Today every Pakistani is celebrating the 72nd Independence Day of Pakistan, with great enthusiasm and anticipation. The Independence Day of Pakistan is a reminder of struggles and sacrifices that were made during the freedom movement by Muslim men and women of sub-continent. They worked ceaselessly under the leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah to get an independent country. Without their participation and support, it was almost impossible to get freedom from British Empire. Today is the right time to pay tribute to those unsung heroes of the Pakistan Movement who devoted their energies towards getting a separate state for the Muslims of Sub-continent.
FATIMA BINTE-A-MEHBOOB ALAM
The history of Pakistan freedom would be incomplete without stating the contributions of women. Muslim women played a significant role before and after the independence of Pakistan. They worked hard to create political awareness among Muslim women of subcontinent. One such brilliant woman was Fatima Begum. She was the first female Muslim journalist of British occupied India. She was the editor of a fortnightly magazine for women "Sharif Bibi" in 1909. Later, she started publishing a weekly magazine 'Khatun'. The purpose of both the magazines was mental, moral, and political training of the Muslim women.
Besides working as Editor of Magazines for Muslim women, she had served as Joint Secretary and Secretary of two very prominent Lahore-based Organizations of Muslim Women; Anjuman-i-Khatunan-i-Islam (Muslim Women's Association) and Anjuman-i-Hami-i-Begmat-i-Urdu (Muslim Women Association for the Support of Urdu) respectively. As a journalist, lecturer, and political worker, she played a pivotal role in motivating and organizing the women of the Punjab.
During the Muslim League election campaign 1946, Fatima Begum participated actively along with the other eminent Muslim women. She visited many urban and rural areas of West Punjab to persuade Muslim women to cast their vote for Pakistan. Fatima Begum wrote to Jinnah while giving report to him about her tours: "During the last week, I visited Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Gujarat, Wazirabad and Gujranwala and addressed women's meetings at all these places. They had the desired effect everywhere and I was able to enroll about 400 members in the women's section of the League. A lady from Jhelum who was formerly a Congressite has now become a staunch Leaguer."
After independence of Pakistan, she devoted herself for the welfare of young girls and women of the newly born country. She with the help of Taj Sultana established Fatima Girls High School at Justice Jameel Hussain Road adjacent to Lahore High Court in 1953. She had given refuge to some lonely women whose families could not be found. She stepped forward to help abducted Muslim women, who were mentally and physically highly disturbed due to their post partition horrible experiences. "She dined with them, listened to them, cried with them and gave them financial support".
AMJADI BANO BEGUM
The brave and courageous Amjadi Begum was the first Muslim female political leader of British India. She started her political career at a time when women were restricted to their homes and their obligation was to take care of their home and children. She belonged to a religious family of Rampur. She got her early education at home. Later, she enriched her thirst of knowledge from a large collection of religious books at home. She got married to Molana Muhammad Ali Johar in 1902 and with the support of her husband and mother-in-law; she broke all the restriction and joined Khilafat Movement. In every journey and meeting of Molana she went along with him, even she attended the Round Table Conference of London in 1930.
KHAN JALALUDDIN KHAN
The untiring efforts of Khan Jalal, also known as Jalal Baba, made it possible for Muslim League to get strength and popularity in Hazara. His father Sheikh Ghulam Mohammad was a black smith who had migrated to Hazara in the band of Mujahedeen under the banner of Syed Ahmad Barelvi before the 1857 War of Independence.
Jalaluddin joined the All-India Muslim League in 1935 and eventually became President of the Hazara branch of the Muslim League during the 1940s. Jalal Baba was among the first ones to set off the "Direct Action" in the struggle for Pakistan by moving a resolution in the All-India Muslim League meeting in July 1946, recommending the rejection of titles, bestowed by the British Government. "He was among the first ones to renounce his titles given by the British in 1946 and was widely regarded as the "Winner of Referendum" in 1947".
In July 1947, the Muslim League launched the Civil Disobedience Movement. Jalal Baba was among the first ones to ask for arrest from Hazara followed by others in such large numbers that the jails were filled to capacity with the political prisoners. He was released from jail only after the declaration of independence and the establishment of Pakistan on 14 August 1947.
Historians unanimously agree that "Jalal-ud-Din Khan's services during the Pakistan Movement were too numerous to be recounted. On 18 June 1947, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah set up a Commission to see that the cause of the Muslim League was upheld successfully in the upcoming Referendum. He himself was the Chairman of the Commission. The other members of the Commission were I.I. Chundrigar, Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Syed Wajid Ali, Jalal-ud-Din Khan Jalal Baba, Raja Haider Zaman and Sardar Bahadur Khan. The Referendum lasted from 6 July 1947 to 17 July 1947. Jalal Baba worked from dawn to dusk for the Referendum, provided funds and, being a transporter and transport contractor, used his transport for this purpose".
SYED ZIAUDDINN ANDRABI
In the Kashmir Valley, Pakistan Movement was greatly supported by Syed Ziauddin Andrabi. The active leader of the valley was among the founders of the all Jammu and Kashmir Muslim Conference (AKMC). In 1946, Muhammad Ali Jinnah visited the Kashmir Valley and welcomed by Andrabi. During the first war between India and Pakistan, Andrabi gave his support to freedom fighters in Srinagar. Since he supported Pakistan, he had to migrate to Pakistan from Indian occupied Kashmir. Fatima Jinnah, herself requested him to continue his political activities in Kashmir. In 1952, Andrabi was appointed as the president of AJKMC in the Jhelum convention.
Keeping in view his services, the then Pakistani Prime Minister, Khawaja Nazimuddin, personally requested Andrabi to join Colonel Sher's cabinet as a senior minister in AJK along with Ministers Sardar Qayyum and Chaudhry Hamidullah. He was also given charge of seven key ministries in AJK, including health. The brave freedom fighter died on 23 March 1961. He was buried in Rawalpindi because he was unwilling to buried in Kashmir until the freedom of Indian occupied Kashmir.
The unsung hero of Pakistan Movement struggled tirelessly to win mass support of Bengal Muslims for Pakistan. He wanted to free the Muslim Bengal society from the damages of capitalism and religious fanaticism. He dreamed to establish a more caring society based on Islamic socialism. Therefore, He chose Muslim League as a platform for the realization of a just and democratic society.
Asma Ziaullah writes, "Abul Hashim can easily be classified as the sole politician who was responsible for making Muslim League a mass party with more than a million registered members, his extraordinary organizing and rhetorical skills were matched by his high intellect and humanistic attitude, above all, he was an "enlightened Islamic scholar" and a "visionary thinker".
Abul Hashim was a law graduate from Calcutta University. He started his political career in 1936 with his election to the Bengal Legislative Assembly. In 1937 Jinnah met him at Ispahani's house and Hashim, in his autobiography narrates that when Jinnah said, "Come, let us organize ourselves in such a way that we could oust the opportunists in Bengal and Punjab in 24 hours, Hashim thought he was speaking of Khawaja Nazimuddin and Sir Sikandar Hayat and the other landed gentry. He was disillusioned."
On November 7, 1943, Abul Hashim was elected the Secretary General of Bengal provincial Muslim League. The election of Abul Hashim to the Secretary ship of Bengal Muslim League marked the beginning of a new era in its history. His most outstanding contribution was that he freed Muslim League from the coterie of property owners and industrialists and Islamic orthodox.
Muslim women of sub-continent shouldered several critical responsibilities in the independence struggle. They bravely faced the truncheon of the police and even went behind bars. One such brave woman was Zahida Mushtaq. The freedom fighter from Sialkot had participated in many rallies and demonstrations to support the Independence Movement. In a newspaper interview, she recalled the historic moment of her life and said, "We used to go to demonstrations before partition. Begum Tassadiq Hussain would tell us that women will go to a rally on such and such day.
While men and women would go to demonstrations together - and the men would be around us to protect us - the biggest rally that I was a part of went to the Civil Secretariat in Lahore. There too, men surrounded the women for protection. Begum Shahnawaz was there too, at the front, and we were accompanying her. When we got to the Secretariat, we encouraged each other to climb the gate, because it was very tall. My older sister, Shamim, along with a number of other girls, climbed over the gate and then got onto the roof of the Secretariat with the help of the men. I was still climbing the gate when Shamim hoisted the Pakistani flag onto the flagpole of the Secretariat. Once we got down, we were arrested by the British."
ZUBEIDA HABIB RAHIMTOOLA
She was the President of All-India Muslim League in the UK and founding member of All Pakistan Women's Association. She was a political and social worker. Zubeida Rahimtoola was one of the founding members of the All Pakistan Women's Association (APWA). As she was based in the United Kingdom at partition in 1947 she became the first President of APWA UK. She was the first President of the Jinnah's All-India Muslim League in the United Kingdom after partition.
Upon return to Pakistan in 1953, she continued her work with APWA. She remained leader of various delegations of the organization to Afro-Asia Conferences and China. Zubeida remained President of the Sindh APWA (1953-54) - this was followed by being Vice President APWA National (1955-58). She also remained Chairman APWA Cottage Industry (1956-74). Finally, she became Chairman Karachi APWA (1991-97). She was also the holder of Secretary position of Pakistan American Cultural Center.
NASEER AHMED MALHI
The political career of Malhi started with the Congress Party. In 1940, he attended the Lahore Conference which was held by the All India Muslim League. It was the turning point of his political career. He concluded that only Muslim League had the immense
Naseer Ahmed Malhi potential for solving the problems of the Muslims of India. He joined the Muslim League's Sialkot chapter and soon become its president. In 1943, Malhi met Muhammad Ali Jinnah at Jinnah House on Malabar Hill, Bombay. It was on Malhi's advice that what became the historic Sialkot Convention was planned for Punjab. Held in Sialkot city in May 1944, this convention was attended by Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazimuddin, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan, Mumtaz Daultana, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, Iftikhar Hussain Khan Mamdot and Mian Iftikharuddin among other Muslim League luminaries.
Historians regarded The Sialkot Convention a landmark in Freedom Movement. The event gave Muslim League huge popularity in undivided Punjab. "It broke the Unionist Party's hold over the Muslims of Punjab and persuaded their sentiments towards the Muslim League and the Pakistan Movement, paving the way for the eventual formation of Pakistan."
Acknowledging the convention's impact, Jinnah stated, "I have a feeling today, that Pakistan has come into existence". Jinnah attributed the success of this convention to Malhi. Embracing him, he commented, "Malhi, no doubt, you are Lord Malhi." Jinnah made Malhi the head of the Muslim League of Punjab, a post that Malhi maintained until 1971. After Independence, Malhi was appointed as the nation's first Education Minister. It was during his tenure that school uniforms were introduced in Pakistan.