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Quaid as president of Muslim League

November 22, 2008

RECENTLY a controversy has arisen on the question whether Quaid e Azam continued as President of Muslim League after becoming Governor General. To put the record straight, the following speaks for itself.

Quaid-i-Azam became Governor General on 15th August, 1947. Before that a meeting of the Council of All India Muslim League was held on 9th June, 1947, wherein the proposal of setting up two States (India and Pakistan) were accepted. Thereafter no meeting of the Council could be held till 15th of December, 1947.

In that meeting, it was decided to establish two separate bodies; one for India and the other for Pakistan. The first meeting of the Council of Pakistan Muslim League was held on February 21, 1948. In that meeting the question, whether the Government Officers could hold any office in the Muslim League was considered and appropriate decision was taken after Quaid eAzam expressed his views. The proceedings are fully dealt with by Paul H. Alling to the Secretary of State George Marshall in his note dated 26 February 1948 as under

“ ....the first meeting of the Council of the Pakistan Muslim League, which is the Pakistan section of the previous All India Muslim League, was held in Karachi on February 21, with about 150 members attending, including the four Provincial Premiers and the Ministers of Pakistan and Provincial Governments. The Governor General, Mr.Jinnah, acted as chairman.

“The purpose of the meeting of the Council was to discuss the new draft constitution of the Pakistan Muslim League. Although the first meeting was held in camera, as have also the subsequent meetings, it is understood that Mr. Jinnah expressed his conviction that the Muslim League must hereafter be regarded purely as a political party and not as, in effect, the Government of Pakistan, and in that connection he proposed that no official of the Government of Pakistan or of any provincial government should [hold] office in the Pakistan Muslim League.

“Such a suggestion was of course revolutionary inasmuch as heretofore all of the important leaders in the League have been prominent either in the central or in the provincial governments.

“When Mr. Jinnah's suggestion was put before the Council, there was, it is understood, a heated discussion on the subject. It was the view of some of the members that, while in general the proposal was sound, an exception should at least be made in the case of Mr. Jinnah. To this suggestion, however, Mr. Jinnah objected on the grounds, first that on principal [sic for principle) it was undesirable to make an invidious exception on his behalf, and secondly that inasmuch as he held three offices under the State, namely the president ship of the Constituent Assembly and of the Federal Legislature, and the Governor-Generalship, he was disqualified from being head of any party since, in discharge of his duties, as laid down in the Indian Independence Act, the Government of India Act of 1935, the Orders in Council and the Rules, he must hold the balance evenly and fairly amongst such parties as may come into existence. Mr. Jinnah accordingly asked the House not to press the proposal amendment, making an exception in his favor.

“On being put to the House the proposal to exclude all Government office holders from holding any office in the Pakistan Muslim League was carried by what is described as 'a fairly large majority.' ”

(US National Archives, 845 F 00/2 2648)