Muslim League


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Related to Muslim League: Indian National Congress, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, RSS

Muslim League,

political organization of India and Pakistan, founded 1906 as the All-India Muslim League by Aga KhanAga Khan
, the title of the religious leader and imam of the Ismaili Nizari sect of Islam, originally bestowed by the Persian shah Fath Ali on Hasan Ali Shah, 1800–1881, the 46th Ismaili imam, in 1818.
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 III. Its original purpose was to safeguard the political rights of Muslims in India. An early leader in the League, Muhammad IqbalIqbal, Muhammad
, 1877–1938, Indian Muslim poet, philosopher, and political leader. He studied at Government College, Lahore, Cambridge, and the Univ. of Munich, and then he taught philosophy at Government College and practiced law.
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, was one of the first to propose (1930) the creation of a separate Muslim India.

By 1940, under the leadership of Muhammad Ali JinnahJinnah, Muhammad Ali
, 1876–1948, founder of Pakistan, b. Karachi. After his admission to the bar in England, he returned to India to practice law. Early in his career he was a fervent supporter of the Indian National Congress and an advocate of Hindu-Muslim unity.
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, it had gained such power that, for the first time, it demanded the establishment of a Muslim state (Pakistan), despite the opposition of the Indian National CongressIndian National Congress,
Indian political party, founded in 1885. Its founding members proposed economic reforms and wanted a larger role in the making of British policy for India.
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. During World War II the Congress was banned, but the League, which supported the British war effort, was allowed to function and gained strength. It won nearly all of the Muslim vote in the elections of 1946. The following year saw the division of the Indian subcontinent and the Muslim League became the major political party of newly formed PakistanPakistan
, officially Islamic Republic of Pakistan, republic (2005 est. pop. 162,420,000), 310,403 sq mi (803,944 sq km), S Asia. Pakistan is bordered by India on the east, the Arabian Sea on the south, Iran on the southwest, and Afghanistan on the west and north; in the
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. By 1953, however, dissensions within the League had led to the formation of several different political parties.

Between 1958 and 1962, while martial law was in force under Muhammad Ayub KhanAyub Khan, Muhammad
, 1907–74, military leader and president (1958–69) of Pakistan. He was commissioned in the British Indian army in 1928 and saw active service as a battalion commander in World War II.
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, the League was officially defunct. Later, the League reformed into two separate factions: the Convention Muslim League (under Ayub) and the Council Muslim League. This latter group joined a united front with other political parties in 1967 in opposition to the group led by Ayub. The Convention Muslim League ceased to exist when Ayub Khan resigned in 1969. The Council Muslim League, which had brought about the founding of Pakistan, was virtually eliminated from the political scene in the elections of 1970.

Since the lifting of restrictions on political parties in 1985 a number of parties have used the name Pakistan Muslim League, but they have little real connection with the original Muslim League. The Muslim League survived as a minor party in India after partition, and since 1988 has splintered into several groups, the most important of which is the Indian Union Muslim League.

Bibliography

See M. Ahmed, ed., Contemporary Pakistan (1980).

Muslim League

 

a political party in Pakistan, founded in 1906 in Dacca at a conference of leaders of Muslim public organizations in British India. The party declared that its aim was to defend the political rights of Indian Muslims and to represent their interests in dealings with the British authorities. In 1916 the Muslim League concluded an agreement with the Indian National Congress providing for a joint struggle for India’s status as a dominion. In 1937 the Muslim League demanded autonomy for provinces in which Muslims constituted a majority of the population. In 1940 it called for the creation of an independent Muslim state (the Lahore resolution) and led the struggle for the formation of Pakistan.

In the early years after the formation of Pakistan in 1947 the leaders of the Muslim league headed the country’s central and provincial governments. However, the Muslim League’s leadership expressed primarily the interests of the landowners of West Pakistan and the bourgeois elite, and the party soon began to lose its influence among the broad strata of the population. The crisis within the Muslim League resulted in a loss of power between 1954 and 1956, first in the provinces and later in the capital. During the military regime that lasted from October 1958 to June 1962, the Muslim League, like other political parties, was banned. After martial law was lifted, the party resumed its activities.

In September and October 1962 the party split into two autonomous factions—the progovernment Muslim League and the opposition Muslim League. The progovernment faction was headed by the president of Pakistan, M. Ayub Khan, between 1963 and 1969 and afterward by F. Choudhry. The opposition faction in turn split into two factions in 1968, led respectively by M. M. Daultana and A. Kayum Khan. The 1969 political crisis in Pakistan weakened the Muslim League’s position. In elections to the 300-member National Assembly of Pakistan, held in December 1970, the Choudhry faction received two seats, the Daultana faction seven seats, and the Kayum Khan faction nine seats. In 1971 the Muslim League actively opposed the formation of an independent Bangladesh, and it was banned in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on Dec. 16, 1971. In Pakistan, the Kayum Khan faction supported the civilian regime of Z. A. Bhutto, and in 1972 Kayum Khan entered the Bhutto government. In October 1972 the Choudhry and Daultana factions merged.

REFERENCES

Gankovskii, Iu. V., and L. R. Gordon-Polonskaia. Istoriia Pakistana. Moscow, 1961.
Sovremennyi Pakistan. Moscow, 1976.
Political Parties, Their Policies and Programmes. Karachi, 1971.

IU. V. GANKOVSKII

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