Prof Israr Uddin
Allow me to take you back into history and tell you about a night between 14th and 15th August, some 75 years ago in 1947. Then I was a student studying in the 5th class and eleven years old.
On that day, thousands of children and elders around the country had been waiting anxiously to shake hands with the precious moments of history and to become part of history which was to occur at the midnight hour. At last, the hour comes, from Radio Station Karachi which was till then called All India Radio, Karachi. The announcer, Mustafa Hamadani, utters a few words which were to make history. The announcer, filled with emotions, announces: “This is Radio Pakistan.”
Throughout the country, people heard this historical announcement and burst with joy, excitement and enthusiasm, poured into the streets congratulating each other.
In Chitral, though there were not many radios, the declaration of the glorious hour was made by gun salutes at the Royal Palace. The then Ruler of Chitral, H.H. Muhammad Muzaffar-ul-Mulk had earlier come down from his summer residence, Birmoghlasht, to Chitral Town. At midnight, he attended the flag raising ceremony of Pakistan flag along with the assistant political agent and other elites at the APA House Pateco Gaz.
You can better imagine the sentiments of the people present at the palace to witness the Pakistan flag rising up and the Union Jack lowering down. A contingent of the Chitral State Scouts also presented guard of honor at the time. Though it was a late hour, but I must mention among others a few children were also enjoying the scene who were there with their elders and who were representing the future generation of Chitral and Pakistan.
The next day, the Mehtar and the APA exchanged visits to each other’s place to congratulate each other on the happy occasion. Iftar and banquet party was arranged by the His Highness in the Royal Palace which was attended by high officials and local elites. After Ramadan, an exhibition match was arranged to mark the occasion of the independence.
On these days’ celebrations on such happy occasion used to be very simple not like today when you have lavish illuminations, fireworks, banners display and what not. At that time, at the most, we used to have decorations of the bazaars in Chitral and Drosh by spreading colorful cloth sheets along the streets from one end to the other. Also gates were erected at different points with words of felicitations written on banners over them.
We used to have our own local system of illumination that was to have bone fires (locally called Phoom Barash) on tops of hills at selected points throughout the state. This was done earnestly and people all over the state got to know about this important event.
One special event during the night was Khatmul Quran Sharif which was arranged in many mosques especially Shahi Masjid, Zhong Bazar Masjid along with Tarawih prayers. This was also Shab-e-qadar night or 27th Ramadan.
Ladies and gentlemen, the name of Pakistan was introduced into Chitral for the first time in 1942 by the then ruler, H.H. Sir M. Nasir-ul-Mulk. In that year, he had been on a short visit to New Delhi to receive the title of KCIE from the viceroy.
In Delhi, besides other important readers, he had also special meeting with Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. It seems that in the said meeting he had been so much convinced about the achievement of Pakistan that after his returns to Chitral he decided to stick the sign of crescent and star on the newly constructed gate of Royal Fort. While fixing the symbol, he was uttering a Persian couplet (When Pakistan is achieved you are going to be its symbol).
Soon after achievement of Pakistan, the ruler, H.H. Muzaffarul Mulk started negotiations with the authorities regarding accession of the state with the new country. He had already been in contact with the Quaid when in May 1947, after the declaration of the Independence of India, he had sent a delegation under an important religious scholar, Maulvi Muhammad Wazir, to meet the Quaid.
The ruler himself was not well, therefore, he himself could not go to Delhi to meet him. After the return of the Maulana, the ruler wrote this letter to the Quaid: “Maulvi Muhammad Wazir Khan of Chitral who had the honor of meeting you while he was in Delhi has come up and conveyed to me your kind message and good wishes. I write this to express my gratitude for your kind thought.” After achievement of Pakistan, His Highness sent this telegram of felicitation.
“I offer my heartiest felicitation on the birth of the new Muslim State. I and my subjects hereby decide to join Pakistan and look forward to concluding a treaty safeguarding our territorial integrity.” The Quaid-i-Azam answered: “Thank You very much for your telegraph of congratulations and good wishes on the occasion of the establishment of Pakistan which I deeply appreciate.”
On 20th September 1947, H.H. Muzaffarul Mulk wrote a letter to the Quaid in which he offered to the government to utilize the mineral resources of Chitral for the various needs of the newly created country. Therefore he offers five thousand deodar trees to Pakistan from the forests of Chitral which at that time casted five lakh rupees.
In reply the Quaid writes as follows: “I appreciate your concern about the welfare of Pakistan. I am pleased that you have decided to join Pakistan for which I request you to send your delegation to Karachi to work out the detail of the agreement.
“I am thankful to you to offer five thousand trees to Pakistan from Chitral forests and also exploitation of mineral resources of the state for the country. I am sorry to learn that you were not well, but I do sincerely hope that you are quite alright now. I need hardly say that I shall be pleased to see you in Karachi.”
On 15th January 1948, His Highness had requested for an interview with the Quaid-e- Azam to which he replied as follows:
“I shall be very pleased indeed to see you and I am looking forward to your visit.”
His Highness on 24th March, 1948 wrote a lengthy letter of about 1300 words about Chitral claim on Ghizer, Yasin and Ishkuman of Gilgit agency which were part of Chitral before 1895 and were separated to be part of Gilgit.
In April 1948, the Quaid-i-Azam visited Peshawar on an official tour as the Governor General of Pakistan. His Highness M. Muzaffar-ul-Mulk as Chairman of the Trustee of Islamia College Peshawar gave a reception in his honor of the Islamia College and on the next day i.e. 14th April 1948, had also an interview with him. The agenda was as follows: “The Yasin, Gizar and Ishkuman issue It was decided to be probed thoroughly.”
Permission was sought to allow Chitral Forces to help Gilgit-Baltistan’s independence war. It was observed that it was not needed at the time.
A request was made to allow Mehtar’s son to serve as the ADC to the Quaid after he completes his course at Kakul Military Academy. The Quaid suggested that was to be considered in due course. He further suggested that he should spend some time in an active service.
Mehtar’s position among the frontier states should remain as before, i.e., senior most state (with eleven gun salute). Decision taken was that the position will be as it has been in the past.
On 2nd November, 1947, Instrument of Accession of the State of Chitral with Pakistan was signed by H.H. Muhammad Muzaffar-ul-Mulk, the Mehtar of Chitral, which was finally approved by the Governor General of Pakistan on 18th February, 1948 and thus Chitral became part of Pakistan as a princely state. In 1969 when the state, were merged as districts, Chitral was also granted the status of a settled district in the Former N.W.F.P.