- A day to be remembered, not ignored like this year
The death anniversary of Madar-e-Millat Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah on 9 July was almost a non-event, with hardly any official commemoration event and negligible coverage by electronic media. We owe our independence to dedication and leadership of Quaid-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal and other leaders. Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah played a pivotal role in that struggle. She remained with her brother till he breathed his last in the ambulance which broke down on a hot humid day dated 11 September in Karachi. The Quaid died at home that day at 10:20 PM.
Fatima Jinnah was committed to the Quaid’s vision of a modern democratic welfare state and this desire motivated her to stand up and oppose Ayub Khan’s dictatorial rule in 1965. She rebutted Ayub’s claim that country would revert to chaos if he was defeated and stated “You can’t have stability through compulsion, force and the big stick”. She opposed Basic Democratic setup and stated “What sort of democracy is that? One Man’s democracy?”. She was harassed by Ayub and died under mysterious circumstances. Ayub, who offered Badaber Air Base to America for reconnaissance missions over USSR, launched a vicious slander campaign against her and accused her of being pro-Indian and pro-American.
While a visibly sick and feeble Quaid was in Baluchistan, accompanied with his sister Fatima Jinnah, he addressed the officers at the Staff College Quetta on 14 June 1948. He reminded them that had no role in politics or running affairs of state and they must “be faithful to the Constitution of the Dominion” and understand “true constitutional and legal implications when you say that you will be faithful to the Constitution”. He had earlier on 11 August 1947, while addressing members of First Constituent Assembly as its President, laid down the basic principles on which a Constitution for a modern democratic welfare state was to be finalised. That Assembly comprised all members elected in the 1946 General Elections, and included Jogendra Nath Mandal who with 20 other Hindu Dalits from Bengal supported the Quaid for creation of Pakistan. He was nominated as first Law Minister in the Liaquat Cabinet.
It is an unfortunate bitter truth that the country the Quaid created to function as modern democratic welfare state never held any direct general elections until 1970. When President Yahya refused to accept the people’s verdict, and ordered military action to suppress protests in East Pakistan, the country suffered humiliation of dismemberment and surrender. Pakistan’s first elected PM, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, invited all parliamentary leaders on 17 October 1972 and a 25-member committee was formed, headed by Mahmud Ali Kasuri, to draft a unanimous constitution which came into effect on 14 August 1973. The first civilian PM to complete his parliamentary term was Musharraf’s handpicked PM Shaukat Aziz, who did not possess even an NIC, because he stayed all his adult life abroad. Bhutto, who gave the country the 1973 Constitution and laid the foundations of nuclear deterrence, was deposed by Gen Ziaul Haq in a coup after 3 years ten months and 21 days in office. The irony is that dictators like Ayub Khan and Zia each held power for over ten years and Musharraf for over eight years.
Bhutto, who gave the country the 1973 Constitution and laid the foundations of nuclear deterrence, was deposed by Gen Ziaul Haq in a coup after 3 years ten months and 21 days in office. The irony is that dictators like Ayub Khan and Zia each held power for over ten years and Musharraf for over eight years
Pakistan’s first PM Liaquat held office from 14 August 1947 for 4 years 2 months and 2 days when he was assassinated in 1951. Earlier Pakistan’s First Constituent Assembly was dissolved on 24 October 1954, when the draft constitution was finalised by Governor General Ghulam Muhammed when Mohammad Ali Bogra was PM and his cabinet included Gen Ayub Khan, the Commander-in-Chief as Defence Minister and Maj Gen Iskander Mirza as Interior Minister. The dismissal was challenged by President of Assembly Tamizuddin, but the Supreme Court decided in favour of the Governor General under Law of Necessity with one judge dissenting. It was replaced by a selected Constituent Assembly on 28 May 1955, which passed a Constitution on 23 March 1956 and Pakistan became a republic. Governor General Ghulam Muhammad proceeded on leave for medical treatment to UK and Interior Minister Iskandar Mirza was Acting Governor General. On August 7, Iskandar Mirza dismissed him and took over as Governor General. Mohammad Ali Bogra, a career diplomat, was serving as Ambassador to USA when he was called back to replace Khawaja Nazimuddin as PM on 17 April 1953 until he was sacked by Mirza on 12 August 1955. It was during Bogra’s tenure that Pakistan became a close ally of USA and relations with the USSR soured. Bogra was dismissed by Iskandar Mirza and posted back to the USA as ambassador while Ch Mohammad Ali appointed as PM on 12 August 1955 only to be dismissed on 12 September 1956. Suhrwardy was appointed for a brief period only to be dismissed on 17 October 1956 and replaced by I I Chundrigar for one month and 29 days only. Feroz Khan Noon was nominated as PM on 16 December 1957 and dismissed on 7 October 1957 when Governor General Mirza was toppled by Gen Ayub Khan in a military coup and sent into exile.