Pakistan Resolution Day
From United India to Pakistan Resolution

Professor Sharif al Mujahid
The reward of strong leadership

By Mahmudul Aziz
23 March 1940: A forgotten spirit?

By Dr Naeem Ahmed

Ensuring justice for all

By Huzaima Bukhari & Dr Ikramul Haq

Jinnah: the leader of modern times

By Haya Fatima Iqbal
The lost spirit of 23rd March among youth

By Fazal Ali Butt
Making a new resolve on the Pakistan 
Resolution Day


By Sidrah Gufran and Mohammed Ammar Bin Yaser
The chequered political history of Pakistan

By Muttahir Ahmed Khan

 
 
Pakistan Resolution Day
From United India to Pakistan Resolution

Professor Sharif al Mujahid


The Pakistan Resolution of March 1940 and its subsequent adoption by the Muslim League was an answer to the Congress's consistent attempts to deny the Muslim community a religio-political entity of their own. There had been a tussle for power between the Congress and League since 1937, and the crux of the issue had been whether India was a uni-cultural, bi-cultural, or multi-cultural state.

The controversy began when, on September 18, 1936, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru said: "The real contest is between two forces - the Congress which represents the will to freedom of the nation, and the British Government in India and its supporters who oppose this urge and try to suppress it. Intermediate groups, whatever virtue they may possess, fade out or line up with one of the principal forces . . . . The issue for India is that of independence. He, who is for it, must be with the Congress and if he talks in terms of communalism he is not keen on independence."

Nehru later referred to his "two-force" formula in January 10, 1937 too. This stance indicated a paradigmatic shift in the Congress's erstwhile policy. Since 1910, the Congress had always treated Jinnah as representing an influential and progressive, if not always a major, segment of Muslims. In tandem, since 1915, the Congress had always considered the Muslim League as the most authoritative Muslim body, but for over two decades now, whenever Congress negotiated the Hindu-Muslim problems, it was always with Jinnah and the Muslim League.

This unexpected change had been brought about by Nehru's desire and determination to swamp all other political parties prior to the impending provincial elections under the 1935 Act.

In a sense, Nehru's strategy did pay off immensely. The Congress scored a sweeping majority of the seats, and established its government. But Nehru's calculations went awry, and of all the Muslim seats available, the Congress won only 26. Out of these seats, 19 of them were in NWFP alone, where Abdul Ghaffar Khan had given the Congress a decisive hold.

In contrast, the League had won 112 out of 492 Muslim seats, approximately 23%, the rest going to the Unionist Party (Punjab), the Krishak Proja Party (Bengal), and some minor Muslim, regional parties. Though by no means impressive, the League's score was still the highest. More importantly, it had won seats in seven out of eleven provinces. Therefore, it alone could claim to speak on behalf of the Muslims of India.

With the Nehru Report (1928-29) and the Communal Award of 1932, attempts were made to reach some sort of understanding with regional or minor parties on a provincial basis, which met with some success. But grabbing at this chance of the provincial option's working out, the Congress started demurring at having to deal with the Muslim League and its leader, Jinnah.

Thus, Nehru's "two-force" dictum could by no means be considered a stray declaration, out of sync with mainstream Congress thinking.

Interestingly though, Jinnah's response to Nehru's onslaught was surprisingly conciliatory. Of course, he disputed the Congress's claim, in his speech at Calcutta's Mohammad Ali Park election meeting on January 4, 1937, saying: "I refuse to line up with the Congress. I refuse to accept this proposition. There is a third party in this country and that is Muslim India   . . . . We are not going to be camp followers of any party."

But at the same time, he held out the olive branch, saying "We are willing as equal partners to come to a settlement with our sister communities in the interest of India." For the next six months, when the Congress, assuming power in the provinces, seriously began to implement its 'uni-national and uni-cultured India' dictum, Jinnah reaffirmed his conciliatory stance repeatedly. Thus, in his May 21, 1937, speech at Bombay he reiterated that his idea was still to "form a progressive, independent, nationalist group to work with the Congress for the good of the country", and insisted that the Muslims "are prepared to fight for the country's freedom as equals with other parties, but never as camp followers, nor shall we submit to anybody's dictation."

The deep divergence that characterised Hindus and Muslims, the Congress and the League's style of reasoning in 1937, centred round the issues of whether Indians were uni-national or bi-national, and whether or not the country was uni-cultured or bi-cultured.

In denying the intermediate groups the right to existence and in denying "all 'third parties', middle and undecided groups" any "real importance" in the historical sense, Nehru was not only denying the Muslim League the right to exist or its due importance, but he was also denying them the right to organise themselves politically on a platform of their own, other than that of the Congress, besides ignoring their identity in India's body politics as a religio-political entity.

As opposed to this idea, Jinnah felt that India was multi-national and multi-cultural country, that the Muslims had the right to maintain their separate identity since they represented the "third party" in India's body-politics, that it should refuse to be "camp followers of any party", and that, above all, Muslims should organise themselves politically, to make the third party claim a fait accompli. As a corollary to this claim, the Quaid demanded equality of status for the Muslims and he offered to coalesce with Congress in the struggle for freedom provided the Muslims were "assured of their political freedom."

Two speeches in particular, besides the January 4, Calcutta address, indicate the trend of Jinnah's thinking. Addressing the AIML Council six weeks earlier, he had explained that it was impossible for the Muslims to merge with the Hindus because "their language, culture and civilisation are quite different". National self-government, he said, was his creed; but Muslims "must unite as a nation and then live or die as a nation".

In attempting to explain the increasing alienation of Muslims from the Congress since its ascension to power in the Hindu majority provinces in 1937, historians have generally dilated upon, and attributed it to, various Congress policies, and listed various items in its programme which forced the Muslims up the wall - and along the path of confrontation. For, these policies and programmes assumed their real significance only in the "uni-national and uni-cultured India" framework and it was only in the context of this framework that the Congress policies and the various items in its programme could fall into place.

This framework alone explains why the Congress opted for unitarianism as opposed to a Muslim federalism in the formation of ministries, why it offered "absorption" instead of "partnership"  to the Muslim League, why it called for the disbandment of Muslim League parties in the legislatures, and why it insisted upon Muslim members of the legislatures, signing the Congress pledge before being sworn in as ministers. This framework also explains why the Congress sought to impose the tri-colour flag, the Bande Mataram, Hindi and the Wardha Scheme educational system as items of national importance. This act also shed light on why the Congress tried to isolate the third major political party in India, the Muslim League, and Jinnah, its leader, by sucking in minor, but influential, parties such as the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-i-Hind, the Ahrars and the Khudai Khidmatgars into its fold and mounted a mass contact campaign amongst the Muslims in collaboration with its "client" parties.

Once the Congress President denied the existence of a Hindu-Muslim problem, and the need for safeguards for Muslim religion, culture and language, the Congress was bound to initiate and implement policies and programmes that were suicidal to the concept of Muslims being a separate political entity.

Some participants in the UP ministry formation talks, such as Maulana Abul Kalam Azad (1889-1958) and Chaudhry Khaliq-uz-zaman, attribute the beginning of the Congress-League confrontation in 1937 to the breakdown of their negotiations at Lucknow. Azad also attributed the breakdown on the number of places to be given to the League nominees. In actual fact, however, the talks broke down not on the number of League nominees to be accommodated in the ministry but on Azad's refusal to include a clause in the agreement that "communal matters such as questions relating to the Communal Award, language, culture, religious observances, etc. will be outside the scope of the agreement".

Till 1937, the Muslims believed in a composite Indian nationhood and a composite nationalism, which would allow them to retain their identity. It was their cardinal belief in a Muslim identity that had led them to insist upon federalism and autonomy of the provinces in the Delhi Muslim Proposals (1927), the All Parties Muslim Conference Resolution of January 1, 1929, the Fourteen Points (1929), and in the demands put forth at the Round Table Conferences (1930-32).

The abandonment of the separate electorates' principle in Delhi Muslim Proposals caused a split in the League, and the Muslim consensus on its retention in Jinnah's Fourteen Points underscored their deep and sincere concern of keeping their political entity intact. For the first time in 1937, they realised, as a result of their bitter experiences under the Congress Raj, that even a composite nationhood in the Congress dictionary meant, very simply, majority rule.

History is a witness that majorities are apt to oppress minorities under them. Yet, even worse, in India majority meant Hindu rule, and the Hindu record of tolerance of other religious groups was not very optimistic either.

It is true that the Muslims of the Congress provinces, especially the UP Muslims, were the first to apprehend "the dangers of Hindu ascendancy under a Congress Raj" and react. But the "absorption" edict, which had serious implications on an all-India level and on a long-term basis, alarmed the Muslims living in majority provinces. For, "if the UP sample was to be the pattern of Congress's political conduct, what would be the position of Muslims when a federal government for all India was formed? There would be no room on the throne of India save for Congress' stooges", remarked Penderal Moon.

An echo of what Sir Syed Ahmed Khan (1817-98) had predicted some fifty years earlier when he had posed the critical query: "Is it possible that under the circumstances two nations, the Mohammedans and the Hindus, could sit on the same throne and remain in equal power was again felt across India." It was obvious to all that one would conquer the other and thrust it down. To hope that both could remain equal was to desire the impossible, and the inconceivable."

To Muslims, then, the Congress rule in the provinces, during 1937-39 portended precisely the sort of dispensation they had been trying to save themselves against since Syed Ahmed Khan's days. This eventually led to the adoption of the Pakistan Resolution which formally and unreservedly declared India as bi-national and bi-cultured.

In this instance, Jinnah argued the case for Muslim nationhood, which constituted the basis of the Pakistan demand, cogently and eloquently when he asserted, "We are a nation with our own distinctive culture and civilisation, names and nomenclature, sense of values and proportion, legal laws and moral code, customs and calendar, history and traditions, aptitude and ambitions; in short, we have our own distinctive outlook on life and of life. By all canons of international law we are a nation."
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The reward of strong leadership

By Mahmudul Aziz


March 16, 2009-a landmark in Pakistan's history-will always be remembered as a great day for the revival of the rule of law, rejection of legacy of a military dictator, reaffirmation of people's power and demonstration of national consensus that dispensation of justice is the main pillar of democracy. The call for Long March and dharna (sit-in) till the restitution of pre-3rd November judiciary proved to be a great leap forward as the government of the day and establishment were left with no choice but to yield before the will of the people. The emergence of a new Pakistan on March 16, 2009 was, symbolically, the renewal of the spirit of Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940-establishment of a State for the welfare of people with assurance of justice to all. If March 23, 1940 paved way for independence and separate homeland for the Muslims of sub-continent after long-drawn struggle against colonial rule, March 16, 2009 brought victory for justice-for the first time the establishment suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of masses. Interestingly, both the events originated from Lahore.

In its 62 years of existence, the State of Pakistan faced a daunting challenge of establishing a true democratic polity based on constitutional supremacy, rule of law and equity. The long military rules-backed by foreign masters-and in between the experiments of 'controlled democracy' denied the people of Pakistan their sovereign right of self-governance, for which a long struggle was waged to secure independence from the British raj. We did get a 'homeland' on August 14, 1947, but failed to make it 'free land' where the will of the people rules and their rights are respected and protected. The challenge to restore people's rule was, nonetheless, taken up by anti-establishment forces since 1947 but vested interest with the help of foreign masters foiled all their efforts-in the process we lost a part of homeland and many leaders, political workers and social activists. The dictatorial rules muzzled all the state organs-especially judiciary, that became an approving arm for many unconstitutional rules. However, the defiance that started on March 9, 2007, was a starting point and March 16, 2009, proved to be a culmination of the journey-from denial to freedom, hope for an era of independent judiciary and rule of law. 

The people will now have to guard their great achievement. The events of March 15, 2009 to March 18, 2009 from the resisting and defying the naked use of power by the government to ultimate victory of masses and issuance of notification of restitution of Chief Justice of Pakistan and others, testify the valiant struggle waged by all segments of society, most notably by lawyers, media, social and political activists. These forces in future will have to act as a watchdog to ensure that judiciary plays its role within the constitutionally-defined limits and people get their rights. Judiciary should be free from all external pressures including the so-called street power to perform its duties strictly in accordance with law.

Our history is marred by anti-people and autocratic rules-both military and civilian alike - which were most of the time welcomed by the political elite. Besides various socio-politico-economic factors behind the failure to establish a sustainable democracy and responsible rule, the role of judiciary was subjected to severe criticism for validating coups d'etat. Like all others institutions and organs, judiciary in the post-independence period suffered due to weak democratic traditions, fight between economic vested interests, rivalry of influential politicians and a bitter power struggle between the landowner cliques and civil-military bureaucracy. If the press and nation rise and fall together, the same is true for judiciary. No institution or organ of the State exists or works in isolation from socio-economic and political conditions. It is thus not something unusual that during the last 62 years, judiciary also got divided on political lines when deciding important cases, especially when legitimacy of supra-constitutional takeovers disrupting the democratic process was called in question.

November 3, 2007 was a unique day when a dictator imposed judiciary-specific martial law - this time the victims were not politicians but the judges. In this backdrop, the issue of restitution of judges assumed great importance as it was to determine whether as a nation we would progress or retard. After much resistance by the Co-chairman of the ruling party and renunciations of written agreements, it was finally conceded by him that illegally removed judges, in fact, never ceased as judges. In reality, the question was not that of mere reinstatement of a few judges but restoring of status quo ante existing on November 2, 2007-undoing unlawful acts of Pervez Musharraf.

In post-March 16, 2009, scenario, the onus is on the Parliament to undo all the actions taken by Musharraf on November 3, 2007, as well as to remove all the distortions made in the Constitution of Pakistan since 1973. If fact, the time is now ripe to enter into a new social contract amongst all the federating units of Pakistan by thoroughly revisiting all the provisions of the Constitution and making them acceptable to everyone in the changed circumstances. Political consensus through deliberations and debates inside and outside the Parliament is the need of the hour. It is the only way to address the challenging issues of terrorism, regional insurgencies, poverty and growing economic inequalities.

Needless to say that the higher judiciary should also play its vital role of curtailment of arbitrary exercise of powers by any organ of the State, including itself. It must protect the fundamental rights of citizens under all circumstances as was done in a number of cases e.g Sabir Shah vs Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1994 SC 738), Mohammad Nawaz Sharif sv Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1993 SC 473), Federat ion of Pakistan vs Aftab Ahmad Sherpao (PLD 1992 SC 723), Ahmad Tariq Rahim vs Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1992 SC 646), Hakim Khan vs Government of Pakistan (PLD 1992 SC 595), Federation of Pakistan vs Mohammad Saifullah Khan (PLD 1989 SC 166) and Benazir Bhutto vs Federation of Pakistan (PLD 1988 SC 416).

The critics of higher judiciary of Pakistan should also realise that it is the people's will and power that alone forces the barrel of gun to renounce unlawful rule. Nowhere in the world has this task ever been performed by the judiciary. It is basically a political question and not a legal issue. Even if judiciary declares a coup detat illegal (as was done by seven-member bench of apex court on November 3, 2007, how can it force the usurper to abdicate power? Judiciary has no power (physical) to get its order implemented by force. The responsibility for failure of political leadership in Pakistan to counter intervention of civil-military bureaucracy cannot be shifted to the judiciary. Only reliance on people's power can avert unconstitutional rule-the politicians must have learnt this lesson on March 16, 2009.

The effectiveness of people's power has been proved-historic struggle waged by the legal fraternity, supported by political parties and members of civil society has won victory for all. It was all due to masses of Pakistan that the periods from March 9, 2007 to July 20, 2007, from November 3, 2007 to March 16, 2009 have become landmarks in our legal and political history. The second restoration of the Chief Justice of Pakistan on March 22, 2009 which is not triumph for an individual but a victory for justice is a first step towards revival of true democratic rule and independence of judiciary in Pakistan.

In the wake of this historic day, it is now the duty of all political parties, intelligentsia, media and representatives of civic society to act actively and responsibly to work towards revival of true democracy and constitutional rule in the country. Instead of entering into polemics and rhetoric, they should strive to evolve a national consensus on a one-point agenda i.e. supremacy of constitution and independence of judiciary.

It is time that through national consensus and reconciliation we establish a democratic rule, which is not possible without a free and independent judiciary. Political turmoil, social unrest and violence are the direct result of undemocratic rule and lack of dispensation of justice.

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23 March 1940: A forgotten spirit?

By Dr Naeem Ahmed

Miracles happen and March 23, 1940, was one such day when the efforts of the Muslim leaders and thinkers materialised in the form of a miracle known as the Pakistan Resolution.

This historically significant resolution also became the basis of the Two-Nation Theory. In the words of Quaid-i-Azam, "Hindus and the Muslims belong to two different religions, philosophies, social customs and literature. They neither inter-marry nor inter-dine and, indeed, they belong to two different civilisations that are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their concepts on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Muslims derive their inspiration from different sources of history. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built up for the government of such a state".

Straight forward in nature the Resolution clearly stated the basic demand of the Muslims of the sub-continent, "No constitutional plan would be workable or acceptable to the Muslims unless geographically contiguous units are demarcated into regions which should be so constituted with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary. That the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in majority as in the North-Western and Eastern zones of India should be grouped to constitute independent states in which the constituent units shall be autonomous and sovereign". It was on the basis of this Resolution that the AIML accelerated its struggle for Pakistan as it had now got a clear roadmap and plan of action to follow. Thus, it was only within approximately seven years of the passing of the Resolution that the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent successfully but after enduring many hardships achieved their destiny -Pakistan.

By this time, the Quaid-i-Azam had truly emerged as the leader of the Muslims in their movement for freedom. His mission was to establish internal unity and to constitute a Muslim nation, based on the ideals of liberal and social democracy. Having acquired education in the West and representing Secular Muslim Nationalism, Jinnah did not want a theocratic state and this is obvious from the August 11, 1947, speech that he gave at the Constituent Assembly, clearly stating, "You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this state of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed-that has nothing to do with the business of the state...We are starting in the days when there is no discrimination, no distinction between one community and another, no discrimination between one caste or creed and another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state."

With their path set and their strategy fixed the Muslim leaders ultimately led the Muslims of the sub-continent to victory. The situation however changed once again after the creation of Pakistan as problems started arising immediately after the death of the Quaid, much of it over the role of Islam in Pakistan's politics. This battle had arisen between the liberal-secular elements. In the midst of this a very difficult situation arose for the government as on one hand, it had no intention of implementing Shariah, while on the other hand, it could not explicitly take this position. Thus, under extreme pressure, a compromise was reached in the form of a passage stated in the 'Objectives Resolution' in March 1949, which institutionalised the role of Islam in the Pakistani politics.

Though it is a fact that the struggle for the creation of a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent was motivated by religion, but on the other hand, most of the Ulema parties nitially opposed the creation of Pakistan. In reality, they were worried about the fate of Islam in the newly-born country. Once Pakistan was created, these Ulema became the great champions of Islam and found for themselves a great opportunity to play an effective political role to Islamise the state and society of Pakistan.

The ideology became a divisive force. The religio-political parties in the wake of asserting their position in the Pakistani politics also started promoting their own version of Islam according to their sectarian beliefs and thus, divided the nation on sectarian lines.

Meanwhile, the Afghan war also strengthened the sectarian forces in Pakistan when the madaressahs associated with the Deobandi school of thought started playing a frontline role in recruiting and sending the jihadis to Afghanistan for war against the Soviet forces. On another front, Pakistan, under Zia-ul-Haq, established strong bilateral relations with the Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, which provided financial assistance not only for the Afghan War but also encouraged establishing mosques and madaressahs in Pakistan in order to promote the Wahabi faith. As a direct consequence, in this process, close links also developed between the government of Saudi Arabia and religious-political parties, as the former provided direct funds to the latter for their madaressahs.

Soon a triangle evolved among the military regime of Zia, the Saudi government and the religious-political parties of Pakistan, the theater for their activities being both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In the backdrop of these activities the government of Pakistan remained as unstable as ever. However, the 9/11 terrorist attack in America gave the then President Pervez Musharraf an opportunity to tackle the issues of religious extremism and sectarianism in the Pakistani society. Unfortunately, he was unable do anything amidst the power of the sectarian groups and their links with the religious-political parties. He had given an early indication of this thinking on the subject in his very first major policy speech on October 17, 1999, in which he had asserted that "Islam teaches tolerance not hatred" and had categorically asked the clergy to "curb elements which are exploiting religion for vested interests and bring bad name to our faith." Despite many efforts he failed to effectively materialise his policies and thus his commitment to achieve these goals remained questionable.

Similarly, the present government of the Pakistan Peoples Party has also been unsuccessful in controlling the menace of sectarian violence. Presently, our society is more prone to radicalism and extremism and this increase in the rigidity for religion is because of the growing influence of the Islamists in the Pakistani society. Another reason is the failure of the State to provide basic necessities of life to the masses, which has provided an opportunity to these Islamists to present themselves as a better alternate.

It is an irony that a country which was created in the name of ideology failed to achieve the destiny laid down by its founders, who with vigorous struggle and spirit secured the country for their future generation. In such a scenario, a progressive and liberal interpretation of religion, which was the main uniting force behind the creation of Pakistan, would help make the country strong and lead to its development.   

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Ensuring justice for all

By Huzaima Bukhari & Dr Ikramul Haq

The true spirit of the Lahore Resolution of March 23, 1940 was the establishment of an egalitarian state for the welfare of the Muslims of India together with the assurance of justice for all. After nearly 63 years of independence, people are still struggling for the same. The existing judicial system, the worst reminder of colonial legacy, is still persisting. Slogans like 'independence of judiciary' and 'justice for all at their door steps' have proved to be mere clichés even after the restoration of the pre-November 3, 2007 judiciary.

The much-publicised National Judicial Policy 2009 was merely an attempt to cure the symptoms and yet till today, no efforts have been made to make effective structural changes to improve the country's judicial system. It is an irrefutable reality that justice is not available to the poor, they cannot afford to pay lawyers and therefore wait for years to get orders. The prevalent judicial system seemingly protects only the rich and mighty.

The main crisis of Pakistan is the perpetuation of anti-people power structures in all areas whether it is the executive, judiciary or legislation. The 'reformers' of the system are not supportive of any radical change, as it will deprive them of all their privileges, benefits and perquisites. As stakeholders in the exploitative system, they would never willingly participate in restructuring the judicial system of the country and establishment of people's courts for the benefit of the common man. Thus the existing system is inherently exploitative and anti-people-the ruling elite thrive on the common man's money and use the force of police, taxation and judiciary to keep the masses under 'control'. For people's democracy, the sine qua non is accountability of all and this accountability must commence from the judges who adjudge others. These judges must be men of integrity and honour, God-fearing and free from all prejudices. Through their decisions, judges should make it amply clear that justice for all is freely available in the country.

Accountability of all organs of the State should be the starting point of reforms in Pakistan.  In a State where the politicians, high-ranking civil and military officials and judges do not even declare their assets and tax publicly there cannot be hope for true democracy, rule of law and responsible governance. The civil society and media should come forward to force the parliament to abdicate all laws of secrecy and enact a comprehensive legislation for the right to information. In this regard, the judges should be amongst the first to be asked to place their declarations at relevant websites.

For instance in India, the government, after great public pressure and many campaigns, introduced a bill in the parliament providing for asset disclosure of judges, but with a protection clause that the same would not be accessible to the people and that judges would not be made liable for any action on the basis of their disclosure. This led to quite a commotion in parliament, and the MPs rising above party lines vehemently and collectively condemned this clause, forcing the government to pull out the bill. As a result of debate in parliament and public campaign, a number of High Court judges made their assets public, dissociating themselves from the stand of the Chief Justice of India that "asset disclosure would lead to harassment of judges at the hands of disgruntled litigants".

In what followed, eminent former judges and leading jurists joined the civil society, openly and publicly demanding public declaration of assets by the present judges. The entire civil society and media, unanimously and vocally, opposed the stand of the Chief Justice of India. Succumbing to opposition-both from inside and outside-the Chief Justice ultimately announced that the asset declarations of the judges would be placed at their official website. Soon thereafter, twenty-one judges of the Supreme Court, including Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, declared their assets, giving details of movable and immovable property owned by them and their spouses.

In Pakistan also we have laws regarding the declaration of assets and liabilities by government servants and politicians, but the public knows nothing about them. In these declarations the present value of the property and how they were acquired are seldom revealed. To achieve a transparent system of governance in our country, these must be made public along with their tax declarations. In India there was vehement criticism over the asset disclosures of the judges and their spouses. It was demanded that information about the assets of other close relatives including that of children, was also important in the Indian context.

However, the declarations, made under the Supreme Court resolution of May, 1997, were only in partial conformity with the requirements laid down. On the contrary the original declaration underlined the need for a law that made disclosure mandatory and open to public, at the same time laying down in detail, what assets were to be declared, how the disclosure was to be made and who should come under its purview. It was clearly emphasised that the consequences of wrong declarations should also be specified.

Over the years, the campaign for judicial accountability and reform in India has assumed great public importance. The issue is no longer only confined to public disclosure of assets of judges. The public and media have made it clear that the right-to-information legislation, being a significant legislation of recent times, should be implemented in its true spirit since that alone can pave way for true democracy. A similar law and campaign in Pakistan is also needed, if all the four pillars of state-legislation, judiciary, executive and media-are to be accountable to the public at large.

The right to information, access to public records and free availability of details of what is owned by privileged classes must be assured as this alone can help fight corruption in all domains.

We are in dire need for a comprehensive programme for judicial accountability and reforms, including setting up an independent and credible institution for the appointment of judges, entertaining complaints against them, and criminal investigation of judges if they indulge in corruption, amendment of the Contempt of Courts Law by eliminating "scandalising, and lowering the authority of the Court" from the definition of "contempt" and the implementation of right-to-information law to all organs of State, including the judiciary. These steps could effectively stonewall information about the administrative functioning of the judiciary.

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Jinnah: the leader of modern times

By Haya Fatima Iqbal

The period between March 23, 1940 and August 14, 1947 can play an integral part in helping Pakistanis realise the importance of certain ideas in life; whether it's the life of an individual or of an entire nation. To understand all of this, just reading about the steps that the Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah took during these seven vital years can be sufficient enough.

The Pakistan Resolution passed on this very day in the year 1940 bears testimony to the fact that the Quaid had a vision and he was fearless not only to declare it but also to work upon realising it despite numerous hurdles that came in his way. When Jinnah delivered his speech at Minto Park, Lahore and emphasised that by any definition of international law, Muslims of the United India were a separate entity; millions in India identified with his message. Only true leaders can expect to receive this kind of response from the masses.

In 1942, when the British initiated the Cripps Mission, Jinnah and his Muslim League associates were vigilant so as not to fall for the loopholes in that proposal. Through the Cripps Mission, the British had proposed that they would grant full dominion status to the Indian Union, right after the then ongoing Second World War ended. More importantly, it was also said that some provinces would be given the choice to opt out of this perceived Union. While the Congress rejected the proposal for giving this choice of withdrawal to some provinces, the Muslim League also resisted it. The reason for doing so was that Jinnah's men outrightly stated that the proposal was only suited to provinces and the choices they could exercise whereas the majority of Muslims in India were pursuing nothing less than a separate state. 

A leader is one who has immensely powerful foresight. While Gandhi is known the world over for waging a civil disobedience movement against the British and starting the Quit India Movement in 1942, Jinnah was careful in taking sides at that time. Hence, the Muslim League preferred to neither support nor oppose the British and did not press for the British quitting India so quickly and haphazardly that the demand of the Muslims -- for a separate homeland -- remained unmet and neglected.

When the Gandhi-Jinnah talks took place in 1944, Gandhi put forward the idea that at that point in time, Congress and Muslim League should work together to make the British leave India first and later work upon the technicalities of a separate state for Muslims. However, he also stated that even when the British would leave, areas such as defence and foreign policy should remain with the central authority. Jinnah eyed this dual policy on the part of Congress and reiterated that Muslims demanded a separate country at all costs, and they were not ready to be the part of an Indian federation in future. The Quaid also told Gandhi explicitly that by initially stating that the creation of Pakistan could be worked upon and then talking of a central authority, Congress had itself clearly exhibited the low strength of its promise towards Muslims and Pakistan.  In the 1945-46 elections in India, it took a man of unfazed dedication and strength such as Muhammad Ali Jinnah to obtain the overwhelmingly positive results for Muslim League. Election results showed that Congress had been able to obtain 91 per cent of the general votes whilst the Muslim League had won 87 per cent of the Muslims vote, grabbing every single Muslim seat in the Central Legislature. It must be noted here that people often tend to label Gandhi as the peoples' leaders while Jinnah is usually referred to as the legal-minded individual. However, this massive victory of the Muslim League shows just how popular he and his party were.

In 1946, it was the Cabinet Mission plan which tested Quaid-i-Azam's persistence again. The Cabinet Mission put two options in front of him: Either accept Sindh, West Punjab, North West Frontier Province, Balochistan and East Bengal as a separate state or agree to a loose federation constituting the whole of Punjab and Bengal provinces with portfolios such as defence, communications, and foreign policy lying with the centre. Jinnah had the courage to reject both these options. According to him, Pakistan would be mutilated from its very beginning if major provinces such as Punjab and Bengal were not included in their whole forms with Pakistan. The latter option of a loose federation was again totally unacceptable for Indian Muslims. It must have required a great deal of perseverance and a dash of risk-taking from Jinnah to keep refusing all these offers in order to acquire a Pakistan which was the exact replica of how he had imagined it to be for his people.

August 1946 arrived, with little hopes of anything concrete and positive happening for Muslims in the coming days. With every passing day, the feeling that the British might leave India without tackling Muslims' issues increased and thus created uncertainty among India's Muslim population. This was when Jinnah decided to use people's power as the last and final resort. Muslim League gave a call for Direct Action Day on August 16, 1946 with the fact that they would attain independence exactly a year from then unbeknownst to them. The Direct Action Day was observed to get Muslim force registered in the minds of Hindus and British alike. Demonstrations took place across India, with riots taking place in Calcutta, leaving thousands of people dead; of them more Muslims than Hindus.

This action immediately spelt trouble for the Muslims. The British government, just ten days after these protests, announced that an interim government was to be made within a month's time and it would not have any representative from Muslim League in it.

By May 1947, considerable progress had been made and Jinnah's Pakistan was slowly inching closer towards Muslims. The last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten announced that India would be partitioned by June 3, 1948 and by default, the constitution of both separate states India and Pakistan would be the 1935 Government of India Act. It was announced that a Boundary Commission would be established for demarcating boundaries officially and princely states would have the liberty to join India, Pakistan or even stay independent.

Controversies abound to this day. The first one is that just a couple of days after the announcement of the June 3 Plan, it was suddenly announced that the British would leave India much earlier; as early as August 15, 1948. The demarcation of boundaries did not take place as had been formally planned, leaving Pakistan in a quite weak position strategically. The division of financial and military assets was not up to the mark as well.

Still, Jinnah took all of this in his stride and did not complain, for that would have lowered the morale of his followers. Instead, he insisted that Pakistanis must remain positive and look ahead. Despite all these injustices, there was never a streak of negativity in any of his speeches. In his words, it is evident that he wanted to give Indian Muslims a country of their own and at the same time never sound prejudiced against people of other religions. His demand appears clear: Give Muslims their due rights and let others coexist peacefully, whether in Pakistan or on the other side of the border.

It takes centuries to produce people who are so apt at exploiting time to its utmost potential. Jinnah was given just seven years to actualise the words he had spoken at Minto Park, Lahore and he showed us all that it was both possible and achievable.

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The lost spirit of 23rd March among youth

By Fazal Ali Butt

Nearly a decade ago, national days like Quaid-i-Azam's birth anniversary, Allama Iqbal's birth anniversary, Pakistan Resolution Day and Independence Day formed some of the most important days in an average Pakistani's calendar. Not only did individuals celebrate these days with national fervour, but the festivities were an essential part of the normal proceedings in schools, colleges, and universities.

Special importance was given to August 14 and March 23. Quizzes, debate competitions, lectures, seminars, discussions, singing competitions and sing-alongs featuring national songs were held at the educational institutes to commemorate these two important national days. Heads of various institutions, high-ranking government officials, even people who had lived through the times of the Pakistan Movement, were invited as chief guests at these events, and students would be wild to hear their stories, and their words of wisdom. In this way students were able to learn, and relate to the history of their homeland, and were taught valuable lessons even while they were enjoying an event held to celebrate a national holiday.

Students took these unconventional lessons so much to heart that they remembered them the rest of their lives. Approximately 10 to 20 years back it was not unusual to meet students, about to graduate, discussing the latest book on the history of Pakistan, like Syed Hassan Riaz's book 'Pakistan Naguzeer tha', and discussing it with such dedication, that these students would even seem to feel the conditions which forced an ardent devotee of Hindu Muslim unity, like the Quaid-i-Azam, to part ways and struggle for a separate Muslim state. Unlike children of today, nobody had to rote-learn "important" dates and events, like when the Khilafat movement took place, when the Pakistan Muslim League was formed, or what Iqbal said in his famous Allahabad address, before sitting for a Pakistan Studies exam. These events had been so frequently talked over and discussed that people automatically knew them on their fingertips. Without having ever seen them, people knew about Raja sahib Mehmoodabad, Sir Abdullah Haroon, Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk and Nawab Mohsan-ul-Mulik, A. K. Fazalul Haq, Chaudhry Khaliquzaman and the others.

On the contrary, children today will very easily tell you who won the latest round of the 'Nach Baliye' dance competition, the leading singer of 'Jo Jeeta Wohi Superstar', 'Chhote Ustad' and any number of other such programmes, but are rendered speechless when questioned about who presented the Pakistan Resolution, who Nawab Waqar-ul-Mulk was, or when Allama Iqbal died. The children of today know when, how and why Valentine's Day is celebrated, they can talk to you in detail about Halloween celebrations, the traditions regarding the celebration of Holi, Basant and any number of other festivals, but when asked about their own culture and traditions, they are silent.

Since festivals and national-day(s) celebrations reveal the history, culture, beliefs and values of any nations, it may be surmised here that one of the main reasons why our children know nothing about their own country or the sacrifices that went into creating it, is because they never celebrate their national holidays.

Judging by the way we enjoy celebrating alien traditions, it becomes obligatory on us to think on why our youth have become so indifferent to everything, whether from the past or the present that had once been a source of national pride. Why are they so eager to celebrate every new festival made available to them whether it's Basant or Valentine, Holi or Halloween?

Sociologists, politicians, religious leaders, and influential people of Pakistan need to make a conscious effort to gauge the level of vitality and decay that we, as a nation, have reached. These past few years have shown two very contrasting tendencies apparent in our society, now more than ever before. The first is a kind of aloofness from and abhorrence for our cultural, social, and religious ideals and festivals and a detachment from and decrease in the celebrations of national days. The second is a colossal boost in the trend of commemorating special days, or festivals of other nations, some of which are not only obviously pagan, but are culturally and religiously opposing and challenging the ideology of our nation. Nowhere are these trends more evident than in our educational institutions and our homes, both places responsible for teaching our younger generation the social, cultural, moral, and religious values of our society, and inculcating in them a sense of belonging, confidence and pride in being a Pakistani.

Educational institutions and parents have failed miserably in teaching the youth the worth and the need of the splendid, everlasting, and deep-rooted values that Pakistan has inherited. In the never-ending race to accumulate more wealth, and give children more material comforts, parents have overlooked the responsibility of passing on the proper ideals to their offspring. Educational institutions and teachers have done no better. In the race to become richer, teachers have lost the dedication and professional integrity that they once possessed, and which made them instruct their students not only about their subject matter, but also about the culture and traditions they had inherited from their forefathers.

The younger generation is unaware of its roots, moral values, and the splendid past which we have all inherited from our forefathers, the struggle for, and the eventual achievement of Pakistan as a homeland for the Muslims of India. All this information has been relegated only to books which are only opened at exam time to learn for a paper. This March 23, the day the historical resolution to demand a separate homeland was passed, should now forge a new resolution: to educate our children about our history before their current aloofness from our values, history, and religion takes them so far away from their traditions that there remains no point of return.

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Making a new resolve on the Pakistan Resolution Day

By Sidrah Gufran and Mohammed Ammar Bin Yaser

Seventy years ago, on this very day, a group of visionaries stood in front of a crowd in what is now Iqbal Park at Lahore and resolved to carve out a nation from within the Indian sub-continent. Seven years after that declaration, history was made as their very words turned into reality. Despite utterly difficult circumstances, the goal that had been set was achieved and it took a firm resolve to make it happen.

If we analyse our past, we find that one of the perpetual forces, which has carried us through the thick and thin of history, is the unflinching faith of the Pakistani youth in the spirit of the declaration made on March 23, 1940. As a crucial segment of the country, every young Pakistani since 1940 has treasured the significance of this idea which lies at the core of our identity and defines for us the meaning of nationalism. It was this belief in the ideology of Pakistan that steered the nation forward with an inexhaustible supply of optimism in the darkest of times and to date continues to nourish Pakistan.

Pakistan has moved well beyond its golden past and some argue that in today's changed scenario the youth doesn't cherish the same aspiration about the Pakistan Resolution as their ancestors.

However, notions are deceiving and there is more to this theory than seems otherwise. At a glance it may appear that over the years the Pakistani youth has abandoned its ideology and mannerism and has adopted the western culture but the fact remains that even the mere mention of Pakistan's name stirs in them the same emotions as were seen in the past generations.

In fact, Pakistan's current standing in the world and the unfortunate criticism that the country is presently braving has made the youth more sensitive towards the overall image and well-being of the country.

The dynamic youth of Pakistan is brewing with creative yet practical ideas to serve their country. The positivity and the will to improve the current situation that the youth displays not only reinstates the hope and courage that our forefathers bestowed on us, but also makes one feel proud of being a part of the present generation.

When asked about his personal resolution on Pakistan Day, Zia Siddiqui an undergraduate student of IBA said, "I want to abolish the medieval tradition of feudalism as it is a major hurdle in the progress and enlightenment of Pakistan's population. I believe the scourge of feudalism has to be scrubbed clean from the face of the Pakistani society if we are to aspire for a better tomorrow."

Ahsan Reza, a final year student of Mass Communication at the University of Karachi (KU), strongly voiced the opinion of many students and thinks that discrimination on the basis of language is a key issue and needs to be given due attention as it is a major factor that is keeping the social fabric of Pakistan divided. "We need to decide who we are" says Ahsan, "Officially there should be a single language of instruction, at all levels, be it English or Urdu. There is a need for uniformity so that the Pakistani society is not linguistically stratified." Ahsan feels that the language gulf between the social classes causes more rifts in our society than Pakistan is prepared to tolerate.

Improvement however, doesn't always have to start on a macro-level. Ammara Adnan, a student of NED, is all for micro-level improvement. She believes that the young generation of Pakistan should first bring about positive changes at the individual level. "We need to think sincerely first" she argues, "I resolve to take my society and whatever challenges it's facing seriously from this day on and set an example for my peers". "I am not saying I have the cure for every social ill that grips Pakistan today, but I staunchly believe that as young Pakistanis if we start to look at our problems with the pure intention of tackling them, we will definitely find solution" she adds.

Such a high dose of optimism serves as a ray of hope in the current crisis stricken state-of-affairs. Though efforts are continuously being made on both small and large scale to improve the condition of the country many are still hopeless about the political process. "We need a series of reformations in our political process" says Sharjeel Khan. "We have to work out a process that leaves no rooms for 'personality worship' in our political set-up, democracies are run by parties and not individuals" says Khan, who works at a local TV Channel.

The youth of today is not just concerned about the political up-lift but also about other issues facing Pakistan. Among these considerations the sorry state of the environment is also a major concern for many, as Sidra Rizvi, a student of English Literature at KU puts it "Pakistan is one of the most hard-hit victims of global warming and pollution today, but little is being done on this front. I as an individual would like to see my country clean therefore this year I resolve to use recycled papers for all purposes and will also encourage my friends to do the same"

Working to alleviate poverty and illiteracy has almost become a cliché that everybody blurts out when asked about ideas to solve the real problems of the Pakistani society. However, on a more positive note and on a more practical front it has been observed that the youth who are actually involved in community development efforts are contributing a lot to their society through their efforts in various fields.

An example of this is an initiative of a group of students from KU who have come forward to teach the children of sweepers and cleaners of the university twice a week in the afternoons. This step has received much appreciation by the parents of these children as well by the students and teachers of various departments of KU, who are willing to volunteer in the program too. This small expression of 'concern' tells us a lot about the zest of the youth of Pakistan.

It must be pointed out here that despite all the exuberance of our youth and brimming optimism, one can't ward off the sense of looming pessimism that seemingly runs all over Pakistan. Every other day we hear shallow rumors about our country that instigates one, especially, the youth to run away and settle abroad.

Running away from reality, however, is no solution instead stepping forward and helping in building a stronger nation should be our goal. Positive thinking, effort and instilling optimism in others are the only factors that can help us in this journey.

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The chequered political history of Pakistan

By Muttahir Ahmed Khan

The pre-partition Muslim leaders envisioned a homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent. This beautiful vision was announced on the eve of March 23, 1940, in the form of a resolution which later culminated into a homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent, on August 14, 1947.  However, the vision which was presented in the Resolution, in all its essence, never materialised. Bad governance and successive martial laws thwarted the constitutional, democratic, political and, above all, socio-economic development of this newly born country at a very early stage. 

In discussing the genesis of Pakistan's growing socio-political crisis and its repeated constitutional failures, many analysts assert that the creation of Pakistan was premature, accidental and without any pre-determined goal and a feasible planning by the leaders. They argue that the duration between the launching of awareness campaigns, to creating knowledge amongst the Muslims about their rights, the initiation of the freedom movement and the fruition of these efforts was not as long as most other nations faced before gaining independence. Consequently, achieving independence so soon after launching the independence movement was fatal to the success of the new country because the Muslims did not get a chance to get used to the idea of a separate homeland or decide on the best method of governing it. The issue remains however, that how could a nation which was able to pass such a vivid and comprehensive resolution as early as 1940 could yet remain so directionless in 2010 as to be unable to take any positive action to set their country on the path of progress despite the lapse of 63 years?

Keeping in view our performance and progress, during these years, one is reality-bound to say that the "time factor" that analysts refer to when speaking of Pakistan's slow progress, is important only for those nations that wish to learn from it and mend their ways accordingly. We had enough time and resources during the last six decades to emerge as a progressive state, while learning from other developing nations like the Chinese, Japanese, Malaysians and Koreans yet we wasted time and resources.

After independence, the two newly established states of India and Pakistan adopted completely divergent courses of action: On the basis of its seasoned and shrewd political leadership, India embarked on the path of constitutional development, land reforms, electoral and democratic progress. On the contrary, Pakistan fell a prey to political anarchy, lack of vision, undemocratic and unconstitutional tactics of ousting high profile leaders and officials. Indian leaders bridled the horses of feudalism and civil-military bureaucracy at a very early stage, but the Pakistan Muslim League leadership mistakenly continued to rely on both these wings to run the administrative affairs of the country.

The first jolt for the newly created country was the sudden demise of the Quaid in 1948, at a crucial point in Pakistan's history, when the nation was in dire need of his able leadership and judicious planning. A tug-of-war was now underway amongst the politicians for holding the rein of power and the whole political set-up was derailed. The first Prime Minister of the country, Liaqat Ali Khan was assassinated on October 16, 1951, thus effectually giving another blow to the parliamentary setup and the political leadership of the country. Those who came to power after the Quaid-i-Azam and Liaqat Ali Khan no longer had any emotional affiliations with the masses.

With the outburst of religious and sectarian clashes and riots in Punjab, the first martial law was imposed in the country by the Prime Minister Khawaja Nizamuddin in 1953. Similarly, this transition from the political a set up to the military set up in 1953 paved the way for future martial laws in Pakistan.

Dismissal of Khawaja Nazimuddin from the office of the Prime Minister by Governor General, Ghulam Mohammad Malik aggravated the situation and pushed the country further into the quagmire of political instability. The first constitution of Pakistan which was formed on the pattern of England's constitution was enforced on March 23, 1956. However, it failed to produce satisfactory results because of the political instability in the country and the lack of consensus on various issues of national importance. Although Liaquat Ali Khan declared the Objective Resolution of 1949 as the foundation for the first constitution of Pakistan, some members of minority communities and from East Pakistan, showed their reservations regarding the resolution. Declaration of the "Sovereignty of God" and Urdu as the national language of Pakistan were two points which were the subject of dissent.

Within a short span of just two years, four ministries had been made and unmade at the centre as well as in West Pakistan. Cabinet reshuffles were the order of the day.

Prime Minister Muhammad Ali resigned on September 8, 1956, and H S Suhrawardy tendered his resignation on October 17, 1957. One failed government followed another and I I Chundrigar's government fell on December 8, 1957. After this Malik Feroz Khan Noon was overthrown on October 7, 1958, when President Sikandar Mirza decided to take a drastic political action to save the country from further political chaos by imposing martial law whereby, General Mohammad Ayub Khan was appointed the Chief Martial Law Administrator.

President Ayub Khan had to face unpopularity and hatred of the masses (who were once indifferent) in his term as the 'civilian elected president'. Eventually, the nation yet again paid a heavy price in the form of another martial law imposed by President Ayub whereby General Yahya stepped up as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. Despite these changes, it seemed that Pakistan was moving from a bad to worse. General Yahya Khan also failed to put Pakistan on a road to recovery. This ultimately culminated into fall of Dhaka and the creation of Bangladesh in 1971-perhaps the biggest blow that Pakistan faced after its creation.

Unfortunately, Pakistan was to see political turmoil for many years to come and such state of affairs continued even after Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto assumed power. On July 5, 1977 Bhutto's government was overthrown by the then Chief of the Army Staff, General Zia-ul-Haq. 

Much to Bhutto's dismay the military coup d'état by Zia-ul-Haq at the expense of democracy was well-received by the public.

From then on the legacy of ups and downs continued for years to come and following the footsteps of his predecessors General Musharraf emerged as the "Chief Executive" of the country after the coup that removed the twice elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from power, on October 12, 1999.

After ruling the country for more than eight years, Musharraf, with his low and high popularity graph at different point in time, resigned from his post in 2008. After Musharraf's dismissal, fresh elections were held, bringing in power Asif Ali Zaradri and Yousuf Raza Gilani on the two coveted posts of President and Prime Minster respectively.

It is a sad reality that even after numerous changes in the government, the people of Pakistan could not get any relief. The simple reason is that none of the governments have ever tried to address their problems and grievances with sincerity and honesty. Moreover, the masses also have no say in any issue or decision of national or global significance. In such a scenario where even the basic problems and needs of the people are not met, how can we expect the masses to actively participate in the political process? It is but obvious that the people are bound to be indifferent towards the government or may be this is what the successive governments wanted so that they could live according to their whims.

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