A Short History of Pakistan

Important Points and Events in the History of Pakistan

ESTABLISHMENT OF INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
From 1876, few disturbing events were witnessed in India which caused anxiety among Indians. In 1882 opposition of Ilbert bill from English community in India and the subsequent massive demonstrations by Indians promoted nationalism in India.
British government was seeking canalizing agent to resolve the issues, and which could act as a responsible and loyal opposition. In pursuing of this, Allan Octavian Hume, a retired British official, in consultation with the Viceroy, Lord Dufferin, paved path towards the establishment of Indian National Congress, which formed in 1885. Its first president was Mr. Womesh Chandra Banerjee.

PARTITION OF BENGAL AND ITS ANNULMENT
In 1905, due to administrative problems, Lord Curzon, the Viceroy of India, planned to separate eastern Bengal from Bengal presidency and form a new province with Assam. The new province of Eastern Bengal and Assam officially came into being on 16 October 1905. In the new province Muslims, which were the suppressed minority, formed an overwhelming majority. The Hindus, who become the minority in the new province criticized the decision and launched an intensive movement against this measure. Ultimately, the partition was annulled on 12 December 1911 by King George V on the occasion of his coronation at Delhi Darbar.

ESTABLISHMENT OF ALL INDIA MUSLIM LEAGUE
On the one hand Muslims, due to anti partition agitation, disunited from Indian National Congress, on the other hand Constitutional reforms were soon to be introduced in India, in which a representative form of government were to be introduced. At this crucial moment, Mohsin-ul-Mulk and other Muslim leaders drew up a plan of separate electorate for Muslims, and in pursuance of this, a Muslim delegation headed by Sir Aga Khan met Viceroy Lord Minto at Simla on 01 October 1906 and put forward Muslims’ demands including separate electorate. The Viceroy showed very positive response and assured that “their political rights and interests as a community will be safeguarded by an administrative reorganization”. After this positive response Muslim leaders ventured to form a political organization, and in pursuance of this a resolution was moved for the establishment of a Muslim organization to be called the All India Muslim League, on the occasion of annual Muhammadan Educational Conference at Shahbagh, Dhaka on 30 December 1906.

MINTO-MORLEY REFORMS (INDIAN COUNCILS ACT)
Consideration on the constitutional reforms which were started in 1906 by secretary of state for India, Lord Morley in consultation with the Viceroy Lord Minto were prepared and enacted into law by Indian Councils Act of 1909. Muslim demand of separate electorate was accepted in the act.

EFFORTS FOR HINDU-MUSLIM UNITY
After the announcement of Minto-Morley reforms, Hind-Muslim relations got strained, and in the annual session of 1910 Congress criticized the provision of separate electorate and demanded its removal. But on 01 January 1911 leaders of Congress and Muslim League met at Lucknow and discussed their communities’ relations. In 1913 Congress held its annual session in which Bhopindra Nath Basu expressed his good feelings towards Muslims and stressed on the need of better understanding and cooperation. It was during the end of 1913 that Muhammad Ali Jinnah joined Muslim League on the condition that his association with the league would not in any way curtail his loyalty with the Congress. At that time he was the greatest advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity. In December 1915 Congress and Muslim League hold their sessions in Bombay and the speeches were made from the platform of congress and league were similar in meaning and tone.

LUCKNOW PACT
In December 1916 Congress and Muslim league hold a joint session in Lucknow in which Hindu-Muslim unity was passionately preached from one platform and approved a joint scheme of reforms to be presented to the Viceroy which could satisfy both the Hindus and the Muslims. The scheme is generally termed as “Lucknow Pact”.
In Lucknow Pact, Congress for the first time accepted separate electorate for Muslims. Both the Congress and the Muslim League also agreed not to work on any bill affecting any particular community if three fourth of the representatives of that community opposed the bill.

ROWLATT ACT
Towards the end of the First World War it was clear that British government had no intention to fulfill her promises made in the beginning of the war. Anti-British feelings in the subcontinent increased and a new organization “Home Rule League” under the leadership of Annie Besant and B.G. Tilak was formed. This organization was more aggressive than the congress. The law and order situation worsened and, consequently British Government appointed a committee on 10 December 1917 to “to investigate revolutionary crime in the country and to suggest legislative measures for its eradication”. Mr. Justice S.A.T Rowlatt was appointed president of the committee. . In spite of unanimous opposition from the Indian members of the Imperial Legislative Council the Rowlatt Act came into operation from 21 March 1919.

JALLIANWALA BAGH TRAGEDY
The Hindus and the Muslims launched an intensive movement against the Act. A hartal (suspension of economic activity) was called on an All-India scale, few Congress leaders were arrested, riots broke out, police fired upon the processionists and mob killed some Europeans. On 13 April 1919, a large crowd gathered at Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar to protest against the arrest of their leaders. General Dyer came to the scene with his troops and ordered firing on unarmed people. The firing stopped only after the ammunition was nearly exhausted. The causalities were officially estimated at 379 killed and over 1200 wounded.

MONTAGU-CHELMSFORD REFORMS (GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT 1919)
Edwin Montagu, who became the secretary of state for India in July 1917, visited India from November 1917 to April 1918, and in cooperation with the viceroy, Lord Chelmsford, held discussion with Indian leaders of all opinion and prepared a report called “Montagu-Chelmsford report” which was published on 8 July 1918. The official recommendations were drafted into a Government of India Bill, which in spite of unanimous opposition from the Congress and the Muslim League passed through the parliament in November 1919 and received the Royal Assent on 23 December 1919. The main features of the Act were:

  • The Act gave separate representation to the Muslims and also extended it to other minorities.

  • The Imperial Legislative Council was replaced by a bicameral legislature consisting of the Central Legislative Assembly (144 members) and the Council of State (60 members).

  • In the provinces, a system of ‘Dyarchy’ was introduced, which divided the power between provincial ministers, responsible to the provincial legislatures, and the Executive Councilors, responsible the provincial governor (appointed by governor general).

The principle underlying the new and unusual system of ‘Dyarchy’ was to train Indian politicians in representative government before trusting them with full power in all fields. But the scheme under the Act was not entirely successful and the government at center and provinces remained under the control of British government. Besides, the division of power between ministers and executive councilors caused administrative problems.
In the elections held in 1920 under the new Act, the Congress took no part. In 1923, however, the Congress decided to contest the next elections, not with a view to working the constitution but to destroy it from within. The Muslims, on the other hand, did not disapprove the Act of 1919 though they were not completely satisfied with it.