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In 1906, All India Muslim League was formed to promote feelings of loyalty to the British and advance
Muslim political interests. They petitioned the Viceroy that in any political move, Muslim interests be taken
into account. The 1909 India Councils Act rewarded Muslim loyalty. The act gave Muslims separate
electorates, where they could elect their own representatives to the Legislative Council. Some people claim
that this move foreshadowed the birth of Pakistan. Muslims began to feel isolated and their fears were
boosted by European attacks on Muslim countries such as the fight against Turkey in the First World War.
They saw Britain leading a Christian crusade against Islam. More and more Muslims decided to transfer to
the Congress party. In 1916, the Muslim League and the Congress signed the Lukhnow Pact: Congress
accepted separate Muslim electorates in return for League support in its cause to drive out the British.
Mohammad Ali Jinnah was initially a Congress member and endeavored to bring about the political union of
Muslims and Hindus. He left Congress in 1920. but the turning point came when Congress leaders ignored
Muslim demands for one third of the seats in any future parliaments. Jinnah never trusted Congress after
several exclusions of Muslim interest in Congress decisions. He worked furiously to amass Muslim support
for the League to show the world that the League and the League only was the true representation of India's
In March 1940, Jinnah submitted the Lahore Resolution, also known as Pakistan Resolution. In it was the
essence of Pakistan: "The Muslims and the Hindus belong to two different religious philosophies: they
neither intermarry nor interdine....Muslims are a nation and according to any definition of a nation they must
have their homelands, their territory, their state." The idea of separate Muslim state was gaining favor,
despite opposition from the Congress. It led to terrible violence as Muslims and Hindus turned on each other
in an atmosphere of unease about the future.
Viceroy Lord Louis Mountbatten announced that Pakistan would receive its independence on 14th August
1947. The announcement of the new border resulted in the greatest migration in the human history, as some
seven to eight million Muslims left India and the same number of Hindus made the journey in opposite
direction. In Karachi on 14th August 1947, the flag of Pakistan flew for the first time. Governor General of
the new Islamic state was Mohammad Ali Jinnah.
Following the partition of India in 1947, the area of Bangladesh became a province of Pakistan, initially
known as East Bengal, and then, from 1955, as East Pakistan. The people of East Pakistan Province declared
their independence as the nation of Bangladesh on March 26, 1971, while fighting a savage war against the
central Pakistani government. The separation from Pakistan took place, with extensive aid from India, on
December 16, 1971 as a result of the third Indo-Pakistan War. Bangladesh was soon recognized by most
other nations, although Pakistan withheld diplomatic recognition until 1974 and China did not recognize the
nation until 1976. Bangladesh was admitted to the United Nations in 1974.
King Zahir Shah ruled Afghanistan for 40 years, from 1933 to 1973. He was not regarded as an inspired or
imaginative leader, and indeed he hardly led at all, preferring to take it easy and to let the tribes govern
themselves. Not much good was said about Zahir Shah at that time, but today almost all Afghans long for his
return, considering what happened after he was removed from power.
In about 1955, the Government of Afghanistan approached the United States of America for military
assistance. Afghanistan wanted not only weapons but also to send her officers to the United States for
military training. President Eisenhower considered this request but rejected it. Eisenhower said that
Afghanistan was too far flung in location. American interests did not extend that far. Every country was
asking for hand-outs, and the line had to be drawn somewhere. Eisenhower decided to draw the line at
But the friendly Soviet Union up north was not so reluctant. After being turned down by President
Eisenhower, the Afghans, in spite having misgivings about their northern neighbor, decided to seek military
assistance there. The Soviets were more than happy to oblige. They gladly supplied military armaments.
More than that, all top officers in the Military of Afghanistan were sent to the Soviet Union for training,
where they became fluent in the Russian language and familiar with Soviet methods for putting down
insurgencies. The Soviet Union also generously gave Afghanistan two roads. One led from the Soviet
boarder down the Western side of Afghanistan to Herat and then to Kandahar. The other came past Mazar,
through the Hindu Kush Mountains via the Salang Tunnel, which the Soviets built, and into Kabul. The
Afghans immediately noticed that the Salang Tunnel was such an engineering marvel that even tanks and
armored personnel carriers could get through it. Meanwhile, the Americans built a road from Kandahar to
Kabul and then to Jalalabad and to the boarder with Pakistan, almost to the Khyber Pass.
In 1973, King Zahir Shah decided to take a holiday in Italy. While away on vacation, his cousin, Daud Khan,
who was also the prime minister, decided to seize power. King Zahir Shah did not return to Afghanistan and
did not contest the matter. He remains in Italy with his two sons, Ahmed Shah and Nadir Shah, to this day.
On April 28, 1978, tanks and troops came through the streets of Kabul. The Soviet built aircraft of the
Afghan air force strafed the Kabul Radio and Television station. A Soviet backed government took power.
Of course, there were almost no foreign witnesses, as all foreigners had been ordered to leave Afghanistan by
that day. That was the reason that the Soviet sponsored group had picked that particular day to stage their
A handful of United States Marine Guards were almost the only foreign eye-witnesses. It happens that the US
Embassy is located next door to the Afghanistan Radio-Television Station. The first place that the insurgent
group attacked, even before they attacked the Royal Palace, was the Afghan Radio-TV station. Why?
Because the largely illiterate population of Afghanistan, living in a predominantly primitive rural country
without even working telephones or most other methods of communication, rely extensively on radio and
television for their news. In short: Whomever controls the radio station, controls Afghanistan.
1. What was the Lukhnow Pact ?
2. Why did Jinnah believe that India’s Muslims needed their own country ?
3. What was the result of the creation of India and Pakistan ?
4. How did Bangladesh gain their independence ?
5. Why did the United States reject Afghanistan’s request for military aid ?
6. What was the result of the United State’s rejection of Afghanistan ?
7. Why did the Soviets choose April 28 1978 to invade Afghanistan ?
8 If you were the President, how would protest the Soviets actions without military force ?