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March 23, 1940: Lahore (Pakistan) Resolution

Posted on March 22, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, History, Society
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Adil Najam

Other posts in this series for March 23, 2007 – here and here.

March 23 commemorates the passage of what was originally the ‘Lahore Resolution’ (Qarardad i Lahore) and later became better known as the ‘Pakistan Resolution’ (Qarardad i Pakistan). If there is a single most important founding document of Pakistan, it has to be this Resolution passed at the annual session of the All India Muslim League at its 1940 meeting (22-24 March) at Minto Park (now called Iqbal Park), Lahore (by the way, what a wonderful idea – for political parties to have annual, open, meaningful, annual sessions where real decisions are taken in a transparent and democratic manner!). In 1941, this Lahore (Pakistan) Resolution became part of the Muslim League constitution and in 1946 it became the basis of the demand for Pakistan.

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March 23, 1940March 23, 1940



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Most Pakistanis know what the resolution says; or, at least we think we do; in most cases rightly so. But because we are so very sure that we know what it says, we usually do not take the time to actually read it. Maybe we should. And there cannot be a better day to do so than today.

It is, like many of the most important documents in history, a fairly short text. I reproduce it here in full. The first two paragraphs are contextual related to the then discussions on federation within the Government of India Act 1935. The third and the fourth paragraphs are the key operational content which is usually cited in textbooks. However, my view is that the final short paragraph is also key; especially in that it talks in the plural about “respective regions” (as do previous paragraphs).

While approving and endorsing the action taken by the Council and the Working Committee of the All-India Muslim League, as indicated in their resolutions dated the 27th of August, 17th & 18th September and 22nd of October, 1939, and 3rd of February, 1940 on the constitutional issue, this Session of the All-India Muslim League emphatically reiterates that the scheme of federation embodied in the Government of India Act 1935, is totally unsuited to, and unworkable in the peculiar conditions of this country and is altogether unacceptable to Muslim India.

It further records its emphatic view that while the declaration dated the 18th of October, 1939 made by the Viceroy on behalf of His Majesty’s Government is reassuring in so far as it declares that the policy and plan on which the Government of India Act, 1935, is based will be reconsidered in consultation with various parties, interests and communities in India, Muslims in India will not be satisfied unless the whole constitutional plan is reconsidered de novo and that no revised plan would be acceptable to Muslims unless it is framed with their approval and consent.

Minar i PakistanResolved that it is the considered view of this Session of the All-India Muslim League that no constitutional plan would be workable in this country or acceptable to the Muslims unless it is designed on the following basic principles, viz., that geographically contiguous units’ are demarcated into regions which should be constituted, with such territorial readjustments as may be necessary that the areas in which the Muslims are numerically in a majority as in the North Western and Eastern Zones of (British) India should be grouped to constitute “independent States” in which the constituent units should be autonomous and sovereign.

That adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards should be specifically provided in the constitution for minorities in these units in the regions for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultations with them and in other parts of (British) India where the Mussalmans (Muslims) are in a majority adequate, effective and mandatory safeguards shall be specifically provided in constitution for them and other minorities for the protection of their religious, cultural, economic, political, administrative and other rights and interests in consultation with them.

This session further authorises the Working Committee to frame a scheme of constitution in accordance with these basic principles, providing for the assumption finally by the respective regions of all powers such as defense, external affairs, communications, customs and such other matters as may be necessary.

Pakistan flag dimensionsApart from the fact that the Resolution talks clearly about “respective regions” (words that have import in the context of the events of 1971), I find the 4th paragraph particularly important. The complex structure of the language notwithstanding, the sentiment is clear as is its emphasis on the rights of minorities – not just of Muslims as a minority but of non-Muslim minorities in areas where they envisaged Muslim sovereignty. In such a short document, for the founding fathers to have devoted so much space to this issue would suggest that they – having lived as a minority themselves – considered the subject of minority rights to be of particular importance. This is one of the many areas where we were unable to live up to their aspirations.

46 comments posted

Comment Pages: [6] 5 4 3 2 1 » Show All

  1. M.Farhan says:
    March 23rd, 2011 10:41 am

    Wish u all the best PAKISTAN
    i love PAKISTAN……………….!
    & INSHALLAH PAKISTAN win this World cup almost

  2. March 22nd, 2011 12:34 pm

    Great resolution, Great Nation, Love you Pakistan

  3. Mervyn Hosein says:
    March 22nd, 2011 6:51 am

    As we come to the 70th commemoration of the Pakistan Resolution perhaps we need to consider if we, through our leaders and our total lack of the Rule of Law, have brought ourselves to the point where we are trying to prove Abul Kalam Azad right. (The Partition of India was a fundamental mistake!) Current history and the creation Bangladesh have already largely proved the much of those five paragraphs void.The fourth, and, from a nation point of view, most important paragraph is increasingly being ripped to irreparable shreds. I think we need to step back, re-read the Resolution and see if we, the people that are left, can yet gather the intelligence and national spirit to convert our nightmare into what was Mr Jinnah’s dream.

  4. Fariha says:
    March 11th, 2011 4:10 pm

    I want the history of mualana ali johar in urdu

  5. nazir ali says:
    November 18th, 2010 7:51 pm

    Why do we (Muslims) face Problems? Some of the Reasons of our Destruction!! (inc the floods/earthquakes etc…)

    Pride in Nations: A Muslim should be proud of being a Muslim and not being a Pakistani, or Bengali or Pashtoon etc. A Muslim should not be racist/nationalists, it’s totally Haraam in Islam; prophet (saw) said “People should give up their pride in nations because this is a coal from the coals of hell-fire. If they do not give this up Allah (swt) will consider them lower than a lowest worm which pushes itself through khur (faeces/poo/dung).” [abu Dawd & Tirmidhi]. Rasulallah (saw) said: if someone has an equivalent of a mustard seed weight of pride (thinking of being better than others etc i.e. Pakistani! Bengali! Indian! Pathan) Janat (paradise) is Haraam for him. (Bukhari & Muslim)

    Muslims’ Dress Code: Muslim Male & Female must wear cloths in which no one can see the shape of the body or a part of a body except what law allows. Prophet (saw) prophesied about this time that “females will appear naked even while wearing cloths & he (saw) warned that they’ll be in be in HELL! So Muslim sisters there is NO POINT OF WEARING A SCARF IF THE SHAPE OF THE LEGS or Bum or Breast OF A PERSON is visible. This will become a Joke with Hijab. Scarf is a Must but the rest if the figure/body must not be sexually appealing to others.

    Dress Code & free-mixing: Sisters: The bosoms (Breast) should be covered with an additional cloth or scarf. Doesn’t matter if you wear Shalwar qameez or Jeans it’s only ok if it’s not a see through/transparent and only if it’s LOOSE-FIT and girls should also cover arms not & shouldn’t wear half sleeves cloths.

    Muslims are not allowed to chit-chat with opposite sex cousins or brother/sister in laws as they are also non-Mehram in Islam! Muslim men/guys MUST grow their beards as it’s command of prophet (saw) no excuses! He (saw) said: “Be different from the pagans (unbelievers), grow your beards & trim your mustache” (Bukhari & Muslim). We should care about every little thing as Allah says in Qur’an “ Every minor good done (the individual) will see it, and every little evil done (you) will see it” so we can’t say let’s look at bigger issues they’re minor etc, No! Allah says every minor/tiny/little thing will be placed on our scale. And fasting in the month of Ramadhan should make us good for the rest of 11 months too or there is absoloutely no point in fasting!!

    Importance of Pure Behaviour: Bowing down on knees in front of a lady is not Islamic as Muslims are not allowed to bow down or prostrate to anyone, but to Allah. Not parents, proposed bride/groom, religious leaders, king/queen, but only to Allah, only to Allah alone. Reading Horoscopes, magic, taweez (telismans) are Haraam. Also get rid of mortgages & credit-cards as interest is haraam! Hadith: “The lowest sin of interest/usury amongst many is adultery with own mother! So if you’re proud you mortgaged a house, can you say instead that “I’d zina/adultery with my own mother”?!! No? so sell it & live on rent.

    Prayer & General Advise of Halal & Haraam: Muslim means follower of Islam which means ‘To submit yourself to Allah’. So if you do what YOU like than LOOK in the MIRROR!! Can you see Muslim? No? than make that CHANGE<<<Coz you wanna see Muslim in the Mirror not Kafir!!!
    A Muslim must not miss his single prayer, as Rasulallah (saw) said: Difference between a Muslim & kafir is the salah (5 daily prayers) Sahih Muslim. And also we must not buy stolen goods from people & should not break the law unless it stops us from practicing our faith
    1) Hadith in Bukhari suggests that we should have same size haircuts, we shouldn’t have some cut here some there (as new style suggests) (2) A man came to Prophet (saw) whose hair were rough/scruffy, the prophet (saw) told him: “don’t have hair like devil, comb it!!! Aslo female who wears perfume is considered as zina/adultery if non-Mehram smell her according to hadith in sahih al-Bukhari… And talking about your sins is also Haraam as indirectly you're advertising the sins & making it look it's ok to it (creating Fitna) & Allah said in Qur'an: Fitna is worst than committing murder!!!

    Also Democracy/Jamhooriat is Kufr as Allah says in Qu'ran that any law than the law of Allah is kufr so try being kind but never bow down or believe in democracy as Only Allah has the right to legislate, no one else!!!
    Wa'salaam

  6. maqbool a. soomro says:
    October 13th, 2010 9:56 am

    my humble request to govt.please creact hormoneus atmosphre with in the groups & abide to islamic laws as well

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