History: (Had the Muslim League not demanded partition, there would have been no Pakistan)

March 17, 2016 Off By Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Had the Muslim League not demanded partition, there would have been no Pakistan, observed renowned historian Professor Dr Ishtiaq Ahmad on Friday.

Factually, it was the Muslim League which demanded partition of India for carving out a separate state for Muslims through Lahore Resolution in 1940. Had there been no demand for partition of India, there would have been no Pakistan, he responded to a questioner.

He was speaking at the National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, Centre of Excellence, Quaid-i-Azam University, here on the topic of Understanding the Partition of Punjab in the Context of Partition of India.

He is a visiting professor at LUMS, Pakistan, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, Stockholm University, and honorary Senior Fellow, Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore.

He said that the most critical episode in the history of Punjab was undoubtedly its partition in mid-August 1947. Though the upheaval during sub-continent partition was immense, there was a great deal of humanity on both sides, which was then translated into co-operation between both governments and their people.

However, he was of the opinion that the trauma and painful memories of 1947 migration in the wake of partition was so great that it eclipsed any meaningful post-partition co-operation between India and Pakistan.

He talked about political syndrome and principle on which India was partitioned giving his stance of ethnic cleansing and bloodshed committed during partition. Arguing about principally divided India, Dr. Ishtiaq extended context of partition to Khalistan Movement.

He was of the opinion that the Radcliffe Award laid down the international border in Punjab between what became Pakistani West Punjab and Indian East Punjab, and also of what happened when power was transferred to the two Punjabs.

Out of Punjab’s total population, including that of British-administered Punjab and the Punjab princely states, of almost 34 million, 10 million had to flee hearth and home to save their lives, he recalled.

At the end of the day, he recalled, the first attempt of massive ethnic cleansing was achieved because virtually no Hindu and Sikh was left in Pakistani Punjab and no Muslim in Indian Punjab. Anywhere between 500,000 to 800,000 Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs, men, women, the old and children were killed, and 90,000 women were abducted, oftentimes raped, he pointed out.

Later Dr. Sajid Awan extended vote of thanks. He added that the argument of Dr Ishtiaq is quite valid, as Punjab was one of the most potential areas in the British India. It was parted in the way to curtail its potential first by the British then by the Indians in East Punjab parting it further in to three parts.

He finally concluded that if you want to have normalcy in India and Pakistan you will have to normalise two Punjabs on both the sides of boarder.