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Munir Commission Report -18: Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi described the situation as a civil war between the public and the Government

The Chief Secretary was asked to draft a statement for issue over the signatures of the prominent citizens summoned to the afternoon meeting, but as he was called to the Secretariat where clerks had gone on strike, the statement was drafted by the Home Secretary. The draft prepared by the Homo Secretary was considered by the Governor to be too condemnatory of the demands to have any chance of acceptance by the representatives of the public. On return from the Secretariat the Chief Secretary also attempted a draft but then the idea was given up.


At the afternoon meeting the Inspector-General of Police as desired by the Governor and the Chief Minister gave a detailed account of the situation. He was followed by two more speakers, namely, Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi and Mr. Ahmad Saeed Kirmani, M. L. A. The Maulana described the situation as a civil war between the public and the Government and asserted that unless the Government expressed its willingness to consider the demands of the people, he would not subscribe to any appeal.


Mr. Kirmani said that the movement was being led largely by hooligans and other irresponsible persons and that the intelligentsia were not with it. After Mr. Kirmani had finished his speech, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, and the Inspector-General of Police were requested to go out. The meeting, however, continued and Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi busied himself in the preparation of a draft appeal, but the production was not approved by the Governor and the Chief Minister.


Another meeting was held at the Government House in the evening which was attended by the Ministers, the General Officer-Commanding and Brigadiers Haq Nawaz and F. R Kallu, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police and Malik Habib Ullah, Superintendent of Police, C. I. D. The situation was reviewed and it was decided that since the last incident of lawlessness had taken place at 2-30 p. m., namely, an attack on a police party and the burning of a police vehicle, firing should be avoided as much as possible. The Governor desired that cases of ordinary violations of the curfew should not be taken notice of, and one of the officers or the Governor himself also proposed a ‘let-up’ in the firing. The decision to relax firing created considerable confusion among the police officers who were engaged in controlling the situation. According to the orders of the morning, the police was to take strong measures, and police patrols under the command of Mr. S. N. Alam and Malik Habib Ullah had been sent out with these instructions. When the orders of the evening were conveyed to the Kotwali control and were in turn communicated to the officers engaged in active operations, they were completely bewildered and could not decide what to do. The scattered Police Force was left in utter confusion and firing was resorted to during the night only on one occasion, i. e. at a crowd of Railway employees who had struck work and were engaged in damaging a signal and a train.


There are two events of 5th March, which have been the subject matter of some dispute and argument before us. The first of these relates to the firing in Gowalmandi at about midday, in which several persons including Abdul Aziz, Mudi, Nizam Din and Muhammad Habib are said to have been killed. The allegation by the Ahrar and the Majlis-i-Amal is that these men were killed by Malik Khan Bahadur Khan, Superintendent of Police., Punjab Constabulary, and A. S. I. Abdul Karim who was attached in those days to Police Station Gowalmandi. Abdul Aziz and Mudi are said to have been shot by Abdul Karim with rifle bullets and Nizam Din and Muhammad Habib with the same bullet fired by Malik Khan Bahadur Khan. The witnesses who have been called to prove this allegation are Hidayat Ullah No. 45, Husain Bakhsh No. 46, Ghulam Ahmad No. 48, Chiragh Din No. 49, Abdur Rauf No. 50, Master Abdul Majid .No. 51, Hakim Muhammad Jamil No. 53, Mehr Din No. 54, Siraj Din No. 55, Muhammad Hanif No. 56, Ghulam Husain No. 57, Taj Din No. 58, Ala-ud-Din No. 59, Sardar Muhammad No. 60 and Maqbul Ahmad No. 61. The incident was the subject matter of separate inquiries by Mr. Ata Muhammad Khan Noon, D. I. G., Mr. Abdul Haye, Magistrate, and a military officer. Nothing was proved in these inquiries against either of the two officers who in the evidence before us have been accused of shooting innocent men in cold blood.


This firing seems to be traceable to an earlier incident which was reported in F. I. R. No. 70 of Police Station Gowalmandi. According to that report, information was received that several hundred men were setting fire to a house in Gowalmandi, which, was occupied by A. S. I. Abdul Karim who on that very day had done some firing near the Mayo Hospital.


On receiving this information A. S. I. Faiz Ahmad, A. S. I. Sultan Ahmad and Head Constable Abdul Qadir with a party of police rushed to the spot. They attempted to disperse the mob but were fired at from the roof of a house and Head Constable Abdul Qadir was hit. One of the constables was beaten with a stick.


The incident in dispute very probably occurred a little later after this, and it is quite possible that the police fired vindictively to avenge the injuries caused to Head Constable Abdul Qadir and a foot constable. A. S. I. Abdul Karim totally denies having been present at this firing. He says that on that day he fired only three rounds from his revolver, one near Ganda Engine, the other near Chowk Amir Ali, and the third near his own house but killed nobody. He, however, admits that on that day there was some other firing in Gowalmandi under the order of Malik Khan Bahadur Khan, Superintendent of Police, Punjab Constabulary, which had nothing to do with the incident in dispute. We refrain from giving any finding about this incident because by our terms of reference we are required to report only on the adequacy or otherwise of the measures, and excessive firing is not within the scope of these terms unless such firing contributed to or accentuated the disturbances.


The other issue in dispute in regard to the events of 5th March is the meeting of the Cabinet alleged to have been held in the Government House at 6-30 p.m. which is said to have been presided over by the Governor and attended by Major-General Muhammad Azam Khan, G.O.C., Brigadiers Haq Nawaz and Kallu, the Chief Secretary, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police and Malik Habib Ullah, A.D.I.G., C.I.D. One of the decisions taken in this meeting is stated to have been that there should be relaxation in the firing. The Governor and the G.O.C. both deny that there was any such meeting but the Chief Minister, the Home Secretary, the Inspector-General of Police and Malik Habib Ullah are definite that such meeting did take place. The proceedings of the meeting were scribbled by Malik Habib Ullah on a piece of paper, Ex. D. E. 231 which he handed over sometime after the meeting to the Home Secretary who produced it in Court with his written statement. This document contains in itself inherent evidence of its being genuine inasmuch as its contents appear to have been written in a hurry and some of the sentences in it are obviously incomplete. It gives the time of the meeting as 6-30 p.m. and mentions the names of the persons present and the decisions taken which are five in number, one of which is: “H. E. said that in case of ordinary technical violations of curfew no action should be taken”. Neither the words “relaxation in firing” nor the word “let-up” appears in the document. It is quite possible that neither Mr. Chundrigar nor Major-General Muhammad Azam Khan can now distinctly recall what transpired in the hustle-bustle which must have then prevailed. It may equally well be that what the officers have described as a formal meeting was no more than consultation and discussion in the course of which those present expressed certain views which were generally agreed to, and Malik Habib Ullah considered them as decisions taken in a formal meeting. The point is not of much importance because Mr. Chundrigar himself admits that the suggestion not to take action in cases of technical violations of the curfew was made in the course of discussions on that day. But what is of importance is that some alterations in the decisions of the morning was suggested and accepted and this alteration was taken by the police, though we cannot say how, as a direction not to use force to the extent they were doing to suppress disorder in accordance with the decisions of the morning. The fact that after this meeting there was no firing at all by the police anywhere except near the Ikmoria Bridge, shows almost conclusively that the police must have been directed to relax the firing.


6th March—6th March was a Friday and since early morning processions from all sides began to pour into the Wazir Khan Mosque. Government offices suspended work, Loco and Carriage Shops closed down, and labour came out in full strength in sympathy with the movement. The Kotwali was besieged by angry crowds who were throwing stones at the building and demanding that senior police officers who had resorted to firing should be handed over to them. As the latest orders were that firing was to be avoided as far as possible, tear-gas shells were fired from the roof of the Kotwali to keep off the mob, but as soon as the tear gas blew over, the crowds closed in again. While the Inspector-General of Police was on his way to the Kotwali, his car was stopped near the Railway Station by a mob which was stopping all persons in cars or tongas or on bicycles. Near Police Station Naulakha he saw an uncordoned tank with some troops and people walking all round it. Near the underbridge on the Circular Road, he was again stopped by another mob headed by a bearded man. but managed to go on. Another mob he saw was chasing a horse-cart with lathis. The cart was overtaken and the horse unyoked. On coming near the Kotwali he heard the crowd shouting ‘Shahi Police zindabad’, ‘Pakistan Army zindabad’, ‘Police Constabulary and Border Police murdabad'. At the Kotwali he met the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mirza Naeem-ud-Din, and both talked things over and exchanged views. There is a serious discrepancy between Mr. Anwar Ali, the Inspector-General of Police, and Mirza Naeem-ud-Din, the Senior Superintendent of Police, as to what the latter said in the course of their conversation. Mr. Anwar Ali’s evidence on the point is as follows:—


“He (Mirza Naeem-ud-Din) said that the people were somehow under the impression that Government was in the wrong and that it was not only unsympathetic but actively hostile. In this context the use of force was exasperating feelings further and increasing the chagrin. He said that so far the Government had not defined its attitude on the demands; nor was there any indication that the Government had any intention of deliberating over them. This according to Naeem-ud-Din was making the situation more difficult. He wanted to be put up before the Chief Minister and to suggest that mere represession was not likely to bring the situation under control. He wanted the Punjab Government to assure the public that it was not as unsympathetic and. callous as was being made out and to add that it was doing all it could to expedite a decision on the demands. He felt that such an appeal would mitigate the bitterness and hostility against the

Government which was distinctly mounting.


* * * *


(On reaching the Government House) I put the S.S.P. before the C. M. And he repeated what he had told me.” Mirza Naeem-ud-Din’s version of the talk, however, is as follows:—


“I arrived at Kotwali at about 7 a.m. and was followed by the Inspector-General of Police after about half an hour. I discussed the situation with the Inspector-General and told him that the situation was desperate and the weak-kneed policy of the Government was demoralising even the Police Force which was the only part of the Government machinery standing by it. I, therefore, urged him to explain this to His Excellency and the Hon’ble the Chief Minister. I told him that if Government did not revise its policy I would resign. The Inspector-General agreed with me and we both went to Government House.”


On a comparison of the two statements it will be apparent that while, according to Mr. Anwar Ali, Mirza Naeem-ud-Din was against the use of force and would have the Government define its attitude on the demands and to declare that it was not unsympathetic and callous to the feelings of the people and was doing all it could to expedite a decision on the issue, according to Mirza Naeem-ud-Din himself what he said was that Government was following a weak-kneed policy which was demoralising the police and that if that policy were not changed he would prefer to resign. Further Mirza Naeem-ud-Din makes no reference to his being called before the Chief Minister at the Government House and to what he said to the Chief Minister. That Mirza Naeem-ud-Din did say some such thing as is mentioned by Mr. Anwar Ali seems to be true because though denied by Mirza Naeem-ud-Din it is confirmed by the evidence of Mr. Chundrigar and Mr. Daultana.


To continue the narrative, the Inspector-General and the Senior Superintendent of Police proceeded from the Kotwali to the Chief Minister’s house where they learnt that he had left for the Government House. On the way they found all shops shut and small batches of men intent on mischief moving everywhere. From the Chief Minister’s house they both went to the Government House. On reaching the Government House they found all the Ministers, including the Chief Minister, present. There were also present there members of the Lahore Corporation, including some women, e.g., Begum Tasadduq Husain and Begum G. A. Khan, and the Mayor and Nawab Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash.


Ata Ullah Jahanian was also there with some student workers.


The Chief Secretary and the Home Secretary had gone in the morning to the Secretariat where they found the officials of the Secretariat collected in the compound and loudly demanding cessation of firing and acceptance of the demands. Mr. Alam, Deputy Inspector General of Police, had also arrived there. All three attempted to talk to the clerks but no one would listen to them, every attempt to argue with them being met with the demand that their viewpoint, namely, that the firing should stop and the popular demands be accepted, be conveyed over the telephone to the Governor and the Chief Minister. It was only when the Chief Secretary gave an undertaking that he would do his best to represent their case to Government and the Home Secretary held out the threat that if they were not permitted to go out, the military and the police would come and take action, that the Secretaries’ car, which had been surrounded and held up, was permitted to move. When the Secretaries arrived at the Government House, they found it all in a state of turmoil. The following is a graphic description by the Home Secretary of what was going on there:—


“A large number of people including the Councillors of Lahore were present there and the usual decorum that prevails in the Governor’s House was lacking, H. E. the Governor, the Chief Minister and the Cabinet were assembled in H.E.’s office. I went in and briefly told them what had happened in the Secretariat. Then information started coming in regarding the various incidents that were taking place in the city. The electric current of the Governor’s House was cut off and information was received by someone on the telephone from Mr. S. S. Jafri, C. S. P., that some shops in Anarkali were ablaze. The Telegraph Office and the Telephone Exchange were

reported to have struck. The Inspector-General of Police and the Senior Superintendent of Police who had come from the Kotwali said that the Kotwali was more or less besieged and that the situation was alarming.


The Inspector-General of Police told me that the Senior Superintendent of Police was of the opinion that the city could not be held with the mere use of force and that there should be some public appeasement also and the Government should issue a statement. The Inspector-General of Police added that he had brought this to the notice of H.E./Chief Minister. The Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Lahore Range, also reached the Governor’s House a little later.”


The situation was fast reaching a climax in the town. The Railway workers had entered the Engine Shed and taken possession of it, not allowing any engine to move out. The Railway track between Lahore and Moghalpura had been cut and a train coming from the Shahdara side stopped on the way. The automatic traffic signal near the Y.M.C.A. building was burnt by a mob which was about to loot the Commercial Buildings. Some more Government buses had been burnt. The Chief Engineer, Electricity, had been served by the workers with a formal notice that unless the Government House, the Ministers and officers residing in the G.O.R. Estate voluntarily cut off electricity, the city would be blacked out. This information from the Chief Engineer was brought to the Government House by a man who demanded that an immediate reply should be given to the notice. Just then the electricity in the Government House was cut and the secrophone ceased to work.


On going into the room of the Governor’s Secretary, the Home Secretary found the Governor, the Chief Minister and some Ministers attempting to telephone to Karachi. The Home Secretary talked to those present in the room and suggested that the situation could be brought under control only if the following action was taken:—


(1) That Majlis-i-Ahrar, Pakistan, and Jama’at-i-Islami should be declared unlawful associations;


(2) That the ulama and the maulvis who were amenable to reason, and prepared to support Government in the restoration of law and order should be induced to come out and publicly condemn the lawlessness that had spread in the name of khatm-i-nubuwwat;


(3) That the Central Cabinet should be requested to send one of the Ministers immediately to Lahore; and


(4) That the city should be made over wholly to the army.


The Home Secretary advised that the Centre should be immediately contacted as the telephone might go out of action at any time. He successfully put through a telephone call to Karachi over the Military Trunk Line, but shortly afterwards it ended abruptly.


The Home Secretary and the Inspector-General of Police who had also come into the room, then went out. Shortly afterwards the Chief Minister called in the Home Secretary and asked him to draft in Urdu a statement on the lines indicated to him in English. The Home Secretary replied that he was not well-versed in drafting statements in Urdu and suggested that the job be entrusted to Mr. Zulqarnain Khan, Superintendent of Police.


Accordingly the substance of the Chief Minister’s instructions was communicated by the Home Secretary to Mr. Zulqarnain Khan in the presence of the Governor and the Chief Minister. The Chief Minister required the draft to be put up immediately as he was talking on the telephone to Karachi. The statement which was originally drafted by Mr. Zulqarnain Khan was as follows:—


“Wazir-i-Ala Punjab apni aur apni wazarat ki janib se yeh i’lan karte hain keh un ki hukumat ‘Tahaffuz-i-khatm-i-nubuwwat’ ke lidran se fauri guft-oshanid ke liye taiyar hai aur woh awam se darkhast karte hain keh mulk men amn-o-aman qaim karne men woh un ka hath batain. Woh awam ko itmi’nan dilate hain keh police aur fauj koi mutashaddidana karwa’i bilkhasus firing nahin karengi ta waqte-keh un ko kisi ke jan-o-mal ki hifazat ke liye aisa karna na pare. Suba’i hukumat markazi hukumat se guft-o-shanid kar rehi hai aur Mian Mumtaz Muhammad Khan Daultana ba-haisiyat Sadr Suba Muslim League, Pakistan ke Sadr ke samne Punjab ke awam ki taraf se yeh mutalibat fauri tawajjah ke liye pesh kar rahe hain”.


When the Chief Minister looked at this statement, he said that it would prove completely ineffective and ordered the following words to be added:


The words “apni ta’yid ke sath” after the words “Punjab ke awam ki taraf se” and the words “kyunkeh yeh qaum ke muttafiqa mutalibat hain” at the end.


The statement was being cyclostyled when the Chief Minister again desired that the following words should be further added to it:—


“Suba’i hukumat ka ek Wazir taiyare ke zari’e in mutalibat aur hamari ta’yid ke sath aj hi Karachi bheja ja raha hai aur hamari purzor sifarash hai keh Chaudhri Zafrullah ko wazarat se musta’fi hone par fauran majbur kiya ja’e”.


The Governor and the Chief Minister were both anxious that the statement should be dropped into the mosques from the air before the Juma prayers. The Governor also asked the Home Secretary in the presence of the Chief Minister and the Cabinet to read the statement on the telephone to Khalifa Shuja-ud-Din, who had been named as the fourth dictator of the Majlis-i-Amal in a leaflet issued on that day or a day earlier. The Home Secretary complied with, the order and read over the statement to Khalifa Shujaud-Din and also had copies of the statement sent to Khalifa Sahib’s house as desired by the Governor. The Governor seemed to be very anxious to satisfy the Khalifa Sahib because he made repeated inquiries whether his orders regarding the furnishing of copies of the statement to Khalifa Sahib had been complied with or not. The Governor also directed the Inspector-General of Police to broadcast the statement from loud-speaker vans in the city. Translations of the statement were immediately flashed to the districts under the orders of the Governor and the Chief Minister.


The day was reminiscent of, and was about to develop into a St. Bartholomew Day when Martial Law was declared at 1-30 p.m. We have already mentioned that an Ahmadi teacher had been killed on the preceding day. On the 6th March, Muhammad Shafi Burmawala, an Ahmadi, was murdered in Moghalpura, and Jamil Ahmad, an Ahmadi college student, was fatally stabbed inside Bhati Gate. Mirza Karim Beg, another Ahmadi or a supposed Ahmadi, was stabbed on the Flemming Road, and his body thrown on a burning pyre made from some furniture. Property of the Ahmadis that was looted or burnt that day included Pak Rays, Shafa Medical, Orsuco, Musa and Sons’ shop, the Rajput Cycle Works, the godowns and timberyards of Malik Muhammad Tufail and Malik Barkat Ali, the house of Malik Abdur Rahman on Mason Road, five Ahmadi houses on Mozang and Temple Roads, including that of Sheikh Nur Ahmad, Advocate.


The house of Mr. Bashir Ahmad, a leading advocate and Amir-i-Jama’at of the Ahmadiya community in Lahore, was besieged in the afternoon and the mob was about to enter the house when Mr. Bashir Ahmad fired some rounds in self-defence. He was tried for this act by a special Military Court and acquitted. On the night of 6th/7th March the house of Abdul Hakim, proprietor, Pioneer Electric and Battery Station, MeLeod Road, was raided and his old mother murdered.