THIS refers to the letter “The ‘secret’ behind Pakistan’s creation” (July 15), which talked about the terminal illness of the Quaid-i-Azam. Lord Mountbatten was actually misled in the said letter. The actual reason behind Partition was to carve out a buffer state that can be used against the Soviets’ intention to reach the warm waters.
The matter has been discussed in detail by Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the Stockholm University and honorary senior fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, in his book, Pakistan — The Garrison State: Origins, Evolution, Consequences (1947–2011) (OUP 2020).
Clement Attlee, the then prime minister of the United Kingdom, replaced Lord Archibald Wavell with Lord Louis Mountbatten as the viceroy in February 1947. Lord Wavell, who was working for a United India, did not even get the time to pack up his personal luggage. Field Marshal Claude Auchinleck sent a memorandum on May 11, 1946, explaining the importance of United India and how they would be able to use the Indian army. Lord Wavell pursued this policy.
However, the memorandum of Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery on May 12, 1947, changed the whole scenario. He recommended that they would need Pakistan and its (Muslim) army to shield the looming threat from northwest India, i.e. the Soviets.
Montgomery mentioned in his memorandum that the Muslim League leadership had agreed to give them Karachi Port and also an airfield in the north. In February 1947, Attlee announced his intentions of leaving India by June 1948 and appointed Lord Mountbatten as the new viceroy. Mountbatten achieved the target within months. The Quaid’s secret meeting with Winston Churchill was also an indicator in this regard.
In 1946, he had sent Mirza Abul Hasan Ispahani to the United States to convey his message that Pakistan would support it against the Soviets. Besides, during World War II, all expenses of the Indian army had been borne by the US.
Muhammad Iqbal Bhaty
Published in Dawn, July 21st, 2021