The help that came for the movement and achievement of Pakistan from the student community, particularly from this Province. May I say that you played your part magnificently.
The Quaid-i Azam
The Quaid-i Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah in 1926 was venturing into new territory. Though the vast majority of the people were Muslims, the Hindu-dominated Congress held political sway. It had strong allies in Dr. Khan Sahib and his brother, the charismatic Red Shirt leader, Abdul Ghaffar Khan, revered by the population as "Bacha Khan". The Red Shirt movement, popular in the settled areas, throve on the frustration of being denied the self-government granted other Provinces of India. In 1937 the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attained full provincial self-government, including responsibility for law and order. The Chief Minister was Dr Khan Sahib. Racial prejudice was palpable. A British author remarks: "The spectacle of a Pathan as Chief Minister, giving orders to British District Commissioners, was an unsettling one".
The alumni of Edwardes and Islamia Colleges had been contributing to greater self-consciousness of Pathan nationhood. Not only were they instrumental in the spread of education but also influenced all walks of civil society and acted as catalysts in blurring the sharp divisions of tribe for an over-arching sense of mutual amity, common identity and shared destiny. Over the years they also created the groundswell of goodwill for the Muslim League's programme. As a Bombay barrister committed to political and educational uplift, Muhammad Ali Jinnah took keen interest in the education of young Pathans and conferred with his colleague of the Central Legislature of British India, Sahibzada Qaiyum in this regard. As far back as 1939, he had willed one third of his wealth to Islamia College. As the freedom movement entered the final stages, the need for financial support from the Muslim masses became crucial. To the Quaid's appeal for "silver bullets", the Sarhad Muslim Students' Federation collected and donated a handsome sum of eight thousand rupees. When the amount was presented to the moved Quaid, he returned the sum bidding them to carry the message of Pakistan across the Province. To supplement their efforts, he donated five thousand rupees more. In November 1946 on the Quaid's visit to Peshawar, the Islamia College students were accorded the singular honour to mount a guard at the house he was residing in, and to provide security during his procession through the crowded streets of Peshawar festooned with streamers.
The treatment meted out to Nehru during the trying months leading to his "tryst with destiny" was very different. The Quaid had emerged as a popular leader in the Frontier, unlike Jawaharlal Nehru leader of the Indian National Congress who was promoted by the administration and the Government of Dr. Khan Sahib. In desperation Dr. Khan Sahib arranged his visit in 1946 to rally support so that the Province may stay in India. But "Nehru was at his worst, sulky and arrogant."4 When he reached Peshawar, "on the airfield, behind a cordon of troops and police, was an enormous crowd waving black flags, shouting moslem league slogans and well flavoured abuse”.Later at Dr Khan Shaib’s house passionate protesters “broke through the police cordon and ito the garden to make clear their disappointment of the pandit”.he was even pelted with stones at a public gathering.The following day they flew on to Miranshah and Razmak,where Rovin V.E Hodson, the political agent of South Waziristan, had assembeled a mahsuds jirga in the residency garden to meet them.The Mahsuds were incredulous that the british were “being driven out by a bunch of babus”.But they gathered to hear what the head babu had to say”.Hodson watched with some apprehension:
In the referendum of early 1947, as was widely predicted, a huge majority chose Pakistan. . Two days before Independence Sir George Cunningham came out of retirement to become the first Governor of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in the Dominion of Pakistani Among the first political decisions of the Quaid after Independence was the withdrawal of troops from the tribal area. With that one move he won the hearts of the tribals as well as brought home the message that a new political order had arrived, a system of which they were a responsible and important part. No longer subject to imperial pressure, the tribals, now felt free to participate in the aspirations of a young nation. The Quaid visited Peshawar in 1948 as the first Governor General of Pakistan. It was to be his last visit. At this occasion he acknowledged in glowing terms the role of the students and the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in exercising their right of self-determination for a separate homeland. A few months later, overworked and ailing he passed away.