Quaid-i-Azam and Administration of Pakistan

The Quaid-i-Azam took the oath of his office on 15 August 1947 and became the first Governor-General of Pakistan. The biggest Muslim country and the fifth largest state in the world with a population of more then eightly million people. He was the recipient of the highest office the state could bestow upon him. It may be pointed out here that his position was remarkable different from the position enjoyed by his counterparts in other Dominions. He was not only the constitutional figurehead enjoying limited powers, but was the Father of the nation and the Quaid-i-Azam whose prerogatives were enlarged by popular acclaim for beyond the limits laid down in the constitution.

When Pakistan became a Country, the Quaid-i-Azam was recognized to be above the political battle, a figure to whom all might turn for authority and justice and protection. He was the personification of all aspects of political authority. He was the Governor-General of the dominion of Pakistan and as such had specific executive powers conveyed by the British crown, he was President of constituent Assembly, and as such headed the Central legislature, he was president of the Muslim league and as such was the leader of the paramount political party. He delegated the duties of the last named office to the Deputy President . The clauses giving discretionary power and special responsibilities to the Governor-General has been entirely deleted from the interim constitution. But the Quaid wielded a prodigious authority as the founder of the state. Under him the office of Governor-General was very different from its counterpart in other dominions. The people looked up to him as their father, not only as the Head of the State. To Pakistanis he was not only their Governor-General and Quaid-i-Azam but also a patriarch and asa such he could exercise a tremendous influence in the Centre and in the provinces. He could appeal to his people and admonish them and thus he was the main source of initiation and restraint. Whole the nation had rallied enthusiastically to the Quaid-i-Azam, and was prepared to accept any arrangement that he approved. In the early months the predominant position of the Quaid-i-Azam was a source of strength of Pakistan.

From the very first day the Quaid-i-Azam had to shoulder the major portion of central as well as provincial administrative grew up under the direct guidance of the Quaid-i-Azam. There was a constant search for capable administrators and for ministerial appointments. It was for the Quaid-i-Azam to decide whether he should select his team on merit. From the appointments Jinnah made during the tenure of Governor-Generalship it is evident that he chose the latter alternative. His capacity to withstand influence of any kind was extremely great and in national considerations he followed no principle other than service and ability.

The first cabinet of Pakistan was the creation of the Quaid-i-Azam. He selected Liaquat Ali Khan, whom he had called his “right hand”. According to the Gazette Notification No: G.G. O/2 of 14 August 1947 the first cabinet of Pakistan took oath of office on August 15, 1947. It included the following members.

The Problems and difficulties during the first few months after the establishment of Pakistan were of such magnitude and complexity that cabinet Ministers felt themselves to be helpless and looked up to the Quaid with his knowledge, experience and competence to tackle the problems and pull them out of the difficulties. But the Quaid made it clear that he, as constitutional Governor-General could not interfere with Ministerial responsibilities and actions. The Cabinet, therefore, passed a special resolution authorizing the Quaid-i-Azam to take action to deal with emergent problems . Hence, the Quaid-i-Azam not only took the initiative in Cabinet-making but also in the formulation of the policies the cabinet was to carry out. He presided over its regular meetings as well as the meetings of its Emergency Committee, of which he was also the Chairman . He even called and conducted Cabinet meeting in the absence of the Prime Minister. He created the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions and Ministry of Evacuee and Refugee Rehabilitation, the former being controlled by the Quaid-i-Azam himself. To add moment to its creation the press communiqué noted that

“The affairs of the new Ministry will be under the direct control and guidance of Mr. Jinnah” . The Governor-General’s personal control of the portfolio, itself and unprecedented act in commonwealth history was both and acknowledgement to the princes that the man who had guaranteed their future in Pakistan was personally Incharge and an assurance to reform elements in the stated that they would be accorded fair treatment in Karachi. Only the founder of the country could have assumed such contradictory roles. The judgement of the Agha Khan as to Mr. Jinnah’s solution of the state problem has one significant phrase, “His practical Bismarckian sense of the best possible”.

The administration of Baluchistan was controlled by him through an agent, who was the nominee of the Governor-General and responsible to him and not the Cabinet . Karachi was separated from Sindh and his advice, and it was he who exercised the executive authority in the new province through an administrator responsible to him . The State Bank and the Federal Court were set up under his orders . He was also mainly responsible for bringing about the accession of the princely states as his negotiations with the Kahn of Kalat Clearly revealed. He appoijnted Sir Archibald Rowaland as his financial adviser and Malik Feroze Khan Noon as his special Envoy to the Middle East. He stationed his personal representative at Kabul. He sent Mr. Zafarullah Khan to the United Nations to argue the case of the Palestine Arabs. All the more, he was constantly engaged in giving the benefit of his advice to the Prime Minister, the Ministers and Secretaries of the departments in the discharge of their responsibilities.

The Quaid-i-Azam was much more than a titular head of the state. In a sense, he was his own Prime Minister, giving advice and taking decisions till the end of his days. A year after independence, Liaquat Ali Khan publicly admitted: “Now that we have got Pakistan, he has not ceased to guide the destinies of the nation. In all important matters, he still guides. It is his deep interest in the welfare of the people that has made him to take up so much work on himself. We pray that we may have the benefit of his wisdom and guidance for a long time to come .

In every country the civil servants have to play an important and regulated part in the affairs of the country. Their role becomes all the more difficult in developing countries who have to make up for the slow rate of development in the past. The civil servants have to keep their eyes open, their pen moving but their mouth shut. They are concerned with administration and not politics which is the business of the people and their duly elected representatives. The Indian Civil Service assumed a role different from ordinary civil services in view of the fact that it was staffed for a considerably long time by Englishmen. Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar criticized this role in his well known dictum that this Service was neither Indian nor Civil nor Service of Pakistan which replaced the I.C.S. in Pakistan, underwent a very Significant change. The members of this the control of the people . At the time of the creation of Pakistan when Quaid expected selfless work and steadfast did not come up to his expectation he addressed the Civil, Naval, Military and Air Force Officers at Khaliq Dina Hall, Karachi on October 11, 1947 in the following words.

“This being the need of the day, I was painted to learn that a good many of our staff are not pulling their weight. They seem to be thinking that now that Pakistan has been achieved they can sit back and do nothing. Same of them have bee demoralized by the happenings in East Punjab and Delhi and in others the general lawlessness sprevailing in some parts of the country has bred a spirit of indiscipline. These tendencies, it not checked immediately, will prove more deadly than our external enemies and will spell ruin for us. It is the duty of all of you who have gathered here to-day to see that this cancer is removed as speedily as possible. You have to infuse a new spirit in your men by precept and by example. You have to make them feel that they are working for a cause and that the cause is worth every sacrifice that they may be called to make”.

The Quaid impressed upon his government officials that he expected efficient service for them. He reminded them that although they had achieved Pakistan, they must not slacken in their efforts to build and strengthen the new young state. Speaking at Sibi, in February 14, 1948, he said, “gentlemen, Pakistan is now a sovereign state….You will know that we are starting from scratch. This burden has come upon us. It is a terrific burden and if you want to make Pakistan a great country in the comity of nations, you much forget, as far as possible, your pleasures and tea-parties at cocktails and put in as much time and as much work as you can in the job which in entrusted to you” . He laid down a code of conduct for the civil servants which was summarized in his address to the Gazetted Officers in Chittagong on the 25th March 1948 in the following words:-

“You have to do your duty as servants; you are not concerned with this Political Part or that Political Party; that is not your business. It is a business of Politician to fight out their case under the present Constitution or the future constitution that may be with his party or that party. You are civil servants, and your duty is to serve that Government for the time being as servants not as politicians. How will you do that? The Government in power for the time being much also realized and understand their responsibilities that you are not be used for this party or that. I know we are saddled with old legacy, old mentality, old psychology and it haunts our footsteps. But it is upto you now to act as true servants of the people even at the risk of any Minister or ministry trying to interfere with you in the discharge of your duties as civil servants. I hope it will not be so but even if some of you have to suffer for the victim-I hope it will not happen-I expect you to do so readily. We shall of course see that there is security for you and safeguard to you If we find that is any way prejudicial to your interest we shall find ways and loyal and Government that is in power .

The second point is that in your conduct and dealings with the people in various Departments in which you may be, wipe off that past reputations; you are not rulers. You do not belong to the ruling class; you belong to the servants. Make the people feel that you are their servants and friends, maintain the highest standard of honour, integrity, justice and fairplay. If you do that people will have confidence and trust in you and look upon you as friend and well wishers. I do not want to condemn everything of the past, there were men who did their duties according to their lights in the service in which they placed. As administrators they did do justice in many cases but they did not feel that justice was done to them because there was an order of superiority and they were held at a distance and they did not feel the warmth but they felt a freezing atmosphere when they had to do anything with the officials. Now that freezing atmosphere must go; that impression of arrogance must go, that impression that you are rulers must go and you must do your best with all courtesy and sometimes you will find that it is trying and provoking when a man goes on talking and repeating a thing over and over again, but have patience and show patience and make them feel that justice has been done to them.

Next thing that I would like to impress upon you is this: I keep on getting representatives and memorials containing grievances of the people of all sorts of things. May be there is no justifications, may be there is no foundation for that, may be that they are under wrong impression and may be they are misled but in all such cases I have followed one practice for many years which is this: Whether I agree with anyone or not whether I think that he has any imaginary grievances whether I think that he does not understand but I always show patience. If you will also do the same in your dealings with an individual or any association or any organization you will ultimately stand to gain. Let not people leave you with this bearings that you hate, that you are offensive that you have insulted or that you are rude to them. Not one per cent who comes in contact with you should be left in that state of mind, you may not be able to agree withhim but do not let him go with this feeling that you are offensive or that you are discourteous. If you follow the rule believe me you will win the respect of the people.”

He repeated his exhortation in his informal talk with the Civil Officers at Peshawar on the 14th April, 1948 and what he said is working repeating.

“The first thing that I want to tell you is this, that you should not be influenced by any political pressure, by any political party or individual politician. If you want to raise the prestige and greatness of Pakistan, you must not fall a victim to any pressure, but do your duty as servants to the people and the State, Fearlessly and honestly. Service is the backbone of the State. Government and formed, Governments are defeated Prime Ministers come and go, Ministers come and go but you stay on, and therefore, there is a very great responsibility placed on your shoulders.

“Putting pressure and influence on service people, I know, is a very common fault of politician and those who influence in political parties, but I hope that you will now, from today, resolve and determine to act according to my humble advice that I am giving you.

“May be some of you may fall victims for not satisfying the shims of the Ministers. I hope it does not happen, but you may even be put to trouble not because you are doing anything wrong but because you are doing right. Sacrifices have to be made an I appeal to you, if need be, to come forward and make the sacrifice and face the position of being put on the black-list or being otherwise worried or troubled. If you will give me the opportunity of your sacrifice; some of you at least, believe me, we will find a remedy for that very soon. I tell you that you will remain on the black-list if you discharge your duties and responsibilities honestly, sincerely and loyally to the State. It is you who can give us the opportunity to create a powerful machinery which will give you a complete sense of security”.

“Finally I congratulate you for having done well so far. The dangerous position in which we were placed when we took over power from the British Government, has passed. It is a big task and things were made difficult for us. I need not go into details, but you know how we were constantly faced with an organized plan to crush Pakistan and to break us. In other provinces as well as in your province, the services have done well in spite of all that. We have warded off and withstood all machinations, and your province has not lagged behind in this respect. And, therefore, I sincerely congratulate you for the way in which you have managed things here, and I hope that you will continue in the same spirit. There is plenty of room for improvement. We have to learn a lot and we have to adjust ourselves to new developments, new issues which are facing us. But I am sure you will play your part well”.

The tasks that the Quaid had to face in the early years of Pakistan were truly gigantic. But he remained steadfast in the fact of calamities and was cool and unruffled in the circumstances which would have been most trying for an old establishment. Under his inspired leadership and guidance the nation showed that it had the will to rise with its head erect. James A. Muchener, a visitor to Pakistan in the early years, writes, “I have never seen so hardworking a government as Pakistan’s. It is literally licking itself by its own intellectual book-straps”.

Quaid-i-Azam requested and the British Government agreed, that a number of their officers should remain in Pakistan to create the armed service, to be governors of provinces, and administrative officials in the government. The Quaid-i-Azam appointed experienced British officials as Governors of three out of four provinces as permanent Secretaries of four of the federal ministries, and in may other senior positions. British officers were also retained as heads of the Army, Navy and Air force Until Quaid-i-Azam died, the military Secretaries to the Governor-General were British officers. Mr. Jinnah had not been one of the hasty reformers who wrote ‘Quit India’ on the wall long before partition he had hoped to use British officials in making his Muslim State, he even know which ones he wishes to retain, and for how long. He said to General Sir Douglas Gracey, “Ten years is the limit I have fixed for asking the British officers to stay”. This peremptory decision involved the private inclinations of British officer who were already tired with the long wrangle of Indian affairs. But when they were asked, they stayed. Quaid-i-Azam named them: he said to Lord Ismay, “I want Sir Archibald Rowlands to be my financial adviser, I want Sir George Cuningham to be governor of the North West Frontier; I want Sir Francis Mudie to be governor of West Punjab” . Quaid-i-Azam knew exactly what he required from each of these men. It is obvious that he wanted experienced and strong Governors. He was fully conversant with the rifts, rivalries and intrigues in these various Provinces. However, the administration shaped out of diverse elements proved equal to trials and emergencies to which it was exposed for day to day.

It may be point out here, that, despite the plenitude of power which he enjoyed as the father of the nation, there was not even a single instance in the entire period of his tenure as the Governor-General when he overstepped, much less misused, his authority. The Quaid not doubt enjoyed extraordinary powers but these powers were conferred upon him by the Cabinet to meet the extraordinary circumstances that clearly demanded extraordinary measures. The members of the cabinet voluntarily decided that “he could overrule the Cabinet but he neither overstepped the constitutional limits nor imposed his decision on the Cabinet. He always pleaded his point of view with compelling logic but would welcome and appreciate any opposite opinion, provided it was equally backed by facts and reasons . In his capacity as the Quaid-i-Azam, no legal or formal limitations could apply on him . His influence over his people was so great that he “Could have held any position or none; he would still have ultimate authority in his own persons”.

Reference: Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as Governor-General of Pakistan
Author: Iqtidar Karamat Cheema
Publisher: Pakistan Study Centre, University of the Punjab, Lahore. 2006

Notes and References