Some facts about Resolution of Muslim Conference, 19 July 1947
Dr Shabir Choudhry
Muslim Conference makes much of its Resolution passed on 19 July 1947; and deliberately twists facts to suit their agenda. Sad thing is that they want to impose that resolution fraudulently passed by around hundred people motivated by religious zealots. The following is from my Mphil research: Kashmir and the Partition of India.
Although the Muslim Conference was considered as a puppet political organization of the Muslim League, it was not, ideologically, a united party, Choudhry Ghulam Abbas and his followers wanted the State to become part of Pakistan, whereas, Choudhry Hameedullah and his influential friends wanted it to become a sovereign state.
After the arrest of Choudhry Ghulam Abbas the party was involved in internal politics; both Choudhry Hameedullah and Mir Waiz claimed the position of Acting President. These internal squabbles further weakened the already meagre and disorganized party. Later, in his autobiography, Choudhry Ghulam Abbas confirmed that he had appointed Choudhry Hameedullah as his successor.
At the time when Choudhry Ghulam Abbas was behind the walls of the Kathua prison, Choudhry Hameedullah Khan as the acting President of the Muslim Conference, addressing a press Conference in a leading hotel in Jammu on 28th May 1947 declared:
‘Accession to Pakistan would be unpleasant to Hindus while accession to India will disturb Muslims. Therefore, we have decided not to enter into any controversy either with India or Pakistan. The second thing we have decided in that we should try to acquire independence for the State. The third question now before us is, what would be the position of the Maharaja? We have never been lacking in showing loyalty and resects for him and it is because of this attachment that we did not support the Quit Kashmir Movement, although in one way it was a natural movement. We, therefore, felt that we should try to find out a solution which will maintain the position of the Maharaja Bahadur, while at the same time; it should also satisfy the praja. The best solution that we have found is that the Maharaja should become a constitutional King, as is the position in many other countries. The fourth thing that we have decided is that we should have a Constituent Assembly of our own to draft our constitution. The Muslim League has already boycotted the Constituent Assembly (British Assembly). Therefore its proposed constitution cannot satisfy Muslims because it must have been prepared by hundred per cent Hindus. If our four representatives sat in this Assembly, they would just be wasting their time.’
The statement further said: ‘I have the support of all important leaders of the Muslim Conference and Choudhry Ghulam Abbass Khan has himself expressed agreement with this proposal. A representative convention of the Muslim Conference will be called within a month, where the proposal will be unanimously adopted. This solution, therefore, should be considered as the official policy of the Muslim Conference. The Muslim League has not given us this solution, nor are we presenting it to deceive the Hindus. We have arrived at this solution in all honesty and after taking into account the local situation. The only connection that the Muslim league has with it is that its past and present policy of non-intervention in Indian States has strengthened us. I would like to say in all honesty that we have had no talks in this connection with any leader or worker of the Muslim League, and that Hindus should also give up being led by the Congress. The best thing for us all is that the League and the Congress should leave us undisturbed and that we should give up both the parties. When we say that we want to separate ourselves from Hindustan and Pakistan, we mean that we want to be friends with both of them, but we do not want to be influenced by either of them. We should have political as well as economic relations with both. We think that we will have good relations with Pakistan and, in the presence of the ruling Hindu dynasty; we will also have good relations with India.’1
The leadership summoned a meeting of the Working Committee on 18th July 1947. The meeting was to be followed by a Convention next day in Srinagar. The Working Committee unanimously endorsed the Statement made by the Acting President and adopted a resolution calling upon the Maharaja to declare the state’s independence, and assuring him of the party’s whole- hearted support and co-operation.
It must be noted that a Working Committee (or Executive Committee in some organizations) is the cream of any political party and it normally consists of the party’s most senior and dedicated members. The Working Committee of the Muslim conference unanimously adopted a resolution of the State’s complete independence.
It becomes apparent that the senior-most members of the Muslim Conference, who worked their way up to become members of the working committee and who had political awareness, carefully considered the future of the state and came to the conclusion that complete independence was the most honourable and acceptable solution for all communities.
As expected, this resolution was to cause bitterness in some quarters, especially among those rights – wing factions led by Mir Waiz Yousaf Shah. On the following day, 19th July 1947, the party’s Convention was to take place. It was not a Convention in the sense where political parties selects delegates and invite them. There were no invitations sent, nor delegates selected; news of the Convention was published in a newspaper. Since there were no invitations, virtually anyone could have walked in.
According to Yousaf Saraf, who was also a member of the Muslim Conference; ‘without Mir Waiz the party hardly existed in srignar.’2
Mir Waiz was a religious leader and had some religious following. Since the so- called Convention was held in Srinagar, the nerve centre of politics, it was no problems for Mir Waiz to muster fifty or sixty people. When the so-called ‘Convention’ began, according to Yousaf Saraf, who was present, there were about one hundred people in attendance. They were not necessarily all politically conscious or even members of the Muslim Conference, because there were no invitations given out. Most of the people were called by Mir Waiz Yousaf Shah and were his religious followers, rather than political followers.
Anyway, when the resolution for ‘Independence’ was put forward, Yousaf Saraf moved a counter – resolution for accession to Pakistan. Highly exciting and religiously motivated speeches were made in favour of accession to Pakistan and the majority of those present had more religious influence than political consciousness. As a result, the counter – resolution won the day.
It would be wrong to criticize these people for doing what they did; the whole Sub- Continent of India was at that time under the influence of religious fanaticism. Social life and political strategies were determined by religious beliefs. Hindus and Muslims were cutting each other’s throats in the name of religion. And politics was based on religion. Anyhow, the Independence resolution was defeated and this so-called ‘convention’ passed an Accession to Pakistan resolution; it was on the basis of this resolution that the Muslim Conference wanted to accede to Pakistan. The text of the resolution is as follows:
‘The inhabitants of the Princely States of the Sub-Continent had hoped that they would achieve the objectives of national freedom shoulder to shoulder with the inhabitants of British India, But unfortunately, whereas the inhabitants of British India achieved freedom with the partition of the Sub-Continent, the Third June Plan has strengthened the hands of the rulers of the Princely States. So long as these autocrats do not bow before the demands of time, the future of the inhabitants of Indian States will remain bleak. Under these circumstances only three alternatives are open to the inhabitants of Jammu and Kashmir State- namely, accession to India, accession to Pakistan, or the establishment of a free and independent state. After carefully considering the position, this Convention of the Muslim Conference has reached the conclusion that accession of the state to Pakistan is absolutely necessary in view of the geographic, economic, linguistic, cultural and religious considerations –because Muslims constitute 80% of the State’s population. All the major rivers of Pakistan have their source in the State, whose inhabitants are strongly connected with the people of Pakistan through religious, cultural and economic relations. The Convention strongly demands of the Maharaja that the people of Kashmir should be given complete internal autonomy and that he should treat himself as constitutional Head of State and set up a representative Legislative Assembly while handing over the portfolios of defence, foreign affairs and communications to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan’.3
Whatever the motives behind it, the resolution was passed by this so-called ‘Convention’. The future history of the State was destined to be influenced by it. It not only showed the weak discipline of he Muslim Conference, and its internal splits, but it also further divided the Muslims of the State.
It is claimed that the Muslim League High Command wished this to happen and this is why, contrary to the official party line, this resolution was put forward. It is also claimed (by the then Acting President, Choudry Hameedullah Khan) that he adopted the independence policy after consulting Mr. Jinnah.
These are two conflicting claims. Circumstantial evidence indicates that Choudry Hameedullah’s claim was true. It is strengthened by a statement made by Mr. Jinnah on 11th July 1947, that the Maharaja had three options open to him: accession to Pakistan, accession to India or independence. Mr. Jinnah, rather than asking the Maharaja to accede to Pakistan, acknowledged his right to become a sovereign ruler.
This indicates that Mr. Jinnah personally had no objection to the State’s independence, and he encouraged Choudry Hameedullah Khan and Professor Ishaque when they visited him. On the other hand, Mr. Jinnah refused to have a meeting with Sardar Ibrahim (the Chief Whip of the Muslim Conference, and a staunch supporter of the proposal to Pakistan) despite the fact that Ghazanfar Ali Khan, the Central Minister, and Mian Amir-ud-Din, the mayor of Lahore, endeavoured to bring about the meeting. If Mr. Jinnah wanted the State to accede to Pakistan, he surely would have granted a visit to Sardar Ibrahim, who was pro-Pakistan, and a rising star in the party, especially after the resolution was passed.
All this suggests that Mr. Jinnah, rather than oppose an independent Kashmir, lent it his support to it. His far-sighted eyes looked upon it as an emerging buffer State which could have an important role in this strategically important region. But there were other influential people who wanted the State’s accession to Pakistan at all costs. Their quest, malicious activities and imperialist designs need careful examination and thorough research.
1. Al-Islah 5th June, 1947; Saraf, op. cit., Vol. 1, p.707.
2. Saraf, Justice Y., op. cit., Vol. 1, p.679.
3. Ibid., Vol. 1, p.711.