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Munir Comission Report-Part 37: The role of the newspapers in the campaign

He conceded that Dr. Qureshi should have been consulted.

 

Propaganda stressed in decision of 5th July also.

D.P.R.’s false defence. Complaint to Dr.

Qureshi at Lahore:

July 1952. Mir Nur Ahmad “parries”.

 

Dr. Qureshi had asked the local editors to an informal tea. At this function, Mr. Hamid Nizami alleged that Mir Nur Ahmad himself was responsible for carrying on this campaign in the papers. Dr. Qureshi said that Mir Nur Ahmad said nothing in reply to the allegation. Mr. Humid Nizami, appearing as a witness, stated that he had pointed his finger to Mir Nur Ahmad as “the arch-criminal”. Dr. Qureshi does not remember the exact words used, but agrees to the statement in broad outline.

 

When he returned to Karachi, he told the Prime Minister that in his opinion the agitation was being fanned by the Directorate of Public Relations and that “it was very strange that a department of a Provincial Government should adopt a policy in such an important matter without explicit permission or orders from the Central Government. I should say that if Mr. Daultana did not know that the Directorate of Public Relations was fanning the agitation, it was very strange, because cuttings of newspapers on this important question must have been supplied to him and he must have known that papers which were almost directly under the control of Government, like the ‘Afaq’, were adopting the same line. Therefore, I really was surprised when Mr. Daultana told me that this line had been taken without his knowledge”. Mr. Daultana told him he would look into the matter, but Dr. Qureshi heard nothing further.

 

Mir Nur Ahmad denies that Mr. Hamid Nizami had accused him before Dr. Qureshi—“within my hearing”—as being the arch-criminal. Mir Nur Ahmad is careful in the use of words, and therefore qualifies his denial with reference to his power of hearing, leaving it open to us to accept Dr. Qureshi’s statement without at the same time disbelieving Mir Nur Ahmad.

 

According to him, the conversation which he had with Dr. Qureshi related to two complaints which had come to Dr. Qureshi’s notice: (1) that though pro-Government papers had been publishing articles in support of the agitation, Mir Nur Ahmad had not exerted himself to stop them, and (2) that Maulvi Ibrahim Ali Chishti, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Islamiat had been contributing articles on the subject. As to the first subject, he explained that what the papers had been writing was “generally within those limits” which had been regarded as permissible in the past and that he had received no instructions to stop them. (He spoke to Dr. Qureshi on or about the 19th July, and on the 5th July the Home Secretary had complained to him that the papers were not co-operating.) As regards the second complaint he expressed ignorance and surprise. He denied having told Dr. Qureshi that he was “canalising” the movement. He does not even remember using that quaint expression.

 

Mr. Daultana’s version of the matter is altogether different: Dr. Qureshi had suggested that personal influence should be exerted and had incidentally mentioned the fact that he had received complaints that Mir Nur Ahmad had either encouraged the writing of some articles or had himself written some under another name. Since his informant was Mr. Hamid Nizami, Mr. Daultana told him that Mr. Nizami and Mir Nur Ahmad were hostile Mr. Hamid Nizami accused D.P.R.

 

D.P.R. contradicts

Dr. Qureshi.

Mr. Daultana’s version.

 

to each other ; but that he would look into the matter. A few days later he called Mir Nur Ahmad who denied the allegation, and no further action seemed necessary. Mir Nur Ahmad says it was he who had told the Chief Minister that Dr. Qureshi had complained to him, and that the Chief Minister had not told him that Dr. Qureshi had complained to him also.

 

Dr. Qureshi is not an interested party in this matter. We are satisfied that his statement has not been disproved, and that the evidence to the contrary is mutually contradictory. Dr. Qureshi could not have said one thing to Mr. Daultana and another to Mir Nur Ahmad, in respect of the same complaint.

 

Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani has stated that some time during the summer of 1952, Dr. Qureshi had told members of the Cabinet that he had received complaints that the sectarian articles appearing in the Punjab press were being supplied through agencies which were either Government agencies or were patronised by Government, that the Chief Minister had denied knowledge and promised to make inquiries, and that he, namely Dr. Qureshi was not satisfied with Mir Nur Ahmad’s explanation.

 

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din discussed the subject with Mr. Daultana on or about the 4th August. Says Kh. Nazim-ud-Din: “I told him Dr. Qureshi thought that Mir Nur Ahmad had been supplying material to various papers in support of the movement. I pointed out that while the Pakistan Times, the lmroze, the Nawa-i-Waqt and the C. &. M. Gazette were silent, the Government-controlled papers, particularly the Zamindar, were fanning the agitation. He said that Urdu papers depended for circulation on a popular subject and it was difficult to stop them, but that his object was to control the vigilance of the campaign in the papers by advice. I told him the best way of tackling the situation was to prevent the papers from fanning the agitation and that he was the only person who could do so as these papers depended on him for patronage”.

 

As to this, Mr. Daultana has said that the statement of Kh. Nazim-ud-Din was “incorrect and quite illogical, because, after acting on Dr. Qureshi’s suggestion that I should try and use personal influence to have the subject blacked out, I could not go to the Prime Minister and tell him that it was a good thing for the Punjab Government to contribute to the newspapers articles in favour of the agitation when we were persuading them not to write anything whatsoever on the subject”. The argument assumes that Mr. Daultana acted on Dr. Qureshi’s suggestion, but a better argument in defence of Mr. Daultana would be to say that after informing Dr. Qureshi that he knew nothing about Mir Nur Ahmad’s activities, he would not tell Kh. Nazim-ud-Din that, after all, “canalising” was not without merit. Mr. Daultana does not inform is, however, what exactly he told Kh. Nazim-ud-Din, or whether the subject was at all mentioned. We have no doubt that it was mentioned, because Dr. Qureshi left Lahore with as firm a conviction Mr. Gurmani supports Dr. Qureshi.

 

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din speaking to Mr.

Daultana

Mr. Daultana contradicts

 

Kh. Nazimud-Din about Mir Nur Ahmad as circumstantial evidence could ever produce—to say nothing of Mr. Hamid Nizami’s straight accusation—and since he mentioned the subject not only to Kh. Nazim-ud-Din but also to the whole Cabinet by way of a complaint, Kh. Nazim-ud-Din would naturally discuss it with the general situation relating to the movement.

 

It has already been noticed that some of the payments to papers were made on the 3rd, 4th and 5th July, when the movement was in swing. No Government which felt worried about an agitation would continue patronising a press which, rather than co-operate, gave publicity to the contrary point of view. But Mir Nur Ahmad did so, and Mr. Daultana knew about it. We know how bitterly the Home Secretary complained against the “pro-Government papers” on the 4th July and how the decisions of the 5th July described their attitude as anything but favourable. When asked why he made these fresh payments when he knew that these papers were engaged in “objectionable activities”, Mir Nur Ahmad replied: “I do not think they were engaged in objectionable activities”. That is quite true, if these activities were approved by Government, or at least by Mir Nur Ahmad. He further says he made these allocations “on his own” and “submitted the case to the Chief Minister who approved the allocations”. He is apparently referring to his note of 30th July 1952, which says that the payments were made “as already verbally submitted to H. C. M”. There was obviously a previous verbal submission. When the note was shown to Mr. Daultana, he said: “This means that after expending the money, the fact was mentioned to me. He did not discuss the expenditure with me”. Mr. Daultana’s emphasis was on the words italicized. But as the note shows that payments were made on the 3rd, 4th and 5th of July, the following question was put to him: “The expenditure, therefore, must have been mentioned to you by the D. P. R. before you left for Nathiagali?” The answer was that “disbursements were in continuation of a previous policy of 1950”. This is hardly a useful answer, for the policy of 1950 was to subsidise pro-Government papers, which, by reason of their moderation, suffered in circulation. Mr. Daultana, therefore, explains that the first time that Government decided to use its influence in persuading these papers to blackout the controversy was in the third week of July, This answer was intended to meet the present situation, but in a different place Mr. Daultana included the month of August also in the policy of non-interference. “With the ‘Zamindar’ we were not successful.

 

* * * * *

 

The contract with the ‘Zamindar’ was not terminated because it was not the aim to establish control over the entire policy of a paper. In July and August neither we not the Centre had any policy as regards the demands”. But this answer forgets that in the third week of July Dr. Qureshi had asked Mr. Daultana to persuade the press to blackout the agitation, while in the previous answer there is at least an admission that Government did decide to blackout the controversy at some stage.

 

There should, consequently, be no doubt in the mind of Government what attitude to adopt towards the agitation after July. Contracts with papers renewed notwithstanding their attitude.

Chief Minister approved his action.

 

Mr. Daultana says there was no policy till then: July-August 1952.

 

Further, one cannot agree that there was, at least according to the C.I.D. files, no policy to control the press in July. In the note of 4th July, Mr. Ghias-ud-Din informed Mr. Daultana at Nathiagali that in obedience to the latter’s instructions on the telephone, he had sent for Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan and spoken to him. Either Mr. Daultana spoke with one voice to the Home Secretary and with another to the D. P. R., or he is forgetting that even in the beginning of July he was suggesting methods of control to the Home Secretary.

 

Mr. Daultana’s contention that there was no policy in July and August furnishes, by implication, an affirmative answer to the question that the payments must have been discussed with him before he went to Nathiagali. But if there is any meaning in the words “after expending the money”, then at least at that stage Mr. Daultana could have pointed out that the payments actually defeated the policy of 1950, and that he ought to have been consulted previously.

 

There is hardly any answer in this context which fails to invite criticism. The contract with the ‘Zamindar’ notwithstanding its rabid pursuit of the controversy, was not terminated “because it was not the aim to establish control over the entire policy of a paper”. One might ask whether the aim was to establish control over that part of a paper’s policy which did not affect the Government. Was it consistent with the policy of 1950 to patronise a paper which fanned the agitation? It would be, if the policy of Government also is to fan the agitation.

 

Both Mr. Daultana and Mir Nur Ahmad maintain that, with the exception of the ‘Zamindar’, the other three papers seldom published any article in connection with the controversy after they had been advised to black it out. We have noticed in Part II how illusory this “ blackout ” was. The reason why the ‘Zamindar’ did not abstain, says Mir Nur Ahmad, was “I guess that M. Akhtar Ali Khan thought he was getting a great deal of popularity by associating with the movement”. It was perhaps for that reason that it received another sum of Rs. 7,000 in October 1952. “The case of the ’Zamindar’ was discussed with the Chief Minister on several occasions (and once also with the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting) and each time it was decided that the normal considerations which were being shown to friendly papers should not be withdrawn from it.” Why they should not be withdrawn is exactly what we want to know. On the 2nd of March 1953 the paper was banned under the orders of the Central Government, but was continued in another name, ‘Asar’ with the word ‘Zamindar’ written prominently on the reverse. The ‘Asar’ was an old paper under the same proprietor, but its declaration had lapsed owing to non-publication for a certain period. It was stopped on that ground, but not on the ground that it was in effect a continuation of the ‘Zamindar’. However, Mir Nur Ahmad forthwith recommended that ‘Maghribi Pakistan’, which had been acquired by Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan, should be allowed to continue publication in the same month. This was because M. Akhtar Ali Khan’s son, Mansoor Ali Khan, had given an undertaking that he would follow a totally But there was a policy.

 

‘Zamindar’ continued with propaganda.

 

Reason for it. And received another sum in October. different policy. At a time when Martial Law regime was trying to purge Lahore of the crude chauvinism which the ‘Zamindar’ stood for, Mir Nur Ahmad was innocently administering a counteracting pill, and if the Central Government had not protested in time, he might well have succeeded. He denied that there was any protest from the Centre until he was confronted with a note relating to a telephone call from Karachi.

 

Certain objectionable articles appearing in various papers, principally the ‘Azad’ and the ‘Zamindar’ (pages 1588-89 of the paper book) were brought to Mir Nur Ahmad’s notice and he was asked whether he had proposed any action in respect of them. He replied that these were from time to time discussed with the Chief Minister, who each time said that action should be postponed till some decisions was taken on how the movement was to be dealt with as a whole. The main reason for postponing action against the Zamindar, according to him was that action would create more problems that it would solve.

 

On 18th February, 1953, a telegram came from the Centre, drawing attention to certain articles in the ‘Azad’ and the ‘Zamindar’, two in the ‘Zamindar’ and three in the ‘Azad’, all relating to February, and hoping that necessary measures would be taken to check the press from fanning the agitation. In relation to the ‘Zamindar’ Mir Nur Ahmad made the following note: “Zamindar is pretty bad on the Ahmadi question, but I think we should wait and see how the agitation develops’’. He now says he thought it would be suitable to deal with the ‘Zamindar’ as part of Government’s action against the movement as whole. “The reason for discrimination was that the ‘Zamindar’ presented a peculiar problem ; Akhtar Ali Khan was President of the Pakistan Newspaper Editor’s Conference and in the good books of the Centre”. When he was told that the Centre itself was proposing action on this occasion, he replied: (we reproduce only the substance of his evidence). “The Centre had two voices. The Ministry of Information, anxious to keep this paper on the right side of Government, advised only persuasive methods with the ‘Zamindar.’ The Ministry of Interior drew attention to objectionable passages and suggested action which they themselves could take. The question was discussed with the Chief Minister at intervals of about a month, but not this time. It is true that the Ministry of Interior sent a top-secret moat-immediate cipher telegram suggesting action, but I had to place my views before Government. I did not refer in my note to the other voice of the Centre—the Ministry of Information”.

 

The more we read Mir Nur Ahmad’s explanations, the more we get a feeling of sickness. But we should observe that he must have relied on strong backing somewhere if he could so flout the urgent requests of the Centre. But how could anything said by the Ministry of Information—assuming that something was actually said—be even distantly related to the following passage in his note: “Action in regard to the press will have to be part of a comprehensive policy dealing with the agitation if it takes the form of lawbreaking?”

 

Most of his expressions had no meaning for us, and therefore, we asked him whether he intended that action should be deferred until the law started being broken. He said that he merely meant that action would probably have to be stricter if lawlessness broke out. “By action I meant suitable action—that action would have to be suited to the D.P.R. tries to save Zamindar situation.” We think “Fudge” would be the least harmful expression that ought to be used in reply to these explanations.

 

There is no doubt that the ‘Zamindar’ was a pampered paper. After all the admissions of favouritism, express and implied, made by Mir Nur Ahmad in relation to the ‘Zamindar’ he stated in reply to Mr. Daultana’s counsel that Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan was on intimate terms with Kh. Nazim-ud-Din. But is there any other Maulana, including Qazi Ehsan Ahmad Shujabadi, with his wooden box of Ahmadi literature, who cannot claim that honour? Kh. Nazim-ud-Din made himself available to all these gentlemen in the hope of furthering his negotiations, and if Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan took advantage of the situation and even asked for the Governor-General’s Viking to take him from Bahawalpur to Karachi, it merely reflects on his own great qualities. After all his efforts to oblige both the Government and the people, Kh. Nazim-ud-Din has called him a fickleminded person “who told me one thing in Karachi and did another in Lahore”.

 

Adult Literacy Fund

 

Our surprises are not yet over. Of the money expended on the press, Rs. 2,03,000 were diverted from the Adult Literacy Fund, an account which, as the name shows, was intended by the Legislative Assembly to educate illiterate adults.

 

Mir Nur Ahmad, however, was misled by the word “Literacy”, and devoted it to the education of “literate” adults. For you cannot educate an illiterate person by placing the ‘Zamindar’ or the ‘Afaq’ in his hands. It is only a person already sufficiently literate who can avail of a newspaper. When Mir Nur Ahmad made the proposal, he asked Government to keep it “confidential”. That was, he says, because it was “political” expenditure. We think a better reason was that if the matter became public, it would evoke criticism. He admits that he expected a certain amount of criticism. In fact, the Education Department had objected to the decision. But he says he was to implement a scheme adopted by Government, and it was the Government itself which decided to transfer money from another fund. Then comes a frank confession. “The object of our scheme was to give financial help to a certain type of papers, not to educate the illiterate”.

 

He made a note on 30th July 1952 in file Ex. D. E. 250 which shows that there was a previous discussion with the Chief Minister. The note itself went up to the Chief Secretary and the Chief Minister, to show that Mir Nur Ahmad was not acting “on his own”. Mr. Daultana admitted that the Education Minister could himself cause the appropriation without reference to the Chief Minister. Then the file was shown to him, and he said: “If the file states that he discussed the case with me, he must have done so. This was because it was a matter of policy.”

 

And it is doubtful whether the literates were made further literate. The total number of copies of papers to which the Directorate subscribed was “far in excess of” the total number of institutions for which they were intended, admits the Director. One list showed that Fudge.

 

Zamindar was a favourite.

D. P. R. used it as “Literate” Adult Fund.

It was not the object to educate the illiterate.

Papers may not have been sent at all.

 

whereas the number of copies ordered was 350, the number of institutions for which they were required was 330, but sometimes copies of different papers (that, is to say, more than one copy) were supplied to the same institution. Further, the file does not show that the institutions were informed that they would receive a certain paper for a certain period. It was, therefore, left open to the papers themselves to send or not to send a copy. One of these papers, the ‘Afaq’ virtually belonged to Government. This should have been evident from the fact that altogether Rs. 126,285 were paid to it. It was a weekly paper and became a daily in the middle of June 1951 as soon as a first payment of Rs. 42,000 was made to it. Mir Nur Ahmad said he had no personal connection with the paper, but his son Mir Iqbal Ahmad forthwith became Advertisements Manager thereof at Rs. 400 a month. “He has no special training in advertising, but he is a graduate. He was never before employed in any paper. He did export business in salt”. Many days afterwards, Mr. Yaqub Ali Khan, counsel for Mr. Daultana, reminded him that Mir Iqbal Ahmad was employed before the Partition as Publicity Officer under the Government of India at Rs. 300 a month, and Mir Nur Ahmad explained that this qualification had not been mentioned by him previously been use he thought the question put to him related to any special training for the Job. However, Mir Nur Ahmad added that the Chief Minister was interested in the ‘Afaq’ “politically”, and had once sent to him a cheque for Rs. 5,000 as a donation to the ‘Afaq’. As to this, Mr. Daultana says some Muslim League workers had given him this amount specifically to be donated to the ‘Afaq’ in lieu of its services to the cause of the Muslim League. However that may be, the money went to Mr. Iqbal Ahmad’s account, as a shareholder in the Afaq Ltd. In other words, Mir Iqbal Ahmad woke up one day to find himself holding shares of the nominal value of Rs. 5,000, without paying for them, but his father says it was not that money which came from Lyallpur or Mr. Daultana. “The governing director offered him the post of General-Manager, and, I believe” (with emphasis on ‘believe’) “asked him to accept these shares in view of the extended duties which he was going to bear”. We must say Mir Nur Ahmad has a talent for explanation, and I only wish he had used it in publicity against the agitation.

 

A number of exhibits were then shown to him, and it appears from these that he was not only contributing to the ‘Afaq’ but also advising it and guiding its policy.

 

 THE MAZDOOR

While on the subject of the press, it will be proper to mention two papers, not belonging to the subsidised class, which were treated with extreme indulgence notwithstanding that they gave publicity to grossly indecent literature. One of these is the Mazdoor, published by Abuzar, a son of Maulana Ataullah Shah Bukhari. Even when he applied for a declaration, it was reported that the paper’s activities would be directed against the Ahmadis, and yet the declaration was granted against a security of Rs. 1,000. Who would not welcome another pugilist in the arena against the Ahmadis, and if it came to the forfeiture of security, a helpful note, full of sophistry and unintelligible argument, could always be improvised? For on the 13th of June 1952, when the paper used the following words in respect of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad —The ‘Afaq’.

 

حضرت خليفه المسی الزانی ۔ يدها ۔ هاله تالا

Mir Nur Ahmad recommended a mere warning. He admits that the action suggested was inadequate and betrayed lack of a sense of proportion, but pleaded that this was also the action suggested by the D. I. G.

The Azad

 

The other paper is the ‘Azad’ and enough has been said about it both in this part and elsewhere. It has published so much objectionable and obscene literature during the period under observation that we find it difficult to reproduce any samples. It has already been seen that some of these articles were brought to the notice of the province on three or four occasions by the Central Government. Each time the reply was that a warning had been given and at last the Ministry of Interior was compelled to say that since warnings have had no effect, the paper should be prosecuted. This was on 10th December 1952. The Punjab Government made no reply to this, but we have seen how it condoned towards the end of the month the very nasty article appearing in the paper of the 12th November 1952. In January 1953, even Mir Nur Ahmad was constrained to recommend suppression for six months, but the Chief Minister disagreed, and it was not until the Central Government had taken a Cabinet decision on 28th February that the paper was suppressed for a year.

 

Direct Action

 

Before closing this period, we should mention that on or about the 21st January, 1953, the Ulama delivered a challenge of “direct action” to the Prime Minister at Karachi, without making it clear what they intended doing. Kh. Nazim-ud-Din, however, does not seem to have had any doubt that it would lead to a disturbance of the peace. “Past experience had shown, especially in pre-Partition days that all civil disobedience movements were started with the announcement that they would be peaceful and nonviolent but that every one of them ended in violence.” On 16th February, when he came to Lahore, and was asked by the Chief Minister and the Governor to do something about the demands, he told them that he was “not prepared to take up a head-on fight with the Ulama” who were unanimous on the demands, but not on the advisability of the ultimatum. According to Mr. Chundrigar, the Prime Minister also said he was negotiating with the Ulama, and since Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din did not appear particularly apprehensive, it must be assumed that ha was hopeful about the negotiations, hopeful because he thought some of the ulama were opposed to “direct action”.

 

But the Punjab administration had no certainty in its mind. File No. 16(2) 102 shows that an intercepted letter on 1st February 1953 gave the C. I. D. an indication that the first step in direct action would be the social boycott of the Ahmadis, attended by “peaceful” picketing.

 

On the 3rd February Mr. Anwar Ali wrote that the All Parties Convention set up at the instance of the Ahrar had been forced into a position where they must either resort to direct action or lose the following of their adherents. He added that although “direct action” had not so far been defined, at the initial phase, apparently, social and economic How was it understood by C.I.D.

 

boycott of the Ahmadis may be sponsored. The Ahrar, he said, were conscious that for sustained effort the movement should be non violent, but they were not confident of success. “The public have lost interest in the Ahrar agitation as more important issues have come to the fore.” They were trying to enlist volunteers and should be watched. On the 5th February the D. S. P. (P) reported, in obedience to the D. I. G.’s verbal order to make inquiries, that “even the leaders of the Convention do not know what precisely they would do except that they would embark upon a direct action campaign”. It was believed, however, that the campaign would start from Karachi. All sources were emphatic that in the first phase a social boycott will be resorted to and that “peaceful” picketing of Ahmadi shops will follow.

 

On 16th February, as a result of the consequences of the Hartal which was observed in honour of the Prime Minister at Lahore, Mr. Anwar Ali appears to have altered his opinion. He said that events were moving briskly and “today in Lahore two incidents resulting in violence have taken

place. The law-abiding public is becoming sceptical about the ability of Government to handle the situation.” This is in marked contrast with the observation of the 3rd February that the public had lost interest in the agitation.

 

But we are not so sure, for it is evident from file No. 16 (2) 107, Vol. III that danger signals had appeared even earlier than the 16th February.

 

On the 13th February, S. P. (B), quoting from a source report that a decision had been taken to observe hartal, recommended detention for Master Taj-ud-Din, Sahibzada Faizul Hasan, Sayyad Muzaffar Ali Shamsi and Qazi Ehsan Ahmad, as they keenly supported direct action. He mentioned a poster issued by Shamsi as Secretary of the Majlis-i-Amal announcing a meeting on the 15th February at Delhi Gate, appealing to all Muslims to come “with burial clothes on their heads”. On the 14th February he again said there was intense propaganda and that people were asked to come “ready with their lives”. On the 16th February, he reported that at the previous day’s meeting it had been decided to start direct action by picketing Ahmadi business quarters and that 2,000 volunteers were to be sent to Karachi for that purpose. M. Akhtar Ali Khan, he said, had given an assurance that the Punjab Government was not likely to place restrictions on the movement of volunteers.

 

The D. I. G. noted that there was “no immediate danger”. This is again in remarkable contrast with his note of the same date on the other file—that the law-abiding public is becoming sceptical of the ability of Government to handle the situation.

 

It is possible that there was “no immediate danger” because the agitation was to start in a place comparatively “remote” from Lahore, and if Lahore was concerned only with the flow of volunteers and M. Akhtar Ali Khan had an understanding with the Punjab Government, then there was cause for local complacency. But what about the two incidents of violence, the intense propaganda to come “ready with lives”, the requisitioning of burial clothes for quick Public has lost interest, says D.I.G.—3-2-53.

Karachi would be the venue.

D.I.G. not so hopeful

16-2-53.

S.P. (B) recommends detention.

But D. I. G. says “no immediate danger”

Why “No immediate danger”.

 

burial? It is possible, again, that the words “immediate danger” were used in reply to S. P. (B)’s recommendation for the detention of certain firebrands. In Court, Mr. Anwar Ali said that when he received intimation of the direct action challenge, he proposed that Government should immediately address the Centre and find out its attitude, because on that depended how the agitation would develop. “Master Taj-ud-Din, who is now present in Court, himself told me that direct action would not actually start. Our information was that they were merely forcing the hands of Government to get a favourable decision. As to whether the Ahrar had any plan of action, I think they are the most confused people I have ever seen. They said on the 3rd February 1953, that they wanted to make an absolutely non-violent and sustained effort but I did not believe them in view of their past conduct in giving assurances and then going back on them”. His note of the 3rd February shows, however, that he did believe Master Taj-ud-Din and perhaps the astute leader also misled him into reporting that the public had lost interest in the agitation. We do not think the master acted confusedly, at least on this occasion. He quite naturally expected some manifestation of law and order activity from Government as a reaction to the challenge and was anxious to do something before he was thrown into jail. Mark the further confidences reposed by the Ahrar Leader in the C. I. D. Chief. “I have said in my written statement that the All Muslim Parties Convention had been forced into a position where they must either resort to direct action or lose their following. I got this information from Master Taj-ud-Din himself, now present in Court.” This also is mentioned in his report of the 3rd February, which, consequently, appears to be based solely on Master Taj-ud-Din’s information. Unless Master Taj-ud-Din was spying on his own organisation, we doubt the wisdom of his information being treated as “report-worthy” without specifying the source. Possibly Master Taj-ud-Din occasionally did some nominal injury to himself—by giving an impression that he was disclosing secrets—to secure a smooth career for his paper.

 

Finally, Mr. Anwar Ali said: “I frankly confess it was not clear to me what “direct action” would mean, but it is true that before the Partition it meant civil disobedience and violation of law and order. It is also true that the Ahrar aimed at raising 20,000 volunteers, but my view was that they were merely browbeating the Government, and I did not prepare myself for arresting them”. Here again, he relies on Master Taj-ud-Din, who told him that “they were merely forcing the hands of the Government to get a favourable decision”. “The Government” apparently means the Central Government, because it was that Government which had to accept or reject the demands. We think what we have reproduced from the files in this behalf, read with the statement of Mr. Anwar Ali, constitutes sufficient material for holding that Master Taj-ud-Din succeeded in putting Mr. Anwar Ali off the track by assuring him that nothing was going to happen and that the intention was merely to elicit a concession from the Centre. If this had not been the case, knowing as he did by experience that direct action means civil disobedience, which invariably leads to violence, he would not have been of the opinion, on the 16th February, that there was “no immediate danger”. But if the other voice with which he spoke on the same day—that the

D.I.G.’s confession and admission.

 

D. I. G. mislead by

Master Taj-ud-Din law-abiding public is becoming sceptical of Government’s ability to handle the situation—is the true voice, then, while on the one hand he proposed that the Centre’s attitude to the challenge should be ascertained, on the other he might well have accepted S. P. (B)’s advice that detention is the better part of valour in law-and-order warfare.

 

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