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Safar 11, 1440

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Pakistan Standard Time 9:36 am


Lahore mourns for Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah

Telegram from Hooker A. Doolittle, American Consul General (Lahore) to US Secretary of State, Washington: September 14, 1948

American Consulate General,
Lahore, Pakistan,
September 14, 1948
Despatch No. 69

The Honorable
The Secretary of State,
Washington, DC

I have the honor to refer to report that the news of Mr. Jinnah's death was received in Lahore shortly after eleven PM Saturday, September 11th. The District Commissioner of Lahore, M. I. Rahim, announced the bad news to a stunned group at the Gymkhana Club dinner dance where many West Punjab officials, our own staff and that of the British Deputy High Commissioner were present. The party immediately broke up and Cootes and I had a meeting with British officials at the home of the Manager of the Imperial Bank of India where we agreed that tragic as the situation appeared no immediate action seemed called for in regard to our colonies.

The following day was taken up by visits of condolence and running down rumors of a possible successor to Mr. Jinnah, ranging from the Nawab of Bhopal or the Aga Khan to Sir Francis Mudie, Governor of the West Punjab. A copy of my letter of condolence to the Governor is attached. Hastily organized memorial services were held in the public parks for the citizens of Lahore and in the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals of the city for the Christian communities. A military parade of the Lahore garrison at the Cantonment followed at six PM under Brigadier Rodham, commanding the 10th division. The last post was sounded and 31 guns were fired.

Monday brought the news of the Indian invasion of Hyderabad State on the lines and accompanied by the same propaganda as the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Hitler. A startling parallel runs through the Indian announcement of their humanitarian motives in bringing fire and sword to that State. Other than anxious crowds gathered at newspaper offices, the city was like a dead town due to the closing of all government and business offices but in the afternoon crowds of demonstrators toured the city shouting "Pakistan Zindabad" - "Hyderabad Zindabad" and at 4:30 PM a group of about a hundred gathered at the gate of Government House, only a hundred yards from the entrance to this Consulate General, shouting for permission from His Excellency to make an immediate attack on Amritsar. They were dispersed with little effort and went back to town where a giant mass meeting which I would estimate at well around one hundred thousand listened for the most part in silence to a series of speeches from Chaudri Nazeer Ahmad, member of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly, Sahib Bahadur S.P. Singha, President Pakistan Christian Association, Mr. Dinshaw B. Challa, President of the Parsees, Mufti Mohammad Hasan and the Premier of the West Punjab, Khan Iftikar Hussain Khan of Mamdot.

During the rabble rousing Koranic injunctions of the Mufti, the fourth speaker, the crowd began to get restive and Sardar Sampuram Singh, Deputy High Commissioner for India in Lahore, who sat next to me, was hastily advised to leave which he did as unobtrusively as possible under cover of the elevated stand on which we sat with the speakers. A small escort of plain clothes police rushed him to the car and away just in time. At the conclusion of the meeting the crowd roared the adoption of a motion by Premier Iftikar Khan to pledge themselves to work for the ideals of the deceased Quaid-i-Azam. As we left, the Premier was mobbed by the crowd which began to shout anti-Indian and pro-Hyderabad slogans. The spectacle of one of these vast Oriental crowds is impressive but rather frightening when it is realized that only a spark, a small scuffle, a rumor is sufficient to turn it into a turbulent murderous mob. As there are luckily practically no Hindus left in Lahore as targets the crowd broke up peaceably enough, although another group, this time estimated at about two thousand, again came to the gate of Government House for action against India.

So far - Tuesday morning - Lahore is quiet and most of the smaller shops and bazaars have reopened under instructions of the Government who evidently prefer to have the people at work than milling about in the present explosive situation. The banks and larger establishments are still closed.

Respectfully yours,
Hooker A. Doolittle
American Consul General

Copies to:
American Embassy, Karachi
American Embassy, Delhi


United Kingdom

In fact, politically Gandhi now carried little weight, but it was of the utmost importance that Mountbatten should have a close understanding and friendship with India's beloved prophet, and this, he succeeded in achieving. The other major politicians and statesmen, in turn, warmed to the aura of affection and goodwill and at the same time recognised Mountbatten's genuine love for their people. But the one man who could drive home the bolt and secure the lock of united India was Jinnah. 'Jinnah was the Muslim League' said Mountbatten. 'He held the future of India in his hands. I tried the same technique with him but it was almost impossible to warm him. He had only one dream and that was a separate Muslim state.

The Hindu leaders, trained by Gandhi, dropped him as of no use when the decisive moment arrived. The Quaid could not be budged - He wanted Pakistan, and he won it!

Mountbatten, Hero of Our Time, Weidenfels & Nicholson, London, 1980, p. 218
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