By Wajahat Masood
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edit Bureau)
22 January 2019
I have received a letter from Mushfaque Ahmed of Karachi complaining that I have not given credible references of the Muslim League leadership in my previous articles of this series.
I value the esteemed reader’s complaint but it would go without saying that many a statement of Qaid-e-Azam Md. Ali Jinnah about the Muslim League leadership is a part of history now. For example, after the formation of Pakistan, he once said, “I have given birth to Pakistan with the help of a type-writer.” Another statement attributed to him likens the Muslim League leadership to old coins. In fact, on either side of the border after Independence a host of people emerged claiming to have struggled for independence. Josh Malihabadi’s famous line on newly discovered companions of Gandhiji in India after independence is as follows:
Khaddar Pahan Pahan Ke Bad Atwar Aagaye
Talking of poetry, in Pakistan too, the composer of Pakistan’s national song, Hafeez Jalandhari went on blowing his own trumpet for 35 years on his achievements during his struggle for freedom but he never ever repeated his couplet written during the Second World War when he was working as Director of Song Publicity in Delhi:
Jab Tak Choron Rahzano Ka Dar Duniya Par Ghalib Hai
Pehle Mujh Se Bat Kare Jo Azadi Ka Talib Hai
According to the illustrious broadcaster of the last century Akhlaque Ahmed Dehlvi, in the Mushaira broadcast on the All India Radio, Delhi on 15 August 1947 to mark the independence, Sardar Patel was impressed only by the ‘wonderful’ verses of Hafeez Jalandhari while he was so infuriated after listening to the verses of Josh and Jigar Muradabadi that he called the station director and sought an explanation from him.
However Hafeez Jalandhari’s manners may be attributed to his nature but let me tell you that during the riots, he had protected a number of non-Muslim families of Model Town in Lahore risking his own life.
The Muslim League’s leadership? Good question. Laconically speaking, Liaqat Ali khan was the Secretary General of the Muslim League and was a right hand man of Qaide-e-Azam. He was an important office-bearer of the All India Muslim League Parliamentary Board in the elections in 1937. Nevertheless, after issuing tickets to the Muslim League candidates, he himself fought the election from the Agricultural Party. Sikandar Hayat was the Prime Minister of the government of the Unionist Party-Muslim League alliance in Punjab. His differences with Qaede-Azam on almost every important issue are history. He would openly defy the instructions of the Muslim League and ridicule the demand for Pakistan in public meetings, saying, “ I am a Punjabi first and then a Muslim. I do not regard the instructions of the Muslim League as binding.”
After Sikandar-Jinnah Pact, Sikandar Hayat specifically pushed Allama Iqbal’s companions in Punjab Muslim League namely Malik Barkat Ali, Ghulam Rasul, Peer Tajuddin and Ashique Hussain Batalvi to the background.
Fazl ul Haque, the leader who presented the Pakistan Resolution, was the Prime Minister of the Muslim League government in Bengal. When Qaid-e-Azam opposed his inclusion in the War Council of the Viceroy, he straightaway resigned from the working commitee of the Muslim League.
Sir Saadullah was the Muslim League Chief Minister in Assam. Despite the Muslim League’s instructions to the contrary, he joined the War Council of the Viceroy. Begum Shahnawaz was also among the Muslim League leaders who joined the War Council disobeying Qaed e-Azam. When Qaed e Azam demanded an explanation, she boldly said that she joined the War Council to protect women’s rights and asked what Qaid-e-Azam had done for the women’s rights and on what grounds he could stop her from joining the War Council.
In the elections of 1937, only two Muslim League candidates Malik Barkat Ali and Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan won in the entire Punjab. Hours after his victory in the elections, Raja Ghazanfar Ali khan announced his joining the Unionist Party saying, “ I had a pre-election agreement with the Unionist Party that I would join the party after winning the election on a Muslim League ticket.” In lieu of that he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary on a monthly salary of Rs. 500.
The credit of organising the Muslim League in Bengal goes to Mr. Suhrawardi. In February 1948, Liaqat Ali Khan had accused him of treason and annulled his membership of the Legislative Assembly. In Liaqat Ali Khan’s words, “Yeh (Suherwardi) Bharat Ka Chhora Hua Ek Kutta Hai” (This man is a dog unleashed by India).
Khizir Hayat was the Prime Minister in the coalition government of the Muslim League in the Punjab. It was to topple his government that the Muslim League had launched a civil-disobedience movement in December 1946.
Iftekhar Hussain Mumdoot was made the Head of the Punjab Muslim League after his father’s death. Because of his laggardness in written and spoken language and indecisiveness, he had earned the title “Goonga Pehalwan” ( A dumb wrestler).
After the establishment of Pakistan, there was a fierce rivalry between him (Iftekhar Hussain) and Mr Daultana for the chief minister-ship of the Punjab. Qaid-e-Azam arranged a face-to-face meeting with the two in Karachi and facilitated a patch-up between them, but once they returned to Lahore, they started fighting again. Let me add here that Mumtaz Daultana used to oppose Qaed e Azam at the behest of Liaqat Ali Khan.
Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman was the head of the UP Muslim League. His views on Qaed-e-Azam and Pakistan feature in Pathway to Pakistan. Shaukat Hayat had been conferred the title Shawakat-e-Islam. He was stripped of state ministry on Viceroy’s instructions due to his unprofessional behaviour. Even the admirers of Sir Zafarullah Khan will not disagree with the fact that he had close links with the British government. In fact, he was considered a representative of the British Raj in the Muslim League. When Governor General Ghulam Mohammad sacked Khwaja Nazimuddin, Zafarullah Khan was on Ghulam Mohammed’s side. Raja Sahab of Mahmoodabad had a prominent place in the Muslim League leadership. His views on Qaid-e-Azam and Pakistan can be read in Mukhtar Masoods book “Awaz dost”.
The Iron man of the Muslim League in the Frontier Province (formerly) Abdul Qaiyam Khan had joined the Muslim League two weeks before the 1946 elections. Ameer Mohammad Kala Bagh of Mianwali too claimed to have made sacrifices for the establishment of Pakistan. Addressing a public meeting as the Governor of West Pakistan he said, “Pakistan was established by two lawyers, one is a Khoja (Jinnah) and the other is a Kashmiri (Iqbal). Neither of the two had even two acres of land. How would they know how to run a government?”
Part from these celebrities, if there are any other credible names in the rank and file of the Muslim League, this writer will be grateful to know.