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Transfer of power and Jinnah

February 04, 2013

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THE Indian Independence Act 1947 was promulgated and made effective from Aug 15, 1947 as a result of which two independent dominions of India and Pakistan were established.

The Act provided that each of the dominions would have a Governor General appointed by His Majesty King George VI to represent the King for the purpose of the Government of Communion with full power to assent in his Majesty’s name to any law or legislature of that dominion. Provision was made for continuation of existing laws applicable to British India, including the Government of India Act 1935.

On Aug 14, 1947, King George VI of Great Britain and the British Dominions appointed Mohammad Ali Jinnah as Governor General of Pakistan and conferred on him all powers, rights, privileges and advantages to the said office.

The King further authorised and empowered Jinnah to exercise and perform all the powers and duties conferred and imposed upon the Governor General of Pakistan under the Indian Independence Act 1947 and to cause the commission issued by the King to be read and published in the presence of the Chief Justice or some other judge of the Federal Court in Pakistan and further authorised Jinnah to take the oath of allegiance and the oath for execution of the office of Governor General of Pakistan in the form attached and further directed that every person under the commission shall be required to take oath and may take an affirmation in place of the oath if he had any objection to taking it.

Pursuant to the commission issued by King George VI Mohammad Ali Jinnah took the following oath of office:

“I, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, do solemnly affirm true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of Pakistan as by law established and that I will be faithful to His Majesty King George VI, in the office of Governor General of Pakistan.”

It would appear from the above, which is based on official documents procured from reliable sources, that Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah took an oath of faith and allegiance to the Constitution of Pakistan as by law established and following that to be faithful to his Majesty King George VI.

The Indian Independence Act 1947 was promulgated to set up two independent dominions, namely India and Pakistan, and while defining the areas of each dominion and prescribing Executive and Legislative capacity, the Act incorporated provisions as to existing laws in each dominion and went on to state that in Article 18(2) that “subject to the provisions of Sub-section (1) of this Section and to any other express provision of this Act, the order in Council made sub-section (5) of Section 311 of the Government of India Act 1935 for adapting and modifying Act of Parliament shall, except so for as Parliament may thereafter provide, continue in force in relation to all Acts insofar as they operate otherwise than as a part of the law of British India or the new dominions”.

Article 19 of the Indian Independence Act 1947 provides that references in the Act to constitute an assembly of a dominion shall be construed as reference in relation to Pakistan, to the assembly set up or about to be set up on the date of the passing of the Indian Independence Act 1947 under the authority of the Governor General as the “Constituent Assembly for Pakistan”.

LIAQUAT H. MERCHANT Karachi