Minar-i- Pakistan,  is standing aloft  in the Iqbal Parks across the road from the historic  and majestic Badshahi Masjid and the Fort in the city of Lahore  symbolises  the spirit and struggle launched by the Muslims  under inspiring leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah for the creation of a separate homeland .

The concept of a separate homeland  for the Muslims was presented by  great thinker and poet  Allama Mohammad Iqbal  in late 1930s’, reduced in black and white  at the historical session of the All India Muslim League at the then Minto Park from March 22 to 24, 1940  and the dream so visualised  was translated into reality within short span  of just seven years . Minar-i-Pakistan has been erected as a memory  as well as tribute  at the same place where the Resolution was presented and adopted on March 23 way back in 1940.

A visit to the Minar-i-Pakistan  any time and day  in the month of March  rekindles the spirit of sacrifice, struggle  and revives  the determination for continuing working hard  and still harder for realising the cherished objectives  for which the Resolution was adopted and a free, sovereign and independent  state of Pakistan  was carved out  the world map  out of nowhere for existence for centuries together with blessings of Almighty Allah.

Only a visit to the Minar-i-Pakistan   clears certain things and ambiguities . Generally, the Resolution adopted on March 23, 1940 is taken  into consideration in the context of Pakistan Day celebrations every year on this historically important date. The clarifications   made in the original Resolution  for removing  the certain misgivings and misconceptions  through the Delhi Resolution some six years later  are somehow little known  and hardly read with the March 23,1940 original resolution.

To duly appreciate and understand the true spirit and objective of March 23 original resolution and April 9, 1946  Delhi Resolution   clarifications should be read together . Both the texts of March 23 Resolution and operative part of April 9 Resolution  are inscribed on the Minar-i-Pakistan  quite prominently which no visitor can ever miss to notice, read and understand and also to make some pledges under the tall Minar-i-Pakistan  as well as a determined and committed Pakistani.

It is imperative that the Pakistan Resolution, also known  as the Lahore Resolution, and of the operative part  containing some  clarifications of the Delhi Resolution are reproduced here  for the benefits and information of everyone  and in particular for the younger generations  whop need to know most  the background of the creation of Pakistan before being swayed away  by some other worldly attractions and so-called Indo-Pakistan friendship slogans which remain far cry in the wilderness.

Indeed March 23 has assumed  a unique significance and importance in the annals of the history  as a red letter day, it was on this day  way back in 1940  that the Muslims of the sub-continent  had formally resolved to struggle and achieve a separate homeland of their own Pakistan. It was also on this day in 1956, Pakistan had got its first Constitution and as such become a republic no more being a domain of the British Crown. The Lahore Resolution , as it is known,  was surely  a semblance of the aspirations of the Muslims of the sub-continent.

Resolved at the Lahore session of

All India Muslim League  held on

22nd-24th March 1940

1.            While  approving and endorsing  the action taken by the Working Committee of the All India Muslim League  as indicated  in their resolutions  dated the 27th of August,  17th and 18th of  September and 22nd of October  1939 and 3rd February 1940 on the constitutional issue, this session of the All India Muslim League  emphatically resolves that the scheme of  federation embodies  in the Government of India Act 1935 is totally unsuited to, and  unworkable in the  peculiar conditions of this country and is  altogether unacceptable to the Muslims  India.

2.            “It further records  its emphatic view  that while the declaration dated the 18th of October 1939 made by the Viceroy on behalf of His Majesty’s Government  in reassuring in so far it declares  that the policy and plan on which the Government of India Act 1935 is based, will be reconsidered in consultation with  the various parties, interests and communities in India. Muslim India  will not be  satisfied unless the whole constitutional plan is reconsidered  denovo and that no revised would be acceptable to the Muslims  unless it is framed with their approval and consent.

3.            “Resolved that it is the considered view of this session of the All India Muslim League  that no constitutional plan would be workable  in this country or acceptable  to Muslims unless it is  designed on the following  basic principle, namely  that geographically contiguous  units are  demarcated into regions  which should  be so constituted , with such territorial  readjustments as may be necessary, that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority  as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of India, should be grouped to constitute “Independent States” in which the constituent units shall be autonomous  and sovereign.

4.            “That adequate, effective and mandatory  safeguards should be specifically provided in the Constitution for minorities in these units and in these regions for the protection of their religious ,cultural, economic, political , administrative  and other rights and interests in consultation with them; and in other parts of India where the Muslims are in a minority, adequate, effective and mandatory  safeguards shall be specifically  provided in the  Constitution for them and other minorities  for the protection of their religious , cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests  in consultation with them.

5.            This session further  authorises  the Working Committees  to frame  a scheme of Constitution in accordance with these basic principles, providing for the assumption finally by the respective regions of all powers  such as defence, external affairs, communications, customs and such other matters as may be necessary”.

 As stated above already, the Pakistan Resolution  of March 23, 1940 was further clarified by a resolution  unanimously  passed by the Muslim League Convention  elected M.L.As of the Centre and from the Provinces held under the presidentship of the Quaid-i-Azam at Delhi on April 9,1946.

Among other things, the said Resolution  specified that :

“The zones comprising  Bengal and Assam in the North-East and Punjab, North-West province, Sind and Balochistan in the North-West of India, namely Pakistan Zones, where the Muslims are in a dominant  majority, be constituted  into a sovereign  independent State and that on unequivocal undertaking be given to implement the establishment of Pakistan without delay”.

If both the resolutions in the context of their  operative parts  are read together, many things  would clear up in the minds of the people in respect of creation of an independent, sovereign State of Pakistan.

Construction of Minar-i-Pakistan itself  makes an interesting reading. But the story would be  narrated some other time in all details . It was started started as the Pakistan Day Memorial , Its foundation stone was laid on March 23, 1960  by the   West Pakistan Governor Akhtar Hussain while actual construction  got underway  by mid-1963.

The credit for construction of Minar-i-Pakistan  goes to  contractor Mian Abdul Khaliq and then then Commissioner Lahore and well-known literary figure Mukhtar Masood, who expired a year and more back,  who had got its file recovered from the heaps of filed dumped in the store room of the office of one of the Assistant Commissioner.

The Minar, which was erected under the guidance of the Pakistan Day Memorial Committee and maintained till it was taken over by the Lahore Development Authority in May 1982.

Pakistan Day is celebrated quite enthusiastically every year on March 23 by the people at large as well as the government  as a national holiday.   Remaining details about the architect, material used,  financial contributions and other aspects will be mentioned separately some other time, please.

 

The writer is Lahore =based Freelance Journalist and Columnist and retired Deputy Controller  (News) Radio Pakistan, Islamabad.

zahidriffat@gmail.com