By Wajahat Masood
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Bureau)
In 1940 Khwaja Hasan Nizami launched an Urdu weekly called Dictator from Delhi. Khwaja Hasan Nizami’s son Hussain Nizami was made its chief editor while Akhlaque Ahmad Dehlvi was appointed as the editor. Akhlaque Ahmad Dehlvi visited Liaqat Ali Khan to get his message for the inaugural issue. Coincidentally, Abdur Rab Nashtar was also present there. Akhlaque Ahmad Dehlvi writes:
I enquired, “Will there be an Islamic rule in Pakistan?”
Instead of Liaqat Ali Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nashtar replied, “Insha’Allah.”
“But Mr Jinnah says that it will be a modern state like Turkey?” I said.
Liaqat Ali Khan said, “Can’t it be an Islamic state then?”
Abdur Rab Nashtar said that Islam was not against modernity.
I asked, “Please tell me if you would like to bring back the reign of Khilafat-e-Rashida (the Abbasid caliphate) in Pakistan?”
“Why not, we shall bring back the same, what else?”, the Nawabzada (Liaqat Ali Khan) replied in an enthusiastic voice.
“I am afraid the end would be the same then”, I said.
Nawabzada was taken aback. He asked me bitterly, “What do you mean?”
I said, “I meant that out of four caliphs, three were assassinated.”
“Lahaul Wala Quwwat. What are you saying, man?”
Sardar Abdur Rab Nashtar sort of corroborated me and said, “He is right. After the establishment of Pakistan, we should keep the Quran and the Prophet’s life as our guide.”
Again I asked,” Will there be democracy in Pakistan?”
“Yes, why not. There will be nothing but democracy.”
I said, “My apologies, but Mr Jinnah says that Pakistan will be a modern state like Turkey but in the same vein he speaks about socialism as well. Democracy is neither in Islam nor in Socialism.”
Sardar Abdur Rab Nashtar said,” By Islamic Socialism he means Islamic equality, Islamic fraternity and modernity. You have already been told that it does not run contrary to Islam.”
“Where will this Islamic state situated, sir”.
“In those states where the Muslims are in majority, say in Assam, Bengal, Punjab, Kashmir, Frontier Province, and Balochistan and so on and so forth.”
“And what about Delhi?”, I enquired.
“Delhi and Agra too, because the entire history of the Muslims is scattered around in Delhi and Agra.”
I asked, “OK, sir, Delhi and Agra are fine but what will happen to the rest of the Muslims of India?”
“Pakistan is being established for the sole purpose of protecting the Muslims of India”, Liaqat Ali Khan said, “Those who will come into the areas of the proposed Pakistan, that is, the Muslim majority states, will become 100 per cent safe, won’t they? And Muslims in the Muslim minority areas will be safe because the Hindus will be in minority in Pakistan. The Muslims in India will be safe because the Hindus will be safe in Pakistan, or if they wish they can come over and settle in Pakistan.”
“How will they settle in Pakistan? Sajjad Zaheer says that in Delhi there are Muslims who have not seen the Lal Qila from inside because they cannot afford the entry fee of two Annas. How can such poor Muslims be shifted from one place to another?”
Sardar Rab Nawaz came forward with his reasoning and said, “You are aware that His Highness the Nizam of Deccan Mir Usman Ali Khan possesses such a huge treasury of gold that if it is distributed equally among the ten Crore Muslims and each one sells the gold and deposits the money in bank, he will receive an interest of Rs 50 every month simply sitting at home. It means you will never run short of funds.”
“But perhaps the state of Hyderabad will remain in India.” I asked.
“No way. We shall annexe the state of Hyderabad to our country”, Liaqat Ali Khan said with conviction.
Firstly, let’s give a thought to the aspect of the sanctity of sood (interest) as a writ of the government of Pakistan requesting a revision of a judgement of the Federal Sharia Court on Riba (interest) has been pending in the Supreme Court of Pakatan since 1992.
One basic principle in the division of India was geographical proximity. How could the non-Muslim state of Hyderabad surrounded by the proposed India on all sides be included in Pakistan? Liaqat Ali Khan did not give it a thought. Let it be remembered that the absence of geographical proximity was the most important reason that drove East and West Pakistan apart.
All the dimensions of popularity-based and one-point politics can be seen in the conversations of Liaqat Ali Khan and Abdur Rab Nashtar. That is, wherever and whenever a demand is raised, say that it will be fulfilled. If someone wanted democracy, he was promised that. Those who were fascinated by Abbasid Caliphate were lured with caliphate. Those interested in socialism were reminded of the Islamic equality. If the people of Agra asked what their fate would be, they were told the Taj Mahal was in Agra and Pakistan could not be considered complete without the Taj Mahal. When the curtain rose, we realised that we did not even get Gurdaspur and Ambala, leave aside Delhi and Agra. Even the hills of Kashmir could not be scaled in the last 62 years while the culture of Hyderabad Deccan remained a distant dream.
The one-point politics manifested in all this because the definition of nation was limited to religious association alone. In other words, the Muslims are one nation. The basic difference in the leaderships of the Muslim League and the Congress was that the former wanted to restrict the definition of nationality to belief whereas the stance of the latter was that geography, composite culture, lifestyle and economic factors were as important as belief in the formation of nationality. If the definition of nationality presented by the Muslim League was correct, then all the Muslims of India should be considered the citizens of Pakistan. Secondly, the bond of religion could not keep East and West Pakistan united. One basic paradox of the six decades of Pakistan’s history has been a strong centre and provincial independence. The centre has been stressing on religion while the small provinces in terms of population and area have been interested in their cultural identity and economic rights.