By Wajahat Masood
(Translated from Urdu by New Age Islam Edi Bureau)
Had Qaid-e-Azam been present in Lahore, I (Zafarullah Khan) would have gone and consulted him for his instructions, but he was in Delhi. I could have spoken over telephone but did not consider it appropriate to seek instructions on those matters over the phone. At the same time I also knew that the preparations to be made for the case were the responsibility of the Lahore leadership of the Muslim League. Khwaja Abdur Rahim (commissioner, Rawalpindi) arrived. He said, “I have brought some papers. I have compiled religion-wise statistics of the villages, Thana, Tehsil, and districts of Punjab on my own. This is a picture of the population of the entire province. It might possibly help you in the preparation of the case. In addition to these, if you need any help regarding the case, I will be available.” I thanked Mr Khwaja from the bottom of my heart.
After Mr Khwaja left, four lawyers came in. Among them Sahabzada Nawazish Ali and Sheikh Nisar Ahmad were from Montgomery, Syed Md. Shah was from Pakpatan and Chaudhry Ali Akbar from Hoshiarpur. The first thing we did was study the government’s statement about the procedure of Partition. An analysis of it led us to the conclusion that to mark out the majority contiguous areas, the formation of a unit would be imperative.
Practically a village could not be a unit because in certain areas if a village had the Muslims in majority, the adjacent village was dominated by the non-Muslims. Therefore, by declaring a village a unit, no appropriate suggestion could be made for drawing a boundary. If a Thana was considered a unit, the same problem would arise. To decide on a unit, the choice was, in fact, between a Tehsil and a district, though we decided to hint at commissionery and do-abahs as well for the fixation of a unit during our debate.
During that period, a debate was going on the Principle of Contiguity in the newspapers of the Punjab. The Muslims would argue that the areas till Ludhiana were dominated by them while the non-Muslims would insist they were in majority in areas till Jhelum.
In the temporary administrative division, Rawalpindi, Multan and all the districts of Lahore division except Kangra had been included in the West Punjab. If we had demanded the districts to be the unit, then we would have sent the message that we were willing to accept an area smaller than what had been included in the West Pakistan in the administrative division, and as a result the area allotted to us would possibly be further reduced. If the Tehsils were to be made the unit, two Tehsils of district Ferozpur and Zeera and two Tehsil of district Jullundur, Nawan Shahr and Jullundur emerged as Muslim majority areas. Alongwith them, the adjoining Tehsil Dasoha was in district Hoshiarpur. In this tehsil, neither the Muslim nor the Hindus-Sikhs were in Majority. The support of the Christians would decide which community was in majority. A request was sent on behalf of the Christians of the Tehsil to Sir Radcliffe for clubbing them together with the Muslims. So in case of the Tehsil being declared units, all the five Tehsil -- Ferozpur, Zeera, Nawan Shahr, Jullundur and, with the support of the Christians, Dasoha would be counted among the Muslim majority areas. Muslims were also in majority in the state of Kapurthala, which was adjacent to these five states. In Ajnala Tehsil in district Amritsar, the Muslims were in majority while in Amritsar and Taran Taran the non-Muslims were in majority.
However, if Ferozpur, Zeera, Nawan Shahr, Jullundur and Kapurthala were included in Pakistan, then Amritsar and Taran Taran would cease to be non-Muslim contiguous areas because they were surrounded on all the four sides by Muslim-majority areas.
In district Gurdaspur, the Tehsil of Batala, Gurdaspur and Shakargarh, the Muslim were in majority and the Tehsil of Pathankot was dominated by non-Muslim population. This Tehsil was adjacent to Kangrah and district Hoshiarpur which were non-Muslim majority districts. After hectic deliberations, we came to the conclusion that we should stress on the Tehsils to be declared the unit. But we were not supposed to decide on it merely on our own conclusion. We were only building up a case in favour of the Muslim league as its lawyers.
The Muslim league had the sole authority to decide how they wanted to put up their case. The President of the Muslim League of Punjab was Nawab of Mumdoot but seeking his opinion was useless because out of his sophistication and humility he did not make his own decision on any issue.
I told Mian Mumtaz Ahmed Khan Daultana that it was important to decide which unit to recommend for marking out the majority contiguous areas. He said, “Who can understand this better than you? Whatever you propose will be appropriate.” I said, “The decision should be made by the Muslim League. I am an individual and I am in the capacity of a lawyer. I will have to abide by the instructions issued by it.” Mr. Khan asked for my opinion. I informed him of the opinion of our lawyer colleagues in brief. Mr. Khan said, “Then it’s all right. Nothing can be better than that.”
It should be clarified at this point that after the establishment of Pakistan, the detractors of Zafarullah Khan alleged that because of his incompetence and insincerity many areas went out of Pakistan. The firebrand speakers of Majlis-e-Ahrar, the organisation which opposed the partition of India vehemently, were in the forefront of this vilification campaign. When the issue was raised during the inquiry of the riots (against the Ahmadis) in 1953, Justice Munir categorically said that he himself was a member of the Boundary Commission and Zafarullah Khan had presented the case of the Muslims before the Commission according to his best abilities and sincerity. Justice Munir’s statement is included in the inquiry report.