THE LAST YEAR

Pakistan became constitutionally independent at midnight between the 14th and 15th August 1947. The Quaid assumed charge as the Governor General of Pakistan on August 15, 1947.

Soon after that Jinnah riveted himself to work. The colossal task of building Pakistan from scratch needed his immediate attention. Since the Lahore Resolution of 1940, he never rested even for a moment. But he surpassed himself after becoming the first head of the biggest Muslim State. From the day he arrived in Karachi on August 7, till he breathed his last, is a tale of self abnegation, exemplary devotion to duty and intense activity.

Even at the hour of triumph, Jinnah was sick and in pain. He had little or no appetite; he had lost his gift of being able to sleep at will and he passed many sleepless nights; also, his cough increased and with it his temperature. The harrowing tales of the sufferings of the refugees affected him deeply.

 

Inspecting an Anti-Aircraft Gun at Malir, Karachi

Of the numerous disputes with India and domestic worries,evidently the unsolved problem of Kashmir, his inability to complete the Constitution of the new state of Pakistan, and the plight of the millions of refugees who had arrived in their new homeland utterly destitute affected him the most.

The scale of the refugee problem and the depth of the tragedy were indeed heart rendering. For Pakistan the problem of coping with the refugees was proportionately far more serious than it was for India. Her territory and resources were much smaller and her administration was still in its infancy.

It was not only the plight of the Muslim refugees who had arrived from India that grieved the Quaid-i-Azam deeply. The sad condition of the Hindus in Pakistan hurt him no less.

Apart from Kashmir, there were two Princely states Junagarh and Hyderabad that formed the subject of disputes between India and Pakistan. All the states in the subcontinent except these three had acceded either to India or Pakistan by 14th August 1947. It so happened that all these three were ruled by princes whose own religion was different from that of the majority of their subjects.

 

He took the oath of office as Governor General on August 16th before members of the Cabinet and high civil and military officers.His Eid day message was broadcast two days later on August 18th. It was a memorable message which appeared with steamers in all the newspapers of the country. I wish on this auspicious day a very happy Eid to all Muslims wherever they may be throughout the world — and Eid that will usher in, I hope, a new era of prosperity will mark the onward march of the renaissance of Islamic culture and ideals.

The Quaid’s first public appearance after assumption of office was also on Eid day, August 18th, when he offered his Eid prayers on Bunder Road.He was the guest of honour a week later of the Karachi Municipal Corporation. He urged the need of devotion to duty and building up and reconstructing Pakistan in a manner that will command the respect of sister nations and find a place of honour along with great nations of the world as an equal.

On September 17, the Quaid, accompanied by Fatima Jinnah visited refugee camps in Karachi. He was visibly moved by their pain and tales of woe. There were touching scenes when an old woman sought his blessings for her sole surviving grandson.

The Quaid laid the Foundation-stone of the Vakila Textile Mills on September 25. Making a speech on the occasion he showed his grasp of the economic problems. He said, If Pakistan is to play its proper role in the world to which its size, manpower and resources entitle it, it must develop Industrial potential side by side its agriculture and give its economy an industrial bias. By industrialzing our state we shall decrease dependence on the outside world for the necessities of life, give more employment to our people and also increase the resources of the new State.


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