In 1954, forty-two years ago, when the One Unit issue was to be voted upon in the provincial assembly, the then chief minister, Mohammed Ayub Khuhro, in cahoots with his minister Pir Ali Mohammed Rashdi, realising that the honourable Mirs of Talpur would vote against their proposal, acted. Mir Ali Ahmed Talpur was arrested on a trumped-up charge, Mir Rasul Bakhsh Talpur managed to escape and hide, and the smallest and gentlest of the three, Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, was bodily picked up and bundled off on the back of a camel to Mitthi, the same old Mitthi in the Thar desert.
- Ardeshir Cowasjee (18th July 1996) writing in the DAWN
I have always found the creation of Pakistans one unit something of an amusement
considering the intent behind it, the dominant West Pakistan elite fearing the
Bengali majority wanted some form of parity with East Pakistan. So simple enough
solution ignore the ethnic, administrative and historic divisions in 'West Pakistan'
and just amalgamate them together into one unit. As a sop to the Pakhtunistan movement
inititally Peshawar was supposed to be West Pakistans provincial Capital but this was later
changed to Lahore.
I find the Bengali political leaders willingness to sacrfice their inherent majority
status for the sake of national unity unusual and tragic. They obviously believed in the concept
of Pakistan to an extent that they were willing to forego their own basic right of
representation. It is tragic for several reasons, one is I cannot imagine something similar
happening in present day Pakistan. A ethnic group willingly surrender its unfluence
somewhere for the greater good. Secondly is the simplistic approach that one unit reflected
sure enough when you look into its history you see the good old military establishments
finger prints over this overly simplistic solution to Pakistans problems.
So if you have corrupt politicians ban politics, if you have tensions between ethnic groups
ban any reflections of ethnicitiy or diversity. And as the above quote shows...you do whatever it
takes to achieve the figleaf of legal support for your moves.
It really would be funny if it wasn't so sad...