Pakistan in the 1950’s

By | December 18, 2021

Dying on 11 September 1948 in Karachi, the qā’id-i a‛ẓam (supreme head) Moḥammed ‛Alī Jinnāḥ (see App. II, 11, pp. 6-7), main architect of the Pakistan and his first governor general, he left behind a country that seemed to have little chance of surviving him. Divided into two sections hundreds of kilometers away from each other and having neither language in common, with a failing economy and a malfunctioning administrative structure, with millions of refugees to house and feed, with the threat always looming of an armed conflict with India for Kashmir (see, in this App.), with the need to integrate fully into modern life on the one hand and on the other to justify its existence by remaining as faithful as possible to Islamic orthodoxy in political and civil institutions, the young state would certainly have collapsed if it had not been supported by ideal reasons deeper than those that had apparently generated it. If the desire to create a Muslim India politically separate from Hindu India can be interpreted as an aspiration to break free from the Indian civil tradition (felt to be fundamentally alien) to reconnect with that of the Mediterranean West, then the Pakistan and its vitality, which is miraculous, they explain. It is significant, in this regard, that the greatest threats to state unity came from the Eastern Fr, that is from Bengal, which geographical and historical conditions make less sensitive to the appeal of the West (the Mediterranean Muslim, of course) with which L’ another part of the country feels, or wants to feel, in brotherhood. And it is also significant that despite the dissolution, as a political force, of the Muslim League (which can be considered to have begun with the assassination of its leader, and then Prime Minister, Liyāqat ‛Alī Khān, on October 16, 1951), that is, of the party that had wanted and imposed the creation of the Pakistan and who was the strenuous champion of Islamic orthodoxy, the Pakistan continues to have his raison d’être, because this lies in feeling himself participating in a tradition, not merely religious, but cultural and civil, that is historical in the broadest sense, irreconcilable with the Hindu one (in spite of all the attempts to the contrary made in the past) and which can remain valid even if the country necessarily starts to become a secular state. For Pakistan 2012, please check

The first decade of Fr.’s life was therefore of great political and economic trouble. It was a question of building the state from scratch, of defining its character, of equipping it with an efficient bureaucracy, vigorously fighting favoritism and corruption, of maintaining and strengthening political and territorial unity against splitting tendencies. These were particularly persistent in two points of the territory: the Afghan border and East Bengal. The turbulent frontier tribes, which had already given the British authorities so much trouble, incited by Khān ‛Abd ul-Ġaffār Khān, head of the Red Shirts movement (Khud āi Khidmatg ā r), and supported by Kābul, aimed to establish themselves in an independent state (Pathanist ā n or Pakhtunist ā n) between Pakistan and Afghānistān. The action of the Karachi government was energetic and until today the aspirations for secession have remained only such. The situation in Bengal is more delicate, due to the very eccentric position of this territory compared to the rest of the country. The first general elections held in the province in March 1954 marked the defeat of the Muslim League, which obtained only 10 of the 237 seats reserved for Muslims in the Provincial Assembly, while the United Front of the opposition parties obtained 223. Of the 72 seats reserved for non-Muslims, 4 went to the Communists and the remainder to various Hindu groupings. Having obtained the majority, the United Front tried to implement its program, which was to obtain complete autonomy of the Eastern Pakistan from the central government, which they would have wanted to leave. as spheres of competence, only defense, foreign policy and finances. The Muslim League accused the United Front of wanting to sell Bengal to India; this was undoubtedly an exaggeration, but the aims of the Front certainly contained a danger for the solidity of the state structure. Therefore, appealing to an article of the Government of India Act in 1935, on May 30, 1954 the central government dissolved the government of the province and sent to the place as governor, practically with full powers, the Secretary of Defense General Iskandar Mīrzā. Preventive censorship was imposed on all newspapers in Dhaka, several people were arrested and the Communist Party was outlawed, which was later extended to the whole country. Concluded in this way the danger of a secession in Bengal, the need was felt to give the whole country a new administrative structure that would help to consolidate its unity better than the old British administrative division which had the serious defect of maintaining its unity. live dangerous regionalisms. This administrative reorganization, announced at the end of 1954, was implemented the following year. In the’ In the autumn of 1954, meanwhile, Fr. had gone through a serious political crisis, a consequence of the bitter conflicts that arose between the governor general, General Ġulām Moḥammed, and the Constituent Assembly (with the function of Parliament) which, dominated by the Muslim League, she was shown to be absolutely unequal to her duties and no longer received the consensus of the nation. Sensing the danger, on September 21 the Assembly approved a law that limited some powers of the governor general, but the latter, a month later, proclaimed a state of emergency throughout the country and, having the army on his side, suspended the Assembly itself by forming a government of its choice. The president of the Assembly, Tamīz ul-Dīn Khān, then appealed to the Supreme Court of Sind which, on January 9, 1955, issued a verdict declaring the ruling of the governor general illegal, requiring resettlement to his office in Tamīz ul-Dīn. But on February 22, the Federal Court ordered the Supreme Court of the Sinde to suspend the sentence. Armed with his full powers and assisted by his Prime Minister Moḥammed ‛Alī, Ġulām Moḥammed was then able to proceed with the administrative reorganization of the country and the convocation of a new Constituent Assembly (or Constitutional Convention) elected by the provincial assemblies (in Bengal the Assembly had been re-established in June 1955). This election marked a further decline of the Muslim League. Assembly had been re-established in June 1955). This election marked a further decline of the Muslim League. Assembly had been re-established in June 1955). This election marked a further decline of the Muslim League.

On 5 August 1955 Ġulām Moḥammed resigned due to illness (he died on 29 August of the following year) and his place was taken by General Iskandar Mīrzā who on 5 March 1956, after the approval of the project by the Assembly by constitution, the first president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan was elected by the Assembly itself. On 23 March the constitution was solemnly proclaimed in Karachi, but it was destined to have a short life, as mentioned above. In fact, entirely inspired by the concern to make the Pakistan an “Islamic” state, the charter immediately appeared anachronistic and, ultimately, superfluous, because it is obvious that one can participate in the spiritual heritage of Islam without necessarily giving a confessional character to one’s own institutions. The fact is that more than two years after its promulgation, the constitution had not created the desired political equilibrium in Pakistan, nor the conditions of order and security indispensable for general elections. On the night between 7 and 8 October 1958, President Iskandar Mīrzā therefore repealed the constitution and proclaimed martial law by exempting all ministers, both federal and provincial, from their office, and dissolving both the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies. All political parties were likewise dissolved and all political activity prohibited. In a proclamation to the nation, Iskandar Mīrzā justified his actions by denouncing the evils from which the country was suffering: “the ruthless struggle for power, political corruption, the exploitation of the hard-working, honest and patriotic masses, whose characteristics have been described above. Taking stock of these first two years of the regime, it must be recognized that some of the country’s most urgent and vital problems, such as the elimination of administrative corruption, the accommodation of refugees and land reform, have been successfully resolved or decidedly on the way to a solution.. The success and popular trust enjoyed by the Ayyūb Khān regime was proved on February 14, 1960, when 79,850 members of the Councils of Union, invited to vote for or against the president by secret vote, voted for 95.6% in favor. The votes against were only 2,829, the abstentions 1,130, the null votes 608. for or against the president, they voted 95.6% in favor. The votes against were only 2,829, the abstentions 1,130, the null votes 608. for or against the president, they voted 95.6% in favor. The votes against were only 2,829, the abstentions 1,130, the null votes 608.

In the sphere of foreign policy, the critical point still remains that of relations with India, certainly improved after the agreement for the sharing of the waters of the Indus basin, but still somewhat tense as regards Kashmir.

Towards the major international political problems, Pakistan’s attitude was that of a clear alignment, without uncertainty, with the Western bloc. The request for military aid to the USA (February 1954), participation in the organization for the collective defense of Southeast Asia (SEATO, September 1954) and the adherence to the Turkish-Iraqi pact (Baghdād Pact, September of 1955) are just as many confirmations of this political line.

Pakistani Kashmir