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Efforts to get tapes of Quaid’s historic speeches bearing fruit

Updated Sep 03, 2013 12:18pm
The founder of Pakistan had delivered the speeches on June 3 and August 14, 1947. These were recorded by All India Radio in Delhi because there was no recording facility in Karachi, Lahore or Peshawar stations at that time. —File Photo
The founder of Pakistan had delivered the speeches on June 3 and August 14, 1947. These were recorded by All India Radio in Delhi because there was no recording facility in Karachi, Lahore or Peshawar stations at that time. —File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Two audio tapes of important speeches of Qauid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, which have been in possession of the Indian authorities and inaccessible to the government of Pakistan for 66 years, are now in public domain.

The tapes were provided to some quarters under India’s Right of Information Act. Former director general of the Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) Murtaza Solangi managed to get the tapes and shared them with Dawn. The APP news agency said on Sunday that the Indian government had agreed to provide the tapes to Pakistan.

The founder of Pakistan had delivered the speeches on June 3 and August 14, 1947. These were recorded by All India Radio in Delhi because there was no recording facility in Karachi, Lahore or Peshawar stations at that time.

The tapes were in the custody of the Indian authorities and despite several efforts the Pakistan government could not get the original version of the tapes, expect some excerpts.

During his tenure, Mr Solangi contacted All India Radio and used both political and diplomatic channels to get the tapes.

Talking to Dawn, he said there was no radio station in Karachi till 1948 and the stations in Peshawar and Lahore were class-B stations with no recording facilities. As a result all programmes went broadcast live.

When the Quaid addressed the first constituent assembly of Pakistan on Aug 11, 1947, there was no radio station in Karachi and Lahore and Peshawar that could record it. A team from Delhi came to record it.

He said he had contacted the BBC but the two tapes were also not its archives.

Mr Solangi said he had gone to India to attend an international conference and discussed the matter with former Pakistani high commissioner Shahid Malik and requested the director general of All India Radio to hand over the tapes.

He said he had also taken up the matter with Speaker of Lok Sabha Meira Kumar who had visited Pakistan at the invitation of former National Assembly speaker Dr Fahmida Mirza in February last year.

In his June 3, 1947 speech, the Quaid-i-Azam had mentioned the plan for a new Muslim state, Pakistan. He urged Muslims in the then frontier province to be ready for a referendum to decide if they wanted to be a part of Pakistan.

“The statement of His Majesty’s government embodying the plan for the transfer of power to the people of India has already been broadcast and will be released to the press to be published in India and abroad tomorrow morning. It gives the outlines of the plan for us to give it our most earnest consideration,” according to the transcript of the speech.

The Quaid said: “It is for us now to consider whether the plan as presented to us by His Majesty’s government should be accepted by us as a compromise or a settlement.

“I must say that I feel that the Viceroy has battled against various forces very bravely and the impression that he has left on my mind is that he was actuated by a high sense of fairness and impartiality, and it is up to us now to make his task less difficult and help him as far as it lies in our power in order that he may fulfil his mission of transfer of power to the people of India in a peaceful and orderly manner.”

In his Aug 14, 1947 speech, the Qauid once again thanked the British emperor for helping Muslims to found their independent state. He also appreciated the spirit of government servants and armed forces personnel and highlighted tolerance shown by Muslims not in the time of King Akbar but by Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Quaid said: “Your Excellency, I thank His Majesty the King on behalf of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and myself for his gracious message. I know great responsibilities lie ahead, and I naturally reciprocate his sentiments and we are grateful for his assurance of sympathy and support, and I hope that you will communicate to His Majesty our assurance of goodwill and friendship for the British nation and himself as the Crown head of the British.

“I wish to emphasise that we appreciate the spirit in which those in the government service at present and in the armed forces and others have so willingly and ungrudgingly volunteered themselves provisionally to serve Pakistan. As servants of Pakistan we shall make them happy and they will be treated equally with our nationals.

“The tolerance and goodwill that great emperor Akbar showed to all the non-Muslims are not of recent origin. It dates back thirteen centuries ago when our Prophet (PBUH) not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians, after he had conquered them, with the utmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims, wherever they ruled, is replete with those humane and great principles which should be followed and practiced.”