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

IV. THE FINAL PHASE

This phase opens with the Chief Secretary’s letter of the 21st February, 1953 to Mr. G. Ahmad, Chief Secretary’s letter to Centre on 21-2-63 asking for “firm policy”. Secretary for the Interior. After  dwelling on the sins of the Ahrar during the recent past, it informs the Centre that direct action is supposed to start at Karachi on the 23rd February in the form of picketing of Ahmadi shops, and that volunteers will be sent from the Punjab and other provinces. On the 16th February, the Prime Minister was greeted with a hartal and black flags, and at a public meeting the same day, while the speakers were careful to emphasise that violence should not be resorted to, they were at pains to excite and inflame public feeling. The police were being reminded to remember the Day of Judgment when dealing with civil disobedience. Shopkeepers had been forced to close shops against their will and those who did not do so had their faces blackened. Two incidents resulting in violence had taken place. Law abiding citizens could not disapprove of demonstrations for fear of being labelled as Ahmadis. A depot holder in Lahore refused to sell wheat to an Ahmadi woman until she had given an undertaking to take part in an agitation against her own people.

But, concluded the letter, as the agitation was not confined to this province and the demands did not fall within the provincial sphere, the Government feel “very handicapped in dealing with the situation effectively” and think that it will considerably strengthen their hands if the Central Government could enunciate the firm policy that they want to adopt with reference to these demands. Whatever this policy may be *       *   *         *       *         the Provincial Government feel that they are strong enough to implement that policy within the province”.

We have not reproduced all the instances of lawlessness mentioned in the letter, but what we have reproduced should suffice to indicate the gravity of the situation at least in February. It is evident But Centre’s policy was known. that even at this stage the Government of the Punjab is not willing to control the law and order position effectively unless the Centre announce their policy in respect of the demands. But was it not clear enough that the policy of the Centre was to make no declaration one way or the other and to insist that aggressive sectarianism should be suppressed with a heavy hand ? Is there any instance of suppression available, to say nothing of suppression with a heavy hand, up to the 26th February? The Azad and the Zamindar had become shrill-throated with calumny and Mir Nur Ahmad waited till the agitation should take the form of law-breaking.

On receipt of the letter Kh. Nazim-ud-Din summoned a meeting of Governors and Chief Ministers Karachi Conference 26-2-53 for the 26th February, and both Mr. Chundrigar and Mr. Daultana excused themselves for different reasons. Whether the reasons were good or bad, Kh. Nazim-ud-Din was not convinced and spoke to Mr. Daultana on the telephone. It was then decided that the Punjab Government’s views would be placed before the Central Cabinet by the Revenue Minister, Ch. Muhammad Hussain Chatha, who would be accompanied by Mr. Ghias-ud-Din Ahmad and Mr. Anwar Ali. We are not interested here in all the details of the conferences which took place on the 26th evening and during the small hours of the 27th, except to the following extent. In the evening conference, Mr. Chatha’s version. Mr. Chatha said the Punjab Government’s view was that it could not yield to the movement and that whatever be the decision, it would be implemented by Punjab. It might be necessary to resort to shooting and firing, and this could be done only with the full backing of the Centre. Khan Abul Qayyum Khan “backed” the view of the Punjab and said that the movement should be crushed. Khawaja Shahab-ud-Din “supported” him and said that Government should not give way to mullas on a definitely wrong issue. Kh. Nazim-ud-Din did not agree to crushing the Mullas and offered to resign. No decision could be taken and the meeting was postponed to the following morning. At 1-15 a.m., however, everybody was roused from sleep and Kh. Nizam-ud-Din told them that he had received an ultimatum that his house would be picketed at 7 o’clock. He had also learnt that the Ulama were not all agreed, and for that reason mainly he had decided to accept the challenge and to order the arrest of the Council of Action before daybreak. He refused to make any declaration about the demands and said he would deal with the question on the purely law-and-order level.

This is the report of Mr. Chatha to his Government on return from Karachi, and forms Appendix No. 55 Interpretation of Mr. Chatha’s version.

Kh. Nazim-ud-Din.
to Mr. Daultana’s written statement. Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din agrees with most of it except that according to him Mr. Chatha was quite definite that the demands should be rejected. He adds that even Mr. Daultana had told him during the telephonic conversation of the 25th February that his Cabinet had decided that the demands should be rejected. Mr. Daultana insists, however, that Mr. Chatha’s authority was confined to submitting, not that the demands were reactionary, but that the manner of presentation of the demands was reactionary. But if that was the view of the province, why did Mr. Chatha insist on a pronouncement as to the demands ? If this Mr. Daultana. distinction between the merits of the demands and the manner of their presentation had not been sought to be drawn now, Mr. Chatha’s memorandum would have led us to think that he objected to the demands themselves. For his view was that the Punjab Government could not yield to the “movement” and Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, “backing” the view of the Punjab, said that the movement should be crushed. Khawaja Shahab-ud-Din “supported” him and said that Government should not give way to the Mullas. Consequently, the view of the Punjab, which was “backed” and “supported” by two other gentlemen, would be the view that Government should not give way to the Mullas, which means that the demands should be rejected.

Khan Sardar Bahadur Khan says nothing about this conference, but speaking Khan Sardar Bahadur Khan. about the conference of the 8th, 9th and 10th August 1952, he ascribes to Mr. Daultana the view that the demands were unreasonable and should be rejected.

Sardar A. R. NishtarSardar Abdur Rab Nishtar says both Mr. Chatha and Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan strongly expressed the view that the “movement” should be put down. It depends on what the “movement” means. If it means the anti-Ahmadi movement, as it should, it consists of nothing but the three demands; but if it means the more recent development—the Direct Action—then it leaves the demands out. A distinction with-out difference For the purpose of our enquiry, we do not see anything that Mr. Daultana gains by this insistence, and if there is a political advantage in making it clear to the people that Mr. Daultana still believes in the merits of the demands, or at least that he does not disbelieve in them, then we do not know.

Therefore we proceed. Now although Kh. Nazim-ud-Din was reluctant to make a public declaration that he was rejecting Attitude of Centre to Demands. 27-2-53. the demands, he agreed, on the same day, to the issue of a secret telegram, to all provinces defining the attitude of the Central Government towards the demands. It said that neither could a section of the people be declared a non-Muslim minority against their wish nor could an Ahmadi official or the Foreign Minister be removed from their offices on the ground of religion. It added that the Central Government did not propose making an official declaration, but that Provincial Governments should organise intensive publicity on these lines immediately and give proper guidance to the press.

At the same time a communique was issued to the press, explaining the history of the Ahrar and making it clear that it was not the intention of Government to allow itself to be coerced by direct action and that law and order would be maintained with all the resources at its command.

Two things should be borne in mind at this stage. The first is that Mr. Chatha and the two officers accompanying him made it clear that they could deal with the situation in the Punjab; the second is that on the 27th February they knew the express attitude of the Centre towards the demands and that other officers and Ministers in the Punjab knew it a day later.

When Mr. Chatha and his party returned to Lahore, a meeting was held at Mr. Daultana’s house and Decisions at Chief Minister’s house on 28-2-1953. certain decisions taken in the light of undertakings given at Karachi, (Annex. J. to Home Secretary’s written statement). All active Ahrar were to be arrested under section 3 of the Public Safety Act in accordance with a list furnished to each District Magistrate, and the ‘Zamindar’, the ‘Azad’ and the ‘Alfazl’ were to be banned. A circular letter was issued by the Chief Secretary to all District Magistrates on 28th February, asking them to keep a vigilant eye on the situation but not to order “further arrests” unless local circumstances create an absolute necessity for such action and there is no time for previous consultation. There has been a good deal of argument over this restriction placed as regards further arrests, but Mr. Daultana claims that this was not what was decided at the meeting, and since it is not mentioned in the decisions of the 27th February, wa agree that Mr. Daultana cannot be asked to account for this part of the letter, which was issued by the Chief Secretary without being seen by Mr. Daultana. The issue of a letter can certainly be entrusted to a Chief Secretary and if it contain matter in excess of instructions, the responsibility is not that of the Minister.

Next, there is some controversy about the stoppage of volunteers from proceeding to Karachi, Volunteers. but we do not attach much importance to it as any failure to take action on this score did not lead to any serious consequences. Mr. Anwar Ali says that it was decided at Karachi on the 27th February that the Provincial Government should stop volunteers from proceeding to Karachi and that on return to Lahore he recorded the various decisions and handed them over to the Home Secretary for issuing necessary directions to District Magistrates. This was apparently done, and it seems to have been left to District Magistrates to use persuasive methods or to arrest them. On the 2nd of March, however, he received instructions from the Chief Minister through the Private Secretary, Mr. Daultana’s revised instructions. Mr. Zakir Qureshi, that as the stopping of volunteers had caused excitement in these districts, arrests should be avoided and only persuasive methods used. He therefore telephoned to the D. I. G. at Multan, that if persuasive methods failed, volunteers were to be allowed to proceed to Karachi. In that case, they would be arrested by the Karachi and Sind administrations. Mr. Daultana says his instructions were misunderstood. What he meant was that arrests in big towns were not advisable and should be carried out at wayside stations between Lahore and Lodhran. On the 3rd March, when the Home Secretary told him these instructions had caused confusion, he made the position clear. It is true that Malik Habibulla, S. P. (C. I. D.’s) note, which conveys the instructions as Mr. Anwar Ali has described them, was signed by the Chief Minister on the 9th March, without any objection as to their accuracy, but Mr. Daultana says by that time it would have been infractuous to point out the mistake.

Mr. Anwar Ali stated that so far as he was aware, only two jathas left for Karachi. The first under Sahibzada Faiz-ul-Hasan had left before the instructions of the 28th February were issued; the second was stopped at Lodhran. Now although Kh. Nazim-ud-Din says the Karachi and Sind administrations were repeatedly complaining of the flow of volunteers from the Punjab, his evidence is based on hearsay and should not be used for any firm decision. This, however, must be said that for a time the instructions as to volunteers were relaxed at the instance of the Chief Minister.

The telegram conveying the attitude of ‘the Centre towards the demands was not used by the Punjab Publicity was not given to the attitude of Centre on desired lines. Government in the manner desired by the Centre, and this failure was almost solely the result of Mir Nur Ahmad’s invisible effort. It will be recalled that Provincial Governments were requested (1) to organise Intensive publicity “on these lines” and (2) to give proper guidance to the press. The Home Secretary sent for prominent editors and spoke to them what attitude should be adopted towards the demands, without disclosing the source of his inspiration. He then sent a copy of the telegram to the Director of Public Relations “for necessary action”, with the following note: “I addressed also a body of press conference to which the editors of various local dailies had been invited and in consultation with the Chief Secretary. I spoke to them about the attitude of Government without of course revealing the source and made it clear to them that this talk was strictly off the record”.

Mir Nur Ahmad merely communicated the contents of the telegram unofficially to newspaper D. P. R. did nothing. editors. But when he was asked whether, after reading the Home Secretary’s note, he did not feel that this was what the Home Secretary himself had done, and that the reason why the telegram had been forwarded to him for necessary action was with a view to organising “intensive publicity,” he replied: “I did nothing beyond communicating the views of the Centre to the editors of the newspapers”.

Nor were contents of the telegram communicated to District Magistrates Nor did the Chief Secretary. to enable them to know what the much-longed for attitude of the Central Government was, but that, as Mr. Daultana rightly contends, was the business of the Chief Secretary.

Nor did Mr. Daultana himself make any effort to mobilise “the enormous influence, Nor did Mr. Daultana. prestige and organisation of the Muslim League which was throughout the agitation immobilised and in confusion.” The words are Mr. Daultana’s own. The reason he gives for this omission is that there was no time for mobilising public opinion. He admitted that it was not expected on the 27th February that something very drastic was going to happen in the near future, “but it is quite possible that if we had called a meeting of the League Council, we might not have been able to influence and convince them”. We believe this is quite true and it was as true on the 27th February 1953 as on the same day a year earlier. It was, therefore, idle to contend that an earlier declaration by the Centre would have made all the difference to the peace of the province, so far as it lay with the efforts of the Muslim League. But Mr. Daultana gives another reason for inaction. “Further, every Muslim Leaguer was bound by party discipline to hold himself aloof from civil disobedience and it would have made no difference to him if he had been told in addition that the policy of Government was to reject the demands”. It is overlooked that this was merely a negative and individual duty: the positive duty would be to organise a collective effort to persuade others also to adopt the same view.

The rest of the story leading to Martial Law is that although procession-staging started in Lahore Events after 28th February. right on the 28th February, 1953, when the “leaders” were arrested, prohibitory order under section 144, Cr. P. C., was not promulgated until after the events of the 2nd March and even then the “walled city” was left out. Earlier the same day, the Home Secretary requested the G. O. C. 10th Division, Lahore Cantonment (Major-General Muhammad Azam Khan) “for the aid of troops to help the District Magistrate of Lahore in the prevention and suppression of disorder. The troops came and struck camp in Bagh-i-Jinnah, and military patrols, accompanied by Magistrates, began patrolling the city. On the evening of 3rd March, the Inspector-General reported to the Chief Minister that “half the battle was won”, but this proved to be an over-optimistic estimate, for on the following evening a Deputy Superintendent of Police was stabbed to death with numberless blows at the foot of Wazir Khan Mosque, an important institution within the walled city, where Maulana Abdus Sattar Niazi at Wazir Khan mosque. Abdus Sattar Niazi had entrenched himself a few days earlier and from where he preached violence and lawlessness, unmolested by authority. The civil officers, who generally waited for processions to meet them at the Charing Cross (apparently to prevent them from proceeding to the Government House) and who used to hold consultations in the evening at the Civil Lines Police Station, rushed this time to the Kotwali—which is a different place from the Wazir Khan Mosque and is outside the walled city. Almost daily, and sometimes more often, the civil and military officers met the Ministry and the Governor at the Government House, which was regarded as the safest place next to the Civil Lines Police Station. On the 5th March, following the murder of the police officer, there were held at the Government House three Three meetings at Government House, 5th Match different meetings—in the forenoon, afternoon and evening—and some important decisions were taken in the first of these. It was decided that the police should use force more lavishly, and in certain circumstances might hand over a particular situation to the troops. The second meeting was a conference with prominent citizens, including Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi, who insisted on a statement being issued that negotiations will be resumed with the Ulama. What exactly he said is again the subject of controversy, which, however, does not concern the present subject. The third meeting is understood by some officers to have resulted in an order to relax firing—the word used is “let-up”. Almost every officer including the Chief Minister says that Mr. Chundrigar presided over this meeting also, as he did over the other two, but according to Mr. Chundrigar, if any such meeting did take place, it must have been in some part of the Government House where he was not present. This difference in evidence affects only the question whether it was Mr. Chundrigar or some one else who suggested a “let-up” in firing. It is supposed to have been acted upon and to have demoralised the police force.

Meanwhile, in the city, people were burning public vehicles, post offices and shops; railway employees themselves prevented movement of engines from loco-shed to station, clerical staff, principally in the Secretariat and the Accountant-General’s office (two very religious bodies) struck work and became insolent, a threat to cut off electricity from the Government House was brazenly communicated on the telephone, and, in the name of the Prophet of Islam, a few Ahmadis were also killed. Some said firing should cease; others said a statement should be issued.

Then somehow, notwithstanding the confusion in the Government House and the city, there dawned upon most of us the morning of the 6th of March, and every important person went to the Government House. We know that before midday Mr. Daultana issued the famous statement conceding the demands so far as he went and recommending to the Centre to act likewise. Within an hour, the Centre imposed Martial Law in Lahore, and law-abiding citizens breathed with relief.

The most important points which arise for discussion during this period are the following :—

  1. Whether a prohibitory order should have been issued earlier than the evening of 2nd March;

  2. Whether it should have been applied to the walled city also;

  3. Whether the situation at Wazir Khan Mosque was properly handled;

  4. Whether any “let-up” in firing was decided upon, and if so, with what effect;

  5. Whether there was proper liaison with the troops, and whether the troops showed any unwillingness to act;

  6. Whether Martial Law could be avoided.

I. Use of section 144, Cr. P. C.

We made it clear during the progress of the enquiry to most of the civil officers that in our opinion the very first thing that should have occurred to them after arresting the leaders was the imposition of a prohibitory order, but since they contended, expressly and impliedly, that the situation had no appearance of seriousness until the evening of the 2nd March, we proceed to give in brief the version of the Senior Superintendent of Police as to the incidents of the 28th February and the 1st March.

28th February 1953—A procession of five or six thousand persons formed outside Delhi Gate and marched to the Civil Secretariat, uttering anti-Government, anti-police and anti-Ahmadi slogans. They kept us engaged for half an hour or more and were dispersed with difficulty. The whole day small processions were coming and created a problem for the administration. Small bands of the Ahrar were joined by the riff-raff, forcing reluctant shopkeepers to close their shops. In one of the bigger processions, as the mobs surged towards the Charing Cross, shops on the Mall were closed, traffic came to a standstill and law-abiding citizens shut themselves up in houses and shops. This mob consisted mostly of the riff-raff and hooligans, though, as I have said in my written statement, they had a “high tone of religious sentiment”, by which I meant that they were shouting the kalma and the takbir.

1st March 1954.

There were at least four processions, two of them being pretty big ones. The first big one was taken from outside Delhi Gate. Maulvi Ahmad Ali and thirty-two other men were arrested. The crowd was hostile and furious and had damaged one of the police vehicles with brickbats. In the second procession twenty-nine persons were arrested. In the third, twenty-three were arrested. Small processions were taken throughout the city. They melted away when police contingents arrived and reformed themselves when the police departed, thus keeping us on the run throughout the day. Lastly, a big procession was taken out in the afternoon from Delhi Gate, joined on its route by goondas, swelling to formidable numbers and giving itself the character of a mob intent to take the law into their own hands. Shops were again closed, business came to a standstill, traffic was paralysed and law-abiding people shivered with apprehension of their own safety.

Section 144, Cr. P. C. was promulgated on the 2nd March in circumstances which are thus stated in Home Secretary’s telegram of 9th March to the Centre, giving the week’s events.

“On March 2 the agitators took out processions which converged on Charing Gross. 2nd March. The main procession was led by Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan of Zamindar against whom a detention order under Public Safety Act had been issued earlier but who could not be apprehended as he was most of the time in Wazir Khan Mosque. The demonstrators were very rowdy and in a threatening mood. They broke police cordon many times and mild lathi charge was made to repel them. A large number of people offered themselves for arrest. When eventually mobs withdrew, it was reported that some of them threw small stones at Shezan Restaurant owned by an Ahmadi. No damage, however, was done. It was decided at this to promulgate an order under section 144, Cr. P. C. banning public processions in the affected parts of the city.”

The difference between the happenings of the 2nd March and those of two earlier days appears to be this, 2nd March was not much worse than two preceding days. that on the former day there was more display of lawlessness at the Charing Cross, where the civil officers waited as a befitting terminus. Hitherto, apparently, the procession had dispersed at the terminus, but as Mr. Qurban Ali Khan said somewhere, one lawlessness breeds another, and on the strength of the respectability which they had attained by reason of two previous performances, they refused to recognize the incidents of a terminus. But we do not see why the situation as a whole should have been viewed with sang-froid on the two previous days merely because at a certain point the processions were not so rowdy, though throughout the rest of the day they had caused considerable anxiety to the administration.

The most sanguine of the officers concerned was the District Magistrate, District Magistrate’s estimates. Mr. Ejaz Husain Shah, and if we ourselves had not been in Lahore on the 6th of March, we might well have believed after reading his statement, that Martial Law had not been in fact imposed. He started with saying that he did not expect trouble after the arrests made on the 28th February, and as this appeared to us to be a very light estimate of the 28th February, we put to him the following questions. We reproduce both the questions and answers, because they themselves are the best explanation of their own pertinency.

Q.—“You thought that after the arrests there would be no protests, no hartals, no public meetings, no processions and no rowdyism ?”
Ans.—“Yes, I did.”
Q.—“Is it for this reason that you did not make an order under section 144 ?”
Ans.—“The main reason was that I was not advised to impose it. It was first considered on the 2nd March. If I had made an order earlier, it would have restricted civil liberties.”

This is not one answer, if you think of it. It means, firstly, if somebody had told him to impose it on the 28th February, he would have done so. It means, secondly, that no one thought of it until the 2nd March. It means, thirdly, that even if rowdyism is expected, the resultant lawlessness will be tolerated in the larger interest of civil liberties. We think the Code of Criminal Procedure should define the vague line between liberty and licence.

Q.—“If Government decide to arrest the sponsors of a movement don’t you see any ground for stopping demonstrations in favour of that movement ?”
Ans.—“It all depends upon the circumstances. If very popular leaders are arrested, there may be reaction warranting action, but if non-entities are arrested, there may be no reaction at all.”

The persons arrested, according to him, were non-entities; “The impression was that whatever was to be done, would be done in Karachi.” We think that shows the cat’s face some little way out of the bag. The Punjab administration was hopeful that the flow of volunteers would be to Karachi and, as the sword-arm, formerly of India, now of Pakistan, the Punjab will supply recruits, Mr. Ejaz Husain admits, however, that on 28th February at least he came to know that Lahore also would become the centre of trouble, though at the same time he knew that the agitators would not have any following worth the name, because the first meeting held on the 28th was attended by very few persons. This would not appear to be consistent with the estimate of the Senior Superintendent of Police.

But even as regards the period preceding 28th February, Mr. Ejaz Husain’s memory Situation was ugly even before 28th February had to be refreshed from his own fortnightly reports before he admitted that “fiery speeches calculated to excite the fanatic section of the audience” were made during the first half of February, when he counselled Government that “in the event of the slightest appearance of an ugly situation, strong counteracting measures to preserve peace and order” will have to be taken. These pious platitudes are generally expressed in confidential diaries to impress upon Government how jealously the situation is being guarded, but Mr. Ejaz Husain now agrees that this was the correct position. Consequently, it will be assumed that what happened! on the 28th February and the 1st March had not “the slightest appearance of an ugly situation.” It must be a big situation to be ugly enough. There must be a non-non-entity like Akhtar Ali Khan as the presiding genius of the situation before it becomes ugly enough for a prohibitory order.

To carry his point, he said there was only one procession on the 28th February and one on the 1st March. District Magistrate (continued).There must have been three or four hundred men in each. Then he was confronted with his confidential report for the second half of February, according to which the number of men was six thousand. “But this is merely an oral estimate of all persons collected at that place.” As though the present were a written estimate. And, after all, what is a procession, but a number of “all persons collected” at a place ? Consequently it would have been better to say that his present estimate must be wrong due to lapse of time. Then as to the number of processions, when confronted with his written statement, he admitted that there may have been between five and eight on the 1st March “but there was one main procession.    *    *    *    *    *    The fact that thirty persons were arrested is no indication of an ugly situation.”

But we do think this constant criticism of evidence, this halt at every line to test its veracity, itself creates an ugly situation. We are not used to such, obstruction. We are not amused by it.

Mr. Mazhar Ali Azhar, counsel for the Ahrar, believing that a procession, if stopped before it has time to get multiplied with numbers, does not lead to any appreciable lawlessness, questioned the District Magistrate as to why the procession which was born out of the Akbari Gate meeting was allowed to go to the mosque. The answer was that there was no point in arresting innocent persons before they contravened the law. We think there is such a thing as a preventive measure before the law is actually contravened, and that is more important for a District Magistrate Duty of a District Magistrate to know meaning of preventive action. to remember, but any obsession as to “civil liberties” and the previous “innocence of an intending law-breaker will seriously obstruct his important duties. Asked why thirty persons had been arrested later from the procession, he replied that they had obstructed traffic and were determined to commit a breach of the peace. He had not said so in his written statement because he did not consider it “worthwhile” to mention that they were arrested because they were determined to commit a breach of the peace. In respect of the incidents of the 2nd March, however, he did consider it “worthwhile” to say in his written statement that the processionists were “inclined to violence.”

But if the procession of the 1st March was determined to commit a breach of the peace, then in character it was not different from the procession of the 2nd March, and there is consequently reason to think that circumstances existed for the imposition of section 144 earlier.

Mr. Anwar Ali says it was the opinion of the officers that if the processions were allowed to be D. I. Gs. explanation taken out, although it was not unlikely that they would lead to violence, a contingency would not arise for sometime at any rate to use section 144. This view is in some degree on a par with that of Mir Nur Ahmad that action against a newspaper should be delayed until its conduct results in law-breaking. This, in our opinion, is not a sound idea of what is called “preventive” action. Asked why he did not ban processions, Mr. Anwar Ali resorted to a technical answer that this is the function of the District Magistrate, adding, however, that processions in Lahore were taken out quite frequently without causing serious thought. He was further asked whether it would not have made a difference if processions had been prohibited from the very outset, and he replied : “It is difficult to guess the situation that would have arisen. The movement was not under proper leadership. It was in the hands of irresponsible persons and therefore it is not safe to predict what course the movement might have taken.” We should have thought there was stronger reason for nervousness if even the leaders were irresponsible persons.

Mirza Naeem-ud-Din, the Senior Superintendent of Police, when confronted with the written statements S. S. P.’s view.of Mr. Anwar Ali and Mr. Ejaz Husain that the processions of the 1st March were peaceful, remarked that this opinion could not be correct because at least one of these processions broke a police truck.

But he was of the opinion that it would have made no difference if section 144 had been promulgated earlier, because even when it was promulgated, it was disobeyed. When we put it to him whether it is not the correct position that when action is delayed, people begin to think that the right to take action is lost by laches, he replied that, looking at the matter in this perspective he did think now that if the prohibitory order had been passed on the 28th February, people would have believed the Government to be serious about its business.

We are convinced that there is some force in what we suggested to Mirza Naeem-ud-Din. Action, delayed is action impaired. We are not relying merely on what is called mob-psychology. This is a very common process of the human mind. Action delayed is action impaired. Then it also happens that, in cases of the kind with which we are dealing, by the time you decide to take action, the other party has worked itself into such a frame of mind as to make it oblivious of the consequences. Lastly—and the report on the Multan firing also tried to impress this obvious fact—if the authorities are of the opinion that an order under section 144, Cr. P. C. is necessary, and promulgate such an order, “then failure to meet its disobedience is no evidence of a sound administration and is bound to lead, sooner or later, to disastrous consequences, such as were in evidence on the morning of the 19th of July.”

If an order under section 144, Cr. P. C. was necessary, whose duty was it to pass such an order? Section 144—whose duty?In other districts, clearly, it is the duty of the District Magistrate, and that is plain law. He would normally be guided by the advice of the Superintendent of Police. But in Lahore, there are also the Inspector-General of Police, who is responsible for internal security, the Home Secretary, the Chief Secretary, the Minister in charge of Law and Order, whose presence might almost make of the District Magistrate an obedient automaton who brings in his pocket a cut-and-dried order when he attends a conference, to be taken out and signed if necessary, to be retained in the pocket if not necessary. For the District Magistrate says: “When I went to the Officers’ meeting on the 1st March, I took a mere draft order under section 144, not because I thought it was necessary to impose it but because I thought occasion might arise for it”. In order words, he himself did not think there was any occasion for it, but if somebody said it should be promulgated, he would do so. “Section 144, was mentioned, but I cannot say who mentioned it. One thing I had clear in my mind, that under the Lahore Emergency Disturbances Scheme I should have been approached by the police for the imposition of section 144. On the 2nd March, the police did not approach me, but I did it entirely on my own initiative. I put it in the meeting and they all said ‘yes’”.

But that is not correct, and you will agree with us if you read the record of a meeting held at the Chief Minister’s house at 8 p.m. on the 2nd of March (Ex. D. E. 305), where the District Magistrate was also present. “The I. G. and the Home Secretary, who had witnessed the incidents at the Charing Cross gave a resume of the situation. The I. G. suggested imposition of section 144, in Lahore minus the walled city. This view was supported by every one and it was decided to promulgate the order”.

That is why we said in the introductory portion of this Part that the District Magistrate takes upon himself greater responsibility than the situation warrants. This should elicit admiration from us if only we could be certain that responsibility is not being assumed nominally, that it is not being assumed merely to avoid a greater responsibility—the failure to pass an order on the 28th February or the 1st of March. If he took a draft order with him on the 1st March, he either felt that there was occasion for it or went ready merely to act as an obedient automaton. In either case he has not discharged his responsibility. If he had said frankly, as Mirza Naeem-ud-Din did, that in a place like Lahore and in a situation like this, he would not pass an order under section 144, if the Inspector-General or the Home-Secretary disapproved of it, even if he thought it was necessary, we would have been prepared to accept his explanation as reasonable. But in order to justify the failure on the 28th February and the 1st March he had to take an untenable position, which had consequently to be shifted as occasion arose.

Mr. Daultana takes no responsibility for the order of the 2nd March  or for the omission to pass Mr. Daultana’s view of D. M.’s duty. it earlier. “I do not agree that beeause the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police were immediately placed under other superior officers, they could not take independent action. I do not see why their duties should be different from those of other District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police. *    *    *    *    *     if they have any doubts, the advice of senior officers would be available. I was not consulted when section 144 was promulgated.”

Mr. Daultana is forgetting the meeting at his house, over which he himself presided. His attitude towards responsibility in this behalf is the vary opposite of the District Magistrate. He cannot say he was not abreast of the situation, as that would betray extreme apathy. But if he was abreast of the situation, then let us suppose that it is a desperate situation and Mr. Daultana’s Duty of District Magistrate. officers are oblivious of its character, would he regard it as unjustified interference with their duties if he pulled them up to action? But we agree that the position taken by him in respect of the duties of the two principal officers is correct. The District Magistrate can act independently. In Lahore, he should particularly consult the Inspector-General, and if any superior officer disagrees with him, he would be wise to record a note to that effect and send a copy thereof to the disagreeing officer. But he should not merely attend conferences. If he has one leg in the Government House, he should have the other in Wazir Khan Mosque—and we would prefer it to be the right leg.

In another context, Mr. Ghias-ud-Din Ahmad made the following observations. “I do not think anyone Home Secretary’s view. impeded the decisions of either the District authorities or the Inspector-General. I personally felt that in a place like Lahore the local authorities must be advised, helped and guided by senior officers like the Inspector-General, because it is actually his duty, in addition to the local authorities, to maintain law and order and look after the internal defence of the province”. That was in answer to the question whether it was not true that the case of Lahore suffered because there were too many persons here to be consulted.

II. The Walled City.
III. Wazir Khan Mosque.

These two subjects are connected.

We have already quoted a passage from the Provincial Government’s “sitrep” dated the 9th March to the Central Government, describing events from the 2nd of March to the declaration of Martial Law. In that passage we particularly recall the statement that Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan, who was leading the procession of the 2nd March, could not be arrested earlier under the detention order issued against him, “as he was most of the time in Wazir Khan Mosque was beyond law and order. Wazir Khan Mosque”. The date of issue of the order would appear from Mr. Daultana’s statement to be the 1st of March, and if he could not be arrested by reason of the fact that he was in Wazir Khan Mosque, it means that even on the 1st March Wazir Khan Mosque was beyond the pale of law and order. This is a plain fact which has impressed us right from the start, but which is obstinately denied by some officers because its admission cannot but land them in difficulties. The first difficulty is that if Wazir Khan Mosque was such a dangerous spot, why was the prohibitory order not applied to it? The second difficulty is that if the police could not control the situation there, why was it not handed over to the military, particularly on the 5th March, when decision to that effect were taken at the Government House? The third difficulty is that an admission in this behalf would explain the fact that after the murder of the Deputy Superintendent of Police on the evening of 4th March, everybody rushed, not to the scene of occurrence—Wazir Khan Mosque—but to the Kotwali, and they do not wish to admit that the refractoriness of the situation was any reason for that remarkable conduct. The fourth difficulty is Maulana Abdus Satar Niazi—not a difficulty merely, but a razor edge—who had shifted his lodgings from his residential house to the Mosque and was sending out peals of religious thunder that reverberated up to the Government House.

The responsibility for excluding the walled city is principally that of the Inspector-General, I.G. advised exclusion of walled city. though here again, the District Magistrate has insisted on transferring it to himself. Mr. Anwar Ali says: “It is an accepted principle that no order should be issued which is not capable of proper enforcement. In 1934, during the Shahidgunj agitation, when I was an Assistant Superintendent of Police, the police were brickbatted and completely isolated in the walled city. Thereafter, the Inspector-General, issued orders that we should never attempt to stop any procession or deal with it inside the walled city. In such a contingency, the military will face the same difficulties”.

Q.—Does it mean that both the military and the police would be helpless in this situation?”
Ans.—If such an order is essential, it should be enforced in a part or parts of the city, because in that case the difficulties in its enforcement would be comparatively less”.

At this stage a question naturally arose as to why it was possible for the military to control the whole city How did the troops control the city within six hours ? within six hours of  the Martial Law, and in fact, this should have been  anticipated. The answer was that the military had more man-power and greater fire-power, and, above all, they were not answerable for their action as the police is. This, again, gives rise to the question why a particular situation was not handed over to the military, or a particular duty, say that of arresting those who violated the curfew order, not assigned to it. Mr. Anwar Ali says: “If the military had come in full force to the aid of civil power, the situation would have been controlled. The reason why it was not requisitioned was Government anxious to avoid using troops. (1) the Government were anxious to avoid requisitioning it and (2) there was a feeling that the army would co-operate only if complete control were handed over. It was felt that if control were handed over, there would be more bloodshed”. These are not two different reasons, because the anxiety of Government would be based on an apprehension of bloodshed. This is true enough, because even on the 6th of March, when the situation was by all accounts desperate, Mr. Daultana preferred a confession of defeat to military “occupation”, for that is how the civil authority appears to have looked at the matter.

Hafiz Abdul Majid, the Chief Secretary, viewed the matter as an outsider. Asked why the walled city was Chief Secretary had no view. excluded from the prohibitory order, he replied: “It was to be imposed by the District Magistrate and he should be asked this question, *     *    *    *    *     I myself did not raise any objection to the exclusion of the walled city”.

Mr. Ghias-ud-Din Ahmad was of the following view: “The District Magistrate and the Home Secretary on walled city. Inspector-General, could have taken independent action, irrespective of other officers and Ministers. Wazir Khan Mosque, it is true, was the centre of all trouble at that time, but it was felt that it would not be possible for the police to take action there”. (Asked about the military) “I do not know whether the military were specifically consulted on this point or asked to go inside the walled city, but it was the opinion of the Inspector-General that even during the pre-Partition days operations inside the city were not feasible owing to narrow streets and congested buildings. *    *    *    *    *     It is true that the military operated in the walled city after Martial Law, but they threw in nearly four brigades and even then they had to wait for sometime. *    *    *    *     It is true that troops were available even before Martial Law. *    *    *    *    *    *    I did not notice any reluctance on the part of the civil authorities to hand over this particular situation to the army, but this question can be answered more appropriately by the District Magistrate and the Inspector-General.”

The District Magistrate said that he had excluded the walled city from the order of 2nd March District Magistrate’s reason for excluding walled city. “because there was no likelihood of disturbance there. There was not the remotest chance of that”. At least, after the murder of Sayyed Firdaus Shah (D. S. P.), a superlative should have been used with restraint. When reminded of that, he said that on the evening of the 4th March he did feel necessary to “include” the walled city and that he passed a curfew order accordingly. Then, when we saw the curfew order, and found that it excluded the area surrounded by the Circular Road, we asked him if the curfew order included the city. He replied, ignoring his previous answer: “I was not advised to impose curfew within the city walls”. Consequently, the entire statement about the remoteness or otherwise of the chance of disturbance collapses. Next he said that the reason why he had excluded the walled city was not that it could not be enforced, but because he was not moved by the police. When, however, he was confronted with the statement of the Senior Superintendent of Police The version is unreliable. that the walled city was excluded because the Inspector-General thought it might not be possible to enforce the order in that area, he said that was the correct position. Consequently, whatever be the correct position, we cannot rely for it on the District Magistrate.

Then he was questioned as to why, if that was the correct position, he did not ask for military aid. Why he did not ask for military aid. He said the military had already been requisitioned ! But we all know that the troops stood by. What we wanted to know was why this wholesome remedy that was available, was not applied to the disease. Why were quack remedies resorted to? For It is worse than quack remedy to send troops to the Kotwali when Wazir Khan Mosque is the danger spot.

He was then asked whether, as head of the police, he had commanded the police to clear Wazir Khan Mosque, and he replied: “My duty was to pass orders and the ground work was to be done by the police”. This made us hopeful and we asked him whether he had passed any order. But his reply was that “there was no need to pass an order as we were all clear that the mosque should be cleared and the police were alive to it”.

In another place, he said in connection with the mosque: “We all knew that it was a big menace, and the police were fully alive to their duty and did not require any formal order from me. In fact, the curfew had already been imposed.” And yet the curfew did not include the city! Asked whether he thought the police were failing in their duty in this field, he said he would not say that, for “they must have been considering to discover the best method of how to clear the mosque. *    *    *    *    *    *    The matter was being considered after Niazi’s fiery speech on the 2nd or 3rd March, and more thought was given to it after the murder of the D. S. P.”

Q.— “Did this serious thought lead to anything tangible ?”
Ans.—“The police must have taken some action.   *    *    *    *    No particular order was needed from me as we all were alive to the danger.    *    *    *    *    *    It is true that I am head of the police, but effort must have been made by the police to tackle the situation and I made an effort in a way.”

He sent some ladies and gentlemen to the mosque on the 6th March. Ch. Nazir Ahmad Khan, counsel for the Jama’at-i-Islami, thought the emphasis was on ladies, and read a quatrain in parody, from which we reproduce the following.

زنے از غيب بروں آيد و کارے بکند

But the emphasis was so much on the police that we asked him whether it would have made any difference to the police if Lahore had been without a District Magistrate. He said it would have, “because there would have been nobody to direct their action and supervise their activities.”

Q.—“Did you direct their action?”
A.—“No, because there must have been some difficulty in their way” .
Q.—“Did you try to find out that difficulty?”
A.—“I had not to look after Lahore only.    *     *     * ”

Among other things he was getting frantic telephone calls from the parents of Matriculation examinees, Why the District Magistrate prevaricated.and he had naturally to leave Wazir Khan Mosque to the police. But we only wish he admitted that he left it to the police. He was “supervising” the mosque and the police from at least three miles, but both the mosque and the police knew that it was a desperate situation and they both knew their jobs. He thought he was passing orders constantly, but he did not pass them in fact because the police knew their job and they were all alive to the danger. And we were made to put up with this nonsense—there are pages full of it which we have no leisure to reproduce—because he was not willing to say that his duty and that of everyone else lay, not in the Kotwali, not in Government House, but in Wazir Khan Mosque; that the curfew order should have covered at least Wazir Khan Mosque; that if the situation was beyond control, it should have been handed over to the military.

Niazi’s Arrest

It came to the District Magistrate’s notice “probably on 1st March” that Maulana Abdus Sattar Niazi was staying in Wazir Khan Mosque, “but none of his speeches was such as to justify arrest. *    *     *    *    *. I knew that it was a hotbed of agitators.    *    *    *    *    *. After I promulgated section 144, it was for the police to go.” We think he believed at the time that he was including the walled city in the order, so often does he base an argument on that assumption. “It was reported on the 2nd March that Niazi was constantly criticising Government  and rousing the feelings of the people. I think it was on the 3rd March. I was then thinking of arresting him but in the meantime a conference took place, District Magistrate says he proposed it, but others were opposed to arresr from mosque. in which I strongly suggested his arrest, but the consensus of opinion was against arrest from inside the mosque.” Now compare this with his written statement, where he says, with reference to the incidents of the 3rd of March, that he had suggested Niazi’s arrest because Niazi had been instigating the public for three days past. Going three days back, it means that Niazi had not only been in the mosque since at least 28th February; he had also been agitating the public since then. When confronted with this, he replied that the narrative in the written statement was based on “vague information which I got from the Senior Superintendent of Police.” This, we think, is eminently a situation in which a witness, particularly a District Magistrate, should not be allowed to run away from his previous statement. There is no guarantee that the present information is not more vague than the previous one. In fact, even the statement that the District Magistrate’s suggestion as to Niazi’s immediate arrest from the mosque was opposed by other officers is contradicted by the record of the meeting of the 4th March, But the record contradicts him. Ex. D. E. 316. That record contains a decision that “preventive action should immediately be taken against Niazi and orders for his arrest under section 3, Public Safety Act, should be issued by the Home Secretary.” Even after reading that decision and the word “immediately”, the District Magistrate insisted that the proposal which was turned down was not the mere arrest, but (1) immediate arrest and (2) arrest from the mosque. In other words, the other officers decided that arrest should not be effected so long as Niazi was in the mosque. He admitted, however, that one could not say when Niazi would leave the mosque and that the decision would not be effective if this interpretation is placed on it. “And that exactly was my grouse,” says the District Magistrate. But apart from the fact that the language of the decision contradicts him, the Home Secretary has denied that any proposal of the District Magistrate to arrest Niazi was turned, down. The decision was to take preventive action—that is to say, to prevent Niazi from making further speeches—and that could not be done without arresting him immediately. The Home Secretary says the warrant was issued the same day. The District Magistrate on being confronted with the Home Secretary’s statement that the order could not be served on Niazi as, according to the C. I. D. report, the mosque swarmed with agitated masses, replied that this did not mean that it was intended to arrest him from inside the mosque, “and it fits in with my version that my proposal to arrest him from the mosque was turned down.” The least we can say is that it is impossible to make any progress with such evidence. It is an extremely futile attempt to prove that although Maulana Niazi could be arrested from the mosque, no attempt was made to arrest him. We are clearly of the opinion that conditions in Wazir Khan Mosque were crying for action from the 28th February onward and that it was not an isolated spot but the very nerve-centre of activity. As to whether the Inspector-General’s apprehensions relating to the impracticability of blanketing the walled city with a I. G.’s apprehensions as to walled city not well founded. curfew order are well-founded or not, his own answers to our questions leave room for considerable optimism, and perhaps we would not have been so confident in our questions were we not relying on a fact accomplished by the army itself without the least ostentation. General Azam complained that in the general role assigned to the Army General Azam demanded action in walled area. “we were kept outside the walled city. The storm-centre, however, was the walled area. We could have easily patrolled it. Half-hearted measures and poor leadership resulted in chaos.” Again “in the morning conference at the Government House I suggested that since the D. S. P. had been murdered in the walled city area and that was the most disturbed, area, we should take strong action there.” Asked what he would do if the walled city were in revolt he replied : “I would clear that area as I did by six o’clock on the evening of 6th March. Of course it was not advisable to open the steel gate of Wazir Khan Mosque where people had locked themselves in. I stopped their electric supply, cut off their loudspeakers and their water supply and did not allow anybody to go in. This is exactly what I suggested in the conference at the house of the Chief Minister on the morning of the 5th March. The I. G. P., however, had then objected that many years ago, when the British had taken action within the walled city they had suffered. I did not suggest that the city should be handed over to the Army, but that I should be allowed to clear the affected areas if the police could not do this. I used only one battalion on the 6th March to clear the walled city.”

To control the turbulent mosque which had made itself a bugbear to Government by the simple expedient of cutting off its essential supplies is not a mere vision, for we have seen it done. We might have thought of it as some special military feat unknown to the civil administration, a guarded secret, if General Azam had not told us that he had made these suggestions at the conference also. With the exception of Mr. Chundrigar and Mr. Anwar Ali all the witnesses, belonging to the civil administration had the opportunity of reading General Azam’s evidence in the papers before they themselves were examined, and they have not contradicted him. Reluctance to hand over to the Army out of fear of bloodshed might be understandable if not exactly excusable, but what is the excuse for not adopting even the peaceable methods suggested and later employed by General Azam?

After we had read the written statements in Murree, we felt convinced that Wazir Khan Mosque had been Wazir Khan Mosque was neglected. neglected. But what surprised us then was that when the news of Sayyed Firdaus Shah’s murder in front of the mosque came, everybody rushed to the Kotwali. In the first statement that we read, we thought “Kotwali” was a clerical mistake for Wazir Khan Mosque but when we read the next statement and found the Kotwali again mentioned as the centre of attraction we thought it must be a part of Wazir Khan Mosque. And now we know that the reason why they all rushed to the Kotwali was that it was next best to Wazir Khan Mosque, and one must do something to convince one’s own mind, often to deceive it. Mr. Anwar Ali said it was not safe to go to the mosque thereafter without taking precautions. We do not mean that they should have exposed themselves to the same risk which had cost Sayyed Firdaus Shah his life but surely there was justification at that stage to hand over that particular situation to the Army.

IV. The “Let-Up” decision.

With the exception of Mr. Chundrigar and General Azam all officers are agreed that there was a third meeting on the 5th March in the evening, and that Mr. Chundrigar himself presided over it. We mention General Azam because the brief memorandum recorded by Malik Habibullah, S. P. (C. I. D.) mentions his presence also. General Azam says he did not take part in this meeting. It may be that as he was generally present at these conferences, the memorandum inadvertently mentions him. Such error could not, however, be committed in respect of the person who presided over the meeting.

But as regards the “let-up” decision, they are not all agreed. Mr. Daultana says no such Mr. Daultana’s version decision was taken. All that happened was that His Excellency the Governor gave some instances of his own experience in other places and suggested that technical breaches of the curfew order should be ignored. This was after maghrib prayer.

Mr. Chundrigar said it was possible that the Punjab Cabinet in his absence met in some part of the Mr. Chundrigar. Government House and took that decision. So far as he himself went, he had, in the morning, contributed to the opinion that technical breaches of the curfew should be ignored. For instances if an individual was found passing on the road during curfew hours, the practice in such cases was, not to shoot him, but to arrest him. He added that no case of relaxation of firing came to his notice.

General Azam did not hear anybody mention any such decision, but Mr. Anwar Ali, he said, had visited General Azam him at 5 p.m. at his Gymkhana headquarters and told him that a meeting of the gentry was being held at the Government House. “He seemed cut up and said that the firing in the town that had taken place during the day, had created defiance among the public. My impression was that he thought that it was a mistake to resort to heavy firing. He said that whenever there is firing by the police, there is invariably an inquiry following it.”

Mr. Anwar Ali’s statement on the point may be thus summarised : “At a meeting on the 5th evening, Mr. Anwar Ali. at the Government House, the Governor asked me about the situation. Mr. Alam (D. I. G.) reported that the last incident of lawless-ness—setting fire to a police vehicle—had taken place at about 2-30 p.m. Until then the orders were that we were to disperse unlawful assemblies and use the maximum force. Then it was decided that for technical offences firing should not be resorted to. Probably the Governor himself used the word ‘let-up’. I am positive that he was present, and that it was he who suggested relaxation in firing. Possibly he had in mind the complaint of the leaders that there had been too much firing.” As to the effect it had on the police, he said : “It is not correct that the police were demoralised by these decisions, but they were beginning to show signs of strain and fatigue because they had been on duty without relief for long, and also because the agitation was not showing any signs of abatement. It is not correct that the police did not act by reason of these decisions.”

But he did receive information that some junior police officers thought firing was unnecessary, as the demands should have been accepted.

Malik Habibullah, who recorded the memorandum, cannot say what the exact decision was. (The memorandum merely say Malik Habibullah. that technical breaches of the curfew order should be ignored.) The purport of the decision, according to him, was that the police should open fire only when they were attacked and that technical breaches of the curfew or other orders under section 144 might be ignored. “This decision was taken at the suggestion of the Governor, but I am not suggesting that it was the decision of the Governor alone,    *    *    *       *    *    I have a faint recollection that the Chief Minister, Malik Muhammad Khan Leghari and some other Minister said that they had received a disquieting report about the firing at Chowk Dalgaran. They seemed to have an impression that this had resulted from a technical breach of the curfew order on the part of railway labourers. Mr. Alam explained the position which seemed to have satisfied the Government, but I think pressure was brought to bear on the Government by prominent citizens. The officers did not seem in favour of the decision. The Governor cited the Sholapur riots of 1931 as a precedent. The background of the decision is this. After the murder of the D. S. P. on the 4th March, quite a number of incidents relating to arson and personal violence had been, committed both during the night following and on the 5th March, The police had to open fire on several occasions to disperse mobs. At the Government House meeting it appeared that the Government felt perturbed and thought that firing would further infuriate the masses. After the let-up decision, the situation became definitely worse. The police was demoralised and the hooligans became more offensive.”

Hafiz Abdul Majid stated on the first day of his evidence that the word “let-up” was used by the Hafiz Abdul Majid. Inspector-General and the suggestion also made by him. He was not sure of the Governor’s or General Azam’s presence. “The idea was that since the following day was a Friday and there had been no incident in the afternoon, we should not provoke the masses, but there was no indication that firm action was not to be taken when necessary”. On the second day, however, he explained that he could not say for certain that the original proposal came from Mr. Anwar Ali, that it was not correct that the officers were opposed to the decision, and that, with reference to another incident, he now remembered by inference that the Governor must have been present at the meeting.

Mr. Ghiasud Din Ahmad said both the Governor and the G. O. C. were present at the meeting and that the former Mr. Ghiasud Din Ahmad. suggested that there should be no firing for mere technical breach of the curfew order. It was the Governor, he thinks, who used the word “let-up”. This was because it was reported that no incident had taken place since early afternoon and also because the analysis of the morning situation by the Inspector-General at the meeting of the citizens had evoked a storm of protest: both the Governor and the Cabinet felt that there should be an abatement in firing.

Mirza Naeemud Din, Senior Superintendent of Police, was not present at the meeting, but on the morning of the Mirza Naeemud Din. 6th March, when he went to Kotwali, he learnt that orders had been conveyed to the Kotwali control from the Government House that firing should be restricted and technical breaches of the curfew order ignored. The police officers, with whom he discussed the matter, were of the opinion that after this order, if they resorted to firing, there might be inquiries against them. .Another order, that the police should fire only in self-defence was also received at the Kotwali, by Mirza Abbas, D. S. P., from the same source, and a Sub-Inspector in the Civil Lines communicated it to Mirza Naeemud Din as the latest order. The instructions were thus confusing and contradictory, says Mirza Naeemud Din. They were not even clear to him, far less to his subordinates. He had expressed his disgust to the Inspector-General on the morning of 6th March. He told the Inspector-General that the week-kneed policy of Government was demoralising the Offer of resignation. force, and that if Government did not revise this policy he would resign. On this last point, Mr. Anwar Ali pointedly disagrees with him. According to Mr. Anwar Ali, the reason why Mirza Naeemud Din offered to resign was that the public expected some sort of appeasement and were sour about the demands having received no attention from the Government. Mr. Anwar Ali agreed with him and they both went to the Chief Minister and told him so. Varying versions. The Chief Minister also says that Mirza Naeemud-Din came together with the Inspector-General and advised that the only way to handle the situation would be to make some sort of a political approach. The matter appears to have come to the notice of the Governor also, through some army officers. He was told that the Inspector-General and the Senior Superintendent of Police had advised the Chief Minister that no amount of firing would be useful and that the public should be appeased. Mr. Chundrigar then asked the Chief Minister, then the two officers concerned, “who originally admitted having given this advice but who, when I took them to task, said that was not their advice, but the point of view of some people which they had communicated to the Chief Minister.”

The two officers stoutly denied that they had been taken to task.

This is not altogether an impossible mess. This at least is clear, that Mirza Naeemud Din is contradicted heavily Mirza Naeemud Din is not supported on resignation issue. on the resignation issue, and since that is not a real issue to us, we should merely say his version of it is not proved. But if it is true that an impression did get abroad that firing was to be slackened, Mirza Naeemud Din would naturally complain to the Inspector-General from the police point of view. It may be that Mr. Anwar Ali is unwilling to admit the complaint because he himself also contributed to the But some order in respect of firing did issue. decision. The statement of Malik Habibulah, which explains the background of the decision, enables us to steer clear through this vast labyrinth of evidence. There was undoubtedly a meeting in the afternoon at which the leading citizens protested against the heavy firing consequential upon the lawlessness which followed the murder of Sayyed Firdaus Shah. Some of the Ministers also were impressed. After all, the next election is more important than a temporary frenzy. There was firing at Chowk Dalgran, and whenever there is any firing, the police is to blame, just as whenever there is a motor accident, it is the driver’s fault. It is true that Mr. Alam explained the incident, but, after all, he is a police officer, and is it not for the police to explain away things? Consequently, that firing must have resulted from a mere technical breach of the curfew order, and this should not happen again. We can quite easily work ourselves into that decision. But when the subject under discussion is “heavy firing”, any decision modifying it would naturally be regarded And it was understood as a relaxation order. as a decision to relax, and that is how many of the officers understood it in that sense. We shall assume that they all agreed. If there were any doubts in their minds, they did not express them. Malik Habibullah’s statement that the officers did not seem to agree is a matter of impression only. Who conveyed the decision to the Kotwali is not in evidence, but whatever the expressions used in the conveyance, it was understood to mean relaxation. Even Mr. Ejaz Hussain Shah says the Senior Superintendent of Police was District Magistrate also heard about it. grumbling on the morning of 6th March that there had been an order  to restrict firing. Next, an Inspector at the Kotwali also asked him if this was correct. He told the Inspector he had no such information and that duties should be performed in the normal way.

Therefore, it would be proper to hold that firing was relaxed by reason of a not-very-clear decision at It had a demoralising effect. the Government House. Whether or not we are told that such a decision has a demoralising effect, we have no doubt that it will have that effect. After all, they were not firing because ammunition had not been tested for a long time. They were firing because “there had been quite a number of incidents relating to arson and personal violence”. Our list shows that on the 5th March there were reported altogether 74 incidents of lawlessness, comprising eight arson cases, one murder, two cases of looting, apart from the blackening of faces of tonga drivers or shopkeepers, attacks on the police with brickbats and at least one attack on a railway train, as against nine cases of firing by the police. When, therefore, an order of this character is issued, it makes the police force apprehensive. It is for this reason that a military force is more effective. It has not to decide whether it is acting in self-defence or whether it is using more force than is absolutely necessary. It is for this reason that Mr. Anwar Ali, according to General Azam, was grumbling that whenever there is firing by the police, there is an enquiry following it.

V. Liaison with the Troops

When we read the written statements of the civil officers, we formed a strong impression that these unfortunate incidents could have been avoided if the army had been anxious to help, and that the reason why it was not anxious was that the military officers wanted complete control. It naturally struck us as a very Impression based on hearsay. unhappy position that there should be any such formality between two forces pursuing the same end. But we were agreeably surprised to find from the evidence led before us that although every witness felt that the troops had not given of their best, they based their feeling on what they had heard from some other person. Ultimately, some of them referred us to the District Magistrate, and the District Magistrate told us he was perfectly satisfied with the part played by the troops.

We start with Mr. Chundrigar, because if the officers did not get on well with each other, there should have been a Mr. Chundrigar’s view. complaint to the Governor. He said that on the 6th of March, General Azam thought that the situation should be handed over to the military, and that there was an implied complaint that the police were not dealing firmly with the situation. There was also a complaint by the police that troops were not placed at their disposal in the numbers they wanted. To that, General Azam replied that whenever any request was sent by them, he had placed all the force at his command at the disposal of the police. This part of the complaint, it should be clear, has no reference to the quality of the aid given. The garlanding incident. Mr. Chundrigar further said that the Inspector-General had mentioned to him how some army officers had been garlanded with flowers by members of the public, and the General Azam had admitted that here had been at least one such incident; wherefore he had warned his officers not to accept garlands. General Azam through (says Mr. Chundrigar) that some leaders of the movement were intentionally trying to create a Intended to create rift. rift between the two forces. The Inspector-General had told Mr. Chundrigar that he had received the fullest help from General Azam whenever he had asked for it, but that some of the military officers did not fire at the mobs when, in the judgment of the Inspector-General they should have fired. General Azam inquired into the matter and Mr. Chundrigar was satisfied from his explanation that on the occasions when this omission is alleged to have taken place, there was no need to fire.

Mr. Chundrigar, therefore, had no cause to be apprehensive. There was but one incident of garlanding and General Azam had administered the necessary warning.

Mr. Daultana said, with reference to the situation of the 6th March, that the only way to control it was to hand it Mr. Daultana’s view. over to the military, for notwithstanding the “full assistance” that the civil authorities had from the military until then, they had not been able to control it. No specific complaint had been made to him, “though I had a feeling in my mind on the 5th morning that complete liaison was lacking. For instance, on the 3rd or 4th it came to my notice that the military had withdrawn their patrols from the city. It was also said that while slogans were raised against the police, they were raised in favour of the military.” That, as Mr. Chundrigar said, might have been to create a rift. But so far as the withdrawal of troops is concerned, the facts are that only a part of them were withdrawn on the day when the civil officers thought “half the battle had been won”, but there was no question of any withdrawal from the city, because they were stationed in Bagh-i-Jinnah and to the city they only went out patrolling. Consequently, this feeling of Mr. Daultana does not detract from the “full assistance” which, in his opinion, the military had given to the civil authority.

At this stage it is pertinent to refer to what has come to be known as decision No. 2 of 5th March. This is one of the Decision No.2 of 5th March. ten decisions taken in the forenoon meeting at the Government House, and, together with the third and fourth decisions, constitutes a piece of work which has evoked some deep thought.

Decision No. 2—In view of the deterioration of the situation in Lahore and a general flare-up in the city, in the first instance, the police should take very strong action, using any amount of force that may be necessary to quell disturbances. Police Patrols will be supported by military contingents under their own commanders.

Action I. G. P./G. O. C.

Decision No. 3— If the police cannot cope with any particular sector, the senior police officer present should hand over charge of the situation in that sector to the Army Commander accompanying him.

Action I. G. P./G. O. C.

Decision No. 4—If the above measures fail to restore law and order and the police cannot keep the general situation under control with the partial aid by the military, the military will be asked to take charge of the city.

Action I. G. P./G. O C.

We shall first try to interpret the decisions as though they were a part of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In Decision No. 2 there is emphasis on “Very strong action” but, “in the first instance”, by the police. The Army Commander, with his own contingent, will be accompanying the police, because Decision No. 2 says that in the event of failure, the police officer will hand over charge to the Army Commander “accompanying him”. The main question. is, how will this accompanying contingent “support” the police patrol. You cannot support a person without co-ordinating your work with him. Consequently, you will not act independently, but act in furtherance of his suggestions. If he tells you to do one thing and you do another, you are not supporting him. Therefore, you must subordinate your actions to his. You are, in fact, not to act until asked to do so. You may not at all be called upon to act.

Whether the fact that military contingents were to be “under their own commanders” carries any particular meaning is open to question. They are always under their own commanders. It cannot mean that for this reason they were to act independently. This meaning will make the word “support” meaningless. It will make the opening words of Decision No. 3 meaningless. The clause “if the police cannot cope with any particular sector” assumes that it is the police which is dealing with the situation, but if the two contingents were acting independently, then both would be dealing with the situation.

Mr. Chundrigar—Mr. Chundrigar’s evidence on this point is to the effect that military contingents were also to use force, “if necessary”, but they were to act under the orders of their commanders. The commanders themselves were to use their own discretion “under the general directions given by the G. O. C.” The words within commas creates a difficult position. Who was to decide whether force was “necessary” If the commanders were to use their discretion, then they themselves would decide. But suppose the police officer started using force and the commander thought it was unnecessary. Or, he thought force should be used and the police officer did not use it. How would the commander be “supporting” the police contingent in that event. Next, there would be some “general directions given by the G. O. C.” which do not seem implied in the decision. If the G. O. C. has given a general direction that force should be used only when the police is using it, the discretion to use it disappears. If the direction is that discretion should be exercised, then since it was a part of the decision itself that discretion should be used, the direction becomes superfluous.

But assuming that decision No. 2 was to be thus interpreted, the following question and answer would show that, far from there being a complaint against the troops, it was the police that was being complained against for inactivity :

Question by Mr. Mazhar Ali Azhar (for the Ahrar)—“Did either of the two officers, the Inspector-General or the G. O. C., complain to you that the other of them was not enforcing decision No. 2”?

Answer—“The G. O. C’s complaint against the I. G. Police was that the police had become demoralised, that their officers were afraid of reprisals against those members of the police force who lived in the city and that the I. G. Police was not quite sure whether he could fully rely on the loyalty of his men. When I put this to I. G. police, he admitted that he could not fully rely on the loyalty of his force on this issue, and he was of the opinion that sooner or later the control of the situation would have to be given over to the army”. Mr. Anwar Ali has admitted that junior police officers thought that the demands should be conceded. If it is true that the G. O. C. charged the police force with becoming demoralised, then if it is also true that the troops were not co-operating, the Inspector-General would have made a grievance of it in his own turn, rather than accept a serious accusation.

If the military commander were to act as he pleased, how does any question of handing over under decision No. 3 arise ? He is as much in charge of the situation as the police officer is, and you cannot hand over a thing to a person who is already handling it.

Hafiz Abdul Majid: the draftsmanHafiz Abdul Majid, to begin with, appeared clear about the meaning, but nevertheless blamed the army for inaction. Being himself the author of the draft, he should have an advantage over others.

He said that no clear scheme of co-operation between the Army and the civil power was “ever” discussed and No clear scheme of cooperation. decided upon in his presence. This should mean that even on the present occasion nothing, was clearly discussed and decided upon. What we believe did happen was that emphasis was laid on the use of force, and it was broadly put that of course the military would be there to support the police. For that reason, when the Chief Secretary was asked whether they were expected to act independently, he answered that : “they had responsibilities and duties under the law, and there was nothing to stop them from acting according to law.” But the troops had a duty under the law.

‘Despite these decisions’.
Then he was referred to the decisions and asked “whether they left any discretion to the military to act independently.” He replied : “Despite these decisions”, I am of the view that these did not exclude the responsibility of the military to act in a situation which made action by the military necessary, especially if the police were not there.” Which means that at least the decisions, so far as the draftsman’s knowledge goes, did not contemplate independent action until it was time for decision No. 3 to become operative. He did not, however, accept the position taken up by the military that according to these decisions the military were to act only if required by the civil power to act. He reminded us that what was happening before the 5th of March had also to be looked into and explained that these decisions were an effort “to bring about some working arrangements” between the two forces. We agree that if the arrangement until that date was not satisfactory, an effort might be made to effect a division of labour between them, and military commanders might be asked to act independently, in which case they would be accompanied neither by the police nor by a magistrate. For if they were accompanied by a magistrate, they would be under his direction according to law, until the magistrate told them to take the situation in hand. Hafiz Abdul Majid also accepts that interpretation, adding, however, that the decisions left it open to them to go out alone or accompanied by the Magistrate or the police.

If that were understood by the military also to be the correct interpretation of the decisions, they would have no grievance left and would thereafter act with full effect. For according to the Chief Secretary, “they wanted power of control without any possibility of interference from civil authorities. In fact, the whole meeting and the trend of the decisions was based on this impression in the minds of the civil authorities. *    *     *     *     *     This was the impression gained by people like the Governor, the Chief Minister, the Home Secretary, the I. G. Police and myself on account of what we had seen on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th of March, and also on account of what we had beard during our discussions with the army officers. One noticed that they were reluctant to accept the position that what they called an Assistant Sub-Inspector of Police could be a Commander of their men.” We should say that the statement relating to the 1st and 2nd of March is merely an instance of rhetoric, because troops were not requisitioned until the evening of the 2nd March, when Maulana Akhtar Ali Khan made his forced appearance, and they did not start patrolling until the following morning. That apart, as we said earlier, the military thereafter, acting independently, would have no grievance about any outside control and act as they acted during the Martial Law. But even then they did not act. He was asked if any instances of “lack of support” came to his notice. His reply was : “I have merely said that the military authorities did not take any action beyond patrolling here and there. If the situation needed a particular kind of action and any military officer thought that the civil authorities were not dealing with the situation effectively, it was open to those officers to make the suggestions to us. They did not seem interested in what was to be done.” This introduces us to a new aspect of the matter. The military were not merely to act free of civil control; they were also to advise the civil authority where the situation was not being dealt with firmly. But we think we have heard from Mr. Chundrigar that General Azam did complain to him that the police had become demoralised, which should have made it clear to the civil authority that no situation was being dealt with firmly by the police.

All this time we have been running away from the decisions, which, by their language, do not convey any Mr. Anwar Ali’s interpretation contradicts Hafiz Abdul Majid. thought of independent action. The Chief Secretary’s reasoning is based on the existence of ordinary law, “notwithstanding these decision”. We shall assume that everybody at the meeting knew that under the ordinary law if a military commander, going by himself and his own force, came across an unlawful assembly, he could use his discretion and disperse it. But if with that knowledge in mind, the heads of the two forces agree at a meeting that the military contingent will be used in a particular manner, namely in “support” of the police, will not the military, by acting independently, expose themselves to the accusation that they had violated the agreement? Again, assuming that the ordinary law remedy is also contemplated, then the military claim that whenever they came across an assembly, they dispersed it, and there is no instance to the contrary. Even the Chief Secretary had no instance in his mind: What he complained about finally was an instance of failure in an advisory capacity.

The statement of the Inspector-General, who ought to have known how the liaison was to be worked in detail, is a complete contradiction of the Chief Secretary’s interpretation of the decisions. According to him, the Government were anxious to avoid requisitioning the army for fear of blood-shed. With that anxiety, no one could dream of allowing them to act independently. In his written statement he said that although he himself felt that the army might be used for dispersing crowds, the Cabinet thought it should be used only for particular situations. In another place, in his evidence, he said : “My plan was that the troops should be stationed in four places, namely, Jinnah Garden, Kotwali, Gol Bagh and Minto Park, and patrol the city in armoured vehicles, bren carriers and tanks on the main thoroughfares. If it became necessary to use them, a magistrate would ask them to deal with a particular situation without handing over.” In yet another place he said District Magistrate told him. that decision No. 2 meant that if in any particular situation the police failed, they would call in the army and ask them to deal with it. “The military would be right in saying that they were not asked, to take charge of any particular situation and that, consequently, they did nothing.    *    *    *    *    *    The District Magistrate told me that the army had not carried out specified orders given to them by the magistrates. I asked him to make a report in writing, but he did not make any report. Decision No.2 did not mean independent action by military. Nor did he give me any instance. It was not my impression that decision No. 2 meant that the military had to act on their own initiative under its own commanders whenever they felt that the situation demanded interference. It was not intended that troops would act independently without being accompanied, by a magistrate or the police. Before the decisions of the 5th March, military patrols went about without being accompanied by police”. This naturally led to the following question by Mr. Yaqub Ali Khan:

Q.—“Then where is your grievance against the military which you have emphasised in your written statement?” .

A.—“They created an impression that they would not do any shooting, because their officers permitted themselves to be garlanded on some occasions when the police was being abused and insulted by the display of private parts.”

This garlanding has already been discussed . That was rather early during the operations and the G. O. C. administered a warning. Needless to say, it was unbecoming, and although an “abusive” situation is not necessarily a critical situation, such an impression should not have been created. This single instance of want of decorum does not, however, carry us any further with the District Magistrate’s complaint to the Inspector-General that the army had not carried out specific orders given by the magistrates. It was perhaps on the basis of what the Inspector-General had learnt from the District Magistrate that he complained to the Governor that there were occasions when the troops should have acted but when they did not. “Particulars of these cases”, said Mr. Anwar Ali finally, “could be given by the District Magistrate and by the S. S. P”.

We, therefore, turn to those two officers. For the Home Secretary has not much to tell us. “The G, O. C. always Home Secretary’s interpretation. assured the civil authorities”, he says, “of full co-operation and it would not be correct to say that the civil authorities declined the offer. I cannot say what the real state of affairs was, but complaints were made that the army were not playing an effective role. I think the I. G. complained to me and narrated an incident that some officers had been garlanded. It is a fact that until the Martial Law the army had not made its presence felt effectively. They could have curbed and stifled the agitation.” General Azam also says he could, if given the opportunity. But as regards decision No. 2, it is the Home Secretary’s impression also that troops were to remain with the police.

The evidence of the Senior Superintendent of Police may be thus collected: “On the 3rd morning I told an army officer the routes on which I required patrolling. I had directed my officers to provide assistance to the army whenever they asked for it and in some cases there were police officers moving with the army. In the first instance the troops were to patrol merely for the purpose of show. The I. G. had been pressing the G. O. C. and other military officers that the troops should take some severe action. If the patrol was accompanied by a magistrate, it could not use force without the Magistrate’s order. It was the District Magistrate who directed that army patrols were to be accompanied by magistrates.

“The impression created at the time was that the military were not taking any independent action, but I cannot S.S.P.’s impression give any concrete instance. I got this impression from some police officers who said the military did not open fire or disperse crowds. They gave no concrete instance. It is possible, if General Azam says so, that whenever the military patrols came across rioters, the rioters dispersed. My impression is that we did not receive from the military the kind of co-operation that they extended in the riots of 1947. when they effected arrests also without reference to anybody”.

But then, on the other hand, “the Government” were apprehensive of giving too much to the military, lest they should cause bloodshed. What the S. S. P. would have wanted them to do would be in excess of the role which the Inspector-General assigned to them. For ourselves we would have preferred them to act in the way the Chief Secretary suggested, but that would have caused anxious moments to “the Government”. One cannot please everybody.

Again, Mirza Naeem-ud-Din says: “I have some idea that some of the magistrates grumbled about the attitude of the military. In a conference held during Martial Law days the District Magistrate stated that he had received these complaints from some of the magistrates.”

District Magistrate’s verion.The District Magistrate denies it. He says he was completely satisfied with the liaison. The following extracts, collected from various parts of his statement, will further clear the position and reproduce his views:—

“On the 3rd morning, we met the senior army officers in the Civil Lines Police Station and indicated to them the important localities in which patrolling was to be done. The patrols were to be accompanied by the police and magistrates invariably. The magistrate at the spot had to take the decision if he came across an unlawful assembly. I did not expect the troops to open fire without orders from the magistrate. I cannot give any instance where the military went alone and came across a mob and did not act as it should have. I know of two occasions when it became necessary to hand over. One was outside Lohari Gate on 5th March when the police station was threatened with an attack and brickbats were thrown into it. The other on 6th March at Tollinton Market. The military opened fire and dealt with the situation properly. It is not correct that I told the S. S. P. that magistrates had complained to me of lack of co-operation. I was completely satisfied that the military had placed themselves entirely at disposal of the civil authorities. *    *    *    *    *    Decision No. 2 meant that the police and the military were to go out together”.

Malik Habibullah says: “I had no cause for complaint of lack of cooperation by the military. On the contrary, the Malik Habibullah only occasion when Mr. Alam, in my presence, requisitioned a military patrol, it was made immediately available. On another occasion, however, shortly after this requisition,    *    *    *    *    *     we found the military patrol which had gone to the Lohari Gate Police Station, in position for an offensive, but the public were throwing flowers and garlands at them and their vehicles, *    *    *    *    *    The military had gone to the police station at a time when the crowd was actually throwing brickbats at the station and I found the entire road and the entire Anarkali Chowk strewn with brickbats. The patrol, however, did not open fire.”

This complicates the narrative a little, because the District Magistrate has already told us the military did fire and fire effectively. But if those were the only flowers with which our narrative has been so repeatedly perfumed, we confess that it was no fault of the military that they should want to fire and that people should want to throw flowers at them. One couldn’t shoot a man who ran to him with flowers.

Lastly, we come to General Azam’s evidence, and although the evidence already examined discloses no case General Azam’s version. against the army, it is worthwhile recording his version of the situation. He did not understand decision No. 2 to mean that the police were to be accompanied by the troops, “nor did the police ask us to accompany them”. But the military were at no great distance. The words “under their own commanders” did not mean that they were to act independently of the police: they had been under their own commanders even earlier. “Mr. Chundrigar’s estimate of the decision that military contingents were to use force, but that they were to act under their own commanders who were to use their discretion under the general directions given by the G. O. C. is correct in this sense that if the police asked for our assistance, it would be available immediately.    *    *    *    *    *    His statement that I admitted that there was at least one incident of garlanding is true to this extent that an effort was made only once and that effort consisted of a display of flowers from a distance. This was perhaps intended to create a rift between the police and the troops. Mr. Chundrigar’s statement that I enquired into the matter and that he was satisfied that the occasions to which the complaint referred did not require resort to firing is correct to this extent that I enquired from the Brigade Commander who was present at the spot”.

It thus appears that a single incident of garlanding has created a prejudice against the Army. It travelled from man to man, from circle to circle, and was cited as an instance of the attitude that the troops had adopted towards the situation. But no instance was cited, no instance is even vaguely known, where the troops did not perform the task assigned to them or performed it in a No case against Army. manner open to two opinions. The best that has been said on the subject is that they could have done more. They certainly could do it, if only they had been utilised without reserve. The reserve consisted in the fear that they would cause bloodshed. There is no case against the Army: it is only a plea of subterfuge.

VI. WHETHER MARTIAL LAW COULD BE AVOIDED.

General Azam thought even the troops were unnecessary, if timely action had been taken. “Half-hearted measures and poor leadership resulted in chaos. The police force were first class, and if they had followed a firm policy at a certain stage, they could have dealt with the situation without the help of the Army. What was needed were guts and a fixed aim, coupled with a realization that this was a question of law and order and had to be faced at any cost.”

It may not be correct that the Army could be dispensed with altogether, but it is true that considerations extraneous to If there had been no reluctance to employ troops. those of pure law and order have influenced the action of the civil authority. The Government were reluctant to employ the troops unreservedly, for fear of bloodshed, as Mr. Anwar Ali says, and the Ministers were upset with the protests of leading citizens that the police were firing even on violent crowds—even on violent crowds, we repeat—which did no more than attack a police station with bricks, or burn a stray omnibus here and there, or put to fire a sinning post office, or stone a railway train full of passengers because it tried to move out of the station, or blackened the faces of tonga-drivers and shop-keepers who plied their trade. These were small incidents compared to the stuffed gunny-bag made into the semblance of Khwaja Nazim-ud-Din or the Donkey of Qasur on whom rode a man labelled Zafrullah Khan. The result was that some order was issued which was understood to be an order of relaxation, and which naturally had an adverse effect on the police force.

But we go back to the 4th of March, when Sayyed Firdaus Shah was  murdered. Even before that, they all knew that If Wazir Khan Mosque had been isolated. Wazir Khan mosque is the seat of trouble, that Maulana Abdus Sattar Niazi has enthroned himself there and is scintillating hatred of Government from a firm seat, that even a warrant of arrest cannot be executed against him. If the situation can be controlled by the police, why is the mosque left to itself ? If it cannot be controlled, why is it not handed over to the military ? We are firmly of the belief that the handing over of this one situation would have made all the difference to the course of riots.

And we go still further back. Unless the Punjab Government had an understanding with the Majlis-i-Amal that the centre If preventive action had been taken earlier. of agitation would be Karachi, an order under section 144, Cr. P. C. was a measure of prudence on the 28th February. It is for that reason called a “preventive” remedy. Such an order was passed on the 26th or 27th of July 1952 when there was a very localised threat of violence in front of the League Office, and the order was passed by the District Magistrate without reference to anybody. A sense of proportion would certainly be lacking if that occasion were regarded as possessing more dangerous potentialities than the 28th of February, when the Direct Action challenge was due for execution and the Central Government had accepted the challenge by ordering arrests of prominent leaders—“non-entities” according to the District Magistrate.

We have felt again and again that the case of Lahore is one of “too many cooks.” In other districts If there had not been too many “cooks”. the District Magistrate and the Superintendent of Police discuss the situation and evolve a plan of action which they can execute without interruption. In Lahore there are a number of high officers who ought to be consulted, and, notwithstanding what Mr. Daultana and his officers have said as to the duties of a District Magistrate, if they had a stout person who could have imposed a prohibitory order in time, ordered Wazir Khan mosque to be immediately isolated, or turned the blind eye of Nelson on the let-up decision, we are not quite certain that his next post would not have been that of the Controller of Foodstuffs and Fountain Pens in Karachi. But you need officers who could ride alone to Wazir Khan mosque on the evening of the 4th of March with only a pistol in their pocket. You should encourage this breed. You should foster independence in them.

To pursue the subject of “too many cooks”, we shall tell you what the District Magistrate of Lyallpur, An example at Lyallpur. Mr. Ibn-i-Hasan, did single-handed, unaided by the Inspector-General, the Home Secretary, the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister, the Governor. It is a small place compared to Lahore, but has a somewhat larger area than Wazir Khan. mosque. On the 2nd of March, provocative speeches were made in Jamia Masjid in honour of the volunteers proceeding to Lahore or Karachi, but we heard nothing more of those volunteers: they were spirited away by the police at Salarwala. On the 3rd of March news of firing at Sialkot caused a flutter, and forthwith section 144 was applied. A procession of four or five thousand marched to the Deputy Commissioner’s house and a number of arrests were made before they reached destination. On the 4th March there was complete hartal and a procession made again for the Deputy Commissioner’s house, but that officer tactfully diverted it to jail. The procession was aggressive and provoking, but feeling that the police force was inadequate, he did not disperse it. Nevertheless he arrested 125 persons. He telephoned to the Home Secretary for military aid and an aircraft to create respect for law and order, and both came without delay. On the 5th March a procession was taken out in defiance of section 144, Criminal Procedure Code, and 55 persons were arrested. There were processions on the 6th and 7th also, attended by arrests. But on the 7th, the atmosphere became tense and rowdyism appeared. The District Magistrate received news that three trains had been held up, that the women passengers had been molested and robbed. He did not send a magistrate to take “firm” action. He himself went and ordered the crowd to disperse. When they did not disperse, he did not take the risk of a lathi-charge— which, as often as not, results in the police being worsted. He ordered firing which resulted in killing four and wounding five. He provided army guards for trains, so that the flow of traffic should not be suspended.

On 8th March, he heard that bricks had been collected in housetops in Chiniot bazar, with a view to throwing them at the police if they should disturb processions. At 7-30 p. m. he visited Chiniot bazar accompanied by the D. I. G. and met an aggressive mob. They both returned and brought a military patrol and ordered the crowd to disperse. When it did not, he ordered firing. Three persons were killed and one wounded.

Thereafter nothing happened—except that one evening the Chief Minister congratulated him on the telephone for firm action.

In Sialkot, at least two situations were handed over to the military, and there was no fear that the army might take An example at Sialkot. such complete control of it as to oust civil authority. Nor was there any apprehension that there might be bloodshed. We mean, there was no nervousness about it, for bloodshed there must be with firing. “And things like that you know must be in every famous victory.” We have observed in a different place that the District Magistrate acted wisely in handing over to the Army when the situation so demanded.

After Martial Law, General Azam employed only one battalion, consisting of between four and six hundred men, in the walled city which had defied control since 1932. He complained that before the declaration of Martial Law the army was used merely for a “demonstrative role”, namely, patrolling, and not for a “suppressive role”. “For instances if I had been asked to enforce the curfew order by firing or arresting, it would have been a suppressive role. Then again, the storm centre, which was the Wazir-Khan-mosque area, and in fact the entire walled-city area, was ignored. In a suppressive role, we would have established posts all over the city and prevented people from coming in and going out of their dens. As it was, whenever the military patrols appeared, people disappeared.”

The District Magistrate has told us that by the evening of 5th March, the police, which had been struggling to deal with the situation, began to fail, and that “it was for the police then to avail of the services of the military”. Asked why he did not make this possible, he said helpfully: “The military were there and the police were there”. His duty was to call in the military and they were already in the down. “It was for the head of the police to tell them how they should act. Even when a magistrate is present it is for the police to require the military to act”. He said that was the meaning of section 129 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

This is what we mean by saying that if there had been but one stout man who could ignore all considerations extraneous to law and order and vitalise the excellent material lying at his feet, there would have been a different story to tell. And thus do we end this chapter: We long for the Lion of God and the Rustom of encident lore.

شير خدا و رستم  دستانم  دستانم  است

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