A lot of youngsters in Pakistan don’t know the history of 23rd March and why it was started as a celebration. Common belief in the public is that it began as a memory of Lahore resolution of 1940, which is however incorrect perception. It was celebrated in the memory of 23rd March 1956, as republic day, when the British Crown approved the constitution of Pakistan.
When was Lahore Resolution Passed?
Lahore resolution was passed in annual meeting of Muslim League. The meeting was held from 22nd March to 24th March, 1940. Thus it’s not logical to confine it to one day of 23rd. Also, the resolution was supposedly passed on the last day of the meeting, so 24th March seems more appropriate. However more data is needed on this topic to confirm.
What is Republic Day?
23rd March 1956, is marked as the republic day for Pakistan. This day the British Crown accepted the constitution of Pakistan and Pakistan formally got the status of Republic, instead of Dominion of British Crown.
Why did British Crown accept the constitution if Pakistan was Free?
No, Pakistan was not Free from British rule in 1956. This is another common misconception among masses that Pakistan got Freedom in 1947. It didn’t
on 15th August 1947 (not 14th August), British Crown divided India into two dominions. Not free states. So in 1947 partition happened, not the freedom. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was appointed as the Governor General. The office of Governor General kept working on behalf of the Crown, till it was abolished in 1956, when the constitution of Pakistan was accepted by the British Crown.
This was the reason why this day, 23rd March 1956, was started as a celebration in Pakistan. Government of Pakistan also released a stamp in honour of the Republic Day in 1956.
Why don’t we celebrate 23 march as Republic Day anymore?
23rd March was started as a celebration of Republic Day (youm-e-jamhoor) from 1956. However after 2 years, Martial law was imposed in Pakistan on 7th October 1958, when Ayub Khan took charge as the Chief martial law administrator.
When martial law is imposed, the constitution is suspended. So it wasn’t possible to celebrate the republic day, which was started as a celebration for the approval of the constitution by the British Crown. And they changed the celebration title from 1956 to Lahore resolution of 1940. Even when the Lahore resolution wasn’t passed on exact date of 23rd March apparently.
Here are few postage stamps with first day issue covers of varius GPO of Pakistan Post in 1956.