Viceroy Lord Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten joined Governor General Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Fatima Jinnah to preside over the Pakistan Independence Ceremony in Karachi on this day in 1947 (75 years ago), marking the creation of a new Commonwealth Dominion by the Partition of India.
After riding through the streets of Karachi, the Ceremony took place at the Constituent Assembly in Karachi, where Viceroy Lord Mountbatten handed over Power to the Governor General, the new Representative of King George VI, and then gave a Speech:
Mr. President and members of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan- I have a message from His Majesty we King to deliver to you today. This is His Majesty’s message: “I send you my greetings and warmest wishes on this great occasion when the new Dominion of Pakistan is about to take its place in the British Commonwealth of Nations. In thus achieving your independence by agreement you nave set an example to all freedom loving people throughout the world. ‘I know that I can speak for all sections of opinion within -the British Commonwealth when I say that their support will not fail you in upholding democratic principles. I am confident that the statesmanship and the spirit of cooperation which have led to the historic developments you are now celebrating will be the best guarantee of your future happiness end prosperity. Great responsibilities lie ahead of your leaders. May the blessings of the Almighty sustain you in all your future tasks. Be assured always of my sympathy and support as I watch your continuing efforts to advance the cause of humanity.” I am speaking to you to-day as your Viceroy. To-morrow the Government of the new Dominion of Pakistan will rest in your hands and I shall be the constitutional head of your neighbour, the Dominion of India. The leaders of both Governments, however, have invited me to be the independent Chairman of the Joint Defence Council. This is an honour which I shall strive to merit.
Tomorrow two new sovereign States will take their place in the Commonwealth: not young nations, but the heirs to old and proud civilisations: fully independent States, whose leaders and statesmen, already known and respected throughout the world whose poet and philosophers, scientists, and warriors, have made their imperishable, contribution to the service of mankind: not immature governments or weak, but fit to carry their great share of responsibility for the peace and progress of the world. The birth of Pakistan is an event in history. We, who are part of history, and are helping to make it, are not well-placed, even if we wished, to moralise on the event, to look back and survey the sequence of the past that led to it. History seems sometimes to move with the infinite slowness of a glacier, and sometimes to rush forward in a torrent. Just now, in this part of the world our united efforts have melted the ice and moved some impediments in the stream, and we are carried onwards in the full flood. There is no time to look back. There is time only to look forward. I wish to pay tribute to the great men, your leaders, who helped to arrive at a peaceful solution for the transfer of power.
The Governor General also made a Speech:
I thank His Majesty, the King, on behalf of the Pakistan Constituent Assembly and myself for his wishes and message. I know great responsibilities lie ahead and I naturally reciprocate his sentiment and we greatly appreciate his assurance of sympathy and support and I hope that you will please communicate to his majesty our assurance of goodwill and friendship for the British nation and the crown head of the British government. I thank your excellency for your expressions and good wishes for the future of Pakistan.
It will be our constant efforts to work for the welfare and well-being of all the communities in Pakistan and I hope that everyone will be inspired by the idea of public service and they will be imbued with the spirit of cooperation and will show the political and civic virtues which go to make a great nation.
I once more thank you and Lady Mountbatten for your kindness and good wishes. Yes, we are parting as friends and I sincerely hope that we shall remain friends. I wish to say that we appreciate the spirit in which those in the government service at the present and in the armed forces and others have so willingly and ungrudgingly volunteered themselves to provisionally serve Pakistan. As servants of Pakistan we shall make them happy and they will be treated equally with our nationals.
The tolerance and goodwill that the great emperor Akbar showed to all non-Muslims is not of recent origin. It dates back 13 centuries ago when our prophet not only by words but by deeds treated the Jews and Christians handsomely after he conquered them.
He showed to them outmost tolerance and regard and respect for their faith and beliefs. The whole history of Muslims where they ruled is replete with those humane and great principles and which should be followed and practised by us.
Finally, I thank you for your good wishes for Pakistan and I assure you that we shall not be wanting in friendly spirit with our neighbours and with all the nations of the world. Before I conclude, I wish to express our thanks to some of the messages of goodwill and friendship that have reached me. The first one is from President Truman on behalf of their great American nation. Second is from Egypt. Third from France, fourth from Syria and fifth from Nepal our neighbour. I am sure you will all join me in expressing our cordial thanks for their friendly messages that we have received from these nations. In all, I have to conclude the proceeding of this assembly and this assembly now stand adjourned sine die.
After the Ceremony, the Party returned to Government House in Karachi for a Reception, before the Viceroy and Vicereine returned to Delhi for the Indian Independence Ceremony the following day. Lady Pamela Mountbatten wrote:
At last the day of independence arrived. Although August had been chosen, Indian astrologers had immediately protested that this date was “inauspicious,” and so it was decided to start the ceremonies at midnight on the fourteenth. That day, we flew to Karachi to be at the ceremony for the creation of the Dominion of Pakistan. My parents drove in an open car with the Jinnahs, while I followed behind with Begum Ra’ana Liaquat Ali Khan, the new prime minister’s wife. We streets were thronged with ecstatic crowds, chanting their support, shouts of “Quaid-e Azam Zindabad!” and “Mountbatten Zindabad!” resonating for miles. Intelligence had warned before the ceremony that a bomb might be thrown during the procession but luckily everyone returned to Government House unharmed. In a rare show of emotion, Mr. Jinnah leant across and, smiling, put his hand on my father’s knee. “Your Excellency,” he said, “I’m so glad to get you back safely.” As we flew back to Delhi my father told me how he had forced himself not to give voice to his thoughts: “If only you knew the efforts I have gone to for the last several weeks to preserve your safety.”
Amidst unprecedented scenes of splendour and colour in this festive capital city of the new Dominion, the Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten, addressed in the morning the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan—a Dominion, fifth largest in the world with seventy million inhabitants— on the eve of its attaining complete freedom. With numerous jeweled war decorations and orders glittering under the flashlights. Lord Louis Mountbatten who was in his Admiral’s uniform, delivered his historic speech lasting fifteen minutes in a dignified and measured tone to a full House with galleries packed with high personages, diplomats, world Pressmen and prominent citizens. Qaid-e-Azam Mohamed Ali Jinnah, president of the Constituent Assembly led the Viceroy on his arrival to the throne placed along with his Presidential chair. His Excellency Sir Claude Auchmleck, Commander-in-Chief of India, the Hon. Pamela Mountbatten and Begum Liaqat Ali Khan occupied the front row while Lady Mountbatten and Miss Fatima Jinnah sat together in the next row near the Visceral Throne