On August 21, 1945, the viceroy announced that elections would be held that Winter to the Central and Provincial Legislative Assemblies. They were to precede the convention of a constitution-making body for British India. The Muslim League had to succeed in this crucial test if its popular support of its demand for Pakistan was to be credible. In particular, it had to succeed in the Punjab as there could be no Pakistan without that province. But in the Punjab's last elections held in 1937, the League had fared disastrously. It had put forward a mere seven candidates for the 85 Muslim seats and only two had been successful. One of those candidates, Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan also deserted the Punjab Muslim League, so there was only one Successful candidate of Punjab Muslim League.
On 23 February 1946, all the results of the elections were known and the Punjab Press reported with big headlines the crushing defeat of the Unionist party. Only 13 Muslims were elected on the Unionist ticket, even some of their minister lost their securities in the elections. The Muslim League won a grand victory by capturing 73 seats of a total of 86. Even at this stage, the Congress was all out to install a Unionist ministry in order to keep the Muslim League out of power.
The 1946 elections proved to be a turning point in the history of thePunjab Muslim League. In the 1946 election campaign, the Muslim League was able to publicize its views widely. It claimed that Islam was threatened by Congress. "Pirs" and "Sajjada Nashin" helped the Muslim League to attract Muslim voters. By early 1946, the Muslim League had been able to secure the support of many leading families of Punjab and also eminent Pirs and Sajjada Nasheens.
To give one example of his own area Khizr Hayat Tiwana faced strong opposition from the descendants of Pirs and Sajjada Nashins. In district Shahpur, Khwaja Qamar-ul-Din Sialvi, Qazi Zafar Hussain, and Qazi Mazhar Qayyum gave tough competition to Tiwanas. Khwaja Qamar-ul-Din Sialvi of Sial Sharif, a descendant of great Pir Khawaja Sham-ud-Din was president of District Shahpur Muslim League. He was very influential in his region. Likewise, Qazis of Soon Valley and descendants of Sufi Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad commanded great respect in their areas. They appealed to their people to vote against Tiwanas. With regard to the exertion of religious influence over the people, the grandfather of Khizar Hayat Tiwana, Malik Sahib Khan could not compete with the great grandfather of Qazi Zafar Hussain, and Qazi Mazhar Qayyum, Qazi Kalim Allah, and their father Qazi Mian Muhammad Amjad. According to SARAH F. D. ANSARI, the Sajjada Nashin or Pir families were not so rich in terms of land as the great landlords of Punjab but these Sajjada Nashin or Pir families exerted great political and religious influence over the people.
According to Ayesha Jalal, David Gimartin believes that a number of Pirs developed a personal stake in the League's election campaign; not because this was the most appropriate tactical response to the prospect of a British transfer of power but because the Pirs saw in the Pakistan movement an opportunity to break out of the colonial structures that had for so long thwarted their religious interests.
Pakistan came into being on 14 August 1947, "Pakistan would never have come into being", Talbot argues, "had the Unionist Party held on to the support of Muslim rural elites during the 1946 Punjab Provincial Assembly Election. The Muslim Landlords and Pirs joined the Muslim League before the 1946 election, without its victory in Punjab in that election", Talbot asserts, "the Muslim League would not have gotten Pakistan".
Penderel Moon simply attributes the League's rise to power to the alluring and irresistible appeal of thePakistan cry to the Muslim masses. Peter Hardy's explained that the Muslim League gained its electoral success in the Punjab by making a religious appeal over the heads of the professional politicians. Pakistani historians have explained the League's success in the Punjab, as elsewhere in the subcontinent, solely in terms of the Two Nation Theory.
Whatever the historians may suggest, one thing is clear that League's success was due to the political vision, farsightedness of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was a Grandmaster of the game by his cleverness and clever calculations.