Constituent Assembly of Pakistan and the Religious Minorities
“The proceedings of Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly began wit the election of a minority member, Jogendra Nath Mandal, as its acting President. This very first step indicates that the Quaid carried the same respect in his heart for the minorities and their representatives as he did for the Muslim majority. By seating a minority member on the presidential chair on the first day in the life of the Aseembly he, in a way, gave the minorities precedence over everyone else.
The Constitutent Assembly of Pakistan had come into being under sub sections 4 and 15 of section 21 of the partition proclamation of 3 June 1947, by an order issued on 26 July 1947 by the Governor General-designate of Pakistan (Quad-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah). The Assembly consisted of 72 members. 54 were present in he House that morning, including the designated head of state of the new dominion. Before the start proceedings, everyone, turn by turn, signed the register. The first to do so was the Quaid himself who was wearing a silk sherwani and a Jinnah cap. As he affixed his signature there was a tremendous applause and received standing ovation.
Then Liaqat Ai Khan proposed the name of Jogendra Nath Mandal as acting president of the Assembly. The proposed was seconded by Khwaja Nazimuddin. On this, Mandal, a representative of the scheduled castes, occupied the presidential chair. He was in Bengali dress”.
An extract from “Religious Fundamentalism and its impact on Non-Muslims”, CSC Publication N. 48, Rawalpindi, 2008.
J. N. Mandal on 8th October 1950 resigned from his office as Minister under Liaqat Ali Khan’s government. Here is the link of Mandal’s resignation letter: