BEFORE World War II the subcontinent was an occupied colony, like many others in Asia and Africa.
After years of political struggle waged by men like Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Allama Iqbal, the British occupiers, weakened and devastated by ravages of war, were forced to give up their occupation and leave the subcontinent, creating two separate sovereign nations of Pakistan and India through an act of parliament.
The residents of all British colonies, desirous of embarking on foreign travels were forced to seek a British passport. Even Palestinians living today in occupied Gaza and the West Bank, who want to travel abroad to wage their political struggle for liberation, have to acquire a travel document issued by the occupying Israeli state.
It is totally out of sync to draw parallels between British travel documents issued to leaders of the Muslim League and the Congress and voluntary acquiring of British nationality by any citizen of India or Pakistan, who chose to proceed on self-exile and seek foreign nationalities, instead of political asylum on legitimate grounds.
Ayatollah Khomeini was imprisoned for 18 months and then forced to exile by Shah of Iran in 1964.
He first sought refuge in Turkey, then in Iraq and finally political asylum in France, from where he continued to denounce Shah and lead a struggle for 15 years, without seeking any foreign nationality or social welfare benefits.
He returned to Iran in 1979 after Shah was forced to go in exile. Khomeini lived and died in Iran as an Iranian national.
The Quaid, like other British subjects under the colonial rule, was forced to seek the British passport by extraordinary circumstances such as those faced by Palestinian leadership under occupation.
From 1940 onwards, the Quaid never used British travel document, nor left the country. He lived and died in Pakistan.
There were many Muslims living in Muslim minority areas, which form part of India and numerous Muslims residing in Muslim majority areas that form Pakistan today, who opposed the creation of Pakistan and willingly pledged their loyalty to the Raj and British monarchy.
They either never wanted British to leave India or were else in favour of living in undivided India. Some of them favoured a confederation of states within India and were opposed to the creation of a sovereign independent Pakistan.
Perhaps their love and commitment to assets and lands located in India was more than their commitment to Pakistan. While the Quaid never blinked an eye to forgo his properties like Malabar Hill villa in Bombay, others chose to cling to their assets.
The Quaid gave a priority for formulation of constitution immediately after the creation of Pakistan for which he constituted an assembly of all those who were elected in 1946 elections.
It is unfortunate that those who succeeded him after his unfortunate death deliberately delayed finalisation of a constitution, a vital document on which foundations of a modern state was to be built, in an effort to create constituencies for themselves.
Instead, what happened later was plunder of vast evacuee property through fake claims. The first Pakistani passport was issued much later after the Quaid’s death and the constitution finalised only in 1956, which formally declared Pakistan as a republic, breaking all links with British monarchy.
M. T. ALI Lahore
Justification TO justify his British passport and nationality, MQM chief Altaf Hussain has tried to become a historian by bringing it in to question the Quaid’s passport and the oath taken by him at the time of partition.
Let another historical fact be known to the people that the Quaid lived his life through earnings from his own hard work instead of living a cushy life in a foreign land on people’s money.
DR IRFAN ZAFAR Islamabad