(INDIA and PAKISTAN – continued)

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The Islamic Republic of Pakistan, to 1966

Legalities imposed by the British were a part of emerging Pakistan. Definitions of crimes, criminal proceedings, guidance as to what was and was not admissible evidence, and punishments, remained in place, except in places ruled by princes and in tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan. In tribal areas, the judgments of elders were still relied upon, some of these judgments based on the Koran and some on traditions from before Islamic times.

Pakistan emerged on 14 August 1947 with Lord Mountbatten swearing in Muhammad Ali Jinnah as Pakistan's Governor-General. Jinnah was also still president of the most powerful political body among Muslims: the Muslim League. And he was president of the Pakistan's Constituent Assembly – at body of select persons authorized to create a constitution. And Pakistan's Constituent Assembly named Jinnah the Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader).

On 30 September 1947, Pakistan became a member of the United Nations. A year later, on11 September 1948, the Great Leader, who was eighty-one and had been suffering from tuberculosis, died. With Jinnah's death the President of the Constituent Assembly passed Maulvi Tamizuddin. Khwaja Nazimudden became Governor General. President of the Muslim League passed to Liaqat Ali Khan. Pakistan was far from unified politically. Influential persons who had moved from India to the western portion of Pakistan were resented by indigenous politicians. Opposing views existed between secular-oriented Pakistanis and those wanting an Islamic state. Those from urban areas with middle-class backgrounds tended to be secular-minded and believers in free enterprise. Rural Pakistanis tended to favor the establishment of an Islamic state and a state managed economy. The Muslim League was divided in outlook. Bitter conflict existed over who was to have power over the instruments of government, and wrangling continued over

Ayub Khan

Ayub Khan

The president of the Muslim League, Liaquat Ali Khan, was among the secularists, and in 1951 he was assassinated, with suspicions lingering that his death had been plotted by factions within the government. After his death, Pakistan's civil service – the bureaucrats – dominated government authority. Pakistan still had no constitution. Riots occurred in Bengali (or eastern) Pakistan in 1952 when the government in Karachi attempted to make Urdu the official language of all Pakistan. The Bengalis were 54 percent of the population and also angry over being inadequately represented in Pakistan's capital.

Economics and Cold War Politics

Pakistan inherited a rural economy, manufacturing in 1947 being only 6 percent of Pakistan's Gross National Product. Pakistan's population was predominantly rural, with four fifths of its population dependent upon agriculture. Those who had arrived from India had left behind much of their wealth and had to be accommodated economically, and India severing trade with Pakistan in 1949 was also an economic burden.

The Korean War, which began in 1950, brought wealth to Pakistani merchants who sold raw materials to the anti-Communist nations. The merchants invested their profits in the manufacture of consumer goods for Pakistanis – Pakistan's first industrial revolution. Pakistan's economy, measured as Gross National Product, began growing at a rate of 18 percent a year, the high percentage made possible by meagre beginnings. From 1954, Pakistan's government stepped in and established an elaborate system of exchange controls to protect the country's infant industry from outside competition and to supply the budding industrialists with more capital for technological growth. Cooperation on matters of creating wealth was more easily achieved than political harmony.

Also in 1954, Pakistan joined the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) created by US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. Dulles disliked India's prime minister, Nehru, and described Nehru's neutrality as immoral. Dulles saw Pakistan as a front-rank ally against the spread of Communism. He told the American journalist Walter Lippmann that Pakistanis were "the only real fighting men in South Asia," and he added that "We could never get along without the Gurkas." When Lippman pointed out that the Gurkas were not Pakistanis but Indians, Dulles said, "They may not be Pakistanis but they're Muslims," to which Lippmann replied that they were Hindus. "No matter," said Dulles.

It was India that concerned Pakistan, rather than the Soviet Union or China. Pakistan asked Dulles to include under the shield of his alliance protection from aggression from all sides, not just from Communist states. But Dulles refused. Pakistan was pleased, however, as it benefited from loans and military equipment from the United States.

A Constitution and Military Coup

Pakistanis, like everyone else, were concerned with international prestige, and with good reason. They believed themselves to be as bright and capable as anyone. India had created its constitution in early 1950, and the Pakistanis finally established their constitution in 1956. The Islamists were accommodated, the preamble to the constitution speaking of Allah as having "sovereignty over the entire Universe." It spoke of authority exercised by the people of Pakistan as being within the limits "prescribed by Him is a sacred trust." The preamble spoke of all laws of Pakistan conforming to the Koran and the Sunnah.

Muslim scholars (Ulema) in Pakistan had been urging that all legislation be null and void that contravened in letter or spirit the law as laid down in the Koran. They had been urging that the powers of government be derived from and circumscribed by and exercised within the limits of the Islamic law (Sharia) alone. Political constitutions, nevertheless, had to deal with matters that Muhammad the Prophet had ignored: specifics in the distribution of power and succession. Pakistan's Constitution proclaimed that members of central and provincial legislatures were to be elected every five years, that parliament was to be ruled by a president and that effective power was to be with a prime minister. Also, Pakistan was to remain a member of the Commonwealth – a secularist innovation.

Pakistan's 1956 constitution was followed by a political harmony no greater than Islam had experienced following the death of the Prophet. Regional politicians resented powers accorded to those from other regions – the most favored and resented region being the Punjab. A plan to merge some regions was resented. An important government minister was assassinated, and other violence and ethnic unrest was on the rise. The Pashtuns (in the northwest and next to Afghanistan) were seeking a separate homeland for themselves, and in Baluchistan the Khan of Kalat declared independence.

The Muslim League, the dominant political party of politicians at the time of independence, had by now lost most of its public support. The Muslim League tried to make a comeback by appealing to the Kashmir issue, declaring its support for Muslims in Kashmir. But it failed.

Pakistan was coming apart politically, and, on 7 October 1958, Pakistan's president, Iskander Mirza, with support from the army and the civil service bureaucracy, suspended the constitution and imposed martial law. Elections scheduled for January 1959 were canceled. Then the head of the military, General Muhammad Ayub Khan, had a parting of the ways with president Mirza, and, on October 27, General Khan assumed control of the government. 

Pakistan led by Ayub Khan

Muhammad Ayub Khan tried to curb excessive profits by industrialists, but found that matters economic did not obey his orders as did his subordinates in the army. But Ayub Khan was a man of breadth, including an education at England's military academy at Sandhurst, where he had earned scholarships, and he had served as a major and then a colonel on various fronts during World War II.

Muhammad Ayub Khan was an example of Pakistani potential. He wanted economic and social progress for Pakistan. In 1960, he launched Pakistan's second five-year plan. He continued Pakistan's ties with the United States, which brought more economic assistance.

Ayub Khan wanted to lift Pakistan from its high infant and child mortality and low education levels. Only 30 percent of Pakistan's children were attending primary school, compared to India's 61 percent. In Pakistan, only 16 percent of female children were attending primary school, compared to India's 40 percent. In Pakistan, 15 percent of the population was literate, in India 75 percent.

In 1961, Ayub Khan instituted the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, seen by some Muslim scholars as an assault against Islam. The law included a provision in which a second marriage to be valid had to be approved by the state and by the man's first wife. And to marry, boys had to be eighteen and girls fourteen.

War and Kashmir

In 1962, martial law was replaced by a second constitution, with the preamble to the 1956 constitution remaining in place to appease the Islamists. In 1962 war erupted between India and China, and Ayub Khan was advised that he should take advantage of the war by moving troops into Kashmir, but Ayub Khan knew war, disliked war, and was adamantly opposed to war with India.

It was after the four-week war between China and India that US military supplies began arriving in India. The Kennedy Administration had promised that weapons given to India would never be used by India against Pakistan, but the Pakistanis were not convinced. And President Kennedy had promised Ayub Khan that Pakistan would be consulted before any military aid was extended to India. Kennedy had not done this. Ayub Khan was “deeply offended” and never forgave Kennedy. Pakistanis had hoped that in giving weapons to Pakistan, the US would insist on reciprocation from India beneficial to Pakistan. Ayub Khan believed that it was a good time for the US to put pressure on India for a settlement of the Kashmir issue, but the US made no such move. And many in Pakistan viewed the United States as having betrayed a friend and ally.

Disappointed over its relations with the United States, Pakistan moved toward closer ties with China, and President Lyndon Johnson lectured Ayub Khan's foreign minister that if Pakistan continued to build its relations with China, there would be a "serious public relations problem."

In late February, 1964, Zhou Enlai announced China's support for the Muslim liberation of Kashmir. Nehru seemed on a path toward making an agreement over Kashmir. There was talk of giving the Kashmiris another chance to decide their own future and talk of the 1957 and 1962 elections in Kashmir as having been rigged. Then, in May, 1964, Nehru died. Ayub Khan ran for re-election, challenged by Fatima Jinnah, the younger sister of the Great Leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Ayub Khan's opposition appealed to the new anti-Americanism in Pakistan. Ayub Khan's popularity had dropped because he was seen as having been too close to United States policy and because he had failed to join China against India in 1962. But the ballot counting favored Ayub Khan, giving him four more years in office.

Since Nehru's death, India had begun calling Kashmir an 'integral part' of the country, contrary to the UN resolutions and India's pledges regarding Kashmir. It appeared to Pakistan that the Kashmir issue could be settled only by a Pakistani move. In Pakistan a plan was laid to send thousands of  fighters – mujahideen – in civilian clothes into India-governed Kashmir to mix with the native population. It was believed that such a force would inspire a popular uprising among the Muslims of India-governed Kashmir and that a guerrilla war would win freedom for them within a few weeks. It was believed that if this did not happen at least the United Nations would be forced to intervene to create a cease fire and that a UN intervention might be favorable to the Pakistani position on Kashmir.

The Mujahideen crossed into India-ruled Kashmir on 5 August 1965. Skirmishes with Indian forces started as early as August 6 or 7. Local Muslims did not co-operate with the arriving force to the degree that Pakistan had hoped, and, on September 6, soon after having learned of the movement of an infiltration of soldiers from Pakistan, India declared war. India's army penetrated Pakistan and quickly found stalemate. In late September the war officially ended with an agreement signed in Tashkent (in the Soviet Union) on 10 January 1966. There the Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and the President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan, declared their resolve to restore normal and peaceful relations between their two countries and to promote understanding and friendly relations between their peoples. They reaffirmed their obligation under the United Nation's Charter not to resort to force and to settle their disputes through peaceful means.


Copyright © 1998-2018 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.