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Home Critical Analysis/Archives Report on Punjab Disturbances of 1953
Report of The Court of Inquiry

CENTRAL AND PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENTS
KHAWAJA NAZIM-UD-DIN v. MR. DAULTANA

The Central and Provincial Governments headed by Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din and Mr. Daultana respectively have both been brought in by parties for a share in the responsibility. Against Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din it is alleged that he took no cognisance of the demands and no action thereon though they had been formally placed before him as early as August 1952 and that even after the ultimatum was delivered to him on 22nd January he did not feel concerned till he came to know on 26th February 1952 of the decision to picket his house on the following morning. Indeed Mr. Daultana contends that Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s silence and indecision, his wavering attitude and his long and frequent parleys with the ulama were the main cause of the disturbances. The parties are, however, not agreed as to what Khwaja Nazim-ud- Din’s attitude should have been. While the Ahmadis allege that there would have been no disturbances if the Central Government had immediately and publicly rejected the demands and given a clear and mandatory directive to the Province firmly to deal with, and use all legal machinery against, those who were agitating for the demands, the non-Ahmadis parties unanimously contend that there would have been no unrest or disorder if agreement with the demands had been announced earlier and necessary steps taken or promised in recognition of the demands. Mr. Daultana does not suggest what action should have been taken by Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din on the demands. His complaint is limited to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s not having decided, upon and announced a policy, whatever that policy might have been.

Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din was confronted with a peculiarly difficult and personal problem. There is every indication that he was impressed by the religious aspect of the demand which required the declaration of Ahmadis as non-Muslims, and it is perfectly clear that he did not wish to offend the ulama, by a categorical rejection of the demands. Straight and sincere as he is in his religious convictions, he held the ulama in deep veneration. He was also conscious of the great influence the ulama had come to exert on the affairs of the country. Their high position was implicit in the Objectives Resolution, and some of them who had associated themselves with the movement were members of the Ta’limat-i-Islami Board, attached to the Constituent Assembly. A head-on clash with them was, therefore, unthinkable. Of course he could have accepted or promised his personal support to the demands. In that case there would have been no fuss, except possibly when the matter came up before the Constituent Assembly. Disturbances in that event there would have been none, and Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din would have been a popular hero in Pakistan. The Ahmadis were a small community and could not have possibly offered any resistance or created any disorder. There might have been some stir in international circles over Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan’s removal but the populace of Pakistan would have acclaimed the step.

Why did not, then, Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din take this obvious step ? Not merely because, as he says, that such declaration would not have been effective in other Muslim countries but because of the far reaching consequences of that step, which have been mentioned elsewhere in this report. If the demands had been accepted, Pakistan would have been ostracised from International Society.

Between the alternatives of a head-on clash with the ulama and the excommunication of Pakistan, the only course left for Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din was an appeal for mercy to the ulama—appeal in the name of the country, in the name of the people who were faced with imminent starvation. But what are profane considerations such as country, people and hunger against the wish and command of Allah, and it is with that wish and command that the ulama had come to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din. They were, therefore, adamant, inexorable. Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din reminded them that Chaudhri Zafrullah Khan had been appointed to his office by the Quaid-i-Azam himself, and would they not respect the judgment of the deceased founder of the State ? But though everything else in the world may change, the ulama’s views, once formed, do not, and the argument failed to convince them. According to the evidence, Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din also attempted to create a split among them and offered a Ministry to one of the parties. Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din is an honourable man, too honourable to resort to such tricks, but he was also a politician and in politics the man not infrequently is lost in the politician. And among the ulama too there are men of honour, men who have the strength and courage of their convictions and cannot be lured by any worldly attraction. The attempt to divide and bribe, therefore, failed. Thereafter Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din began to temporise, and once even thought of calling religious divines of the entire Muslim world to help him out of the difficulty. But the ulama had already waited too long and would wait no longer. They decided on a direct action programme.

Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din had now no course left open to him except that of accepting the challenge or abdicating. He chose the first and arrested the ulama. During the general discussion on the budget several weeks later, while explaining in Parliament how proclamation of Material Law had become inevitable in Lahore, he described the act of the ulama as undemocratic and anti-Islamic. He attempted to make out that most of the ulama were against the direct action and that the Ahrar group of ulama alone had started that action. He does not seem to have been right in this because the direct action resolution had been unanimously passed as early as 18th January in the All Pakistan All Muslim Parties Convention in which the ulama of all schools of thought were present, though the form of direct action was decided upon later, and the point is that if Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din was clear in his mind that direct action was undemocratic and un-Islamic and against the best interests of the country, why did he not publicly say so earlier when the ultimatum to resort to that action was given to him by a deputation of the ulama that waited on him on 22nd January. His long continued parleys with the ulama were advertised in almost all the papers and created among the people the impression that he appreciated the viewpoint of the ulama. And even when he decided on the 27th of February to reject the demands and arrest the ulama, the reasons that he stated for the action taken by him were not made public. In fact the Punjab Government were expressly directed not to disclose that the views they were directed to publicise were the views of the Central Government. Now what is the inference to be drawn from the direction that the views of the Central Government were to be kept secret ? The inference can only be one—the Central Government were not sure of their ground or they did not wish to he associated with a step that might turn out to be unpopular.

This policy of indecision, hesitancy and vacillation which the Central Government pursued for several months had its repercussions on the situation in the Province. Of course law and order was a Provincial subject but in situations like these where the whole population is seized with religious frenzy, something more than a motion of legal and administrative mechanism is necessary, and this ‘something’ did not exist in the Punjab and was not thought of in Karachi. The result, therefore, was that the storm continued brewing and when it burst it burst with fury. The proper time to stop it or be involved in it was when the threat of direct action was communicated to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din but he seems to have taken it as an empty threat or to have relied on his personal influence with the ulama.

Against Mr. Daultana the allegation in the written statements, oral evidence and arguments before us is that he engineered the agitation in a game of higher politics. Indeed Mr. Fazal Ilahi at one time seemed to suggest that this game was being played by Mr. Daultana not only in domestic but in international politics, the object being to throw out Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din, set up a Central Government under Mr. Daultana’s own leadership and to convert Pakistan into a communistic state. We have carefully examined the evidence having a bearing on this part of the case but do not think Mr. Daultana could have had any object in starting or encouraging the agitation in its earlier stages. He had a comfortable position here and, bed of thorns as the premiership of Pakistan is, we do not think that office could have held any attraction for him. Nor do we think that he was so ambitious as to have played a game of international politics over the issue of khatm-i-nubuwwat. These possibilities appear to us to be somewhat remote and relate to matters which are not capable of proof. From the very beginning he seems to have clearly realised that the storm was brewing and that it was bound to grow in volume and intensity. He was as anxious to avoid a head-on clash with the ulama as Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din himself was. But while the latter relied on human ingenuity to discover some means to dissolve the impending storm, Mr. Daultana was sensible enough to judge that in such matters human ingenuity is not a very reliable factor to count on and that such problems are not solved by a fortuitous combination of circumstances. He knew that the storm was coming but he could not, like Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din, feel that if he just buried his head in the sand, the storm would blow over. Having seen clear signs of the coming gale, the only course for him to keep out of it was, if possible, to divert its course.

Nor is there sufficient evidence before us to hold that Mr. Daultana deliberately started the movement or that before the All Muslim Parties Convention of 13th July 1952 at Lahore he did anything to encourage it. Before he appeared in this Court Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan had made two statements, one at his trial by a Special Military Court and the other in the form of a petition to the present Chief Minister on 12th April, 1953. In both these he alleged that Mr. Daultana, with whom he had fairly intimate relations, more than once instructed him to push the movement against the Central Government and to keep the Punjab Government out of it. In his statement before the Military Court he had also referred to a talk which Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari had with him and in the course of which Ansari had stated that Mr. Daultana. had expressed his agreement with the anti-Ahmadi propaganda. In that very statement Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan had further stated that both Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari and Maulana Abul Hasanat had informed him that the hartal of 16th February at Lahore was to be organised and made successful under instructions from “the people in power”.

Maulana Daud Ghaznavi also had made similar allegations against Mr. Daultana in a statement before a military officer. He had said there that once Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan had told them that Mr. Daultana had promised funds for the movement and that on another occasion some leaders including Maulana Abul Hasanat and Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari had informed him that they intended to start the movement in Karachi and on being asked the reason thereof had alleged that the direct action movement could not be started in Lahore unless they consulted the Chief Minister. Maulana Daud Ghaznavi had further mentioned in that statement that the view expressed by Maulana Abul Hasanat and Master Taj-ud-Din Ansari was later confirmed by Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan during the meetings of the Majlis-i-Amal and that Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan in a subsequent meeting of the Majlis-i-Amal had admitted that Mr. Daultana had promised to him that nobody would be arrested in the Punjab for taking part in the anti-Ahmadi movement.

In the inquiry Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan was questioned by us about his talk with Mr. Daultana and he denied it. His previous statement before the Military Court is not therefore substantive evidence. The remaining portions of Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan’s and Maulana Daud Ghaznavi’s statements all refer to hearsay and are therefore completely inadmissible. The other evidence against Mr. Daultana is contained in the statement of Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi and a letter written by Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi. But neither the statement nor the letter is anything more than opinion which must be ruled out as irrelevant. We cannot, therefore, act upon anyone of these pieces of evidence. In the same way the evidence of Dr. Inayat Ullah Salimi that Maulana Ghulam Ghaus Sarhaddi had once given out that the movement had the support of Mr. Daultana is inadmissible hearsay while his further statement that the public inferred from the activities of the Muslim Leaguers in Sheikhupura that the movement had the support of the Government is merely irrelevant opinion.

Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din has deposed that Mr. Daultana wanted to control the Centre in the appointment of the representative of the Punjab in the Central Government. Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din gained this impression only after differences between him and Mr. Daultana had arisen in regard to the parity proposal which the Basic Principles Committee had recommended. The report of the Basic Principles Committee was published sometime in December and, therefore, it is obvious that before the publication of that report Mr. Daultana could not possibly have this object in view. After the publication of the report a Punjab versus Bengal issue arose in an acute form over the parity question, the Punjab view being represented by Mr. Daultana and the Bengal view by Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din. The issue almost assumed the form of a personal dispute between these two gentlemen. Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din states that Mr. Daultana had signed the report of the Basic Principles Committee which had proposed parity, while Mr. Daultana’s case is that he never gave his unqualified assent to that proposal and that he signed the Basic Principles Committee’s Report subject to a note of dissent written by him. Whatever may be the actual position, and the document is not before us to find which version is true, there is no doubt about the fact that after the publication of the report, Mr. Daultana took a strong stand in favour of the Punjab view and mobilised public opinion in its favour. Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din’s own case is that when he visited the Punjab to gauge public opinion on this issue, the several deputations which waited on him were briefed and instructed by Mr. Daultana himself and that the arguments urged before him by each deputation were identical, having been written in exactly the same words. He alleges that all those written briefs were provided to the several deputations by Mr. Daultana himself. It is, therefore, clear that there was a tussle over this issue between Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din and Mr. Daultana, and it is quite possible that Mr. Daultana might have, thought that if he succeeded in displacing Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din, the Punjab’s chances of getting out of the parity proposal might improve and that with this object he might have, with a more easy conscience, attempted to involve Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din in trouble in order to do away with his opposition. But, as we have already pointed out, the policy to divert the movement to Karachi had been adopted by Mr. Daultana long before the publication of the Basic Principles Committee’s Report, and there is no evidence before us that after the publication of that report he gave any direction in the matter to the ulama or the organisers of the movement to intensify their activities. The ulama had already had several interviews with Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din before the publication of the report and their subsequent activities in Karachi, including the passing of the direct action resolution and the delivery of the ultimatum, were merely the outcome of a course of action which they had already decided upon.

The above conclusions do not contradict our finding recorded while dealing with the case against the Muslim League that after the All Muslim Parties Convention at Lahore, and more particularly after the Muslim League’s resolution of 27th July, Mr. Daultana’s policy consistently was to divert the course of the movement towards Karachi, so that the Punjab may be saved from its ravages. That finding is based on the terms of the League resolution itself, Mr. Daultana’s own speeches including his statement of 6th March 1953 the effect of which has been fully discussed above under “Muslim League”, numerous articles in the press, Mir Nur Ahmad, Director of Public Relations’ activities, and other circumstantial evidence. In his evidence Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din has used a very apt simile while complaining that Mr. Daultana wished him “to hold the baby”. If the demands be compared to a baby, the whole subject of responsibility can be put into a single sentence and that is that the Ahrar gave birth to a baby and offered it to the ulama for adoption who agreed to father it, and that anticipating that the baby would cause mischief if it grew up in the Province, Mr. Daultana cast it on a canal, dug with the assistance of Mir Nur Ahmad and watered by the press and Mr. Daultana himself, to flow down Moses—like to Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din who in the apparent good looks of the baby noticed a frown and something indefinably sinister and therefore refusing to take it in his lap threw it away, with the result that the baby kicked and raised up a row which enveloped the Province of its birth and threw both Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din and Mr. Daultana out of office. The baby is still alive and waiting for some-one to pick it up. And in the God-gifted State of Pakistan there are careers for everybody—political brigands, adventurers, Non-Entities. The only two persons who have denied such careers for themselves before us are Khan Sardar Bahadur Khan, the Communications Minister, and Mr. Hamid Nizami, the editor of the ‘Nawa-i-Waqt’. They have repudiated the baby, with all its consequences.


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