time. He fought against all those odds with indomitable courage. He was a great politician, a great lawyer and had unique way of putting his case across. He was a man of highest integrity. By his sheer debating skill and putting his ideas in a forceful manner, he was more than a match for all the formidable combination which had lined up against him.

I first came in contct with the Quaid-i-Azam when I was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly on the Congress Ticket from NWFP in 1937. I was the only Muslim Member of that Party and was elected as Deputy Leader of the said party. From 1937 right till the dissolution of the Indian Legislative Assembly I saw Quadi-i-Azam at work inside the House in the Lobby, as a Leader of the Muslim League Party. He had a remarkable debating skill. The Congress Party was the biggest party in the Legislative Assembly and in important debates they had the right to reply on the floor of the House to the case made out but the British Government of the day. But Quaid-i-Azam always insisted that he should have the last word and the Congress Party always gave way to him. He did not believe in long speeches. He was forthright and direct in attack and had an inimitable way of explaining his case. The arguments which he advanced were unanswerable.

In the course of his speech a time would come when he would score a direct attack against those opposed to him and thus he used to carry the day.

I had on many times and occasions to meet him in the lobby. In those days I believed that we can live in a united India. The Quaid-Azam whenever I met him in the lobby would stroll about for some time and talking to me he always said that there was no other course open for the Muslims except to join the Muslim League and fight for the achievement of Pakistan.

He was very frank and straight-forward in his dealings with his opponents also. In one Session of the Assembly the leader of the Congress Party, the late MR Bhola Bhai Desai, was away and I was acting as the Leader of the Congress Party. The Budget Session was going on I had come prepared to make a speech but in the middle of the session there was a break and the Quaid-i-Azam started telling me what he was going to say in his reply. I was surprised as to why he had explained all his points to me in the course of that get-together. I had to speak as the Acting Leader of the Congress Party before the Quaid-i-Azam.

There was no time left for me and I had to change the whole tenor and substance of my speech to avoid saying anything which he had so kindly and frankly stated to me.

I remember that he and I both were in Kashmir before the Assembly was dissolved. I called on the Quaid-i-Azam in his house-boat on the river Jhelum which was standing near the Bund. We had a long talk. I had gone there to invite him and to ask him if he would care to come and have lunch with me in my rural cottage—20 miles away from Srinagar in Gulmurg foot-hills. He asked me that now was the time that I should declare to join the Muslim League. I told him that the life of the Assembly was coming to an end within a short time and that I did not think it proper to cross the floor as I had been elected on the Congress Party ticket. This he readily appreciated. I told that as soon as the term of the Assembly was over, I would declare myself for the Muslim League. We discussed at great length the personalities in the provinces, which now form Pakistan, who were determined to oppose the creation of Pakistan and discussed how these anti-Muslim and fratricidal opposition had to be overcome.

Sometime after this I had to go to Lucknow to defend a case and as the Session of the Assembly was over. I wrote a letter to the Quaid-i-Azam declaring that I had joined the Muslim League. As soon as the letter was published in the papers my Hindu friends in the Congress mobbed my hotel in Lucknow and requested me to retrace my steps. We had long discussions. I told them that the die was cast and that I had made up my mind once for all.

NWFP was a hard nut to crack because there was a congress Ministry in the Province, Khudai Khidmatgar Organisation was very well organized. They had a formidable army of Red Shirts. Many of them carried guns and automatic weapons. They were determined NWFP should join India and were opposed to entire concept of Pakistan.

Under Quaid’s guidance I took over charge of the Muslim League organization and we started a campaign for the merger of the NWFP in Pakistan. There was a very interesting incident, we were holding a meeting of the Provincial Muslim League in Peshawar when word came round that Section 144 had been imposed in Mardan and a very large crowd of Muslims had surrounded the British DC’s office. I rushed to Mardan, Dr. Khan Sahib was there. We had worked together as friends in the Congress movement. He way very cross as to why so many people had collected. I suggested to him that if he would only allow me I would take all those people to the park in the Cantonment and would ask them to disperse peacefully. As we reached the park and I had hardly uttered a word of advice to the people to disperse there was a vicious tear gas attack and many people became unconscious. I was arrested along with other colleagues and the Civil Disobedience movement started. The Pir Sahib of Manki Sharif came out in favour of Pakistan and the students and the Muslim League National Guards started demonstration and thousands of them were arrested and put behind the bar. While this was happening and the volunteers were courting arrests, some people informed the Quaid –i-Azam that it was very rash act on my part to start this movement. He was pleased to send the late Nawab Ismail Khan to find out the facts and the Nawab Sahib came to the District Jail, Peshawar. My late lamented friend Mirza Shamsul Haq, brought a letter in the jail from the Quaid-i-Azam – which letter unfortunately I have lost, – in which the Quaid-i-Azam gave his full approval to what had been done and asked us to carry on the movement with firmness and resolution. Lord Mountbatten visited Peshawar. We were in jail. One of the biggest demonstrations in the history of NWFP took place in Peshawar in favour of Muslim League. Lord Mountbatten went back to Delhi. We were released on parole and taken to Delhi. Myself and late Samin Jan Khan, Advocate, were stayed with the late Sardar Abdur Rab Nishter who was in the Indian cabinet. As a result of the negotiations with the British Government Lord Mountbatten declared that there would be a referendum in the NWFP – a Province with 95 per cent Muslims population – to find out whether the Pathans wished to join Pakistan or India. Then a big campaign in favour of Pakistan was started and the people of the Frontier with an over whelming majority opted for Pakistan. Had this referendum failed certain consequences were likely to follow –

It would have been very difficult to create Pakistan out of divided Punjab and Sindh.

Had the tribal Mujhaden and Pathans from the Frontiers Province not wrested a part of Azad Kashmir and had the people of Gilgit and Baltistan not started and the Indians were driven out, we would never have had a common border with China, a great and dependable friend. There would have been no Karokoram Highway either. It would have also considerably changed the course of our international relations if we had no a common border with the great Chinese people.

Quaid-i-Azam was a man of the highest integrity. Quaid-i-Azam was a man of great determination, a man of very strong will. Quaid –i-Azam never told anything to his people which he had no intention of fulfilling.

His words came from his heart. He meant what he said. He loved his people and they loved him. In spite of an apparently cold exterior, which was due in his ill health, he had a warm-heart which was full of love for his people.

Quaid–e-Azam did not tolerate corruption or the corrupt people. In the course of very long meetings which I subsequently had with him, he said that in politics one has had to render some help to those who have stood by the leader. But this help should be reasonable and just and not at the expense of the nation. He could not tolerate those people who had a reputation of being corrupt. He set out to achieve one thing namely the establishment of Pakistan. This was one promise that he made and under Allah’s guidance he was able to achieve unparalleled success in this regard and Pakistan came into being.

He was a great leader of men with a profound knowledge of the affairs of the Muslims of the Sub-Continent and a great grasp on what was happening around him.

Quaid–e-Azam always maintained contact with people and the masses. When I took over as Chief Minister of the province and was responsible for law and order, on the first visit of the Quaid–e-Azam I took very great precaution from the Airport to the Government House and from the Government House to Chowk Yadgar where he was to address a public meeting. There were very hostile elements lurking around and there was every danger that they would try to assassinate the Great Leader.

He called me and told me that he realized my difficulties and appreciated what I had done. He said, “I have to go out to my people and meet them. Going to the people is like inhaling the breath of life and no politician can survive if he is afraid to meet his people”.

He believed that the time of his death was fixed and that no power on this earth can extent if or reduce it by a second. Thereafter, in the course of his tour of NWFP he freely mixed with the people and though we did take security precautions, these did not prevent him from going out into big crowds, meeting them, shaking hands with them, talking to them and addressing them.

Quaid–e-Azam was a very good judge in respect of the people who worked with him and were around him and were around him. He disliked flattery and disliked those who tried to flatter him. He was very successful in choosing men of integrity. Men who were devoted and dedicated to the concept of Pakistan, and the preservation of the integrity and independence of Pakistan were around him. He created a nation and won a great homeland for us. Let us try to be worthy heirs of the Father of the Nation.

He was a great believer in the Rule Of Law and in democratic principles. On On one occasion he told me that only two ministers were running the Province and he thought that it was time I had a third one. I explained to him that Pakistan had just came into being and there would be several aspirants in the party for the third post and this worried me a lot. I requested him if he would pick up somebody, it would be much better. He said he had no power to appoint a minister in the province. It was the privilege and the right of the Chief Minister. In the ultimate discussion he said that if I wanted to do so I should ask him in writing to appoint a minster on my behalf and at my special request. When we reached DI Khan Airport he enquired whether I had done so. I gladly handed him a signed paper. He then announced the appointment of the third Minister for the NWFP.

I can remember another marvelous act of Quaid–e-Azam. He withdrew all our Military Garrisons from the Tribal Areas and said that the tribesmen were free to join Pakistan or refrain from doing so if they so liked. Being the Chief Minister of the province I was deeply disturbed and worried when I saw all the garrisons being withdrawn. But after sometime I saw a miracle happening Tribal jirgas started pouring into the Government House, Peshawar, and offered allegiance to Pakistan voluntarily and out of their own free will. Trust always begets trust. It was a great gesture; it was a great risk but I did pay dividends and by this magnanimous act he convinced that tribesmen that he had no intention of forcing them into Pakistan by retaining garrisons in their territories.

It was a pity that our new generation, especially those who were born after the creation of Pakistan, for many years were kept ignorant about the sayings, actions, achievements of Quaid–e-Azam, which culminated, after tremendous sacrifices, in the achievement of Pakistan. The lesson that Pakistan was created in the name of Islam and it was based on the Two Nation Theory was slipping out of the people’s minds especially the minds of the new generation.

The present Federal Government has done a great thing in setting apart this year for celebration of the 100th Birth Anniversary of the Quaid –i-Azam. The history of his life, his teachings and the history of the achievement of Pakistan has been included in the curriculum of schools and colleges.

I have been going about the country lately and I was very happy to note that the younger generation has become acquainted with the sayings and achievements of Quaid–e-Azam; with the basic ideology of Pakistan and with Two Nation Theory. Quaid–e-Azam left us a great heritage where if we moulded our lives in accordance with Islam, the geographical frontiers of Pakistan can expand.

Ours is an ideological State. If we depart from the teachings of the Great Leader and ignored the concepts enshrined in our Constitution that Islam is the base of Pakistan and that any law contrary to Quran and Sunnah is against the Constitution, we would be undoing the great achievement of the Father of the Nation.