Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ismail Abrehani - The lone ranger of Pakistan's Junagadh State

Junagadh & Manwadar, the offshore states of Pakistan were invaded and occupied by India soon after their accession to Pakistan. But Ismail Abrehani, a Senior Minister of Junagadh State, was the lone ranger who refused to accept Indian occupation and kept struggling for the independence of Junagadh from India.

During the partition of British India in 1947, the princely states were given a choice of acceding to either India or Pakistan or remaining outside them.

On 15th September, 1947, Nawab Muhammad Mahabat Khanji III of Junagadh, a princely state located on the south end of Kathiawar peninsula, chose to accede to Pakistan, because Junagadh adjoined Pakistan by sea.

However, Indian Government was bent upon on swallowing Junagadh and had decided and made full fool-proof preparations to do so?

On the 25th of September the so-called unlawful "Aarzee Hukumat" was formally formed with Shri Saamar Das Gandhi as President. It may please be noted that this relative of Mahathma Gandhi was not even a resident of Junagadh.

Secondly, the Government of India had decided a day earlier Indian Armed Forces and the Armies of the States in Kathaiwar should be suitably dispersed around Junagadh. This clearly shows that preparations to attack Junagadh commenced even before the formation of the so-called unlawful Civilian Provisional Government of Junagadh. It was a deliberate act of provocation on the part of the Indian Government.

As a part of the preparation for the invasion against and occupation of Junagadh, the Government of India constituted a "Kathiwar Division" of the Indian Army with Brigadier Gurdial Singh as the Chief with Rajkot as Headquarters. Besides, three War Ships were anchored at the port of Porbander and eight Tempest War planes were stationed at the Rajkot Airport.

Mangrol and Babariawad were two states under the suzerainty of Junagadh. The Goverrnment of India covertly through Indian Army and overtly through a Civil Adminstrator took over the two states on the 1st of November 1947. The Government of India took over by force Sardargadh a neighbouring town of Bantava and then it captured Bantva on the Eid-ul-Azha Day whilst the Muslims were peacefully praying in mosques.

Junagadh was occupied on the 9th of November 1947 at 6 PM by the Indian Army led by Brigadier Gurdial Singh. Thus, from that day Junagadh became de facto India's whilst being de jure Pakistan's.

Immediately after the take-over of the state, all Muslim Officials of the state were put behind bars. They included Ismail Abrehani, who had taken the Instrument of Accession to the Quaid-e-Azam for his signature. Abrehani refused to leave Junagadh, even when he was offered in jail the option of going to Pakistan, saying that despite its occupation Junagadh was part of Pakistan according to International law and he preferred to remain. He stayed and later died in Junagadh.

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