“Was it the 14 or 15 August?”

By Lt Col S. Riaz Jafri (Retd) 7th PMA

Lt Col S. Riaz Jafri (Retd), Sigs, 7 PMAEditor’s Note:  Lt Col S. Riaz Jafri (Retd) was commissioned in a Signals Regt in Feb 1953. After the retirement, he has settled in Rawalpindi. Currently, he is the Vice Chairman of Pakistan Thinkers Forum.

George Orwell, a great philosopher warned the mankind in no uncertain words that, “The most effective way to destroy a people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”  Unfortunately, our pseudo intellectuals and the so-called historians seem to follow this maxim, though admittedly unwittingly, and feed us some bizarre stories of their liking and inventions. It all started with the process of the Islamization of Pakistan and anything even remotely Islamic whether warranted or not had to be incorporated in and associated with our nascent history in the making.  Anything of the pre-partioned subcontinent was Indian and alien to our history and culture, so much so that even the before-1947 songs of Noor Jehan, born, bred and buried in Pakistan, were considered Indian songs and considered a taboo by our patriotic Radio Pakistan to air them! At the same time our newly found religious frenzy made our ‘scholars’ lose  sight of all pragmatism to introduce such bizarre stories in our schools’ text books that carried a most nonsensical recounting of our army soldiers throwing  themselves before the Indian tanks at Chawinda in 1965 War with mines tied to their chests to  embrace martyrdom (shahadat)?  Stupid, firstly, their Commanding Officer would have been court-martialled for not ensuring the safety of the men under his command.  And, secondly, if a soldier could get that close to the enemy tank to lay himself under its tracks then what stopped him from mounting the tank from the rear and lobbing a grenade in the hull that would have killed all its crew apart from exploding the tank’s main gun ammunition inside that would have destroyed the very tank itself ?!!

Whatever, I for one would like to stand up and be counted to unearth the facts of our history as truly as possible.

A few days ago I had written an article “11 August – OUR MAGNA CHARTA” establishing that our founding fathers had no intention of Pakistan becoming a religious state in the sense that our rightist are trying to make it one, as according to them religion was a personal matter that had nothing to do with the business of the state.  Naturally,  no daily, weekly or magazine dare publish it, except that it got a thundering response on the social media networks.  I expect the same to happen to this article as well but that shall not deter an eye-witness me from speaking out the truth.

And the truth is that Pakistan was not LIBERATED but CREATED at midnight August 14/15, 1947. It was Bharat that was LIBERATED and got its independence. These are two distinct facets of our history and we should be able differentiate between them. Pakistan, mind you Sirs – Pakistan,  was NEVER a slave country and/or ruled over by any foreign power. It was a born free country.  We should, therefore, not commemorate its “independence” day  but celebrate its ‘Birthday”. Actually, only the British – the Sovereigns – could legally and constitutionally ‘create’ Pakistan while they were still in power or else, once India became independent and a free country then it would have been up to its Constituent Assembly to legislate to carve out or not Pakistan from its main body.  And who knows with the Hindu absolute majority in the assemblies and the Gandhi’s stance of, “Cut me into two before you cut India ! into two”, the Indian parliament would have agreed or not to the partitioning of India?!

Secondly, the birthday should be celebrated on the 15th August as it was done in the initial few years (four or five years) in the beginning. Please see the commemorative postal stamps of the birth anniversary of Pakistan of the time reproduced here to prove what I say. 15 August 1947 can clearly be read on these.

Pakistan's Independence Day as 15 August 1947 printed on Postage Stamps

It was a later thought and some bright maulvi made it up to coincide with the 27th of Ramzan which had fallen on the 14th August 1947 instead of the 15th.

History must be read untarnished and as factual as possible. For, “Study the past if you would define the future”.  Said Confucius long ago. Another great mind, Michael Crichton, reminded the mortals, “If you don’t know history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it is part of a tree.”

My appeal to all especially the younger generation, read and read correct and unbiased history to know of your rich heritage which has an enormously important place in the realm of our  human civilisation.

Editor’s Note: There was a confusion even during Quaid’s life time as to which date was Pakistan’s actual date of independence. It wasn’t until early 1949, that this confusion was cleared by declaring 14 August as Independence Day. Please see the official website of State Bank of Pakistan: http://www.sbp.org.pk/museum/stmp.htm
The version of State Bankof Pakistan is shown as under:-

State Bank of Pakistan's verdict about Pakistan Independence day on 14 Aug or 15 Aug

Related Page:
Pakistan Army Blog (Retired Officers)

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  1. Mohummud Idrees Husain says:

    14th August has a merit. Before India was given independence, Pakistan needed to be carved out as per the British Government’s promise and it had to be therefore created out of the British Indian empire in the last minutes of the midnight before India’s independence on the 14th of August. The date changed to 15th at midnight and India won liberation as well. Pakistan’s postage stamps were printed in London and to everyone the date of independence of India was printed as 15 on stamps because that was taken as the day of transfer of power. Pakistan was first given this honour naturally as it had to be created first before the Indian independence. Stamps are really showing the incapacity of our organizational anticipation in not ensuring that these stamps were dated 14th instead of the 15 which was India’s independence right at the stroke of genius midnight of 14/15.

  2. Air Commodore Akber Mehdi (retd) says:

    Your contention that Pakistan was ‘Created” is correct as Pakistan was never a British colony. It was India that was a British colony and was granted Independence by the British. We now need to save Pakistan by becoming Pakistanis.

  3. Afzaal Khan says:

    Col Jafri,
    Perhaps you can shed light on the 1949 plane crash and the loss of Gen Iftikhar Khan, first designated Commander-in-Chief’s loss.

  4. Lt Col Muhammad Tayyab (Retd), 8th War Course says:

    My name is Tayyab, 8th War Course, a very bad cadet of Platoon No. 4. Retired as Lt Col from Arty. I read your articles with keen interest. Your love for Army is the focal point of all your articles.
    God bless you, sir .

  5. Col Shah Alam (R), Avn (34 PMA) says:

    An article that deserves a place in the archives of Pakistan’s history and one that needs to be read twice over.

    I was never aware of the anomaly on the date of celebration of our Independence. The undeniable documentary evidence produced (the postal stamps) eliminates the need to establish its credence.

    Equally relevant is the subtle difference highlighted between Liberation and Creation. Again I never looked at it that way but it sounds logical and factual that ours was a Creation.

    Read history—that’s what you advise: indeed a valuable advise but which one? The zealous writers have already injected so many lies in history and made it so convoluted that it’s difficult to find books that contain truth. Take the case of the Father of the Nation, the Quaid-e-Azam. Books written on him portray him to the extremes, some elevate him to the level of a prophet, others take a more balanced approach (Freedom at Midnight) while still others do not hesitate dubbing him an infidel.

    Why stop at the Quaid! As I read more books on Islam my faith is getting jolted to the roots. Reading that the body of our Holy Prophet was slipped into the grave in the middle of the night in a sizzling June by merely four people (unattended by the Ummah) doesn’t leave one comforted about our history as Muslims either.

    Thank you, Col Jafri, for having me better educated on some lost facts about Pakistan.

  6. Sir,
    I absolutely agree with your contention about soldiers throwing themselves in front of tanks as nothing could be farther from truth. Secondly I’ve long held that Pakistan was created by the British as they did Kuwait, Paleatine, and so many more new states. We just happen to be its beneficiaries and that probably is the reason we don’t value it much, as is evident from our behaviour.

  7. Col Riaz Jafri,
    An interesting article. It will generate a debate about the myth of our soldiers throwing themselves before the Indian tanks at Chawinda in 1965 War with mines tied to their chests.

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