The Federation of Pakistan, also called the Dominion of Pakistan, was an independent federal dominion in South Asia established on Independence Day (Pakistan), 14 August 1947. At its inception, the Dominion of Pakistan did not include princely states of Pakistan, its princely states, which gradually Instrument of Accession, acceded over the next year. Its status as a federal dominion within the British Empire ended in 1956 with the completion of the Constitution of Pakistan of 1956, Constitution of Pakistan, which officially established the country as an Islamic republic, Islamic Republic. The constitution also administratively split the nation into West Pakistan and East Pakistan, which were until then governed as a singular entity despite being separate geographic Enclave and exclave, exclaves. In 1971, East Pakistan seceded as the new nation of Bangladesh.


Partition and independence

Section 1 of the Indian Independence Act 1947 provided that from "the fifteenth day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-seven, two independent dominions shall be set up in India, to be known respectively as ''India'' and ''Pakistan''." The British monarch became head of state of the new dominion, with Pakistan sharing a king with the United Kingdom and the other Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and the monarch's constitutional roles in Pakistan were delegated to the Governor-General of Pakistan. Before August 1947, about half of the area of present-day Pakistan was part of the Presidencies and provinces of British India, in which the agents of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, sovereign as Emperor of India had full authority, while the remainder were Princely states of Pakistan, princely states in subsidiary alliances with the British, enjoying internal self-government. The British abandoned these alliances in August 1947, leaving the states entirely independent, and between 1947 and 1948 the states all acceded to Pakistan, while retaining internal self-government for several years. More than ten million people migrated across the new borders and between 200,000–2,000,000 people died in the spate of communal violence in the Punjab in what some scholars have described as a 'retributive genocide' between the religions. The Pakistani government claimed that 50,000 Muslim women were abducted and raped by Hindu and Sikh men and similarly the Indian government claimed that Muslims abducted and raped 33,000 Hindu and Sikh women. The two governments agreed to repatriate abducted women and thousands of Hindu, Sikh and Muslim women were repatriated to their families in the 1950s. The dispute over Kashmir escalated into the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, first war between India and Pakistan. With the assistance of the United Nations (UN) the war was ended but it became the Kashmir dispute, unresolved . In 1947, the :Leaders of the Pakistan Movement, founding fathers of Pakistan agreed to appoint Liaquat Ali Khan as the country's List of Prime Ministers of Pakistan, first Prime Minister of Pakistan, prime minister, with Muhammad Ali Jinnah as both first Governor-General of Pakistan, governor-general and speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, speaker of the Parliament of Pakistan, State Parliament. Mountbatten had offered to serve as Governor-general of both India and Pakistan but Jinnah refused this offer. The first formal step to transform Pakistan into an ideological Islamic state was taken in March 1949 when Liaquat Ali Khan introduced the Objectives Resolution in the National Assembly of Pakistan, Constituent Assembly. The Objectives Resolution declared that sovereignty over the entire universe belongs to Allah, Allah Almighty. Support for the Objectives Resolution and the transformation of Pakistan into an Islamic state was led by Maulana Shabbir Ahmad Usmani, a respected ''Deobandi alim'' (scholar) who occupied the position of Shaykh al-Islam in Pakistan in 1949, and Abul A'la Maududi, Maulana Mawdudi of Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamaat-i Islami. Indian Muslims from the United Provinces (1937–50), United Provinces, Bombay Province, Central Provinces and other areas of India continued migrating to Pakistan throughout the 1950 and 1960s and settled mainly in urban Sindh, particularly in the new country's first capital, Karachi. Prime Minister Ali Khan established a strong government and had to face challenges soon after gaining the office. His Finance Secretary Victor Turner (civil servant), Victor Turner announced the country's first monetary policy by establishing the State Bank of Pakistan, State Bank, the Federal Bureau of Statistics and the Federal Board of Revenue (Pakistan), Federal Board of Revenue to improve statistical knowledge, finance, taxation, and revenue collection in the country. There were also problems because India cut off water supply to Pakistan from two canal headworks in its side of Punjab, India, Punjab on 1 April 1948 and also withheld delivering Pakistan its share of the assets and funds of United India, which the Indian government released after Gandhi's pressurisation.

Political unrest

In a 1948 speech, Jinnah declared that "Urdu alone would be the state language and the lingua franca of the Pakistan state", although at the same time he called for the Bengali language to be the official language of the East Bengal, Bengal province. Nonetheless, tensions began to grow in East Bengal. Jinnah's health further deteriorated and he died in 1948. Bengali leader, Sir Khawaja Nazimuddin succeeded as the governor general of Pakistan. During a massive political rally in 1951, Prime Minister Ali Khan was Assassination of liaqat ali khan, assassinated, and Nazimuddin became the second prime minister. Tensions in East Pakistan reached a climax in 1952, when the East Pakistani police opened fire on students Bengali language movement, protesting for the Bengali language to receive equal status with Urdu. The situation was controlled by Nazimuddin who issued a waiver granting the Bengali language equal status, a right codified in the 1956 constitution. In 1953 at the instigation of religious parties, anti-Ahmadiyya riots erupted, which led to many Ahmadi deaths. The riots were investigated by a two-member court of inquiry in 1954, which was criticised by the Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, Jamaat-e-Islami, one of the parties accused of inciting the riots. This event led to the first instance of martial law in the country and began the history of military intervention into the politics and civilian affairs of the country. In 1954 the controversial One Unit, One Unit Program was imposed by the last Pakistan Muslim League (PML) Prime minister Mohammad Ali Bogra, Ali Bogra dividing Pakistan on the Germany, German History of Germany (1945–1990), geopolitical model. The same year the first legislative elections were held in Pakistan, which saw the Communist Party of Pakistan, communists gaining control of East Pakistan. The 1954 election results clarified the differences in ideology between West and East Pakistan, with East Pakistan under the influence of the Communist Party allying with the Shramik Krishak Samajbadi Dal (Workers Party) and the Awami League. The pro-American Republican Party (Pakistan), Republican Party gained a majority in West Pakistan, ousting the PML government. After a vote of confidence in Parliament and the promulgation of the Constitution of Pakistan of 1956, 1956 constitution, which confirmed Pakistan as an Islamic republic, two notable figures became prime minister and president, as the first Bengali leaders of the country. Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, Huseyn Suhrawardy became the prime minister leading a Communist Party of Pakistan, communist-Awami League, socialist alliance, and Iskander Mirza became the List of Presidents of Pakistan, first president of Pakistan.

Radcliffe Line and territory

The dominion began as a federation of five provinces: East Bengal (later to become Bangladesh), Punjab, Pakistan, West Punjab, Balochistan (Pakistan), Balochistan, Sindh, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). Each province had its own governor, who was appointed by the Governor-General of Pakistan. In addition, over the following year the princely states of Pakistan, which covered a significant area of West Pakistan, acceded to Pakistan. They included Bahawalpur (princely state), Bahawalpur, Khairpur (princely state), Khairpur, Swat (princely state), Swat, Dir (princely state), Dir, Hunza (princely state), Hunza, Chitral (princely state), Chitral, Makran (princely state), Makran, and the Kalat (princely state), Khanate of Kalat. The controversial Radcliffe Award, not published until 17 August 1947 specified the Radcliffe Line which demarcated the border between the parts of British India allocated to the two new independent Dominion of India, dominions of India and Pakistan. The Radcliffe Boundary Commission sought to separate the Muslim-majority regions in the east and northwest from the areas with a Hindu majority. This entailed the partition of two British provinces which did not have a uniform majority — Bengal and Punjab region, Punjab. The western part of Punjab became the Pakistani province of Punjab, Pakistan, Punjab and the eastern part became the Indian state of Punjab, India, Punjab. Bengal was similarly divided into East Bengal (in Pakistan) and West Bengal (in India).

Monarchy and the Commonwealth

Under the Indian Independence Act 1947, British India was to be divided into the independent sovereign states of India and Pakistan. From 1947 to 1952, George VI was the sovereign of Pakistan, which shared the same person as its sovereign with the United Kingdom and the other Dominions in the British Commonwealth of Nations. Following George VI's death on 6 February 1952, his daughter Princess Elizabeth, who was in Kenya at that time, became the new monarch of Pakistan. During the Queen's Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, coronation in 1953, Elizabeth II was crowned as Queen of seven independent Commonwealth countries, including Pakistan. In her Coronation Oath, the new Queen promised "to govern the Peoples of ... Pakistan ... according to their respective laws and customs". The Standard of Pakistan at the Coronation was borne by Mirza Abol Hassan Ispahani. Pakistan abolished the monarchy on the adoption of a Constitution of Pakistan, republican constitution on Republic Day (Pakistan), 23 March 1956. However, Pakistan became a Republics in the Commonwealth of Nations, republic within the Commonwealth of Nations. The Queen sent a message to President Mirza which said, "I have followed with close interest the progress of your country since its establishment ... It is a source of great satisfaction to me to know that your country intends to remain within the Commonwealth. I am confident that Pakistan and other countries of the Commonwealth will continue to thrive and to benefit from their mutual association".

Foreign relations

Territorial problems arose with neighbouring Communist Afghanistan, Afghanistan over the Durand Line, Pakistan–Afghanistan border in 1949, and with India over the Line of Control in Kashmir. Diplomatic recognition became a problem when the Soviet Union led by Joseph Stalin did not welcome the partition which established Pakistan and India. Imperial State of Iran was the first country to recognise Pakistan in 1947. In 1948, Ben-Gurion of Israel sent a secret courier to Jinnah to establish the Israel–Pakistan relations, diplomatic relations, but Jinnah did not give any response to Ben-Gurion. After gaining Independence, Pakistan vigorously pursued bilateral relations with other Muslim countries and made a wholehearted bid for leadership of the Muslim world, or at least for leadership in achieving its unity. The Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar, Ali brothers had sought to project Pakistan as the natural leader of the Islamic world, in large part due to its Population of Pakistan, large population and Military of Pakistan, military strength. A top ranking Muslim League leader, Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman, Khaliquzzaman, declared that Pakistan would bring together all Muslim countries into Islamistan – a pan-Islamic entity. The USA, which did not approve of Pakistan's creation, was against this idea and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee voiced international opinion at the time by stating that he wished that India and Pakistan would re-unite, feared to Pan Islamic Unity, unity of Muslim World. Since most of the Arab world was undergoing a nationalist awakening at the time, there was little attraction in Pakistan's pan-Islamic aspirations. Some of the Arab countries saw the 'Islamistan' project as a Pakistani attempt to dominate other Muslim states. Pakistan vigorously championed the right of self-determination for Muslims around the world. Pakistan's efforts for the independence movements of Indonesia, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Eritrea were significant and initially led to close ties between these countries and Pakistan.

List of heads of state


From 1947 to 1956, Pakistan was a constitutional monarchy. The Pakistani monarch was the same person as the sovereign of the nations in the British Commonwealth of Nations.


The Governor-General was the representative of the monarch in the Dominion of Pakistan.



Further reading

* Chester, Lucy P. (2009
Borders and Conflict in South Asia: The Radcliffe Boundary Commission and the Partition of Punjab.
Manchester: Manchester University Press. * Read, A. and Fisher, D. (1997). ''The Proudest Day: India's Long Road to Independence''. New York: Norton. {{DEFAULTSORT:Pakistan, Dominion of Former Commonwealth realms, Pakistan Former polities of the Cold War Former countries in South Asia Muhammad Ali Jinnah Pakistan and the Commonwealth of Nations Pakistan–United Kingdom relations, Monarchy Partition of India Politics of Pakistan States and territories established in 1947 1947 establishments in Pakistan 1956 disestablishments in Pakistan