Public Record Office


REF: FCO 37/472


British High Commission,


6 June, 1969

R.J. Stratton, Esq.,



Dear Dick,




On 5 June I called on three further political leaders in Lahore. The first was Mian Mumtaz Muhammad Khan Daultana (Council Muslim League, No. 48 in 1967 Personalities). By and large, the views he expressed were in line with those of his colleague Shaukat Hyat Khan, but Daultana gave me the impression of being more able, experienced and polished and considerably more slippery. He agreed that the aim should be to work for the re-introduction of the 1956 Constitution, and that there would be merit in finding an East Pakistan Prime Minister to head any government set up under that Constitution, although he had misgivings about the ability of the East Wing to produce any leader with the necessary qualifications. He had no wish to see Ayub arraigned, but added that with the prolongation of Martial Law there might be increased pressure on the Administration to avert criticism by a "popular move" such as arraignment, for which lesser fry accused of corruption might also be pressing.

2. He drew an interesting contrast between Ayub's imposition of martial law and that of President Yahya; the former had acted as though he and he alone could introduce the millennium, whereas the latter made no such claim and was "tidying up the room rather than re-designing it." He was cautiously optimistic about the chances of the Council Muslim League in a general election, but could not be drawn into any conjecture about possible groupings of parties. Unlike Shaukat, he was not contemptuous about the Justice Party, but rather grieved that a man of Asghar Khan's calibre should embark on an abortive attempt to found a party instead of continuing on his own to try to bring about a reconciliation and cementing of already established parties. He felt that the Air Marshal might yet see wisdom and revert to his former role if he were convinced that the Justice Party stood no chance of success.

3. I next had a rather shorter and more succinct interview with Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maudoodi (Jama'at-i-Islami, No. 104 in the 1967 Personalities). He received me in an old-fashioned working office, surrounded by religious tomes and pamphlets, and looking like a cross between a university professor, Father Divine and the prophet Moses. He was both courteous and affable, but took an early opportunity to denounce those Pakistanis "who were more British than the British." He then went on to denounce Socialism (true Communism existed nowhere in the world and was an unattainable ideal; and the British Government had its socialism leavened by a fair measure of capitalism). He said that the standpoint of his party was perfectly clear and straightforward; they were prepared to work with any party which stood for Islamic Principles, Unity of Pakistan and Anti-Socialism and reeled off the foreseeable list of unacceptable parties with the litany-like refrain "we cannot work with them."

4. Since he was manifestly unwilling to engage in any kind of speculation about possible development, I took my leave sooner than might otherwise have been the case, still uncertain whether he would call down on my head a patriarchal blessing or heave the tablets of the law at my car.

5. It was with some measure of relief that I called on the Nawab of Mamdot (Convention Muslim League), who surely merits, but does not hold, a place in the "Personalities." He looked frail, and admitted that he had only returned unwillingly to politics at the time of the Round Table Conference, and had no aspirations to become a political leader again. He admitted that the Convention Muslim League had suffered a setback with the eclipse of the Ayub regime, but felt that nevertheless it stood a better chance of success than did the Council Muslim League, if only because no one trusted Mian Daultana in the slightest degree, whether they were electors or politicians. He claimed that Shaukat (who, he said, had recently been in touch with him) was seriously considering a return to the Convention Muslim League. He felt that Bhutto would probably gain majority support in Sind, but might find Khuhro more difficult than he expected. He accepted the desirability of the 1956 Constitution and of an East Wing Prime Minister. Possibilities were Nurul Amin, Hamidul Haq Chowdhury or Ataur Rahman, although the latter had recently gained strength at the expense of Bhashani and Mujibur Rahman and might prove unwilling to ally himself with anyone. He said that Abdul Qayum Khan might also be considering a return to the Convention Muslim League, but that his separatist views might make this difficult. Like Daultana he felt that Asghar Khan would have been wiser to act as mediator rather than as party leader; like Shaukat, he wondered whether there might not be a danger of military pressures below Yahya in favour of prolongation of the Martial Law regime and its conversion into something more permanent. He hinted that Air Commodore Nur Khan, an ambitious man, needed watching in this connexion.

6. Even if there is no sign of a clear pattern yet in the mosaic, I find all this interaction of intrigue fascinating. But I hope the exercise will prove worthwhile!

7. 1 am copying this to Dacca and Karachi, and enclose a spare copy.



(P.R. Oliver)




Source: The British Papers Secret and Confidential India.Pakistan.Bangladesh Documents 1959-1969, Oxford University Press. P. 954-955