Pakistan, Birth of a Free Nation

On the morning of June 3, Mountbatten concluded the conference by announcing that an official announcement of the acceptance of the plan would be made by him and by the two leaders, Jinnah and Nehru, that evening in a radio broadcast.

The Delhi Station of All India Radio was agog with excitement. Mounbatten was there to announce, on behalf of His Majesty's Government, what Churchill in his inimitable style had termed, a few years back as the impending liquidation of the Bristish Empire in India. Mountbatten spoke with poise and dignity, and millions that heard him all over India, realized that the end of a long drawn-out struggle for independence was in sight, as he declared in unequivocal terms that power would be definitely transferred by the British to two successive sovereign States. The Viceroy concluded his broadcast with the words:
"I have faith in the future of India and I am proud to be with you all at this momentous time. May your decisions be wisely guided and may they be carried out in the peaceful and friendly spirit of the Gandhi-Jinnah appeal."

Then Nehru, in a solemn voice announced that the Congress had accepted the plan for India's independence, as set out in His Majesty's Plan announced by the Viceroy.

Then it was the Quaid-i-Azam, who was to address the Muslim Nation. His first sentence on that historic occasion was, "I am glad that I am offered an opportunity to speak to you directly through this Radio from Delhi." Regarding the Plan for the transfer of power to the peoples of India, he said: had to take momentous decisions and handle grave issues, "Therefore we must galvanize and concentrate all our energy to see that the transfer of power is affected in a peaceful and orderly manner." In this, his finest hour, he was meek and humble, "I pray to God that at this critical moment that He may guide us and enable us to discharge our responsibilities in a wise and statesmanlike manner." He did not forget to pay his tribute to those that had suffered and sacrificed in the struggle for Pakistan. "I cannot help but express my appreciation of the sufferings and sacrifices made by all classes of Muslims". He gave wholehearted credit for "the great part the women of the Frontier played in the fight for our civil liberties." He did not forget those who had died or suffered in the struggle for Pakistan, "I deeply sympathize with all those who have suffered and those who died or whose properties were subjected to destruction".

Quaid-i-Azam ended his memorable speech by saying, extemporaneously, "Pakistan Zindabad".

The Quaid-i-Azam and his sister Fatima Jinnah flew from New Delhi to Karachi on August 7, 1947. The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan elected Jinnah as its president at its inaugural session on August 11, 1947. In his presidential address to the Assembly, the Quaid said that the first duty of a government was to maintain law and order so that the life, property and religious beliefs of its subjects are fully protected. If Pakistanis wanted to make their country happy and prosperous they should "wholly and solely concentrate on the well being of the people, and especially of the masses and the poor." In that historical address he remarked further:

"You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or 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 between one caste or creed or another. We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State.…My guiding principle will be justice and complete impartiality, and I am sure that with your support and co-operation, I can look forward to Pakistan becoming one of the greatest Nations of the world."

On the afternoon of August 13, Lord and Lady Mountbatten flew from Delhi to Karachi. The state procession on August 14 was staged in open cars with Jinnah and Mountbatten in the leading car and Miss Fatima Jinnah and Lady Mountbattten in the next car. Mountbatten addressed the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan followed by Jinnah.

Pakistan became constitutionally independent at midnight between the 14th and 15th August 1947. The Quaid assumed charge as Governor General on August 15 and the Cabinet of Pakistan, with Liaquat Ali Khan as Prime Minister, was sworn in on the same day.

Gandhi and Jinnah - a study in contrasts

An extract from the book that riled India's Bharatiya Janata Party and led to the expulsion of its author Jaswant Singh, one of the foun...