By Fakhar Alam
PESHAWAR, Mar 20 (APP):Pakistan Movement’s history cannot complete without mentioning the historic role of the students of Islamia College Peshawar (ICP) who mobilized denizens of Khyber Pakthunkhwa to complete the Quaid-i-Azam’s mission for Pakistan.
Holding aloft torch of education in KP for 108 years, Islamia College Peshawar (ICP), which saw the Independence Movement, had provided a unique platform to KP’s people to compete with others communities in education, civil service, economy and politics during colonial era besides mobilized them for a separate homeland for the Muslims of Subcontinent.
Established in 1913, a visitor travelling through historic Jamrud Road can’t remain unimpressed while passing under shadows of its tall beautiful domes, lush-green lawns and majestic architecture. It reminds visitors of glorious role of its students during Pakistan Movement under the leadership of Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah who created Pakistan in a short period of seven years on August 14, 1947 after adaptation historical Pakistan Resolution in Lahore on March 23, 1940.
Being a beautiful combination of Aligarh Movement of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Deoband School of Thoughts, ICP is a mere testimony to the greatness of its Founder, Nawab Sir Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan.“The idea to establish a college clicked in the minds of Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan, leader of Muslim League, and Sir George Roos-Keppel, the then Chief Commissioner of NWFP (now KP) in early 1909 when they met the Pathan students during their visit to the Muslim University Aligarh,” writes ex-principal ICP, Prof G.D. Khilji in his memoirs.
The students requested them either to construct Frontier hostel at Aligarh or a college may be built for them in then NWFP (now KP). As a token, the students raised around sixty rupees and gave them to Roos Keppel to form a Frontier Hostel fund or any other project. “Later, Keppel passed the money on to Nawab Sahib. It was April 12, 1911 when philanthropists Ghulam Haider Khan, Habibullah Khan, Khushal Khan, Sethi Karim Bakhsh and Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum gathered at residence of Abdul Karim Khan Indrabai in Peshawar. Haji Karim Bakhsh Sethi offered to build a mosque, Rahim Shah Kakakhel promised to construct a hostel known as Rahim Shah ward and Abdul Karim Khan donated Rs 10,000, Sethi Karim Bakhsh Rs.50,000 and Nawab of Dir promised Rs100,000 for the college fund.”
Later, a 10-member ad-hoc college committee under the chairmanship of Col Muhammad Aslam Khan was setup on May 29, 1911 to table proposals for establishment of the college. Leading Khans and Ulema were invited and seven resolutions including one to title to college as ‘Darul-Ulum-i-Islamia Suba-i-Sarhad’ were unanimously passed. A committee was constituted to select suitable site for the college. The proposal of college at Wazir Bagh was rejected by Ross Keppel as he wanted to spare the place of recreation. Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum in consultation with Ross Keppel had selected the existing place for ICP.
The land chosen for the college was property of Khalil tribe of Tehkal and 916 kanal and seventeen marlas were bought at Rs 30 per kanal. On October 1, 1913, ICP was opened with 26 students on roll and Sahibzada Khurshid was the first student who got admission and later become the Governor of then NWFP and Tipping (1913-17) was its first Principal.
“Like students of Aligarh movement whom were in the vanguard of the independence movement in India, so were the students of Islamia College, Peshawar for creation of Pakistan,” said Muhammad Younas Khan, Chairman, Department of Pakistan Studies, ICP while talking to APP. “The history of Pakistan Movement would remain incomplete without role of ICP’s students,” he added.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had an immense love for people of KP, ICP and visited this college in 1936, 1945 and 1948 as first Governor General of Pakistan. The love of Quaid-i-Azam, who became an honorary member of Khyber Union debating society of the college set up in 1936, can be judged from his `Will written on May 30, 1939 in Bombay in which he declared ICP, Muslim University Aligarh and Sindh Madrassatul islam, Karachi as among the inheritor of his property, Younas said.
Later, Quaid Trust paid Rs10,811,600 in different installments to ICP and was spent on construction of Quaid-i-Azam College of Commerce, University of Peshawar, construction of Jinnah residential quarters for employees, Jinnah College for Women and newly constructed Takbeer block at ICP.
In 1945, Mr Jinnah had received a rousing welcome at ICP where students and Muslim Students Federation (MSF) presented him Rs 8,000 as fund for Pakistan Movement. They assured him to present 8,000 committed educated workers when he came again to this great alma-mater. “KP people had showed an immense love for Quaid-i-Azam and that is why Muslim League secured maximum seats in 1946 election and after that historic victory nobody could stop independence movement from this province,” said Younas.
“In July 1947 Referendum, Muslim League clinched landslide victory in KP by securing over 200,000 votes and its people announced to become part of Pakistan,” he said. “The spirit and enthusiasm of people was historic when Mr Jinnah came to Peshawar as first governor general of Pakistan on April 12, 1948. Peshawarities had decorated their houses, markets, vehicles and bazaars with national flags looking festive look,” he said.
The great Quaid presented glowing tributes to services of its students towards making Pakistan in these words. “I am indeed very happy to be present here today and to have the privilege of addressing students of this great Darul Uloom, who are the future builders of Pakistan.” He reminded the students, “we have achieved the national goal of Pakistan and now it is our collective responsibility to work hard in our respective professions with a high-level of dedication, commitment and sincerity to make it one of the greatest countries of the world.”
He advised students to develop a sound sense of discipline, character, solid academic background and devote themselves towards studies. “Remember your government is like your own garden. Your garden flourishes by the way you look after it and the efforts that you put towards its improvement. Similarly, your government can only flourish by your patriotic, honest and constructive efforts to improve it,” he told students.
Following a gap of one year, the Government had established University of Peshawar near ICP in 1949 in line with the Quaid’s vision and later two more universities UET and Agriculture University were formed besides Pakistan Forest Institute.
Quaid also addressed a Grand Tribal Jira at Governor House, Peshawar on April 17, 1948 and highly praised strong commitment, patriotism and support of tribesmen for Pakistan. He laid great emphasis on education and social economic development of tribesmen and considered quality education especially technical education, science and technology as prerequisite for attaining goals of development and economic prosperity.
The college’s clock tower, which now becomes the pride symbol of Peshawar, has for long figured on the back of Rs 1000 Currency note. ICP has now attained a status of a public sector university where students from kindergarten to PhD level are quenching thirst of education.