Pakistan Resolution

Working commite of Pakistan Resolution
Working commite of Pakistan Resolution

The Pakistan resolution (also known as the Lahore resolution) called for the creation of one or more separate Muslim states on the Indian subcontinent. The All India Muslim League passed the resolution on March 23, 1940, during its meeting at Lahore, India. Muslims in British-ruled India had become concerned about what would happen when Great Britain left India.

As the minority population in predominantly Hindu India, they were concerned about being able to protect their rights and their religious identity. They believed that their best option was the creation of Muslim states, formed in the regions where Muslims were a majority of the population.

As India moved toward self-government during the 1930s, many people believed that it would become an independent nation with a Hindu majority and Muslim minority. Many hoped that the two civilizations could work together to form a federated government.

The India Act of 1935 moved India closer to independence by turning more of the government functions over to the local population by setting up elections that took place in 1937.

The Muslim League hoped to win some positions during the election, but instead it was almost totally shut out of the government and only won control in provinces with a Muslim majority. The Indian National Congress, led by Mohandas K. Gandhi, won control of most local legislatures and declared that it was the only national party.

However, led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the Muslim League declared that it was still an equal partner in the governing process of the country. Muslim leaders feared that the Hindus were only interested in having complete control of the government and were not interested in sharing power in governing the country.

When World War II began the congress refused to participate in the war, claiming that it had no interest in the affairs of Europe. The congress ordered its members to resign their offices to protest India's being forced to support Britain's war effort. Hindus protested India's involvement in the war and, Gandhi said that India would only support the war effort when Britain set a date for Indian independence.

The Minar-e-Pakistan, where the Lahore Resolution was passed.
The Minar-e-Pakistan, where the Lahore Resolution was passed.

Jinnah and the Muslim League took the opposite approach. They offered Britain their support and cooperation in the hope that Britain would then support their desire for a separate Muslim nation after the war. The British were happy with the support and included Jinnah in many aspects of the government. As a result, the league enhanced its stature and gained governing experience, while many congress leaders languished in jail.

The Muslim League held its convention at Lahore, India, and on March 23, 1940, issued the Pakistan resolution calling for the creation of a Muslim state or states. They called their state Pakistan, formed from the provinces in the northwestern part of India where the majority of the population was Muslim. Pakistan became an independent state in 1947.