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Relations between India and Pakistan were extremely hostile during earlier phases of the birth of both nations and they were themselves the reasons of that state of unwanted circumstances. Both nations realized from the very first day that the salvation lied for them in accepting each other as they exist but the required rationality was hijacked by emotionally charged and narrow minded war mongers. However, the leadership of both countries realized that circumstances demanded atleast some peaceful and friendly gestures for making people accept the truth of partition though not equally cherishing for everyone. So on April 2, 1950 prime minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali khan and Indian Prime Minister Jawarlala Nehru met in Delhi and discussed the problems of minority communities in detail. The visit lasted for 6 days. On 8th April both leaders signed a pact to solve this issue which is known as liaquat-Nehru pact. This pact is basically ‘a bill of rights for minority communities’ of both countries. This pact is also known as Delhi pact.
Due to the unexpected and unwarranted urgency shown by the British for dividing India, many problems arose which were difficult to tackle for the leaders of both countries but the speed of events had a heavier toll on the already fragile state structure of Pakistan. After the independence large number of people had to leave their homes, belongings and even blood relatives were divided. Due to this mass migration governments of both countries failed to solve the migrants’ problems which caused agitation and resentment within the displaced millions of masses. On the other hand, there were equally large number of people who did not migrate and stayed content with their status as minorities. The struggling governments on both sides of the borders could not check the breakout of communal riots due to inherited weak state apparatus, divided loyalties of those at the helm of affairs, rampant frenzy and mobe rule. The people who had great dreams, soon started getting dejected at both sides and bloodletting had caused paranoia and madness.During late 40’s and early 50’s minority riots increased at disastrous level and it was felt that India and Pakistan were going to fight another war apart from struggle of freedom
The pact and its features.
In the above presented critical scenario Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali khan went to India to meet the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to find a solution to end these riots. So both the Prime Ministers signed an agreement which was known as Liaquat-Nehru pact or Delhi pact.
The pact mainly addressed following issues.
- To promote communal peace.
- To curtail the fear of religious minorities on both sides.
- To build negotiator and compromising atmosphere in both countries for each other.
Under the pact both governments agreed that minorities in the both states belonged to the nation where they were living. For the same spirit of communal settlement the pact is also considered by some analysts to ensure “the straregic indivisibility of sub-continent”.
The pact also affirmed the commitment of respective governments to protect fundamental rights of minorities e.g freedom of speech, movement, occupation and worship.. Both governments under the pact also decided to give strong punishment to the oppressive elements in the society to safeguard the rights of minorities. On the other hand both the countries decided to make minority commission headed by a provincial minister with an aim to ensure that nobody is violating the terms and conditions of the pact. Both countries agreed to include the representatives of the minority community in their assemblies. India and Pakistan decided that the loyalties of minority groups should be reserved for the state of their living and they should also look forward to the Governments of their countries in which they are living.
The immediate effect of this pact was that it released some always present tension and helped to improve relations between both countries. However the pact could not succeed to attain enduring peace. The reason for the failure of the pact was Kashmir dispute and other unresolved issues which were created at the time of independence. On the other hand Indian Government did not enforce preventive and punitive provisions of the pact. Large amount of Hindus were not ready to reconcile with Muslims. Indian started a campaign of hatred against Pakistan and started accusing Pakistan that Hindus were not being treated in a just way. Due to the blame game many communal riots broke out in which many people died and lost their property. Likewise, Pakistan was not able to implement the provisions of the pact due to inherent weaknesses as well as unfriendly gestures from India. Consequently the pact was liquidated in 1951.