Sunday 16 August 2020

Unlike Patel, Jinnah could not accede any of the nine Princely States

The Size of West Pakistan on 15 August 1947!

·        Pakistan for “diplomatic mischief” by promoting non-acceding States

·        Unlike Patel, Jinnah could not accede any of the nine Princely States

Dr. Hari Desai Tuesday 26th June 2018 06:04 EDT Asian Voice Weekly, London.

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the creator of Pakistan on 15 August 1947, present-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was no match to Indian Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. The Sardar could manage to get most of the Princely States in independent India convinced to join the Indian Union even before 15 August 1947. Jinnah could have none of the nine Princely States joining the West Pakistan Union at the time of the Muslim Homeland taking birth! Of course, even historians, including Ayesha Jalal, the writer of the book, “The Sole Spokesman”, do claim that Jinnah did not want Partition. As such, in the words of Ayesha Jalal, Jinnah had to be satisfied with “a moth-eaten and truncated Pakistan” and he was quoted as telling one of his colleague that he would have been satisfied even with some acres of land as “a Muslim homeland” in the desert of Sind than being under the Hindu majority rule of independent India. Now since Pakistan has become a reality, one would be curious to know whether the West Pakistan was of the same size as it is today ? “Not even half the size of present-day Pakistan.” The authoritative reply comes from none other than Yaqoob Khan Bangash, a Lahore born historian who earned D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. Known for his extra-ordinary work, “A Princely Affair: The Accession and Integration of the Princely States of Pakistan, 1947-1955”, Bangash is being invited not only to the Karachi Literary Festival(KLF) but also by the Government of India’s Institute for Defence
Studies and Analysis (IDSA) to share his views.

“On 15 August 1947, West Pakistan was less than half its present size. Nearly a year of negotiations, arguments, threats, and even chance, brought nine Princely States into the Pakistani fold. Thereafter, followed a long and staggered process of integration.” The bright son of Nawabzada Sardar Abdul Aziz Khan Bangash gives credit to his father for instilling in him the love of history. One of the first Princely States to sign the Instrument of Accession to Pakistan was Khairpur State of Sind. It was only on 3 October 1947. But before that Junagadh was acceded to Pakistan and Jinnah had accepted it on 15 September 1947. Of course, it was only on 9 November 1947, following the Arzi Hukumat movement, Junagadh became a part of Indian Union. The Nawab of Junagadh, Mahabat Khan III, fled from the Keshod airport to Pakistan by his own aircraft at the time of merging of small States in independent India. Keshod airport was built by the Nawab and is spread over in area of 460 acres of land, according to the Airport Authority of India (AAI).

Another major State, Kalat, which is better known to the outside world as centre of Balochistan, signed the “Instrument of Accession” on 27 March 1948 and the State of Bahawalpur signed a “Merger Agreement” on 17 December 1954. The other four Frontier Princely States like Chitral, Dir, Swat and Amb were among the most backward tribal States. Hunza and Nagar disputed to be part of Jammu and Kashmir. On behalf of the Indian Government, Sardar Patel assisted by V. P. Menon, an able ICS official, initiated negotiation with the Princely States well in advance. On the Pakistan side, in the initial stage, Jinnah, through his counsels, was dealing with major Princely States including some Hindu States under the Bhopal Scheme to convince them to join the Pakistan Union or instigating some like Hyderabad and Travancore to remain
independent. Later, the negotiations or intimidation was carried out by the bureaucrats or military officials. Unfortunately for him, till 15 August 1947, the day of the birth of Pakistan, Quaid was not successful to gain confidence of any of the nine Princely States to accede to Pakistan where as Patel had most of the 565 Princely States on his side.

Three States created problems for Patel in the initial stage. Junagadh was to be part of the Indian Union followed by J and K despite misadventure of Jinnah. The Nizam was to stop dancing to the tune of Jinnah with just five-day “Operation Polo” ordered by Sardar Patel and even withdrew his complaint from United Nations. The Nizam took little longer but by 17 September 1948, Hyderabad acceded to the Indian Union. Bangash’s research identifies the following States: Kalat (now part of the province of Balochistan); Bahawalpur (now part of Punjab); Khairpur (now part of Sind); Chitral, Dir, Swat and Amb (now in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province); and Hunza and Nagar (now part of the disputed Gilgit-Baltistan region). As Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed notes in “Frontline”, most of the Princely States of India grew out of political vacuum created after the decline of the Mughal Empire, but the States in Pakistan emerged in the wake of the departure of Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Durrani. Except for Bahawalpur, which was the largest State to become part of Pakistan, all the other States were tribal in nature and more akin to the Arab sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf. This made them different from other Princely States, which were influenced by Mughal and British courtly culture. He further adds, the British transferred power to the Governments of India and Pakistan in 1947, but the process of national integration in both countries  remains incomplete even 69 years later. Pakistan’s excesses in suppressing Baloch separatists are well documented. At the same time, separatists continue to find support in Kashmir. 

Even when Pakistan is being debated as a Rouge state or a Failed state, facing lot many domestic problems, Islamabad continues to play mischief by promoting the former rulers of the Princely States which are not the part of present-day Pakistan. In February 2017, Pakistan had approved the minimum maintenance allowance for former rulers of the States that “acceded to Pakistan” be raised from less than Rs.25,000 to Rs. 500,000 annually. The federal cabinet of Pakistan had approved a 200 per cent increase in the allowance back in November 2007, but Article 5 of the Rulers of Acceding States (Abolition of Privy and Privileges) Order 1972 did not provide for an increase in maintenance allowance. The beneficiaries of the list presented include three dependents of Nawab of Dir, nine of former ruler of Makran, eight of Nawab of Kalat, two of the Nawab of Junagadh State, former rulers of Chitral, Khairpur, Bahawalpur, share holders of the Bantva State, the talukdar of Sultanabad, Sheikh Sahib of Mangrol and the Khan of Manawadar. Though it is a settled fact that Junagadh, Bantva, Mangrol and Manawadar, Sultanabad are part of India, Pakistan continues to play diplomatic mischief.


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