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    Introduction

    Muslim rule was established across northern India between the 7th century and the 14th centuries. The Muslim Mughal Empire ruled most of India from Delhi from the early 16th century until its power was broken by the British in the 19th century. This left a disempowered and discontented Muslim minority, afraid of being swamped by the Hindu majority. Muslims were about 23% of the population of British India, and were the majority of the population in Baluchistan, Bengal, Kashmir, North-West Frontier Province, Punjab and the Sindh region of the Bombay Presidency.

    In the late 19th century an Indian nationalist movement developed, with the Indian National Congress being founded in 1885. Although the Congress made genuine efforts to enlist the Muslim community in its struggle for Indian independence, it was inevitably a Hindu-dominated organisation, and Muslims knew that an independent united India would inevitably be ruled by Hindus. Although some Muslims were active in the Congress, the majority of Muslim leaders did not trust the Hindu majority.

    A turning point came in 1900 when the British administration in the largest Indian state, the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), acceded to Hindu demands and made Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, the official language, in place of Persian, which had been the court language under the Mughal Emperors. This seemed to confirm Muslim fears that the Hindu majority would seek to suppress Muslim culture and religion in an independent India. A British official, Sir Percival Griffiths, wrote of "the Muslim belief that their interest must be regarded as completely separate from those of the Hindus, and that no fusion of the two communities was possible."

    During this period the unofficial leader of the Indian Muslim community was Sir Sayed Ahmed, head of the Aligarh movement (a cultural organisation based in the Muslim University at Aligarh), but following his death in 1898 a more militant leadership emerged, under the slogan "Islam is in danger." In October 1906 35 leading members of the Indian Muslim community gathered at Simla under the leadership of Sultan Mohammed Shah (the third Aga Khan), to present an address to the Viceroy, Lord Minto. They demanded proportionate representation of Muslims in all government jobs and the appointment of Muslim judges to the High Courts and members in Viceroy's Council.

    History and Background
    Muslim rule was established across northern India between the 7th century and the 14th centuries. The Muslim Mughal Empire ruled most of India from Delhi from the early 16th century until its power was broken by the British in the 19th century. This left a disempowered and discontented Muslim minority, afraid of being swamped by the Hindu majority. Muslims were about 23% of the population of British India, and were the majority of the population in Baluchistan, Bengal, Kashmir, North-West Frontier Province, Punjab and the Sindh region of the Bombay Presidency.
    In the late 19th century an Indian nationalist movement developed, with the Indian National Congress being founded in 1885. Although the Congress made genuine efforts to enlist the Muslim community in its struggle for Indian independence, it was inevitably a Hindu-dominated organisation, and Muslims knew that an independent united India would inevitably be ruled by Hindus. Although some Muslims were active in the Congress, the majority of Muslim leaders did not trust the Hindu majority.
    A turning point came in 1900 when the British administration in the largest Indian state, the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh), acceded to Hindu demands and made Hindi, written in the Devanagari script, the official language, in place of Persian, which had been the court language under the Mughal Emperors. This seemed to confirm Muslim fears that the Hindu majority would seek to suppress Muslim culture and religion in an independent India. A British official, Sir Percival Griffiths, wrote of "the Muslim belief that their interest must be regarded as completely separate from those of the Hindus, and that no fusion of the two communities was possible."
    During this period the unofficial leader of the Indian Muslim community was Sir Sayed Ahmed, head of the Aligarh movement (a cultural organisation based in the Muslim University at Aligarh), but following his death in 1898 a more militant leadership emerged, under the slogan "Islam is in danger." In October 1906 35 leading members of the Indian Muslim community gathered at Simla under the leadership of Sultan Mohammed Shah (the third Aga Khan), to present an address to the Viceroy, Lord Minto. They demanded proportionate representation of Muslims in all government jobs and the appointment of Muslim judges to the High Courts and members in Viceroy's Council.
    Early Years
    When these demands were accepted, an All-India Mohammedan Educational Conference was held in Dhaka in December. Nawab Salimullah, chairman of the reception committee and convener of the political meeting proposed the creation of the All-India Muslim League (AIML). A 56-member provisional committee was chosen from among prominent Muslim leaders, including some who were members of the Congress. Mohsin-ul-Mulk and Viqar-ul-Mulk were jointly made the secretaries, but after the death of Mohsin-ul-Mulk in 1907, Viqar-ul-Mulk was in full control of the League with Adamjee Peerbhoy as its president. The name All-India Muslim League was proposed by Sir Mian Mohammad Shafi. and were jointly made the secretaries, but after the death of Mohsin-ul-Mulk in , Viqar-ul-Mulk was in full control of the League with as its president. The name All-India Muslim League was proposed by Sir ., chairman of the reception committee and convener of the political meeting proposed the creation of the (AIML). A 56-member provisional committee was chosen from among prominent Muslim leaders, including some who were members of the Congress. and were jointly made the secretaries, but after the death of Mohsin-ul-Mulk in , Viqar-ul-Mulk was in full control of the League with as its president. The name All-India Muslim League was proposed by Sir .
    Three thousand delegates attended the meeting of the Conference, chaired by Viqar al-Mulq. At that meeting, Nawab Salim Ullah Khan proposed that the League become a political party devoted to promoting the interests of Muslims in India. The idea of a Muslim political party was not new, but Sayed Ahmed's advice to stand aloof from separatist ideas had previously persuaded Indian Muslims to avoid political mobilisation. Among those Muslims in the Congress who did not initially join the AIML was Muhammed Ali Jinnah, a prominent Bombay lawyer. This was because the first article of the League's platform was "To promote among the Mussalmans of India, feelings of loyalty to the British Government," and Jinnah was an Indian nationalist. He did not join the League until 1913, when it changed its platform to one of Indian independence as a reaction against the British decision to create a united state of Bengal, which the League regarded as a betrayal of the Bengal Muslims. At this stage Jinnah believed in Muslim-Hindu co-operation to achieve an independent, united India, although he argued that Muslims should be guaranteed one-third of the seats in any Indian Parliament., a prominent lawyer. This was because the first article of the League's platform was "To promote among the Mussalmans of India, feelings of loyalty to the British Government," and Jinnah was an Indian nationalist. He did not join the League until , when it changed its platform to one of Indian independence as a reaction against the British decision to create a united state of Bengal, which the League regarded as a betrayal of the Bengal Muslims. At this stage Jinnah believed in Muslim-Hindu co-operation to achieve an independent, united India, although he argued that Muslims should be guaranteed one-third of the seats in any Indian Parliament. proposed that the League become a political party devoted to promoting the interests of Muslims in India. The idea of a Muslim political party was not new, but Sayed Ahmed's advice to stand aloof from separatist ideas had previously persuaded Indian Muslims to avoid political mobilisation. Among those Muslims in the Congress who did not initially join the AIML was , a prominent lawyer. This was because the first article of the League's platform was "To promote among the Mussalmans of India, feelings of loyalty to the British Government," and Jinnah was an Indian nationalist. He did not join the League until , when it changed its platform to one of Indian independence as a reaction against the British decision to create a united state of Bengal, which the League regarded as a betrayal of the Bengal Muslims. At this stage Jinnah believed in Muslim-Hindu co-operation to achieve an independent, united India, although he argued that Muslims should be guaranteed one-third of the seats in any Indian Parliament.
    The headquarters of the new organisation was established at Lucknow, and the Aga Khan was elected as the League's first president. The principles of the League were espoused in the "Green Book," which included the organisation's constitution, written by Maulana Mohammad Ali. Its goals at this stage did not include establishing an independent Muslim state, but rather concentrated on protecting Muslim liberties and rights, promoting understanding between the Muslim community and other Indians, educating the Muslim and Indian community at large on the actions of the government, and discouraging violence.
    The League's moderate stance toward Britain and its disdain for violence alienated some Muslim radicals, who were infuriated by what they saw as the duplicity of British rule in India. The Partition of Bengal, which had been resisted by Congress, had been supported by the Muslim League, which saw the move as allowing for separate representation of Muslims and Hindus in Bengal. In the face of Congress agitation, the British rescinded the move in 1911, which angered the League.
    With a few years the League had become the sole representative body of Indian Muslims. Jinnah became its president in 1916, and negotiated the Lucknow Pact with Congress, in which Congress conceded the principle of separate electorates and weighted representation for the Muslim community. But Jinnah broke with Congress in 1919 when the Congress leader, Mohandas Gandhi, launched a "non-co-operation" campaign against the British, which Jinnah disapproved of. Jinnah also became convinced that Congress would renounce its support for separate electorates for Muslims, which indeed it did in 1928. Jinnah had little liking for either the Hindu asceticism of Gandhi or the secular socialism of the other Congress leader, Jawaharlal Nehru.
    In Power
    The PML (Q) is the undisputed ‘King’s Party’. Led by Mian Azhar, the party is backed by General Musharraf’s government and has been heavily promoted by the Army in Punjab and in Sindh. The PML (Q) started as a small group of half a dozen like-minded people in the PML, including Mian Azhar, Khurshid Kasuri, Abida Hussain and Fakhr Imam in defiance of Nawaz Sharif and his family's monopoly on the party. The group expanded and took the form of the PML-Q. In 2000 and 2001, the Musharraf administration pressured local PML-N leaders and former legislators to defect and join the PML-Q. The majority obliged.
    Current Status
    The PML (Q) considers itself liberal, moderate, and progressive. Although they are backed by General Musharraf, they have, at various points, promised a permanent removal of the army from the civilian domain to gain credibility with the public. PML(Q) leaders individually have offered variations on the theme: there can be a National Security Council (NSC) but it should be presided over by the prime minister and not the president. The party agrees with General Musharraf on his change of policy over Afghanistan and the adjustments he has had made to his Kashmir policy. The PML (Q)’s agenda and program for governance is vague, but the party’s confidence is high. The Asia Times reports that the party recently took out a brazen full-page ad in major newspapers in which statements and opinions of politicians and analysts were reproduced saying that the PML-Q would be in power "by hook or by crook", to which is added the comments, "Why waste your votes to the losers. Cast your votes to those to whom all political parties and newspapers reckon as winner." Party leader Mian Azhar’s national-level support base is minimal, but his name is being floated as a potential Prime Minister
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