Tag Archives: Khudai Khidmatgar

NWFP History: The dismissal of the Khan Ministry and its aftermath (Part 3)

by Yasser Latif Hamdani

In parts 1 and 2 of this present series, I presented the primary source record of the events leading up to the unfortunate impasse between the newly formed Pakistan government and the Afghanistan-backed Frontier Congress led by the Khan brothers. This third piece will determine whether or not there was an alternative left to the dismissal of the ministry as was widely expected and which was to be carried out by Lord Mountbatten with the prior approval of the Congress Party in Delhi before August 15, 1947. This piece will also determine how and why it came to be that the Pakistan government had to take this step?

Before the referendum actually took place, Dr. Khan Sahib had famously said that he would resign from his post if Pakistan got 30% of the electorate. As shown by the last piece, Pakistan ended up polling more than 50% of the total electorate showing that the Pushtuns were overwhelmingly in favor of Pakistan. It was in the aftermath of the resounding defeat for the Congress that Dr. Khan Sahib declared that he didn’t have to resign because he commanded a legislative majority (a situation analogous in many ways to General Musharraf’s notorious re-election to the office of the president in 2007 by a legislature that was no longer representative).

As for claims about “impropriety” of “referendum”, Dr. Khan Sahib himself agreed that the referendum was as proper or improper as the election that had gotten Dr. Khan sahib into power and this was promptly reported to the Viceroy by Rob Lockhart, Congress’ governor of choice (Congress had campaigned for the removal of Sir Olaf Caroe and appointment of Rob Lockhart in his place). Lockhart went on to advise Dr. Khan Sahib that the right and proper thing to do was to resign immediately. The governor also expressed concern that the continuation of a ministry so utterly hostile to the new state would be untenable and that the Viceroy should consider dismissing the NWFP government under section 93 which would be the best course available. Jinnah was repulsed by the idea of dismissing the legislative assembly whole-scale and he and Liaqat Ali Khan suggested instead that if given a chance Muslim League could form a coalition government with non-Muslim representatives which would give the Muslim League legislative majority and thereby bypass the section 93 dismissal. Since there was no constitutional requirement for an assembly session before the budget session in 1948, the Muslim League would have ample opportunity to re-align politically and gain a legislative majority. Rob Lockhart was of the view that if a change was to be made in fitness of things, it had to be made quickly because he recalled the Dr. Khan Sahib had warned of a mass movement which he “would try and keep non-violent”(Minutes of the Viceroy’s twenty third Miscellaneous Meeting Mountbatten Papers- also found in “Transfer of Power Papers, No 278, Volume XII, 405-409” and “Jinnah Papers Volume IV Appendix IV.1”). Continue reading

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Filed under History, North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar

History is Not a Farce: The NWFP Referendum

Pak Tea House’s contributor Yasser Latif Hamdani has been posting articles on the Pakhtuns and NWFP province. In response to his latest piece, Shaheryar Ali, looks back at the NWFP referendum held in 1947 and presents an alternative view- We welcome myriad points of view at this forum only to ensure that history’s linearity and constructed versions are unpacked for a better understanding of the past and the present. (Raza Rumi-ed)

“History is the memory of states,” wrote Henry Kissinger in his first book, A World Restored, in which he proceeded to tell the history of nineteenth-century Europe from the viewpoint of the leaders of Austria and England, ignoring the millions who suffered from those statesmen’s policies. From his standpoint, the “peace” that Europe had before the French Revolution was “restored” by the diplomacy of a few national leaders. But for factory workers in England, farmers in France, colored people in Asia and Africa, women and children everywhere except in the upper classes, it was a world of conquest, violence, hunger, exploitation-a world not restored but disintegrated.
My viewpoint, in telling the history of the United States, is different: that we must not accept the memory of states as our own. Nations are not communities and never have been, The history of any country, presented as the history of a family, conceals fierce conflicts of interest (sometimes exploding, most often repressed) between conquerors and conquered, masters and slaves, capitalists and workers, dominators and dominated in race and sex. And in such a world of conflict, a world of victims and executioners, it is the job of thinking people, as Albert Camus suggested, not to be on the side of the executioners”

Howard Zinn

This is my favorite passage from one of my favorite books, “A Peoples History of United States”. Pakhtoon territory has been a victim of this “statist” history which has served to further the imperialist goals in this region. First British Empire used it to divide Pakhtoons, and later, American Imperialism adopted the same policy.

Under the British, a vast scholarship appeared on Pakhtoons which to this day is serving its purpose. All such scholarship must be re-examined under light of Edward Said’s “Orientalism”.

What happened in Pakhtoonkhawa is not the memory of State, its lament of a people, those who  are the  direct victims  o f two imperialist powers, and whose case, history, sociology, anthropology all acted in the same as Edward Said says, in aid of the White Man.

History is Not a farce

A fellow writers at the Pak Tea House has started this beautifully crafted series of articles on Pakhtoonkhawa, this latest article on the referendum. It demands a response. The article presents a partial, unilateral  view. Over time, in the mainstream discourse, the official position of the democratic representatives of the area has been largely ignored and colonial version of history along with Muslem league’s view point have been projected.

I would indicate here the position of Khudai Khidmatgars , the precursors of NAP and ANP to balance the issue – Continue reading

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Filed under Colonialism, History, North-West Frontier Province, Peshawar