close
Monday June 17, 2024

Quaid backed Indonesian fight for freedom

By Zafar Alam Sarwar
September 03, 2019

The birth anniversary of the father of the nation is observed in Pakistan and elsewhere every December 25 with fervour and renewal of the pledge to follow in the foot-prints of the great statesman.

Does any leader really vow at home, or for that matter at the mausoleum of the Quaid-i-Azam from the core of heart, to serve the hard-earned country and its masses? The print and electronic media do their best to update the knowledge of the common man about the life, struggle and achievement of the man who lived, worked hard and died as Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leaving behind Pakistan and an advice to people that they must stand united as one nation.

“We want freedom and liberty.” These five words in his statement to the ‘Manchester Guardian’ meant that the Quaid had wanted freedom and independence not of the sub-continent only but also other countries of Asia and Africa from the colonial powers. He backed Indonesia in its fight for freedom. That’s why Indonesians and Pakistanis will never forget August 17 and 14 rooted in world history as their national days respectively.

On August 17 in 1945, following the surrender by the Japanese, the then Indonesians of the first rank Ahmed Soekarno and Dr. Hatta proclaimed independence on behalf of the people of Indonesia. And, two years later, on August 14, 1947 , the majority of the Muslims inhabiting the sub-continent for centuries achieved independence under the dynamic leadership of Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

The leading freedom fighters of both the countries cherished the same ideals—liberty, equality and fraternity. If Soekarno spread from the very beginning the doctrine of national unity covering racial, religious and cultural brotherhood, Jinnah advocated unity—first between the Muslims and Hindus and then, realizing the need of the hour, among Muslims.

One of the glaring examples of unity of thought, speech and action and the common heritage in terms of culture and faith is the similarity of the mottos of Pakistani and Indonesian leaders. Soekarno said “…and we’re one, our motto is Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity).” Jinnah, who gave the call for unity on March 23, 1940, and one his close associates, Liaquat Ali Khan, following the Indonesian Proclamation of Independence in 1945, extended staunch support to Indonesian cause of freedom and then its fight for independence, sovereignty and recognition by the world.

One of the notable aspects of the Quaid’s advocacy for freedom was his clarion call in 1945 to back the Indonesian effort for Independence . The call was responded whole-heartedly by 600 Muslim (Pakistani) soldiers who deserted the colonial forces. The Pakistani soldiers, inspired by the leaders of Pakistan and Indonesia and the spirit of brotherhood, responded to Jinnah’s call in 1945 to support the Indonesian cause of independence. In early 1947, when Pakistan was in the process of its final inception and when the Military Tribunal of the colonialists instituted at Singapore for hearing the case of the deserting Muslim soldiers in Indonesia, pronounced its judgement, declaring those soldiers as “traitors” and awarding them death sentence.

Jinnah raised his roaring voice in condemnation of the colonial atrocities and inhuman decisions. In the last days of August he ordered detention of the Dutch planes at Karachi airport. The planes, full of weapons, were on their way to Jakarta as part of the Dutch reinforcement arsenal to augment aggression against the Indonesian Republic under the so-called “Police Action” of July 21, 1947.

The Quaid’s directive emboldened the Indonesian freedom fighters and the sub-continent’s Muslim soldiers, with the exception of hardly 10, who were henceforth to be called the Pakistani soldiers and not the British Indian soldiers after the establishment of Pakistan on August 14, 1947.

The Pak soldiers, in the battle during the infamous “Police Action”, termed ‘Perang Kesatu’ (the first battle) by Indonesia, fought on all fronts so gallantly and with such valour that the enemy of Indonesia was astounded and defeated at Bandung, Medan, Kota Raja and Bukittingg with heavy casualties. A large number of these Pakistanis also lost their legs while facing heavy bombardment of the enemy.

On December 19, 1948, the Dutch colonialists, with the characteristic of an annoyed cat, launched the last and most hideous aggression against the Republic of Indonesia, which they called the “Military Action.” That was called ‘Perang Kedua’ (the second battle). In this battle also, the remaining Pak soldiers helped the Indonesian forces face the enemy bravely and with unprecedented courage.

It was in this battle that the number of the Pak soldiers shrank to only a few dozen after a heavy loss of life. Most of them were killed in defending the Republic of Indonesia. Many who survived belonged to Jhelum, Gojar Khan and Rawalpindi—and one Mohammad Sadiq was awarded a certificate by (President) Soekarno during his visit to Karachi.

One can say safely that the link between the emerging Pakistan and Indonesia had been established in fact by the founders of the two republics during their struggle for freedom. The Pak soldiers’ role in exemplary fight against the colonial forces in Indonesia paved the way for political and socio-economic relations also. -

- zasarwar@hotmail.com