In 1947, the British Raj decided to leave India and agreed to divide the
nation into two separate nations on religious lines. The two new nations
were India and Pakistan.
India had good infrastructure, but Pakistan did
not. Pakistan also faced other problems since it was divided by two parts,
East Pakistan and West Pakistan. Let’s discuss the various problems
Pakistan faced after it was formed.
Choosing a Capital City
Pakistan did not have any administrative capital from which it could rule. At
first, Pakistan decided to use Karachi as the capital and set up temporary
administration there. They had to bring administrative staff from Muslims
of Delhi. Lahore wasn’t made the capital because it was too close to the
Muslim Refugees from India
Due to communal riots, a large number of Muslims and Hindus were
displaced from their homes. 100s of thousands of people came to Pakistan
to take shelter. This was one of the biggest problems for the Pakistani
They were given shelter in public buildings and later, temporary camps
were set up. The communal riots resulted in the death of over 250,000
people and the displacement of over 12 million Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.
Challenge from Afghanistan
Pakistan also had to watch out for any afghan claims about its tribal areas.
Relations with Afghanistan were hostile, resulting in the rupture of
diplomatic and commercial relations with Afghanistan.
The Afghan government didn’t like the fact that Pakistan was ruling over
some tribal areas with Pashtun populations. Afghanistan is the only country
that voted against Pakistan's admission to the United Nations (UN) in 1947.
Severe Economic Crisis
The partition, Muslim refugees and other causes created a severe economic
crisis in Pakistan. Pakistan, for example, traditionally produced more wheat
than it consumed and had supplied the rest to areas in India.
Cotton grown in Pakistan was used in mills in Bombay and other Indian
cities. Commodities such as coal and sugar were in short supply in Pakistan
and their supply came from areas that became part of India.
This imbalance created an economic crisis as many jobs were lost and
Pakistan had to reshape its economy. East Pakistan and West Pakistan had
little economic activity between them. Pakistan had to start from the
beginning to start setting up economic activities between two parts of it.
Lingual Issue with East Pakistan (Bangladesh)
The Pakistani administration in 1947 wanted to make Urdu the official
language of the country. This decision was protested by Bengalis in Dhaka.
The Pakistani administration tried to silence them by shooting on their
protests. This was not well received by the Bengalis of East Pakistan and
they started to show deep resentment.
Electricity and Water Issue
After the partition, the areas with major power stations that supplied
power to Punjab became part of India. That is why Pakistan had to import
power from India. Also, Pakistan had to buy water from India.
The border of Pakistan was announced on August 17, 1947 by a British
commission which both India and Pakistan rejected. The border is
commonly referred to as the Radcliffe line. Pakistan felt that the British
were biased in their decision which soon resulted in a war between India
and Pakistan for the control of Kashmir.