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Opinion: Nehru-Liaquat Pact Explained


Agreement between the Government of India and Pakistan regarding security and rights of minorities. Also known as Nehru – Liaquat Agreement – New Delhi – 8 April 1950.

Truth Arrived: Opinion: Nehru-Liaquat Pact Explained - Lawyer Anwarali Nadaf

August 14, 1947, Pakistan was found as an independent State, and August 15, 1947, was a time for India to declare its independence having pain of separation of part of its territory.

The idea of separate "Islamic State", adopted by M A Jinnah, was influenced from Savarkar's idea of a separate "Hindu State". Savarkar opposed the separate State of Pakistan, even though it was in conciliation with his belief of Muslims as separate nation. Both Sarvakar and Jinnah being opposed to each other and having a different vote bank together formed a Government in Sindh, Bengal and NWFP (North West Frontier Province) i.e. Now Khaybarpakhtun of Pakistan.

Lately, in 1950 both Government of India and Pakistan come up with an agreement to provide safe haven to all its minorities which was termed as Nehru-Liaquat Pact. The pact was signed by both the India and Pakistan’s the then Prime Minister’s Jawaharlal Nehru and Liaquat Ali Khan.

The day discussions began on CAB/CAA (Citizenship Amendment Bill/Act) in India, everyone started speaking about the Nehru-Liaquat Pact, for the reason it was criticised for being violation of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution which does not allow discrimination based on Religion.

Let's see what Nehru-Liaquat Pact speaks about:

The prima-facie conditions which were incorporated under the Nehru-Liaquat Pact were as follows:

The Government of India and Pakistan solemnly agree that each shall ensure to the minorities throughout its territory.

1. Complete Equality of citizenship, irrespective of religion.

2. A full sense of security in respect of life.

3. Culture, property and personal honor.

4. Freedom of movement within each country and freedom of occupation.

5. Speech and worship, subject to law and morality.

6. Members of the minority shall have equal opportunity with members of majority to participate in the public life of their country.

7. To hold political or other office, and to serve in their country’s civil and armed forces

The very purpose of the pact was to provide a Complete Equality of citizenship, irrespective of religion.

Any person who believes in any religion or it also includes a non-religious person who shall be equal Citizen without any restrictions in both the India and Pakistan. Both Governments declare these rights to be fundamental and undertake to enforce them effectively. It is the policy of Governments that the enjoyment of these democratic rights shall be assured to all their nationals without distinction.

Adding to this Prime Minister of India has drawn attention to the fact that these rights are guaranteed to all minorities in India by its Constitution, further Prime Minister of Pakistan has pointed out that similar provision exists in the objectives Resolution adopted by the constituent assembly of Pakistan.

Second part of the Pact:

In respect of migrants from East Bengal, West Bengal, Assam and Tripura where communal disturbances have occurred, it is agreed between two governments i.e. India and Pakistan:

1. There shall be freedom of movement and protection in transit,

2. Movable goods may be carried by the migrants who wish to take with them. (Movable property includes: cash and jewelry. Adult migrant can carry Rupees 150 and migrant child can carry Rupees 75.

3. A migrant may deposit his/her jewelry or cash with the bank, for which a proper receipt shall be furnished and same could be transferred as regards to the exchange regulations of the Government concerned for which no harassment by the customs authorities will be ensured.

4. Restoration of right to ownership shall not be disturbed if he comes back by the cutoff date i.e. 31 December 1950 (9 months from the date of pact shall return back).

5. If Government considers migrant’s immovable property cannot be returned to him, the matter shall be referred to appropriate minority commission for advice. Where restoration of immovable property is not possible Government should take steps to rehabilitate him.

6. In case of a migrant who decides to not to return ownership of all his immovable property shall continue to vest in him and he shall have unrestricted right to dispose of it by sale, by exchange with an evacuee in the country, otherwise a committee consisting of three representatives of minority and a representative by Government shall act as trustee to such owner, and committee shall be empowered to collect rent for such immovable property according to law.

For the above reasons the Government of East Bengal (today Bangladesh), West Bengal, Assam and Tripura shall enact legislation to set up these Minority Commissions.

Major highlights:

Forced conversions: every conversion which occurred during the partition shall be invalid as this will be considered as forced conversion.

Abducted women: number of women were abducted in both the parts of the nation such women shall be searched and provided with safety and security.

Rehabilitation: Both Governments shall take to rehabilitate the its people/citizens to start a new life.

Minority commission: both Government will form Minority commissions as a guardian to minority rights.

Conclusion:

The Nehru-Liaquat Pact was intended to provide full fledged citizenship without any discrimination based on Religion, but CAA is based on Religion.

The Minority Commission was encouraged to ensure the rights of the minorities; even today India has a minority commission which does not work effectively.

Cut-off date was fixed on 31 December 1950. For CAA cut-off date is fixed on 31 December 2014.


The author is a law graduate, can be reached at advocacywithali@gmail.com

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