G. M. Syed-The
Case of Sindh
Reserved to Naeen Sindh Academy Karachi Sindh©
Secret documents produced by Sardar Abdur Rahim ex-Chief Minister, NWFP.
before the West Pakistan Assembly in September, 1955.
A. The case for ONE UNIT
1. The driving force behind the establishment of Pakistan, namely the
unity and solidarity of the Islamic ideology which held Muslims as Indissolubly
one and therefore worthy and capable of separate nationhood postulated
working together in a common unity of ideal and vision without inferior
distinctions of tribe, locality or parochial interest. The people of Pakistan
has a right to be separate, because they were one. ( If they are not one,
the process of partition is interminable). But in circumstances of our
actual existence and seven years experience we have functioned from the
other extreme of fragmentation, and if left unchecked are embarked on a
process of atomization. The devastating effect this tendency has
already had on the morals, faith and cohesion of our people and
the obstacles it has placed in the way of forming even a pattern of future
government are patent. This amounts to a national tragedy, because religious
traditions and ideology apart, the facts of our situation; economically
impoverished, under-developed and unevoked in all directions, gravely and
instantly threatened by a powerful and resolved enemy, demand unity not
as a distant and desirable ideal but as the minimum security of our existence.
Islam and Nationalism, faith and patriotism, therefore, in our case, point
in the same direction. the irony of our position is emphasized by comparison
with India, which from a diversity and fragmentation derived both from
ideology and the realities has progressed towards unity, while we, from
unity have decayed towards disruption. If the rot is to be checked
Pakistan must move towards a special ideological emphasis on unity.
Effective and fruitful unity between the East and West Wing of Pakistan,
is for geographical and administrative reasons impossible of achievement.
This basic weakness must be countered by the strength obtained by achieving
complete effective unity within the two wings. (What we lose on the Swings,
we must make up on the roundabouts). Luckily for Pakistan this has already
been achieved in the East. Sylhet, Chitagong Hill Tracts etc. where all
through history distinct from East Bengal, but rising above petty interests
and realistically facing the threat of circumstances, they have merged,
The West must follow the excellent example set by the East, and like them,
become ONE UNIT.
2. The division of Pakistan, irreducibly, between East and West poses
a problem of the highest complexity to Pakistani Statesmanship. Difficulties
inherent in a vast geographical distance, hostility controlled indifference
of language; in a distribution of population which runs in a direction
directly contrary to the distribution of economic resources, contribution
and burden (here detailed data would be necessary); variety, and in some
cases, divergence of administrative and economic problems and, the separate
handling they demand, create genuine and serious problems and conflicts
which are the breeding ground of suspicion. Yet it is clear beyond discussion,
that the two entities of Pakistan, East and West, must, if they are to
exist. hang together, and develop a high degree of comradeship and cordiality
in their mutual relationship, equally in their several and joint interest.
How difficult the actual achievement of this commonly proclaimed aim is,
is witnessed by the continual constitutional crisis of the past three years
which bids fair to snuff out the very processes of democracy in our Country.
The suspicion at the root of all deadlocks is the fear of the domination
of one wing by the other. Unless the dangers of such a domination are laid
to rest, once and for all, unless the very temptation to exploit the one
or the other is removed-because the very possibility no longer exists,
unless cordiality is based on interdependence, and interdependence on the
realities of the mutual situation negotiations and talks, and all the paraphernalia
of adjustments will only intensify the drift towards separation. There
is only one way to remove these dangers and suspicions. The West and the
East must be equally strong There Equally strong, they must stand in equal
partnership. There must be no crevices and handles in the one to tempt
disruption and exploitation in the other, For, with the best of intentions
such temptations in democratic politics become irresistible. Therefore,
West Pakistan must be one unit, which can hold out its hand in mutual co-operation
and interdependence to the one unit of East Pakistan. No other solution
of the constitutional riddle is possible. Nothing less can pave the way
to a fruitful democracy.
3. The administrative unity of the West would only evoke, reflect and institutionalize
existing basic unties.
(a) By and large, and in basic reality, the Western Provinces of Pakistan
are culturally one. The unity of pattern, given richness and cohesion by
Islam, goes further and deeper: worked upon by the same processes of history,
conditioned by almost identical physical circumstances, inter-mixed in
the same racial vortex, liable over the ages and now to identical cultural
influences to identical strains -and dangers,-the variety in the West is
a variety more of design than of fabric. This becomes clear if you notice
how the people of West Pakistan merge imperceptibly into one other as you
go from the East to the West or from the South to the North, the small
distinctions nowhere confined to existing provinces, and in no case whatsoever
coinciding with administrative boundaries: the people of Hazara closer
to Pindi Division, Mianwali and Dera Ghazi Khan more akin to their western
than to their eastern neighbors, Bahawalpur and Multan almost one and equally
distinguished from Gujarat and Gujranwala, Khanpur cultural pattern with
Sindh, so much of Sindh more logically a part of Balochistan, half of Balochistan
kin’s to the Pathans. Such distinctions of course exist in all countries,
much more Pronounced in England and in France, in Switzerland and in Italy
than in West Pakistan, but nowhere in our region is the distinction a break
which would raise the suspicion of separate nationhood. There is, of course
the distinction of language. This again is not confined to Pakistan, and
hardly any country in the World working a unitary form of Government is
without it (compare, England, France, Italy). But even in the matter of
language, provincial boundaries do not in any manner reflect the cultural
patterns, and if the sine Quo non of a province
was to contain one and only one language, we would have to lacerate West
Pakistan into almost as many provinces as there are now districts. The
linguistic destination, therefore, vital and necessary though it undoubtedly
is, has no inescapable administrative consequences. It has not in the past
overridden other cementing forces to cause decisive differentiation. It
will not in the future. But every linguistic region must of course whether
or not it bears any relationship to a present administrative boundary be
afforded the fullest right, security and autonomy to develop and preserve
its distinctive language and culture.
(b) Even more significantly, West Pakistan is economically one unit.
Everywhere in the province of the West, the pattern, and the needs, the
resources and the demands of their development, the manners of employment,
the adjustment of the classes are the same. Moreover they are strictly
closely, inextricably, inter-dependent. The same agricultural economy,
watered by the same rivers, producing the same commodities subject to the
same markets and the same influence, giving occasion to the same pattern
of future industrialization which will be fruitful only if they are integrated
to the common maximum advantage. mineral and hydroelectric resources located
in one place but only consumable in the other, the same system of
communication terminating in the same common part. Everywhere our economy
presents the same local problems, which can only be resolved, if they are
handled in the interest of the entire region as a whole. The electric resources
of the Frontier must sustain the industry of the Punjab, the capital accumulation
of the Punjab must bring about equalization of prosperity through development
in Balochistan and the Tribal Regions, the resources of Sindh and Bahawalpur
must fortify the sturdy warriors in the North-West hindrance and ineptitude.
This happens even today, but the obvious aim must be to ensure a smooth
co-ordination, which is instinctive and automatic, and as of right; and
this only a single administration can bring.
Provinces as they are situated today are endowed with very unequal resources,
in many cases inadequate. even for efficient administration, certainly
for optimum development, and for the full evocation of potentialities.
(Here we may give data of present financial condition and the use made
of resources). If Provincial separation ossifies further through greater
autonomy which is the only alternative, we shall perpetualise provinces
into creditors and debtors, resulting in political frustration, jealously
and hostility not dissimilar to the tensions of pre-partition India, and
at the least squandering resources, hindering development, through the
wastefulness of the poor and the nagging parsimony of the rich.
The most obvious advantage of ONE UNIT is to the poorer provinces. They
live today on subventions and doles with the resulting basic political
subservience. In One unit their demands shall be as of right, the wealth
and resource of the entire region as a part of their patrimony on which
they are the first charge. Gradually, inevitably the distinctions will
be smudged out in time, as is happening before our eyes within the districts
of the Punjab. In any case, from the start, the distribution of beneficent
services, which must necessarily be in a common pattern within a unit,
will mean a tremendous advance to the poorer regions.
Similar advantage accrues to under-developed areas which left to themselves
would not flower to their capacity. The surplus present resources of the
richer areas would naturally flow to the development and building of future
resources of the poorer areas, which within the Government of One Unit
would be an automatic process, The economic reasons for One Unit are therefore
overwhelming. Natural interdependence and patent inviolability of isolation
would make any other arrangement a madness, which sooner or later must
4. It need no stressing to realize that Pakistan is at present a very
poor country. Yet our present system of administration, multiplying units
and machinery of Government and assemblies and Public offices is one of
the most wasteful in the world. It must be one of the first aims of our
policy to assiduously husband our resources and to squeeze the optimum
benefit out of each penny. We must realize that larger areas than West
Pakistan all over the world are under one unitary Government, and that
a more numerous population in pre-partition India was included within the
single province of the Punjab (The saving effected by One Unit may be worked
5. The Political national ideological benefits of One Unit are obvious.
6. It can be argued that in the facts of our present situation, One Unit
is not just an ideal, it is the only possible way out. Bengal has already
declared-for complete provincial autonomy, with a Center limited to three
subjects. From all indications, a reversal of this verdict by Bengal is
outside practical politics. As a consequence, the remaining subjects which
include all development, all social and economic adjustment, all Government
with which the common man is concerned, will have to fall to the provinces.
By the very nature of things, small provinces just cannot physically manage
the new responsibilities that are thus being thrust upon them. In isolation,
even units like the Punjab, Sindh and N.W.F.P. would be forced by such
provincial autonomy to chaotic over-lapping, hideous waste, pathetic planlessness.
The strength, stability and resource of a One-Unit Government can only
manage such autonomy.
The solution of Zonal Federation is illusory. It is even more wasteful
than the present position. It offers no answer to the basic riddle of the
constitutional problem. It makes no response to the whole argument of the
above note. (the arguments against Zonal Federation, in detail, would require
a separate note),
It would re-capture the spirit of unity, which we have so wantonly lost
It would result in a significant improvement in Political leadership. It
would militate towards the elimination of petty intrigue, small motives,
parochial pulls, which in every province have brought politics to the district
board level and bid fair to shame the affairs of small Town Committees,
In a country as yet imperfectly trained to the subtle are of Government
it would be appropriate to open outstanding talent anywhere to service
everywhere and not by a multiplicity of offices compel a scaling down of
Politics on a large canvas will lead to a larger vision. Small units entrench
local oppressions. The Hari, the tenant, the Kammi suffers. But in government
of one Unit, the condition of the least progressive area will have immediately
to approximate to the reform of the most progressive regions, and the forces
of progress will blow more freely, with less constriction in a wider atmosphere.
For the oppressed, for the dispossessed, One Unit presents an immediate
7. The smaller provinces are apprehensive that their effective share
in power will decrease. There will be fewer Ministries, fewer Public jobs
for each area. This is true, but it does not affect the enormous majority
of the people, and for them it is perhaps the most convincing inducement.
In actual fact, however, One Unit will mean more
effective power to the people of West Pakistan than they have hitherto
enjoyed. The present position is that all real power lies with the Central
Government in which Bengal has the dominating share. We are all co-partners
in a minority share. But in the One Unit Scheme, real power will go to
the two Units of West Pakistan and East Pakistan, where each partner will
enjoy his share in full possession, In this effective power, for the first
time given unreservedly to the West, the smaller units will enjoy a larger
share than they can obtain under any other dispensation. Their proportion
of representation in the One Unit legislature will be significantly larger
than in any all Pakistan legislature. In the economic field, the position,
particularly of the poor and under developed provinces, would be even more
favorable. At present, Bengal shares in Central expenditure out of all
proportion to its contribution. With the autonomy envisaged in the federation
of two units, this,. burden will be considerably lightened, and the joint
share of the consequent saving will be available for the development and
improvement of the smaller units of West Pakistan.
To ensure full satisfaction to smaller
units and to obviate the neglect of any substantial region, I would suggest
a study ,)f the Swiss system of Government which by sanctified conventions
gives judicious share to all its main provinces and cultural components
in every Government that is formed.
B. POLITICAL CAMPAIGN FOR ONE UNIT
1. It the One Unit Scheme is to outlive the Government which imposes
it, it must be based on the willing support of the people. This is only
possible through a political campaign which aims at converting the hearts,
convincing the mind,,, and arousing the enthusiasm of the people. I am
convinced That it properly organized, this end can be achieved because
I believe that the following assumptions are in fact true.
2. We must, however, have a realistic appreciation of the situation. We
begin under the shadow of a grave crisis resolved by unorthodox methods.
We have to operate without a political organization. Time is of the essence,
and time is short. We have to deal with experienced disrupters of recognized
That the One Unit Scheme is in effect beneficial to every part of West
Pakistan and particularly to the smaller units.
That the common people have no hostility to it.
That the average citizen has, if properly assisted, enough intelligence
and enough vision to see through the petty faction and narrow selfishness
of the small interested group of disrupters.
The first necessity of the present contest, therefore, is that
we must clear the decks before we launch our political campaign. In other
words, we must silence and render inoperative all opposition of witch we
are morally convinced that it is motivated by evil. We must take the benefit
of full and firm exercise of authority to create an opportunity for our
voice to be heard. I would give warning that in my opinion it would be
fatal to launch our political campaign if, for a period, opposition is
not effectively stilled and a time gained for our voice to gain volume
amidst surrounding silence. Otherwise amidst the legacy of confusion which
the present dispensation has inherited, we will lose all bearings amidst
the babble which our first whispers will arouse.
In my view, we could have achieved On Unit only at two stages
of our history: (a) During the first days of our enthusiasm, when Pakistan
was established; our unity and solidarity evoked by struggle, crowned by
Access, sanctified in faith, stilled all lesser rumors under the guidance
of the Quaid; (b) Now, when enthusiasm is at its lowest level, when expedient
after expedient has failed, when a bitter frustration has settled upon
our people and when in hopelessness and despair they are ready to accept
dictation and be led where you will, so long as you lead them firmly, tail
them now; and I fear, you fail them for all times.
I would guard against the charge of inconsistency. With one voice I
assert that One Unit can only be obtained and preserved with consent; with
the other I demand that all opposition must be stilled. Yet the two are
not inconsistent. In the first place, we must win by force a chance to
have our say. But once we have had our chance, we must be judged, sustained
or rejected by the free approval of the people. I have no doubt that in
a fine and just cause it will be forthcoming.
3. Our political campaign must, in its planning and initiation, be carefully
organized and competently led. From the start, from today, we must provide
for it a well-knit directive organization. I would suggest the establishment
of a Work Party, a committee of Action, a tactical G.H.Q. that has patent
authority, diversified talent and full effective representation of all
provincial leadership. It must be the final authority to give shape to
the ideology, to direct the campaign to give coherence and coordination
to all aspects of the political effort.
4. The first aspect of the campaign is to gain the endorsement of the
present representatives of the people-in all the provinces through resolution
passed by the Provincial Assemblies, the Provincial Leagues etc. - we may
call this the Parliamentary aspect.
The real requisite for this is only one. Select your leadership
in each province and put them firmly in place. Give them your entire confidence,
pledge them your full and unreserved support in governance. Let them be
the judges of the necessities and requirements of each situation, do not
confuse them about the present system of law courts. Whether the real centers
of administration will be I0 or 12 or more rationally delimited divisions
presided over by senior-most responsible officers who are capable of an(empowered
to dispose all matters that at present are decided at the provincial level,
or whether a more rigid centralization is 6med at? From the very start,
an informal working party should clarify the ideas of the present leadership
on these points so that ,Be know what our people are to be conversed about.
C. Objections to ONE UNIT
1. The pattern of Provincial Governments is entrenched in our political
consciousness. Any attempt to remove or even change the pattern will encounter
strong opposition, particularly amongst the smaller Provinces, i.e., in
all save Punjab. We must distinguish between the genuine fears and suspicions
of small units who apprehended engulfment by the Punjab, and the feverish
conspiracy of disrupters planning to weaken Pakistan or the design of small
town politics to preserve undeserved power. The second can be summarily
dealt with. But the first have to be met and stilled. It is my conviction
that we have no right to advocate and advance ONE UNIT unless we are morally
convinced and can convince our brothers in the small Provinces that our
Scheme is to the first advantage of the smallest and the weakest amongst
us. We must, therefore, in cooperation with the leaders of the other Provinces
give sufficient, precision to the ONE UNIT Scheme such as effectively and
institutionally remove the genuine objections against it.
2.Some of the objections most frequently advanced are the following:-
1. The immediate objections of political policy before us today
(a) restoration of the normal Unlettered functioning of democracy,
In a unitary form of Government, one person one vote, Punjab, it is argued,
would overwhelm all others. There are counter-arguments of considerable
plausibility, but they would emotionally satisfy no one; they did not satisfy
Punjab viz.-a-viz Bengal. A solution of this difficulty, which in many
ways is the gravest, lies in the adoption of an imperfect democracy which
so adjusts the electorate and the constituencies as to give a more than
50% representation in the Assembly to the non -Punjab districts of One
Unit. This arrangement will have to remain in force for a considerable
period of time.
Services: The small units fear that with t h e p re se n t better education
and standards in the Punjab areas, institution of common services would
crowd out their own present citizens from Government resolved leadership.
In many ways this objection has the largest emotional appeal, because it
must be clearly realized that the Provincial services everywhere are the
most vocal and influential part of the population, that they dominate the
intellectual atmosphere, and are the real focus of behind the scene politics.
In any case, their determined conspiratorial opposition would wreck the
One Unit Government even if it takes actual shape. This objection, therefore,
must be adequately met. Many solutions present themselves. Existing services
will of course be preserved. Subordinate services can continue to be recruited
locally. The real problem is the question of future recruitment to Provincial
service. I feel a solution, through quota and special representation, must
be sought which guarantees the minimum of the present proportion of each
small Unit’s services (conceived) for at least a period of 15 years, and
even for a longer time if facilities and educated man-power is not by then
Administrative complexity and remoteness.
An argument that will greatly appeal to the common man is that a Unitary
Government for all West Pakistan would make the fulfillment of his common
needs - his daily application permits, complaints against and redress of
administrative high handiness, his legal remedies - too remote, too expensive,
and therefore illusory for him. This is a serious and a genuine objection.
A strictly centralized Government for West Pakistan would mean a negation
of effective beneficent Government. Large devolution, particularly in matters
of legal remedy and the mechanism of the beneficent departments is an absolute
requisite before One Unit can be a genuinely workable proposition. In fact,
the aim of our future policy should be to bring the benefits and operations
of administration closer to the common man, rather than to make them more
If for no other reason, then to give clarification to meet the above
objection, it is necessary to work out the One Unit Scheme in some detail.
Its administrative implications must be known before they can convince.
What shall be their position, or dishearten them by your own intervention
in their political handling, which would arouse in them the suspicions
of intrigues. You have given them a difficult task in which they are risking
their necks. To prevaricate, to hesitate, to look back would be nothing
short of treachery.
(One guidance alone is necessary. Draft the resolution to be passed
by the Assemblies, in consultation with them, but under your guidance.
Khairpur has made a mess.) A time limit must be set within which this task
has to be completed.
The second aspect of the campaign, namely, public propaganda must be launched
contemporaneously. It will take a considerable time to gain momentum or
win significant approval, but if (a) the assent of representative leaders,
i.e., M.L. As .has been induced, and (b) no doubt has been left in any
mind that disrupters will be handled with sufficient firmness to discourage
any inducement towards fishing gratuitously or safely in troubled waters,
there is no doubt that the inherent logic and merit of the scheme will
win complete and enthusiastic ultimate support - -ultimate’ to be understood
in terms of weeks and months.
The mechanics and organizations of the campaign require expert management
and must be entrusted to the suggested Work Party who should function through
specialized sub-Committees incharge of each category of work. The main
categories of work are:-
Statements by prominent persons; planned to achieve a gradual mounting.
A coordinated Press campaign, ideologically controlled to lay similar emphasis
everywhere on phased aspects of the movement.
Pamphlets and tracts.
Intensive political work directed with particular reference to special
group such as
the intelligentsia, i.e., Lawyers. (bar room), professors, doctors etc.
The dispossessed, i.e., labor, tenants, small owners. In my view, their
support to us will bathe firmest and the most fruitful. This support can
and be should be further evoked by the present regime’s (including provincial
regimes) constructive and immediate steps towards progress, particularly
through agrarian reform and a sustained campaign to bring down prices,
which will underline and emphasize the leadership for One Units also the
leadership for justice and progress. As in other directions, the first
shot here too may be fired in Sindh,
Mullahs may be used, but with extreme care because they are experts at
abusing campaigns to secure their own rehabilitation, and then to use the
platform gained to their own designs. If employed at all, only the least
prominent rank and file should be selected, carefully avoiding the prominent
Direct mass contact through a spate of public meetings all over the country,
addressed by properly briefed speakers. As ‘Jalsas’ are the traditional
currency of our politics, they will be the culmination of our campaign
and would require very careful organization.
A final word about the role of the Punjab. At present we do not require
too much noise in the Punjab, it will only put other people’s backup and
cause suspicion. In fact our leaders should be very cautious in issuing
statements or throwing their weight about. But two things must be borne
in mind: (a) our best and most enthusiastic political workers are in the
Punjab. They should be organized and put in readiness to be used in full
force when ever and wherever they are needed; (b) It would not do to neglect
completely the ‘climate of opinion’. It must be realized that in time Punjab
may have to volunteer substantial concessions, which, I believe, will not
be readily forthcoming. At the same time, the headquarters and motive force
of all really disruptive leaderships, which will doubtless instigate and
sustain opposition in all other Provinces, is located in the Punjab. Therefore,
the leadership of the Punjab should have the solidarity and the competence
to play its decisive role when the time comes, and from now on it should
have the astuteness to keep a grip on the "climate of opinion".
(N.B.- All resolutions to be passed in the Punjab should be drafted
Lands: The new lands being developed in Sindh and the effect the One Unit
Scheme will have on their Occupation and disposal is a matter which particularly
agitates the Sindhi mind. Not strictly patriotic or national, this is nevertheless
a natural apprehension because in this case the prospects of One Unit operate
to the disadvantage of a long nursed and at that stage legitimate expectation.This
problem has two aspects. Are the Sindh readership concerned for the Sindhi
masses; In that case a just solution can be found. These lands are a trust
for the poor and the dispossessed, Let us fix a priority for their use.
They shall be first used to give an economic land holding unit to every
single landless cultivator or "Hari’ of Sindh. Before that aim is fully
achieved, not a single are shall be available to a non-Sindhi. But after
this category is exhausted, they shall be available to other landless cultivators
from areas outside Sindh.)n no case must this new resource of the nation
be dispersed to enrich those who have already enough of their own. The
other aspect is that some Sindhi leaders may consider land to be a legitimate
prize for the already very prosperous Sindh landlords. This really is not
a provincial matter. It is a question of moral and social policy, which
affects the whole future shape, and ideology of Pakistan. I think, the
answer is clear. Whether One Unit comes into being or not, no patriotic
Government in Pakistan can allow reactionary policies which polarize wealth,
and enrich the few while hundreds and thousands land less workers starve
to their death.
There is the cultural objection. provincial cultures, the Sindhi, the Baluchi,
the Pathan will languish or even be suppressed, it administrative provincial
units are merged in a single whole.
This is a specious argument. It has already been pointed out that our
present pattern of cultural diversity does not follow the provincial boundary
line. Large and significant varieties of language and culture exist in
each province and overflow every frontier. It may further be asked to what
extent in the past seven years of provincial diversity has any province
made any advance in the matter of the development and promotion of distinctive
cultures? An ideal so infrequently agitated cannot lie very close to the
Yet cultural diversities exist, They give richness and variety to our
life. No body may have done anything to promote their natural development,
yet to do so is to quicken the throb of life amongst our people. The Government
of One Unit should be pledged to it. The existing linguistic facilities
and privilege must be preserved, and every distinctive variety of cultural
expression should be given the autonomy and the encouragement to develop.
(b) an agreed and fruitful settlement of the constitutional pattern
2. The relative priority of the two objectives is clearly established.
The present emergency in the country is exclusively due to the constitutional
deadlocks, which had made democracy a plaything of power politics, and
reduced constitutional discussions to the level of counters in political
intrigue. New elections without a large’ measure of prior constitutional
agreement between relevant forces night result in insoluble deadlocks confronting
a frustrated people, and would in any case subject constitutional settlement
to the play of power politics. Therefore an agreement on the constitutional
pattern must precede and not follow the restoration of democracy, if constitutional
discussions are to be responsible and democracy fruitful.
3. The main problem of constitution - making is a precise definition
of the federal structure, which, in effect, amounts to a settlement of
the relationship between East Pakistan and the Provinces of West Pakistan.
We cannot even enter into such a discussion, unless West Pakistan can speak
as one entity: If the aim is interdependence and the absence of any possibility
of domination, than East and West must face each other as two partners
in a negotiation. A fragmented West Pakistan-bas really nothing to ask
of East Pakistan, because the realities of the situation in any conceivable
constitutional pattern would already have given East Pakistan an inconvertible
Therefore, the first step towards a general constitutional settlement
is the achievement of unity in the provinces of West Pakistan through the
establishment of one administrative Province for the whole of the Western
4. I think it is possible to achieve the formation of one Unit for West
Pakistan because I believe that certain basic assumptions do in fact operate.
(a) The ordinary common people are not hostile to it. If the obvious and
overwhelming merits of the scheme are placed clearly before them the administrative
advantage, the economic saving, the improvement in standards of political
leadership, the greater coordination in a common march towards progress
which would primarily operate to the advantage of the less developed and
less prosperous areas, the automatic adjustment in the East-West relationship
which would give poise and cordiality to an otherwise insoluble tension
- the common people would support it everywhere.
(b) The present hostility based on an exploitation of artificial provincial
is a creation of individual politicians, whose immediate position and status
may thus appear threatened. Not being based on a genuine popular sentiment,
these politicians who derive their only importance from the present position
of vantage they occupy can be isolated and silenced if they do not occupy
(c) The real danger is that while certain politicians are left in a
position to exploit sentiments of prejudice and ‘our province in danger’,
and no attempt is made to pursue a vigorous and clearly formulated positive
program in favor of ‘One Unit’, this will cause frustration amongst its
supporters in the smaller Provinces, and give its opponents sufficient
time to mobilize an emotional ‘danger complex’ amongst the people who will
never have heard of their other side. For example, recent rebuffs to Rashdi
and Khuhro and unexplainable wooing of Pirzada and the Red Shirts confuses
the issue and darkens the prospect to an extent which no private reiteration
of faith in ‘One Unit’ in high quarters can dispel. The fact of
support is infinitely more important than expression of opinion. There
is, however, still time to reverse this process.
(d) The main and only plausible argument against ‘One Unit’ is the fear
of Punjab’s domination - the persuasive effect of which must not be minimized.
This fear must be laid at rest. Since effective constitutional expedients
are available to this end, and since Punjab does not stand in their way,
this difficulty can easily be overcome, and in the interests of genuine
justice must so be overcome. The only caution necessary is that during
the present critical period, no scheme, whatsoever which deals with the
future constitution, should be sponsored publicly by Punjab’s leadership.
It is to provide too tempting a target to hostile solidarity, Perhaps a
self-denying ordinance can be imposed on Malik Noon.
5. In an authoritarian climate, time becomes the essence of achievement.
If a dictatorship takes either the turn to complete autocracy, or
disrupts before the issues are fruitfully solved, political issues either
lose relevance or dissolve in a cheese. While public enthusiasm is still
there and before ossification has set in, patterns must be set. Those who
rule without popular consent must rule with popular enthusiasm.
One Unit’ therefore, if it is to be achieved at all, must be achieved-at
once How can this be done?
6. One method must be renounced at the very start. Pure force will not
do. It would destroy the willing adherence and acceptance of the smaller
provinces Which is the only climate of opinion’ in which future nationhood
can grow. Besides a ‘One Unit’ thus forced will not outlast the regime,
which has imposed it. Its dissolution will inevitably become the main slogan
of the next elections, it will present an irresistible opportunity to the
politicians of East Bengal to revert to the ‘small brother’ role of West
disruption, it will destroy the as yet unfixed foundation of the interim
‘One Unit’ government which would require the restraint and toleration
of cordiality to find its roots, and above all it would for all times isolate
Punjab as the villain of the piece which tried to force its selfishness
down unwilling orphaned throats, thus crushing it between Bengal’s domination
and the small provinces’ suspicion and hatred.
If One Unit is achieved by force, it will have to be maintained
by force, thus making autocracy a necessity of our situation. Non-political
handling on a purely administrative authoritarian level would therefore
be disastrous. We must therefore achieve ‘One Unit’ through political methods.
I suggest the following phases:-
7. The first phase is an immediate one. It is a negative one. It consists
in clearing the decks. All obvious committed’ obstacles in the way of ‘One
Unit’ must be removed. On political terms our country is insufficiently
developed. In this atmosphere a clear and firm indication of which way
the wind is blowing, does actually help the wind to blow that way. The
following steps should be taken:-
(a) The Central Government’s sympathy for the aim of ‘One Unit’ must
be made clear. Counter-indications such as Talpur’s statement must be banned.
The possible role of the Bengal contingent, tongue in cheek, dog in manger,
whose one vindication is the dissolution of the present set-up, must be
(b) Hostile elements in the provinces - patent or latent - must be eliminated,
particularly when their only power depends on central patronage. Let the
Center nod with decision, and not, like a palsied head in every direction.
(c) Sindh holds the kernel. Pirzada leads the opposition; his past symbolizes
it. He is also an exotic growth, which withers without patronage. Present
indications are that he is building up to a tactical show of strength which
would be a demonstration at once of his own support and One Unit hostility
which would queer Pitch to a speedy solution. A hostile resolution anywhere
would take months to undo, and we have only week .Pirzada, therefore, must
go at once. A person who has the character and the authority to prepare
the ground for Sindh acceptance of One Unit must immediately replace him.
This denouement should take place within days if not hours.
(ii) N.W.F.P. has been mishandled. Rashid and the old Muslim Leaguers would
have obviously risen to the occasion in support. Qayyum’s exit had cleared
their path, given them enormous prestige by removing a dishonest but much
publicized obstacle. But a much more formidable force has replaced Qaiyum
- the Red shirts - which have been gratuitously rehabilitated. If the rehabilitation
had been on precise conditions, there would have been some point to it,
although Abdul Ghaffar could never have been trusted therefore, why conjure
up a friend safely corked in the bottle but even this does not seem to
have been done. And those who give Khan Sahib a political personality independent
from Abdul Ghaffar Khan will soon know their mistake. United they stand,
divided only Khan Sahib falls.
8.Once decks are cleared, Positive political work through favorable leaderships
already placed in Position in all provinces must start. A time limit should
be fixed for this, and I would suggest 4 weeks. This may be phased thus:
The Position must be retrieved, Firstly by giving full unreserved support
to Rashid, stilling his suspicious, fortifying his nerve, encouraging him
to ignore Red Shirts and strengthen the old leaguers thus countering the
irresistible impression which must have percolated to the remotest Frontier
village. Qurban Ali Khan can do this well. Secondly by completely ignoring
Abdul Ghaffar. No negotiations, no parley because through them no will
strengthen himself politically and then put down his strength in a volt-face
to overwhelm us. There should be no doubt about it that politically we
are no match for him, and our ideological superiority we have ourselves
(iii) Punjab must be kept quiet. The folly of our friends most
be checked. At a later stage Punjab will have to take the lead. At that
time I hope an effective intelligent Punjab leadership will have been put
in place both at the Center and at Lahore.
(iv) States must by their condition bow to authority. Bahawalpur might
have been tackled better by getting a resolution in favor before dismissal
of the Ministry. Surely political considerations should have preceded administrative
one. Now the best alternative is to get the. Muslim League to endorse.
Makhdumul Mulk would love to do so. If acceptance of One Unit is a condition
of continuing in present power, all states will fall in line.
(v) A little persuasion can bring Balochistan’s League leaders in line.
The Jirga has never yet been known to say ‘no’ to authority.
(c) While the deck is thus speedily cleared in the West, it is possible
to negotiate with Suharwardy either to openly support One Unit or to adopt
a neutral attitude of distinct benevolence.
(A) A private unpublished meeting of pro-One Unit provincial leaders
(in power everywhere) to devise and agree on a program and timetable.
9. An alternative should be considered. It has been suggested that instead
of a One-Unit campaign, we should concentrate on a preliminary ‘merger’
campaign. The smaller units and states should first seek union with larger
units: Karachi, part of Balochistan with Sindh, Part of Balochistan with
Frontier, Bahawalpur with Punjab, and then when the multiplicity has been
reduced to a trinity, induce the unity of Sindh and Punjab to face N.W.F.P.
with a cul-de-sac. This is probably advocated because it is assumed to
be easier. I think it is no easier to persuade Bahawalpur or Balochistan
to join a larger province than to join West Pakistan. Besides if we start
with this process, we may stop dead at the trinity. This would be to have
achieved nothing. Three or two units are no solution, they are even no
appreciable improvements; the real problem of Pakistan’s constitutional
pattern remains as involved and as lop-sided as ever. The greatest danger
however is that we will have unwittingly worked with our own hands to the
achievement of PAKHTOONISTAN. I therefore reject this alternative.
(B) Political work in Sindh and N.W.F.P. - through contact with known
leaders of influence, judicious exercise of patronage including foreign
assignments they oppose One Unit for fear of losing jobs, let them get
jobs) leading to passage of resolutions supporting One Unit in the Muslim
League and the Assemblies. Khuhro and Rashdi would certainly succeed, if
you give them real unreserved support and loyally stand by them - now and
(C) Balochistan, Bahawalpur and the States can reach the same stage
contemporaneously’ with less difficulty. Only support some political man
there, don’t exclusively depend on D.Cs.
(D) At the first indication of One Unit support in the smaller provinces,
Punjab should come forth with substantial concessions to still the fears,
honestly and genuinely and effectively, of domination. These concessions
should be timed not to appear as inducements as a willing contribution
to an ideal proposed and supported by others.
(E) At this stage it may be possible to procure unreserved support of
Suharwardy and even his actual encouragement.
10. We cannot afford to give more than 4 weeks to the process envisaged
in para 7 above, because the achievement of One Unit is only a necessary
parliamentary to the general constitutional settlement which is the pre-condition
of the restoration of democracy. Acceptance of One Unit by Western
leadership, who should be kept in place of power to consolidate the gains
achieved, must be immediately and dramatically followed by highest level
negotiations with the genuine leaders of Bengal primarily Suharwardy, because
he has the ambition and the intelligence to respond. On the basis of a
tout-subject Center, two provinces, federal parity, complete provincial
and .cultural autonomy, I think it might be possible to gain his support
as soon as he returns to Karachi and before he goes to East Pakistan.
11. If agreement on One Unit and constitutional pattern is arrived at
this must be announced as a common platform of a united East West leadership
on which they are prepared to face the electorate.
12. At this stage two developments should immediately follow (in January,
(a) Broadening of the Central Cabinet to include topmost popular
leaders from the West and particularly from the East - a real national
13. General Elections under new constitution to be held in October, 1955.
No other process could have anticipated an earlier consummation.
(b) The immediate constitution and convening of a Constituent Assembly,
indirectly from Provincial Legislatures, to frame a constitution within
a specified period quite plausibly within 3 months. The C.A. should have
not other task except to frame a constitution and should not serve as a
Legislature. As previous constitutional agreement will already have been
reached and will be serving as a mandate to a vast majority of the newly
elected C.A., and as the interim Cabinet will already have been broad-based,
I have no fears from either the one or the other. People who have no power,
will not delay constitution—making. People who really represent the people
and who by having reached an agreement will have capitalized on a wave
of popularity, will not fear elections.
14. I need not labor that a recent solution suggested by Malik Noon
has no merit. Constitution making by ordinance has its obvious disadvantage,
It does not achieve One Unit. It does not bring about political agreement.
In fact the one real merit of the present regime in that it can hold a
pistol to achieve political constitutional agreement. If the pistol is
used for any other purpose, I think, the destiny of Pakistan have been
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