The Test of Time - my life and days
Early Years of Pakistan: Quest for a Constitution
Under the Indian Independence Act of 1947, India was to be divided into two independent Dominions of India and Pakistan with their own Constituent Assemblies formed out of the Constituent Assembly of India. The provinces of Bengal and Punjab were to be divided into Hindu and Muslim majority areas, and a Boundary Commission was set up for the purpose. Both the Congress and the Muslim League appeared to be unhappy with this kind of Partition Plan, but in the end accepted this as the only way to solve the constitutional problem. What had been abhorred as a “truncated and moth-eaten” Pakistan earlier was now accepted by the Muslim League; there was an attempt by Suhrawardy and Sarat Bose to save Bengal from partition by advocating an Independent Bengal and an Independent Greater Bengal including Assam; but this did not find favour either with the Congress or with the Muslim League. It appears that a tentative go-ahead signal was given to this idea initially by the Muslim League High Command, but on second thoughts it was withdrawn, ideas hardened, the Bose-Suhrawardy formula was rejected, together with the sponsors thereof by their respective organisations. So the partition of Bengal and Punjab was accepted, and Partition Councils were appointed in both the Provinces to divide the assets and liabilities between East and West Bengal, and East and West Punjab. Maulvi Khan was a member of this Council in Bengal.
Because of his United Bengal move and too much of hobnobbing with Gandhi, Suhrawardy fell from the grace of the Muslim League; meanwhile Muslim MLA’s from East Bengal as demarcated by the Ratcliff award of the Boundary Commission met to elect their leader. Nazimuddin and Suhrawardy contested, and Nazimuddin was elected Lender of the Muslim League Parliamentary Party for East Bengal. Suhrawardy remained in Calcutta to protect the interests of the Muslims left in India (as he said). Nazimuddin came and formed the Government of East Bengal which included Nurul Amin, Hamidul Huq Chowdhury and several others. The Partition Council could not agree on the division of assets and liabilities of bengal, and the Government of East Bengal started functioning literally from a scratch.
At the Centre, two Constituent Assemblies were formed, and Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan was elected to the assembly for Pakistan. The first meeting of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly was held in Karachi on August 12, 1947, with Mr. J.N. Mondal as Chairman, in which power was transferred by Lord Mountbatten to the Assembly, and taken over by “Qaid-i-Azam” (Father of the Nation) Mohammad Ali Jinnah as Governor General of Pakistan. The swearing-in of the Governor General took place on the morning of August 14, and a Cabinet was formed with Liaqat Ali Khan as the Prime Minister, Sarder Abdur Rab Nishtar Deputy Prime Minister Gholam Mohammad as Finance Minister, Fazlur Rahman as Commerce Minister, Jogen Mondal as Law Minister, and several others. Maulvi Khan worked very hard and well as Member of the Rules of Procedure Committee, and the Rules was accepted by the Assembly without much amendment, as proposed by him. It was not considered wise to have a separate President of the Constituent Assembly at the very outset, and Quaid-i-Azam himself was unanimously elected President. Maulvi Khan was elected Deputy President of the Constituent Assembly, and it was so arranged that he would preside over all meetings of the Assembly as Legislature. Quaid-i-Azam combined in himself the two most important positions in the State; he was quite conscious of the responsibilities of either position, and there was absolutely no confusion about the status of he decisions of the Constituent Assembly as such, and those taken by the Assembly functioning as the National Legislature. The practice developed of the deputy President presiding over the meetings of the Constituent Assembly when it met as Legislature set all doubts and uncertainties to rest, both in law and in fact.
As Deputy President of the Constituent Assembly, Maulvi Khan had regular discussions with Quaid-i-Azam on the work before the Assembly, of which the most important, of course, was the Framing of a Constitution. One of the earliest issues discussed and agreed on was the immediate need for holding sessions of the Assembly in Dacca at least once every year. It began as such, but soon degenerated into a mere formality to such an extent as to persuade the decision-makers to hold sessions in Dacca in December and January consecutively, and satisfy the formal requirement for two years. Thus a politically wise move was converted into an administrative formality without substance.
Maulvi Khan led quite a few Parliamentary Delegations, Speakers’ Meetings and Inter-Parliamentary Conference, and left his marks an able and persuasive Speaker representing Pakistan and what it stood for, During his first trip abroad as Deputy President, whole flying from Rome to London, he heard about the sudden death of Quaid-i-Azam in September 1948. The conditions of his death are still shrouded in mystery; he breathed his last in a military weapon-carrier converted into an ambulance, on his way from Nathiagali to Karachi. However, Maulvi Khan as everybody else was literally stunned by this news and wanted to come back immediately. But the members of his delegation prevailed on him and persuaded him to continue his tour and complete the important meetings and engagements which had been laid down for him; it was perhaps felt necessary to demonstrate that even without Quaid-i-Azam the new baby would survive, and normalcy would come back to all affairs of the State. However, Maulvi Khan cut short his visit and came back to Karachi; by then Nazimuddin had been sworn in as Governor General, and Nurul Amin took over as Chief Minister of East Bengal. A new President of the Constituent assembly was to be elected, and almost as a natural choice, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan was unanimously nominated by the Parliamentary Party and unanimously elected as President by the Assembly. His election as President was hailed by all sections of the House and people.
The progress of constitution making in Pakistan is a dismal story. As a rather unique experiment in state-craft, Pakistan’s constitution would surely have some unique features; but nothing can explain the inordinate delay and the tragic lack of any sense of urgency in the matter on the part of the Government and members of the Assembly. The fact of the matter was that after the death of the Quaid-i-Azam the centrifugal forces raised their heads, and no leader could hold the political forces together. It should be understood that any Constitution of Pakistan would have to give East Bengal its due share in decision-making and administration, at least parity if not a majority; and yet this was the eyesore of the most important segment of the leadership from the western wing, e.g. those from the Punjab. People from that Providence were at the time dominating in every sphere of the administration of the country, even in East Bengal, and they were not prepared to sacrifice this privilege under any circumstances. Several attempts were made and several formulae evolved to bring together different sections of opinion in the Assembly and the country. But everything was foiled due to the machinations of some selfish leaders from the Punjab. Maulvi Khan was most anxious to expedite the work and kept on pressing the then Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to face the situation and take decision on the matter. After some time, the first report of the Basic Principles Committee (BPC) was finalised and published. There way all round opposition tot he BPC report from all quarters and it was deferred for reconsideration. The main points of discontent and difference among various sections were: (1) the role of Islam in the constitution and governance of Pakistan, (2) Distribution of powers between the Centre and the Provinces, and (3) the question of the state language or languages.
Meanwhile Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in a public meeting at Rawalpindi in October, 1951 under circumstances, which looked mysterious and have never been probed properly. Nazimuddin stepped down from the position of Governor General, an action which proved to be suicidal for democracy in Pakistan. Several things followed in quick succession¾ Prime Minister Nazimuddin visited East Bengal and declared in 1952 that Urdu alone would be the State language of Pakistan. This was contrary to his own commitment as Chief Minister of East Bengal to make Bengali one of the State languages, and the earlier open opposition to even the Quaid-e-Azam when he announced that Urdu alone would be the State language- in his convocation address at Dacca University and public meeting at Race Course Maidan in 1948. It may be remembered that Quaid-e-Azam himself did not say anything on the matter eversince. The Prime Minister’s assertion added fuel to an already burning situation, and from then on events and developments overtook all plants and programmes. Feeling were running higher and higher on both sides and on February 21, 1952, the police opened fire on student demonstrators for Bengali language and killed a few and continued oppression and repression on an unprecedented scale. This event has really turned the corner in the history of Pakistan.
It is in this confused situation of an explosive East Bengal that the second report of the BPC was published. This was not also acceptable to the country, but the biggest opposition to this came from the Punjab. East Bengal was so upset with a sense of betrayal and frustration that it was not in a mood to take any constitutional proposal seriously. What emerged as the uppermost development in East Bengal at that time was its strong opposition to the Muslim League and its Governments both at the Centre and in the Provinces. However, the second report of the BPC was being considered by the Muslim League Parliamentary Party at the Centre and was about to the accepted, when consideration was postponed at the instance of Prime Minister Nazimuddin, for reasons which were not clear to Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, who continued to pressurize the Prime Minister and the party to take early decision on the matter.
There was a basic lack of understanding among the various political groups which caused delay in Constitution making; this aggravated the situation further, and the Constituent Assembly was increasingly losing credibility among people, particularly in East Bengal. A large section of the Muslim League members formed the Awami Muslim League which was led by leaders like Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bashani, Ataur Rahman Khan, Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy, Shamsul Huq, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and so on. Sher-e-Bangla A.K. Fazlul Huq’s Krishak Praja Party was renamed Krishak Sramik Party. Opposition to the Muslim League was growing stronger and stronger, and isolated attempts by the Muslim League Chief Minister Nurul Amin to put forth the grievances and claims of East Bengal failed to produce any tangible results.
There was a great uncertainly in the political arena. And a democracy was yet to take its roots, the civil and military services joined hands and took full advantage of the situation in collusion with some unscrupulous political leaders. The first action of this unholy alliance was to dismiss the Nazimuddin cabinet in 1953 when the Budget had just been passed and the Cabinet had a big majority in the Assembly. Mr. Mohammad Ali of Bogra, who was Pakistan’s Ambassador to the USA was brought in and appointed Prime Minister. The Muslim League Party did not have the guts to oppose this politically and in their shortsightedness most political leaders were not unhappy that Nazimuddin Cabinet had been dismissed. This was the beginning of the death of democracy in Pakistan.
Mohammad Ali was not only accepted as the Prime Minister, but was also made the President of the Muslim League. The Assembly endorsed him as the leader of the House and he formed what he called an All-Talent Cabinet. However, undesirable politically, Mohammad Ali got busy quickly with the work of Constitution-making, and arrived at some kind of formula for solving the constitutional crisis. There were again attempts to cause delay, but for the first time a sense of urgency appears to have been exhibited by the Constituent Assembly for constitution making. The questions of one unit in West Pakistan and sub-federation in West Pakistan were raised, but they were both opposed and dropped. The second report of the Basic Principles Committee was adopted with some amendments and the stage was set detailed drafting of the constitution. The first to be taken up was the Interim Constitution¾ the Government of India Act as adapted and adopted for Pakistan. Amendments were made to curtail the powers of the Governor General. The Public Representative Office’s Disqualification Act was repealed and it was public knowledge that the Constituent Assembly was really out to make the Governor General a mere Constitutional Head of the State¾ a position not at all acceptable to the Governor General and his supporters in the Civil and military services. All these changes were made when the Governor General was away. When he returned he found that his powers had been reduced to nullity and that the Prime Minister had gone abroad after adjourning the Constituent Assembly. This appears to have been a big mistake, committed against the advice of Maulvi Khan and other senior leaders.
Last-Ditch Effort to Save Democracy in Pakistan
During the Prime Minister’s absence, Governor General Ghulam Mohammad finalised his plans to strike in collusion with top civil and military officers. On his return (around October 24, 1954), the Prime Minister was dramatically taken to the Governor General’s House, and the decision to dissolve the Constituent Assembly appears to have been forced on him. The Prime Minister agreed and formed a new cabinet that included General Iskander Mirza, General Ayub Khan and industrialist Ispahani. Strong and persistent pressure was put on Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan to continue as the President of the Constituent Assembly or to become a Minister, both of which he rejected outright. The situation was highly tense and several discussions took place particularly among the leaders from East Bengal. The Constitution drafting Committee had already completed its work, and only the last meeting of the drafting committee was to be held for finalising and signing of the report. The meeting was held on Monday, October 26, 1954 and the report was finalised. Maulvi Khan made up his mind to challenge the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly. There were two alternatives. The political one of defying the order and convening a meeting of the Assembly, or the legal one of challenging the decision in the court of law. It looks as if the political alternative was not favoured by Maulvi Khan and one or two colleagues; moreover, this would have obviously led to serious law and order situation, which would go in favour of the Administration in the context of the great confusion that existed among the political parties and forces in the country. Maulvi Khan therefore decided to challenge the decision in the Courts against all possible odds and threats hurled at him. His official residence in Bath Island Karachi was kept under heavy guard, and he could leave only in disguise through the back door and somehow managed to get to the court premises in a motor rickshaw¾ almost a miracle in view of the intense surveillance kept on his house and movements. The case was filed in the morning of the 7th of November, 1954, by Advocate Manzar-e-Alam, and Maulvi Khan spent the whole day in the library for fear of being picked up on the way. Before the filing of the case, the Administration did all it could to persuade and threaten Maulvi Khan¾ the persuaders included such powerful personalities as Minister General Iskander Mirza, Commissioner Nagir of Karachi, Secretary M.B. Ahmed of the Constituent Assembly and so on, in addition to the leaders from West and East Pakistan who joined the new Ministry. But Maulvi Khan adhered to his decision and went ahead with the case almost single-handed, both politically and financially.
The case created such a stir and sensation in the country (and also abroad) that everybody was stunned by the strength of character of this quiet man. One should have seen the tremendous public support that the case elicited¾ during the sessions of the court, not only were requests far too many to attend the hearings, but what was really unique is that the entire court compound would be filled up with ordinary people who would come with prayer mats and sit in prayers till the rising of the court. These people had little understanding of the inter-relationships between democracy, Constituent Assembly and Authoritarianism¾ but there was no mistake that their hearts were in their proper places in this struggle of people against a dictatorial Administration.”
“Tamizuddin Khan Versus Federation of Pakistan” Case
At this stage, a brief account of the case seems to be in order:
The case arose out of a proclamation issued by the Governor General on 24.10.1954, which, interalia, said: “The Governor General having considered the political crisis with which the country is faced, has with deep regret come to the conclusion that the constitutional machinery has broken down. He, therefore, has decided to declare a state of emergency throughout Pakistan. The constituent Assembly as at present constituted has lost the confidence of the people and can no longer function:. The Proclamation was interpreted as having dissolved the constituent Assembly; and the President of the Assembly, the Deputy President and members were physically prevented from functioning as such.
The Governor General also reconstituted his Council of Ministers, including some individuals who were not members of the Assembly. The Writs prayed for were (a) Mandamus, for restraining the Government from giving effect to the Proclamation and interfering with or obstructing the petitioner in the exercise of his functions and duties as the President of the Constituent Assembly, and (b) Quo Warranto, against the new Ministers who were appointed in violation of the Government of India (Fifth Amendment) Act 1954.
About the Proclamation, a Judge of the Sind Chief Court comments as follows:
“The language employed in the Proclamation is somewhat extra-ordinary. It will be noticed that neither section 5. Independence Act, nor any other provision of law has been cited in the Proclamation. It does not even say in clear and specific terms that the Constituent Assembly is dissolved. Normally, whenever any order is passed, it indicates the provision of law under which the power is exercised. The language of the Proclamation would therefore show that those responsible for its draft could not think of any provision of law”. Laymen may surely think that the Proclamation was issued in a hurry, and then justification sought to be found.
Remembering a few events of those days may help:
- a) The founder of Pakistan¾ Quaid-e-Azam Jinnah-met with an unexpected death in lathe 1948.
- b) Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in Rawalpindi in 1951 and no satisfactory investigation was held.
- c) Khwaja Nazimuddin, Chief Minister, East Bengal in 1947, and Governor General of Pakistan since 1948, came down to become Prime Minister in 1951; and Finance Minister Gholam Mohammad was appointed Governor General.
- d) Several Students were killed in Dhaka by police firing for their demand that Bengali should be one of the state languages.
- e) Prime Minister Nazimuddin was dismissed by Governor General Gholam Mohammed in 1953 inspite of a majority in the House, to which no objection was raised from any quarters.
- f) Mohammad Ali of Bogra was appointed Prime Minister in 1953, this was accepted by the House and the majority party the Muslim League.
- g) In the Provincial elections in East Bengal held in early 1954, the opposition “Huq-Bhasani-Suhrawardy United Front” won almost all the seats and the Muslim League was very badly defeated.
The above facts and circumstances might have contributed to the delay in constitution-making in Pakistan; but the real cause was a tragic lack of a sense of urgency and accountability on the part of the Government and the Constituent Assembly and an absence of strong and imaginative leadership able to understand the unique nature of the country calling for a unique constitution. One or two lone voices were raised but completely ignored, and the caravan went on, oblivious of what was happening or what might happen in future. One thing which must not be forgotten is that everybody was a party to the delay, including the mighty Governor General himself.
Be that as it may, the East Bengal elections of 1954 provided a shock treatment to the Constituent Assembly, Which then resumed work in right earnest. Consensus had been arrived at earlier on certain basic principles, and in the latter half of 1954, the drafting committee had several sessions and its report was ready, the final session of the Constituent Assembly was to be held, and announced by the Prime Minister, the Constitution was to be ready before 25/12/1954, the birthday of the Quaid-e-Azam.
It is understood that this draft Report recommended that, (a) the President would be a Constitutional. Head of state, (b) the Prime Minister would be the effective head of Government, and (c) Minister will all have to be members of Parliament. As an advance action, the Constituent Assembly amended, on 21.9.54, the Government of India Act 1935 (the interim Constitution) to contain the above provision. This was done when the Governor General was away from Karachi; the Assembly did a few more things and adjourned to meet again in December, and then the prime Minister went abroad. The Governor General came back from holiday, and found the political climate too hot and hard for himself and his fellow travelers in Administration¾ the thoroughbred bureaucrats. He decided to hit back, laid out a plan, and summoned the Prime Minister back home, who on arrival was taken from the airport to the Governor General’s House, and confronted with the Proclamation, and some powerful members of the new Council of Ministers. He was asked to reconstitute the Cabinet, to which he agreed, and the Proclamation was issued on the morning of 24.10.54.
Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, as President of the Constitute Assembly, submitted his Writ Petition before the Sind Chief Court on 7.11.54 asserting, interalia, :
- a) That the Governor General had no authority under any law either to issue the Proclamation or to dissolve the Constituent Assembly;
- b) That the constitutional machinery had not broken down, and the Constituent Assembly had not ceased to function;
- c) that constitutional laws passed by the constituent Assembly did not need the assent of the Governor General; and
- d) that only members of the Parliament could be appointed Ministers on the recommendation of the Prime Minister. The writs prayed for were: Mandamus against the Government, and Quo Warranto against the new Ministers.
Against this, the Government responded by asserting that;
- a) the Proclamation of the Governor General dissolving the Constituent Assembly was perfectly valid in law and facts;
- b) all laws passed by the Constituent Assembly, including those relating to Constitution, needed the assent of the Governor General; and
- c) the Sind Chief Court was not empowered to issue writs in view of the violation of (b) above.
The case was argued admirably well by both sides, based on their respective interpretations of relevant laws, conventions and practices. Constitutional Lawyers and researchers in law will find these materials highly interesting and illuminating for their purposes. The Chief Court of Sind came to the conclusion that the purported dissolution of the Constituent Assembly was a nullity in law, and that constitutional laws passed by the assembly were good and valid laws, accepted as such by the High Courts, the Federal Courts and the Governor General himself. There were forty six of them to be exact, till 24.10.54, involving such important matters as abolition of appeal to the privy council against decisions of the Federal Court. The order of the Court was:
A writ of Quo Warranto will issue against respondents 4,5,7,8 and 10 (non-Member Ministers) prohibiting them from exercising the office of Minister, and a writ of Mandamus will issue restoring the petitioner to his office as President of the Constituent Assembly by restraining respondents from interfering with his duties and obstructing him in the exercise of his functions.”
On appeal to the Federal Court, this judgement of the Sid Chief Court was set aside by a majority judgement on the ground that Section 223-A of the Government of India Act which granted writ jurisdiction to High Courts was not yet law, as it did not receive the assent of the Governor General. In view of this conclusion, the Court did not go into the other issues of the case. One Judge, Justice Cornelius, held that constitutional laws did not need assent, but the majority judgement prevailed, and the appeal was allowed.
This was the end of the case as such, but a beginning of a Pandora’s box of confusion arising out of invalidating laws which have been held as valid by courts, and acted upon as such by the Governor General himself. Now there was no Constituent Assembly or Federal Legislature. The Governor General promulgated an ordinance validating thirty five out of forty six impugned legislation’s with retrospective effect but the Federal Court turned it down; he wanted to constitute a Constituent Convention, but the Federal Court said it has to be a Constituent Assembly as before, which alone could validate the laws. However, to keep the administration going, the Federal Court agreed that the Governor General could validate these laws as they were, purely temporarily, till the Second Constituent Assembly was set up and took up this work. This was done, and somehow the administration was saved from collapse.
The Court also held that the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly was valid on the ground of “State Necessity”¾a controversial doctrine for more reasons than one. Thus the Second Constituent Assembly was constituted, validated thirty five laws assented to by the Governor General and passed a Constitution in 1956; and all members of the Assembly, including the Speaker went on a standing deputation to the Governor General for his assent.
Iskander Mirza was the new Governor General, who became President under the Constitution; Gholam Mohammad went into oblivion. The same thing happened to Mohammad Ali of Bogra, and Chaudhuri Mohammad Ali was the new Prime Minister. The relationship between the President and the Prime Minister can be seen form the way the President changed Prime Ministers and Cabinets, till he was himself sent into oblivion by the mighty Armed Forces.
The Federal Court’s judgement on appeal on the Constituent Assembly case created a sensation and consternation in all legal and constitutional circles. It was generally thought that the court debased its legal and constitutional expertise and image by refusing to call spade a spade and have recourse to a techno-legal fiction long out of use, and not observed at all in framing of the constitution of India, for example. One widely held view is that if it so chose, the Federal Court could have upheld the judgement of the Sind Chief Court and then invoke the doctrine of “State Necessity” to keep the administration functioning. This would have done essentially the same thing while upholding the rule of law. Judges in and out of Pakistan have widely criticised the invoking of the doctrine of State Necessity by the Federal Court. It is reported that the Chief Justice Munir himself has privately admitted that he had to give a political Judgement in this case. One only wishes that the hands of the Chief Justice were not forced to do this.
One may perhaps wonder as to what else the Chief Justice could do. Justice Cornelius, of course, opined that the Federal Court should have declared the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly as invalid and then suggested executive actions to keep the Administration going without unnecessary hindrances. Could this really have been done? If so, what were the possibilities ? One view is that the Federal Court could have rejected the appeal, which would have restored the constituent Assembly to its pre-dissolution position and result in the dismissal of the non-Member Ministers. The Federal Court could, almost in the same breath, request the Constituent Assembly to finalise and pass the Constitution by a certain date not extending beyond December 31, 1955. Meanwhile, all executive actions taken could have been protected against any legal/technical mischief. In this way, the image of the sovereign Constituent Assembly and the country could have been saved, the country could have had a Constitution by January 1, 1956, and what is more fundamentally important, the court action would have set at rest the Executive’s craze for establishing superiority over the legislature. It would the be unnecessary to go through the most unbecoming scene of the Members of a sovereign Constituent Assembly standing in a queue for the Constitution to be signed by the Governor General, himself a creation of the constitution !
A moot point to note in this connection is: How did the country react to the action of the Governor General and the verdict of the Federal Court ? On the one side was the legal- intellectual elite who considered the action to be all wrong and were unhappy about this decadence of the rule of law. There were also amazed and pleased by the tremendous public sympathy which was exhibited in favour of the President of the Constituent Assembly Maulvi Khan for his character, Courage and love for the rule of law. On the other hand, there was the political problem of an ineffective Constituent Assembly Changed beyond recognition, which had so far failed to deliver the good. It is said that the legal Suhrawardy wanted to appear in the case, but the political Suhrawardy was persuaded not to; this conflict between the legal and the political implications of the case was very real in almost all active minds. The question of any protest was out; and there was not even a critical analysis of the case in Pakistan. To crown it all, there was a ‘big’ fight between two ‘big’ political leaders of East Pakistan on who would first garland the Governor General on his first visit to the province after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly! This only shows that although constitutionally untenable, the Governor General’s action was accepted politically. This was more so in East Pakistan whose worries were greater because of he inordinate delay in Constitution making, and of the inherent contradiction in the situation in which the party dominating the Constituent Assembly¾ The Muslim League¾ met with an abominable defeat in the Provincial elections of 1954 and thereby lost the confidence of their electors particularly in East Pakistan. The Governor General had, therefore, rather an easy sailing on all accounts.
However, the case and the judgement thereon considerably added to the personal respect and prestige that Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan had always been enjoying in the minds of the people irrespective of political affiliations both at home and abroad. He was already the unanimously elected Founder President of Jamiat-ul-Fallah, Karachi, which still pays glorious tributes to him every year. The public tributes paid to him in various forms touched him very much emotionally, which made him forget his own personal problems, to which we shall now refer.
Maulvi Saheb vacated his official residence at Bath Island Karachi and moved to a hired flat at Bahadur Yar Jung Society, Nazimabad. For some time he was thinking of joining the Karachi Bar. He then visited Dhaka and decided to join the Dhaka Bar. He practiced in the High Court for some time then gave up the practice. Meanwhile he was elected unopposed to the office of the President of East Pakistan Muslim League against his whishes. He took a modest house at Purana Paltan; it was at this time that he started writing his memoirs. He had also written two novels in Bengali which however have not been published. Even the manuscripts of the books are not traceable in the Press that undertook its printing.
Since 1955 Maulvi Khan lived a quiet life in Dacca and Faridpur and visited West Pakistan a few times. He had a plot of land at Al-Helal Corporation Housing Society which he had to sell to overcome financial problems. He was not serious at his practice and made some hesitant attempts at business, which, however, did not favour him. He was quite happy with his retired life, and was at his best in the company of his grand children. He must have been watching the developments in the political field¾ the approval of the 1956 constitution by the Governor General who became President thereunder¾ the political groupings in the National Assembly and frequent changes in the cabinet, the great instability in the situation culminating in the declaration of Martial LAW on October 7, 1958 by President Iskandar Mirza, who, however, was deposed on October 27, 1958 by the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, General Ayub Khan, who became the Chief Martial Law Administrator and lather the President. Ayub Khan secured an affirmative vote in his favour in a referendum, appointed a Constitution Commission and approved a new Constitution in 1962, which gave the country a Presidential form of Government in place of the previous Parliamentary form. Members of the Union Councils were to be directly elected on universal adult franchise and they in turn elected Members of the Provincial and National Assemblies, as well as the President. The system was given the rather grandiloquent name of “Basic Democracy”.
Elections were held under the new constitution of 1962- first the President and then the National and Provincial Assemblies were elected. Miss Fatima Jinnah, the sister of the nation’s founder Quid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, stood against President Ayub and got tremendous support particularly in East Pakistan. Ayub Khan, however, was elected easily. There was opposition to the National Assembly elections, but there was no consensus. Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan sought election to the National Assembly and got elected from a Dacca-Faridpur constituency without much difficulty. Others elected from East Pakistan included Khan A. Sabur, Wahiduzzaman, Lal Miah, Fazlul Quader Chowdhury, Shah Azizur Rahman and so on.
Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan was elected the Speaker of the Pakistan National Assembly uncontested, which position be held with dignity till his death on August 19, 1963. Twice he acted as the President of Pakistan during Ayub’s absence. However, no one could feel that Maulvi Saheb was the President, such was his simplicity and humility.
He enjoyed tremendous respect in the House and outside, and there were many instances of a turbulent House coming to quiet order due to his presence. His decisions and rulings as Speaker are still quoted with reverence. His death was rather sudden, and when he knew it was coming, he flew to Dhaka in frail health, to lie buried close to his near and dear ones.
The Test of Time – my life and days
MAULVI TAMIZUDDIN KHAN