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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Pakistan Day to be celebrated on March 23
Every year, on March 23, the Pakistani people commemorate their National Day in remembrance of “The Pakistan Resolution” passed on March 23, 1940, in the historic city of Lahore.
On this day, the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent pledged to create an independent homeland, where they could live in accordance with their religious and cultural values.
From 22 to 24 March, 1940, the All India Muslim League held its annual session at Minto Park, Lahore. The session proved to be historical.
On the first day of the session, father of the Pakistani nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah narrated the events of the last few months. And then in an off the cuff speech he presented his own solution of the Muslim problem in India. He said that the problem of India was not of an inter-communal nature, but clearly an international one and must be treated as such.
To him the differences between the Hindus and Muslims were so great and so sharp that their union under one central government was full of serious risks. They belonged to two separate and distinct nations and therefore the only chance open was to allow them to have two separate states.
In the words of Mr. Jinnah: “Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs and literature. They neither inter-marry nor inter-dine and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations that are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their concepts on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other, and likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state”.
Mr. Jinnah added: “Muslims are a nation according to any definition of nation. We wish our people to develop to the fullest spiritual, cultural, economic, social and political life in a way that we think best and in consonance with our own ideals and according to the genius of our people”.
On the basis of the aforementioned ideas of Mr. Jinnah, a prominent freedom leader, Mr. Fazl-ul-Haq, moved the historical resolution which has since come to be known as Lahore Resolution or Pakistan Resolution.
The Resolution declared: “No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the (Indian) Muslims unless geographical contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign”.
It further reads, “That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in the units and in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights of the minorities, with their consultation. Arrangements thus should be made for the security of Muslims where they were in a minority”.
The Lahore Resolution renounced the concept of United India and recommended the creation of an independent Muslim state consisting of Punjab, NWFP, Sindh and Baluchistan in the northwest, and Bengal and Assam in the northeast.
The Resolution was passed on March 24. It laid down only the principles, with the details left to be worked out at a future date. It was made a part of the All India Muslim League’s constitution in 1941. It was on the basis of this resolution that in 1946 the Muslim League decided to go for one state for the Muslims, instead of two.
Having passed the Pakistan Resolution, the Muslims of India changed their ultimate goal. Instead of seeking alliance with the Hindu community, they set out on a path whose destination was a separate homeland for the Muslims of India – Pakistan – that under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah was finally achieved on August 14, 1947.
(Compiled by Gul Jammas Hussain)-