Although Council Muslim League leadership also took part in the formation of One Unit and campaigned for it. But, around 1957 they noticed malpractices at the central level, and disagreements among provinces.
Dr. Zaffar Junejo
(Author’s Note: One Unit was dissolved on 1st July, 1970. Sindhi nation along with Bengalis, Balochis, and Pathans fought against it through platforms of cultural associations, literary organizations and political parties. By and large One Unit was opposed across Pakistan however the Anti-One Unit Movement’s epicenter was Sindh. Sindh opposed One Unit because it was considered a tool to alter its demography, grab resources and strategically control wealth of the province. Sindhi nationalists, supported by other political parties forged an association to realize one point agenda – dismantle One Unit. They carried the struggle in all odd and even situations, and bore the cost – jails, punishments, insults, life threats and issuing of ‘certificates’ of disloyalty and treachery but they continued their struggles, and got it undone – Sindh was restored with its full name, and titles.
In 2020, an idea was floated by some Sindh-lovers that Sindh has to celebrate Anti-One Unit Abolition Day as the Golden Jubilee event, just to cherish, and recall the successful struggle of Sindhi peoples. In this regard, the author intends to translate some of the basic and most relevant documents from Sindhi language into English, in sprit of celebration and remembrance. The first in the series is Saeen GM Syed’s article: One Unit Jo Qiyam: Mukhalfan Ja Khadsha and Muwafqan Ja Faidi Mean Dalil (Formation of One Unit: Opponents’ Apprehensions and Supporters’ Arguments in its favor)
The article is taken from the booklet: One Unit Ji Kahani (The Story of One Unit). The book was authored by GM Syed and published by Yar Muhammad Ibin Hayat Panhwar, Secretary Sindh Mutaheda Mahaz, Markazi Office, Al-Khalil Building, Qazi Qayoum Road, Hyderabad. Its printer was Begum Zeenat Channa, ‘Zeenat Printers’ Khokhar Mahlo Hyderabad. Its first edition with 2000 copied came in November, 1969 – Dr. Zaffar Junejo.)
Formation of One Unit – Part- V
Opponents’ Apprehensions and Supporters’ Arguments in its favor
Council Muslim League
In fact, this party carried spiritual – inheritance of the Muslim League. Most of its members compared to workers of the Conventional Muslim League were mature, less opportunist, and relatively realistic. Although its main leadership also took part in the formation of One Unit and campaigned for it. But, around 1957 they noticed malpractices at the central level, and disagreements among provinces. Therefore, they concluded that One Unit Scheme has failed to unite the provinces, and had shattered common ground. Consequently, they realized that One Unit has waned hatred and catalyzed disintegration process. Therefore, they concluded that the existence of One Unit Scheme was not in benefit of even the people of Punjab. Resultantly, some top leadership of this party, for instance Mian Mumtaz Daultana, Sardar Bahadur Khan, Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, Qazi Isa and Khanbahadur Khuhro contacted us. They signed the treaty with ‘Sindh Mutaheda Mahaz’ for the dissolution of One Unit.
Later on, this agreement created a basis to move One Unit dissolution resolution in the West Pakistan Assembly. Dr. Khan Saheb’s government opposed it, on that day by design, members consumed a lot of time in debates, and at the end, the Speaker played a trick and members walked out. Therefore, in this way the government succeeded to stop the Anti-One Unit resolution. Consequently, we, Muslim League, and Republican Party’s like-minded members raised the issue of ‘Grant’ and compelled Dr. Khan Saheb to resign. Therefore, for a brief time the Governor’s rule was imposed. Afterwards, members of the Republican Party came into senses. Soon through mediators they had a dialogue with us about the dissolution of One Unit.
Mirza Sikander initiated the process, and Pir Saheb Pagaro and some ex-ministers of the Republican Party mediated. Finally, the negotiations, led to have an agreement. The objective of the agreement was to disband One Unit, and re-instate the provinces. The agreement was signed by Sardar Abdul Rashid, Sarfraz Khan Noon, and Colonel Abid Hussain. At that time, Sindh Mutaheda Mahaz had disolved itself to form the National Awami Party. I presented both agreements in the meeting of the Working Committee of National Awami Party. The meeting was attended by a large number of members from Punjab. In fact, Mian Iftikharuddin and Mian Muhammad Ali convinced them to attend the meeting. However, number of attendees from the small provinces was low, perhaps due to short notice. In the Working Committee meeting, the majority rejected the Council Muslim League’s agreement, and voted in favour of the Republican agreement. Therefore, the Muslim League Assembly party was justified in saying that the Republican’s signed the agreement with the Sindh Mutaheda Mahaz, because the Council Muslim League’s already signed agreement compelled them to do so, in addition to that they reminded that their part to get resignation from Dr. Khan’s government shouldn’t be ignored.
Obviously, the Council Muslim League considered rejecting of their agreement as a betrayal. However, in such awkward situation, they showed statesmanship, honesty and didn’t oppose One Unit dissolution resolution. In addition to that, they allowed Khanbahadur Khuhro’s group to vote in support of One Unit abolition resolution.
Afterwards, an opposition group of the Muslim League organized a campaign against Council Muslim League and Mian Mumtaz Daultana. The situation reached to the extreme level and it conditioned Council Muslim League to gather in Dhaka, and pass One Unit abolition resolution, which is still intact and never undone or rejected.
Presently, some sensible leaders of the Council Muslim League realized that One Unit has become a threat to small provinces, Punjab and even it has challenged the existence and uniformity of Pakistan. Therefore, their statements against One Unit started to appear in newspapers. Although, considering the upcoming election, they are afraid of workers of Jamat Islami, Conventional Muslim League, and Pakistan Jamhori Party. So, they support the constitution of 1956, and idea of the zonal federation. Thus, we may say that apparently they uphold the principle and accept that One Unit should be abolished. Although, in their constituencies they are afraid of voters, therefore, they support One Unit. Considering the situation, it has been realized that they would not act against popular trend, if some of them do, they might lose their seats. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect too much from them. If some people from us trust them, it indicates that they are either simpleton or in a way they also support the One Unit.
Dr. Zaffar Junejo has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Malaya. His areas of interest are post-colonial history, social history and peasants’ history.