Was Pakistan created on August 14 or 15?

Published: August 15, 2016
SHARES
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PHOTO: AFP

PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: It’s that time of the year again. Millions of Pakistanis and Indians celebrate the historic moment they were no longer answerable to the British. But have you ever wondered why we celebrate the same independence on different days?

The actual date of Pakistan’s independence has been the topic of several newspaper articles and opinion pieces. While some argue that August 14 is the correct date, historical facts reveal otherwise.

“If we use logic, any kind of logic, August 15 is the day on which we should celebrate our independence,” says senior journalist Shahida Kazi in an exclusive interview with The Express Tribune. Kazi explained how Pakistan was created via an act of the Westminster parliament called the Indian Independence Act, promulgated on July 18, 1947.

The first clause of the act clearly stated, “As from the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent Dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as India and Pakistan.” Offering a theory for the date change, Kazi explained how the speech to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan by Viceroy Lord Mountbatten actually took place on August 14, 1947 in Karachi.

And since India had decided to hold its celebrations on the midnight of August 15, it would have been impossible for Mountbatten — who was still Viceroy — to be present in both Karachi and New Delhi on the same day. “Mountbatten administered the oath to Jinnah a day earlier in Karachi and then went to India. So this might be the point which struck them official. Even though the document says it’s the 15th they made it the 14th,” said Kazi referring to the Indian Independence Act.

Kazi, who now teaches journalism at the Institute Of Business Management (IoBM), also referred to renowned historian Khursheed Kamal Aziz’s Murder of History to further cement her claim.

Here are two screenshots of KK Aziz’s ‘Murder of History’ in which the date of independence is discussed. 

“Even Jinnah in his first broadcast to the nation said August 15 was the birthday of Pakistan,” Kazi said. Interestingly, the Quaid-i-Azam, as well as the Pakistan cabinet, also took their oaths of office on the morning of August 15, 1947.

 

Here is an excerpt from the first speech of the Father of the Nation broadcast live on national radio:  “August 15 is the birthday of the independent and sovereign state of Pakistan. It marks the fulfillment of the destiny of the Muslim nation which made great sacrifices in the past few years to have its homeland.”

The first commemorative postage stamps of Pakistan, released in July 1948, also gave 15 August 1947 as Independence Day. Further, the cover of Press Information Department’s Independence Anniversary Series also mentions the country’s first Independence Day as August 15, 1947.

 

So why did our leaders chose to change the date? A lot have theorised but no one can say for sure.

“Why our leaders decided to celebrate it on the 14th is of course a different story altogether. They just probably wanted it to be on a different day than India,” Kazi said.

And while she thinks it was unwise to change the date of independence, Kazi believes the country’s leaders idolised Jinnah too much to question his decisions. “Jinnah said it is going to be on 14th, it is going to be on 14th,” the senior journalist said. And while The Express Tribune could not independently verify whether Jinnah gave the official order to make the change, it’s safe to say we won’t be changing our history books anytime soon.

 

 

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Reader Comments (7)

  • syed
    Aug 15, 2016 - 5:27PM

    Unnecessary controversy of dates 14 or 15th August. Will Pakistan would have been better if 15th is accepted. The writers and anchors have indulged in an unnecessary controversy because they have nothing concrete to write and speak. Please for the sake of your bread and butter do not confuse the nationRecommend

  • Pashtun
    Aug 15, 2016 - 7:37PM

    Is there any need of this article ? You need not to worry about destruction of pakistan. It is perhaps a single country in the world with different cultures. If it was achieved for liberalism and secularism then there was no need for independence from infidel india. If it was liberated to unite muslims under the Islamic umbrella still it is a total failure. Islam teaches about unity and justice but here we are still stuck into territorial nationalism refusing rights to others. Clear example is monopoly of punjabis. Stealing of billions worth resources of Balochis and Pashtuns but not giving them anything in return is not what Islam teaches. Every province should be given equal rights either in parliament or in distribution of wealth and resourcesRecommend

  • Umar Buttar
    Aug 15, 2016 - 8:44PM

    Pakistan was Born on 14th but india realized on 15th.Recommend

  • Haji Atiya
    Aug 15, 2016 - 8:50PM

    August 14 is Partition Day.Recommend

  • Aug 15, 2016 - 11:18PM

    14 August is the day of Love and celebrity. Due to Pakistan, We are living independence life. Shukria Pakistan. Recommend

  • Syed Ahmad
    Aug 16, 2016 - 6:49AM

    a Highly unnecessary article, with only one aim to lessen the beauty and charm of 14 August , which was not only 14 of august on our independence but also was 27 Ramzan too at the same :) so keep your logic aside, we don’t need it :p we will celebrate 15 too when Pakistan one day will conquer “Them” :p InShaAllah. dont worry .
    Long Live Pakistan Recommend

  • Historian
    Aug 29, 2016 - 12:09AM

    The height of ignorance in the comment section is baffling, It is not about creating confusing or jeopardizing anything. Journalism in its very essence is the search for truth and no matter how “unnecessary” the shallow masses believe it to be, it is a necessary of literate culture. Yes, it doesn’t matter 14th of 15th, this piece just aims to provide facts and it has done just that. Great read with actual facts to support the claims made therein.Recommend

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