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Foreign Embassies in Pakistan Sun - Jul, 21 2024

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The Islamic Republic of Pakistan emerged as an independent state on 14 August 1947. It has its roots into the remote past. Its establishment was the culmination of the long struggle by Muslims of the South-Asian subcontinent for a separate homeland of their own. Its foundation was laid when Mohammad bin Qasim subdued Sindh in 711 AD as a reprisal against sea pirates that had taken refuge in Raja Dahir's kingdom. The advent of Islam further strengthened the historical individuality in the areas now constituting and further beyond its boundaries.
The historic origins of the land stretch far back into time. Some of the earliest relics of Stone Age man have been unearthed in the Potohar region near Rawalpindi and, in the Indus valley more than four millennia ago, a mature and sophisticated civilization flourished around the twin cities of Harappa and Moenjodaro. With the arrival of Muslim military led by Mohammad bin Qasim and trading expeditions from Arabia, the subcontinent began to emerge as a unified and exemplary Islamic state - a trend that reached its full swing under the Mughal dynasty in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries AD. The names of the great emperors of this period - Babur, Humayun, Akbar, Jehangir, Shah Jehan and Aurangzeb - ring with splendour and power.

The impact of Islam on the South-Asian subcontinent was deep and far-reaching. Islam introduced not only a new religion, but also a new civilization, a new way of life and new set of values. Islamic traditions of art and literature, of culture and refinement, of social and welfare institutions were established by Muslim rulers throughout the subcontinent. A new language URDU, derived mainly from Arabic and Persian vocabulary and adapting indigenous words and idioms, came into existence.

With the decline of Muslim power during 16th and 17th centuries the British (starting with the East India Company) began to emerge as the dominant force in South Asia. Their rise to power was gradual, extending over a period of 100 years. They replaced the Shariah by what they termed as Anglo-Muhammadan law whereas Urdu was replaced by English as the official language. These and many other developments had great social, economic, and political impact especially on the Muslims of subcontinent. The uprising of 1857, termed as the Indian Mutiny by the British and the War of Independence by the Muslims, was a desperate attempt to reverse the adverse course of events.

The failure of the 1857 War of Independence had disastrous consequences for the Muslims as the British placed all the responsibility for this event on them. Determined to stop such a recurrence in future, the British followed a repressive policy against the Muslims. Properties and estates of those even remotely associated with the freedom fighters were confiscated and efforts were made to close all avenues of honest living for them. The Muslim response to these situations also aggravated their plight. While this repression was going on, the Muslims kept themselves aloof from modern education as well as government service. But, their compatriots, the Hindus, did not do so and accepted the new rulers without reservation. They acquired modern western education, imbibed new culture and captured position hitherto filled in by the Muslims.

At the dawn of the 20th century, a number of factors convinced the Muslims of the need to have an effective political organization. Therefore, in October 1906, a deputation comprising 35 Muslim leaders met the Viceroy of the British at Simla and demanded separate electorates. Three months later, the All-India Muslim League was founded by Nawab Salimullah Khan at Dhaka, mainly with the objective of safeguarding the political rights and interest of the Muslims. The British conceded separate electorates in the Government of India Act of 1909, which confirmed the Muslim League's position as an All-India party.

Several leaders and thinkers, having insight into the Hindu-Muslim question proposed separation of Muslim India. However, the most lucid exposition of the inner feeling of the Muslim community was given by Allama Muhammad Iqbal in his Presidential Address at the All India Muslim League Session at Allahabad in 1930. He suggested that for the healthy development of Islam in South Asia, it was essential to have a separate Muslim state in the Muslim majority regions of Indian subcontinent. Three years after his Allahabad Address, a group of Muslim students at Cambridge, headed by Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, issued a pamphlet, Now or Never, in which drawing letters from the names of the Muslim majority regions, they gave the nomenclature of "PAKISTAN" to the proposed state.

Meanwhile, three Round Table Conferences were convened in London during 1930-32, to resolve the Indian constitutional problems. The Indian National Congress and All India Muslim League leaders, who were invited to these conferences, could not draw up an agreed formula and the British Government had to announce a "Communal award" which was incorporated in the Government of India Act of 1935. Before the elections under this Act, the All India Muslim League, which had remained dormant for some time, was reorganized by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah who had returned from England in 1934, after an absence of nearly five years. The Muslim League could not win a majority of Muslim seats since it had not yet been effectively reorganized.

After the elections, the attitude of the Congress leadership was arrogant and domineering. The classic example was its refusal to form a coalition government with the Muslim League in the United Provinces. Instead, it asked the League leaders to dissolve their parliamentary party in the Provincial Assembly and join the Congress. They also began mass contact movement to persuade the Muslims to join the Congress and not the Muslim League. One of its leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru, even declared that there were only two forces in India, the British and the Congress. Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah challenged and countered that there was a third force in South Asia constituting the Muslims. The All India Muslim League, under his gifted leadership, gradually and skillfully started organizing the Muslims on one platform.

During 1937-39, several Muslim leaders and thinkers, inspired by Allama Iqbal's ideas, presented elaborate schemes for partitioning the subcontinent according to two-nation theory. The All India Muslim League effectively took these schemes into consideration and finally, on 23 March 1940, the All India Muslim League, in a resolution, at its historic Lahore Session, demanded a separate homeland for the Muslims in the Muslim majority regions of subcontinent. The resolution was commonly referred as the "PAKISTAN RESOLUTION". The demand for a separate homeland had a great appeal for the Muslims of every persuasion. It revived memories of their past greatness and future glory. They, therefore, responded to this demand immediately. This demand became very popular among the masses.

In 1945, after the failure of the Simla Conference, convened by the Viceroy, Lord Wavell, the elections were called to determine the respective strength of political parties. All India Muslim League election campaign was based on the Pakistan demand. The Muslim community responded to this call in an unprecedented way. The Muslim League's victory was outstanding. After the elections All India Muslim League called a convention of the newly elected League members in the Central and Provincial Legislatures at Delhi. This convention, which constituted virtually a representative assembly of the Muslims of South-Asia, on a motion by the Chief Minister of Bengal, Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy, reiterated the Pakistan demand in clearer terms.

In October 1946, an Interim Government was formed. The Muslim League sent its General Secretary Mr. Liaqat Ali Khan with the aim to fight for the party objective from within the Interim Government. After a short time, the situation inside the Interim Government and outside convinced the Congress leadership to accept Pakistan as the only solution of the communal problem. The British Government, after its last attempt to save the Cabinet Mission Plan in December 1946, also moved towards a scheme for the partition of India. The last British Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, came with a clear mandate to draft a plan for the transfer of power. After holding talks with political leaders and parties, he presented a Partition Plan for the transfer of power, which after approval of the British Government was announced on June 3, 1947. Both the Congress and Muslim League accepted the plan. Two largest Muslim majority provinces, Bengal and Punjab, were partitioned. The Assemblies of West Punjab, East Bengal, Sindh, Balochistan, the Quetta Municipality, and the Shahi Jirga voted for Pakistan. Referenda were held in the NorthWest Frontier Province (NWFP) and District of Sylhet in Assam, which resulted in an overwhelming vote for Pakistan. As a result on August 14, 1947 a new Ideological Islamic State "Pakistan" came into existence.

From: http://www.brunet.bn/gov/emb/pakistan/history.htm

See also: Pakistani Embassies Worldwide

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