Header Ads

Breaking News
recent

Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy


Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy ; September 8, 1892 - December 5, 1963, Beirut) was a Pakistani left-wing statesman of Bengali origin, and one of the principal Founding Fathers of modern-day Pakistan. Appointed as the fifth Prime minister of Pakistan in 1956, Suhrawardy headed Pakistan until 1957, and was a close associate of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime minister of Pakistan.

Born and hailing from East-Pakistan, Suhrawardy, as many of his Muslim League peers, educated from Calcutta University and Oxford University, and upon his return to India in 1921. Rising to the leadership of the Muslim League in the Bengal Presidency, Suhrawardy was a leading advocate of creating a separate Muslim state of Pakistan. Infamous for his role in the violent Direct Action Day in Calcutta, he advocated and played a major role for the success of Pakistan Movement and, under auspices of Jinnah, Suhrawardy rose to prominence, and became an important ally of Jinnah in East-Pakistan. Suhrawardy was a populist leader who advocated socialism, left the ruling Muslim League in 1949, shortly after the death of Jinnah, to join East Pakistan Awami Muslim League of Maulana Bhashani, but was forced out from the party by the junior leadership. In 1957, forming the National Democratic Front, Suhrawardy fought for the rights of people of Pakistan, both in East and West-Pakistan.

Although an anti-communist, Surawardy won the slot of Prime minister, and appointed to head a coalition government of Pakistan in 1956, with initial target to resolve the energy crises, economical disparity, and promised to build a massive military in an arms race with the India. At first, his initiatives included the re-building and reforming of the military forces, expansion of defence infrastructure, establishing the plan of nuclear power against India, and supply-side economics polices. As for the Foreign policy, Suhrawardy was also the first Prime minister to have visit the China, strengthening the Sino-Pak relations and was one of the pioneer of foreign policy to enhance the pro-United States-Pakistan's long associated ties, due to his common distrust of communism. The economic disparity, the collapse of One Unit programme, and failure to control and diminished the influence of business monopoly in national politics, further forced Suhrawardy to resigned from his post, with many believe he was forced to resigned under threat of dismissal on October 10, 1957, by the President. A chronic heart patient, Suhrawardy died in Beirut, Lebanon, on December 5, 1963.

Early life and family
Suhrawardy was born on 8 September 1892 to a Muslim family in the town of Midnapore, now in West Bengal. He was the younger son of Justice Sir Zahid Suhrawardy, a prominent judge of the Calcutta High Court and of Khujastha Akhtar Banu (c. 1874–1919) a noted name in Urdu literature and scholar of Persian. Kujastha was the daughter of Maulana Ubaidullah Al Ubaidi Suhrawardy and sister of, amongst others, Lt. Col. Dr. Hassan Suhrawardy, OBE and Sir Abdullah Al-Mamun Suhrawardy.

Suhrawardy had an elder brother Shahid Suhrawardy, the co-founder of Pakistan PEN Miscellenay with Professor Ahmed Ali.

Education and marriage
Suhrawardy attended the St. Xavier's College, where he obtained B.S. in Mathematics in 1910, later he was admitted at the department of arts of the University of Calcutta. In 1913, he gained MA in Arabic language and won a scholarship to proceed his education abroad. Afterwards, he moved to the United Kingdom to attend St Catherine's College, Oxford University from where he obtained a BCL degree in civil law and justice. Upon leaving Oxford, he was called to the bar at Gray's Inn and later started his practice at Calcutta High Court.

In 1920, Suhrawardy married Begum Niaz Fatima, daughter of Sir Abdur Rahim, the then home minister of the Bengal Province of British India and later President of India's Central Legislative Assembly. Suhrawardy had two children from this marriage; Ahmed Shahab Suhrawardy and Begum Akhtar Sulaiman (née Akhtar Jahan Suhrawardy). Ahmed Suhrawardy died from pneumonia whilst he was a student in London in 1940. Begum Akhtar Sulaiman was married to Shah Ahmed Sulaiman (son of Justice Sir Shah Sulaiman) and had one child, Shahida Jamil (who later became the first female Pakistani Federal Minister for Law). Shahida Jamil has two sons, Zahid Jamil (a lawyer in Pakistan) and Shahid Jamil (a solicitor in London).

His first wife, Begum Niaz Fatima, died in 1922. In 1940 Suhrawardy married Vera Alexandrovna Tiscenko Calder, who, after her conversion to Islam had changed her name to Begum Noor Jehan.[1] She was a Russian actress of Polish descent from the Moscow Art Theatre and protege of Olga Knipper.[2][3] The couple divorced in 1951 and had one child, Rashid Suhrawardy (aka Robert Ashby), who is an actor living in London(He played Jawaharlal Nehru in film jinnah (film)). Vera later settled in America.

Return to British India
Suhrawardy returned to the subcontinent in 1921 as a practising barrister of the Calcutta High Court. He became involved in politics in Bengal. Initially, he joined the Swaraj Party, a group within the Indian National Congress, and became an ardent follower of Chittaranjan Das. He played a major role in signing the Bengal Pact in 1923.

Suhrawardy became the Deputy Mayor of the Calcutta Corporation at the age of 31 in 1924, and the Deputy Leader of the Swaraj Party in the Provincial Assembly. However, following the death of Chittaranjan Das in 1925, he began to disassociate himself with the Swaraj Party and eventually joined Muslim League. He served as Minister of Labour, and Minister of Civil Supplies under Khawaja Nazimuddin among other positions. He was the Minister responsible during the Midnapore (Bengal) famine of 1943, but did little to relieve it. Relief only arrived after Wavell became Viceroy, who used the Indian Army to organise relief. In the Bengal Muslim League, Suhrawardy and Abul Hashim led a progressive line against the conservative stream led by Nazimuddin and Akram Khan.

In 1946, Suhrawardy established and headed a Muslim League government in Bengal. It was the only Muslim League government in India at that time.

As the demand for a separate Muslim state of Pakistan became popular amongst Indian Muslims, the partition of India on communal lines was deemed inevitable by mid-1947. To prevent the inclusion of Hindu-majority districts of Punjab and Bengal in a Muslim Pakistan, the Indian National Congress and the Hindu Mahasabha sought the partition of these provinces on communal lines. Bengali nationalists such as Sarat Chandra Bose, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Kiran Shankar Roy, Abul Hashim, Satya Ranjan Bakshi and Mohammad Ali Chaudhury sought to counter partition proposals with the demand for a united and independent state of Bengal. Suhrawardy and Bose sought the formation of a coalition government between Bengali Congress and the Bengal Provincial Muslim League. Proponents of the plan urged the masses to reject communal divisions and uphold the vision of a united Bengal. In a press conference held in Delhi on April 27, 1947 Suhrawardy presented his plan for a united and independent Bengal and Abul Hashim issued a similar statement in Calcutta on April 29. Such a unifying movement was started by Rabindranath Tagore and others in 1905 during British Bengal administrative division(Bongovongo) or Division of United Bengal. But unfortunately Suhrawardy's plan gained no popularity, although among-st the people who wanted unity of east and west Bengal in 1905.

Leonard Mosley, in his book 'The last days of the British Raj' writes [on page 26]: "Mr. Suhrawardy was a party 'boss' of the type who believes that no politician need ever be out of office once his strong-arm squads have gained control of the polling booths; that no minister should ever suffer financially by being in public life; that no relative or political cohort should ever go unrewarded. He loved money, champagne, Polish blondes and dancing the tango in nightclubs, and he was reputed to have made a fortune during the war. He loved Calcutta, including its filthy, festering slums, and it was from the noisome alleyways of Howrah that he picked the goondas who accompanied him everywhere as bodyguards."

Perception in independent India
Suhrawardy has left a controversial legacy in post-partition India. He is perceived as responsible for unleashing, at Jinnah's behest, the Direct Action Day in August 1946 which killed thousands of Hindus. The intention was to prove that if the Congress Party did not agree to partition, all of British India would be engulfed by civil war. This action turned Hindus and Muslim neighbours into enemies and caused a cycle of death, revenge and further destruction. On the other hand, those Indians who believe that partition saved West Bengal and East Punjab from Muslim rule, credit Suhrawardy for imposing a solution that limited communal clashes in the post-independence era.

Independence
In 1947, the balance of power in Bengal shifted from the Muslim League to the Indian National Congress, and Suhrawardy stepped down from the Chief Ministership. Unlike other Muslim League stalwarts of India, he did not leave his hometown immediately for the newly established Pakistan. Anticipating revenge of Hindus against Muslims in Calcutta after the transfer of power, Suhrawardy sought help from Gandhi. Gandhi was persuaded to stay and pacify tempers in Calcutta with the intention that Suhrawardy share the same roof with him so that they could appeal to Muslims and Hindus alike to live in peace. "Adversity makes strange bed-fellows," Gandhi remarked in his prayer meeting. 

Upon the formation of Pakistan, Suhrawardy maintained his work in politics, continuing to focus on East Bengal as it became after the partition of India. On return to Dhaka he joined Awami Muslim League that Maulana Bhashai formed.

In the 1950s, Suhrawardy worked to consolidate political parties in East Pakistan to balance the politics of West Pakistan. He, along with other leading Bengali leaders A.K. Fazlul Huq and Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, formed a political alliance in the name of Jukta Front which won a landslide victory in 1954 general election of East Pakistan. Under Muhammad Ali Bogra, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy would serve as Law Minister and later become the head of opposition parties.

Prime Minister of Pakistan
In 1956, Suhrawardy won the slot of Prime minister and was hastily appointed as fifth Prime Minister by President Iskander Mirza after the surprise resignation of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali. As Prime minister, Suhrawardy took the nation on confidence on national radio, promising to resolve the energy crises, economical disparity and promised the nation to build a massive military in an arms race with India.

One Unit programme
Suhrawardy inherited a political schism that was forming in Pakistan between the Muslim League and newer parties, such as the Republican Party. The schism was fed by the attempt to consolidate the four provinces of West-Pakistan into one province, so as to balance the fact that East Pakistan existed as only one province. The programme was opposed in West-Pakistan, and the cause was taken up by the Muslim League and religious parties. Suhrawardy supported the plan, but the vast opposition to it stalled its progress. The One Unit programme suffered several set back in West, and it was brutally failed to produce any last effective results, while the programme was a quiet success in East. The nationalist and socialist democratic parties oppose Suhrawardy's One Unit programme, and soon Suhrawardy was forced to end the programme; the four provinces did not integrate into one single province, and retained its current status. The East was revolved into one single large province, with overwhelming Bengali population.

Economic policies
An anti-communist, Suhrawardy put the country's economical system towards capitalism and Free-market economy. Suhrawardy encourage the small business community to expand their business activities, allowing the community to establish and invest their money to contribute the country's economy. In order to divert attention from the controversy over the "One Unit" programme as it was called, Suhrawardy tried to ease economic differences between East and West Pakistan. However, despite his intentions, these initiatives only led to more political frictions, and was worsened when Suhrawardy tried to give more financial allocations to East Pakistan than West Pakistan from aids and grants.

Rebuilding the military
Suhrawardy, as promised, decided to rebuild the massive military forces, and the military promotion in East and West was projected all over the country. Approving a new defence policy, Suhrawardy expanded the area of military districts, integrating the adjacent areas, and making arm deals enhance the military capabilities. Suhrawardy appointed radiochemist dr. Abdul Hafeez as the Chairman of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories (POF) whilst the ingenious military reforms and production were also taken. The presence of Pakistan Armed Forces in East Pakistan also exponentially grew, but restricted to maintain combatant forces in West whilst the reserves were sent to East Pakistan.

Legal reforms
Such moves led to a threat of dismissal looming over Suhrawardy's head, and he resigned in 1957. His contribution in formulating 1956 constitution of Pakistan was substantial as he played a vital role in incorporating provisions for civil liberties and universal adult franchise in line with his adherence to parliamentary form of liberal democracy.

Foreign policy
In the foreign policy arena, Suhrawardy wasted no time announcing his foreign policy in first session of the parliament of Pakistan.[5] Suhrawardy advocated a pronounced pro-western policy, supporting a strong support to United States.[5] Suhrawardy is considered to be one of the pioneers of Pakistan's pro-United States stand, a policy that is presently continued by the present government.[5] He was also the first Pakistani Prime Minister to visit China in 1956 and the delegation included Professor Ahmed Ali, Pakistan's First Envoy to China (1951–52) who had established the Pakistani embassy in Peking and formed Pak-China friendship and strengthened the official diplomatic friendship between Pakistan and China[6] (a friendship that Henry Kissinger would later use to make his now-famous secret trip to China in July 1971).

His tenure saw the enhancement of the relations with the United States in July 1957, when President Dwight Eisenhower kindly requested the prime minister for the U.S. to establish a secret intelligence facility in Pakistan and for the U-2 spyplane to fly from Pakistan. A facility established in Badaber (Peshawar Air Station), 10 miles (16 km) from Peshawar, was a cover for a major communications intercept operation run by the United States National Security Agency (NSA). The base was finally closed by the military government in 1970, later by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who installed the ISI as in charge of the base in 1971.

His pro-western policy dismantle the socialist alliance in Pakistan, most notable of them were Maulana Bhashani who challenged him for the party's chairmanship. Although, Maulana Bhashani managed to consolidate the Awami League, but failed to carry the party mass with him, leading to left the party to junior leadership. 

Nuclear power
During 1950s, Pakistan was suffering from severe energy crises, although the East did not suffered the energy crises as severe as West.  Amid protest and civil disobedience by West-Pakistan's population demanding to resolve the electricity issue, force Suhrawardy to take the approach to resolve the issue to harness the electricity.  In 1956, Suhrawardy announced the nation's first ever nuclear policy, but only benefiting the West-Pakistan, and adpoted the parliamentary act of 1956. 

It was Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy's premiership when Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) was established by a Parliamentary Act of 1956 in West-Pakistan only. Suhrawardy renounced to develop the nuclear weapons, and disassociated scientific research on the nuclear weapons, after signing the Atoms for Peace programme. Suhrawardy approved the appointment of Dr. Nazir Ahmad, a experimental physicist, as the first Chairman.  Suhrawardy asked the PAEC to survey the site to establish the commercial nuclear power plants.  Suhrawardy upgraded the government rank, and extended the appointment of Salimuzzaman Siddiqui as his government's 

Science Advisor.
Under Dr. Nazir Ahmad's scientific direction, Pakistan started its nuclear energy programme and Prime Minister Suhrawardy also allotted PAEC to set up its new pilot-nuclear labs. As Prime minister, he played an important role in establishing of Nuclear research institutes in West-Pakistan, working to build the nuclear power infrastructure. The PAEC brought the role of Raziuddin Siddiqui, a theoretical physicist, but refrained him to work on the atomic bombs, instead asking him to constitute research on theoretical physics and alternative use of nuclear energy.  Suhrawardy made extremely critical decision on nuclear power expansion, and denied the request of PAEC Chairman dr. Nazir Ahmad to acquiring the NRX reactor from Canada. Instead approved the recommendation of Raziuddin Siddiqui after authorizing an agreement to acquire the Pool-type reactor from the United States in 1956. 

He also laid foundation of the first nuclear power plant in Karachi, when it was recommended by the PAEC.  After addressing the West population, Suhrawardy planned to provide country's first nuclear power plant in near future to end the energy crises. However, after his removal from office, the proposal went into cold storage and severely undermined by a political turmoil in the country. Furthermore, Ayub Khan had also froze the further programmes as he thought Pakistan was too poor to work on this programme. Thus, the nuclear energy programme and academic research was halted by Ayub Khan's military regime for more than a decade. 

Resignation
The Awami League's close interaction with Pakistan Muslim League, who at that time was re-organizing itself, threatened another Bengali President Iskandar Mirza. President Mirza wanted to control the democracy in the country, which Suhrawardy had always resisted.[9] President Mirza refused Prime minister Suhrawardy's request to convene a meeting of Parliament for seeking a vote of confidenc movement.[9] Amid pressure to resigned from his position and given vital threats to be removed by the President Mirza, Prime minister Suhrawardy submitted his resignation letter after losing the considerable party support from the junior leadership. 


Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.