The history of Pakistan from 1940 to 1947 is marked by the struggle for independence and the eventual creation of the new nation-state. The years leading up to the partition of India and the establishment of Pakistan were characterized by political turmoil and significant developments.
In March, the All India Muslim League passed the Lahore Resolution, also known as the Pakistan Resolution. This resolution called for the creation of separate Muslim-majority states within British India. It marked a significant shift in the League's demand from a united India with constitutional guarantees for Muslims to the creation of separate Muslim states.
The British government put forward the Cripps Mission, which proposed a decentralized Indian government with provisions for the eventual independence of India. However, the mission failed to satisfy the demands of both the Indian National Congress and the All India Muslim League. The failure of the Cripps Mission led to the escalation of the demand for the creation of Pakistan.
During these years, the Muslim League gained momentum under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who was instrumental in consolidating support for the idea of Pakistan. The League won numerous elections at the provincial level, which increased their political influence.
As World War II came to an end, the British government became more inclined towards granting independence to India. The general elections were held in India, and the Muslim League emerged as the dominant party in Muslim-majority areas, winning nearly all Muslim seats in the central legislature. This electoral victory was a significant step towards the realization of Pakistan.
The British government sent the Cabinet Mission to India to discuss and negotiate the transfer of power. The Mission proposed a united India with a federal structure, divided into three groups of provinces: Hindu-majority provinces, Muslim-majority provinces in the northwest, and Muslim-majority provinces in the northeast. However, the proposal failed to gain the support of both the Congress and the Muslim League.
In August, the Muslim League called for a "Direct Action Day" to demonstrate the demand for Pakistan. The day resulted in communal violence between Hindus and Muslims, particularly in Bengal and Bihar, which further deepened the religious divide in India.
In February, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee announced that the British government would transfer power to Indian authorities by June 1948. However, the political and communal situation in India continued to deteriorate, prompting Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, to advance the date of the transfer of power.
On June 3, 1947, the Mountbatten Plan was announced, which proposed the partition of British India into two separate states, India and Pakistan. The plan also provided for the division of Bengal and Punjab along religious lines, creating the eastern and western wings of Pakistan.
On August 14, 1947, Pakistan gained independence as a new nation-state under the leadership of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. A day later, on August 15, India also achieved independence. The partition of India led to massive population exchanges and widespread communal violence, which left a lasting impact on the history of the two nations.