Nawabzada Liaqat Ali khan

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan (Næʍābzādāh Liāqat Alī khan), Urdu and Punjabi: لیاقت علی خان; October 1895 – 16 October 1951), often simply referred as Liaquat, was one of the leading Founding Fathers[1] of modern Pakistan, statesman, lawyer, and political theorist who became and served as the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, in addition, was also the first Defence minister he was the first Finance Minister of India, and minister of Commonwealth and Kashmir Affairs and from 1947 until hisassassination in 1951.[1][1]

Born and hail from Karnal, East Punjab, Ali Khan was educated at the Aligarh Muslim University in India, and then the Oxford University in the United Kingdom.[2] Well educated, he was an Islamic democracy political theorist who promoted the parliamentarismin India. After being invited by the Congress Party, he opted for the Muslim League led by influential Mohammad Ali Jinnah who was advocating and determining to eradicate the injustices and ill treatment meted out to the Indian Muslims by the British government.[2][3] He pushed his role in the independence movements of India and Pakistan, while serving as the first Finance ministerin the interim government of British Indian Empire, prior to partition.[3] Ali Khan assisted Jinnah in campaigning for the creation of a separate state for Indian Muslims.[4]

Ali Khan’s credentials secured him the appointment of Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Ali Khan’s foreign policy sided with the United States and the West, though his foreign policy was determined to be a part of the Non-Aligned Movement.[5] Facing internal political unrest, his government survived a coup hatched by the leftists and communists. Nonetheless, his influence grew further after Jinnah’s death, and he was responsible for promulgating the Objectives Resolution. In 1951, at a political rally in Rawalpindi, Ali Khan was assassinated by a hired assassin, Sa’ad Babrak.[2][5]

He is Pakistan’s longest serving Prime Minister spending 1,524 days in power, a record which has stood for 63 years to the present

Liaquat Ali Khan was born into a Punjabi Muslim Nawáb (lit. Noble) Marhal family in Karnal,[7] Eastern Punjab of India, on 1 October 1895.[8] His father, Nawab Rustam Ali Khan, possessed the titles of Rukun-al-DaulahShamsher Jang and Nawab Bahadur, by the local population and the British Government who had wide respect for his family. The Ali Khan family was one of the few landlords whose property (300 villages in total including the jagir of 60 villages in Karnal) expanded across both eastern Punjab and the United Provinces.[9] The family owned pre-eminence to timely support given by Liaqat’s grandfather Nawab Ahmed Ali Khan of Karnal to British army during 1857 rebellion.(source-Lepel Griffin’s Punjab Chiefs Volume One).Liaquat Ali Khan’s mother, Mahmoodah Begum, arranged for his lessons in the Qur’an and Ahadith at home before his formal schooling started.[10] His family had strong ties with the British Government, and the senior British government officers were usually visited at his big and wide mansion at their time of visit.[10]

His family had deep respect for the Indian Muslim thinker and philosopher Syed Ahmad Khan, and his father had strong views and desires for young Liaqat Ali Khan to educated in the British educational system; therefore, his family admitted Ali Khan to famous Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) to study law and political science. Ali Khan was sent to Aligarh to attend the AMU where he would obtained degrees in law and political science.

In 1913, Ali Khan attended the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College (now Aligarh Muslim University), graduating with a BSc in Political science and LLB in 1918, and married his cousin, Jehangira Begum, also in 1918.[11] After the death of his father in 1919, Ali Khan, with British Government awarding the grants and scholarship, went to England, attending the Oxford University’s Exeter College to pursue his higher education.[10] In 1921, Ali Khan was awarded the Master of Law in Law and Justice, by the college faculty who also conferred him with a Bronze Medallion.[10] While a graduate student at Oxford, Ali Khan took active participation in student unions and was an elected Honorary Treasurer of theMajlis Society— a student union founded by Indian Muslim students to promote the Indian students rights at the university.[10] Thereafter, Ali Khan was called to joined the Inner Temple, one of the Inns of Court in London.[10] He was called to the Bar in 1922 by one of his English law professor, and starting his practices in law as an advocate.[9]

Political activism in British India

Ali Khan returned to his homeland Britain in 1923, entering in national politics, determining to eradicate to what he saw as the injustice and ill-treatment of Indian Muslims under theBritish Indian Government and the British Government.[10] His political philosophy strongly emphasis a united India, first gradually believing in the Indian nationalism. The Congress leadership approached to Ali Khan to become a part of the party, but after attending the meeting with Jawaharlal Nehru, Ali Khan’s political views and ambitions gradually changed.[10] Therefore, Ali Khan refused, informing the Congress Party about his decision, and instead joining the Muslim League in 1923, led under another lawyer Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Soon Jinnah called for an annual session meeting in May 1924, in Lahore, where the goals, boundaries, party programmes, vision, and revival of the League, was an initial party agenda and, was carefully discussed at the Lahore caucus. At this meeting, Khan was among those who attended this conference, and recommending the news goals for the party.[10]

United Province legislation

Ali Khan initially compaigned in the 1926 elections from the rural Muslim constituency of Muzzaffarnagar for the provisional legislative council.[12] Ali Khan won the elections with unanimously and with heavy margin, whilst there were no opponents that campaign against him.[12] After taking the oath, Ali Khan embarked his parliamentary career, representing the United Provinces at the Legislative Council in 1926.[12] In 1932, he was unanimously elected Deputy President of UP Legislative Council.[9][12]

During this time, Ali Khan intensified his support in Muslim dominated populations, often raising the problems and challenges faced by the Muslim communities in the United Province.[12] Ali Khan joined hands with academician Sir Ziauddin Ahmed, taking to organize the Muslim students communities into one student union, advocating for the provisional rights of the Muslim state.[12] His strong advocacy for Muslims rights had brought him into national prominence and significant respect was also gained from Hindu communities whom he also fought for them at higher hierarchy of the government.[12] Ali Khan remained the elected member of the UP Legislative Council until 1940, when he was proceeded to elect to the Central Legislative Assembly; he participated actively, and was the influential member in legislative affairs, where his recommendations would also noted by other members.[12]

In his parliamentary career, Ali Khan established his reputation as “eloquent principled and honest spokesman” who would never compromised on his principles even in the face of severe odds.[13] Ali Khan, on several occasions, used his influence and good offices for the liquidation of communal tension and bitterness.[13]

Allying with Muslim League

Ali Khan rose to became one of the influential member of the Muslim League, and was one of the central figure in the Muslim League delegation that attended the National Convention held at Calcutta.[14] Earlier the British Government had formed the Simon Commission to recommend the constitutional and territorial reforms to the British Government.[14] The commission, compromising the seven British Members of Parliament, headed under its Chairman Sir John Simon, met briefly with Congress Party and Muslim League leaders.[14] The commission The had introduced the system of dyarchy to govern the provinces of British India, but these revision met with harsh critic and clamoured by the Indian public.[14] Motilal Nehru presented his Nehru Report to counter British charges.[14] In 1928, Ali Khan and Jinnah decided to discuss the Nehru Report in December 1928.[15] In 1930, Ali Khan and Jinnah attended the First Round Table Conference, but it ended in disaster, leading Jinnah to depart from British India to Great Britain.[15] During this meantime, Ali Khan’s second marriage took place in December 1932. His wife, Begum Ra’ana, was a prominent economist and an educator.[16] She, too, was an influential figure in the Pakistan movement.[16]

Ali Khan firmed believed in the unity of Hindu-Muslim community, and worked tirelessly for that cause.[14] In his party presidential address delivered at the Provisional Muslim Education Conference at AMU in 1932, Ali Khan expressed the view that Muslims had “distinct [c]ulture of their own and had the (every) right to persevere it”.[14] At this conference, Liaquat Ali Khan announced that:

But, days of rapid communalism, in this country (British India) are numbered.., and we shall ere witnessed long the united Hindu-Muslim India anxious to persevere and maintain all that rich and valuable heritage which the contact of two great cultures bequeathed us. We all believe in the great destiny of our common motherland to achieve which common assets are but invaluable….

—Liaquat Ali Khan, addressing the students and academicians in 1932, [14]

Soon, Ali Khan and his wife departed to England, but did not terminate his connections with the Muslim League. With Ali Khan departing, the Muslim League’s parliamentary wing disintegrated, with many Muslim members joining the either Democratic Party, originally organized by Ali Khan in 1930, and the Congress Party.[14] At the deputation in England, Ali Khan made close study of organizing the political parties, and would soon return to his country with Jinnah.[14]

Round Table conference

In 1930, Jinnah urged Prime minister Ramsay MacDonald and his Viceroy Lord Irwin to convene a Round Table Conferences in London.[17] In spite of what Jinnah was expecting, the conference was a complete failure, forcing Jinnah to retire from the national politics, and permanently settled in London and was practicing law before the Privy Council.[9][18]

During this time, Ali Khan and his wife joined Jinnah, with Ali Khan practicing the economical law and his wife joined the faculty of economics at the local college. Ali Khan and his wife spent most of their time convincing Jinnah to return to British India to unite the scattered Muslim League mass into one full force.[18][19] Meanwhile, Choudhry Rahmat Alicoined the “Pakstan term in his famous pamphlet Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever?.[18] With Rehmat Ali and Mohammad Iqbal (who would also take him in confidence of seeing a vision in his dream of a separate Muslim state).[18][19]

Pakistan movement

Main articles: Pakistan Movement, Indian independence movement and Pakistan Resolution

When Muhammad Ali Jinnah returned to India, he started to reorganise the Muslim League. In 1936, the annual session of the League met in Bombay (now Mumbai). In the open session on 12 April 1936, Jinnah moved a resolution proposing Khan as the Honorary General Secretary. The resolution was unanimously adopted and he held the office till the establishment of Pakistan in 1947.[20] In 1940, Khan was made the deputy leader of the Muslim League Parliamentary party. Jinnah was not able to take active part in the proceedings of the Assembly on account of his heavy political work. It was Khan who stood in his place. During this period, Khan was also the Honorary General Secretary of the Muslim League, the deputy leader of their party, Convenor of the Action Committee of the Muslim League, Chairman of the Central Parliamentary Board and the managing director of the newspaper Dawn.[21]


Liquat Ali Khan (second left, first row) and wife, Sheila Irene Pant (far right, first row), meeting withPashtun leaders in 1948.

The Pakistan Resolution was adopted in 1940 at the Lahore session of the Muslim League. The same year elections were held for the central legislative assembly which were contested by Khan from the Barielly constituency. He was elected without contest. When the twenty-eighth session of the League met in Madras (now Chennai) on 12 April 1941, Jinnah told party members that the ultimate aim was to obtain Pakistan. In this session, Khan moved a resolution incorporating the objectives of the Pakistan Resolution in the aims and objectives of the Muslim League. The resolution was seconded and passed unanimously.[21]

In 1945-46, mass elections were held in India and Khan won the Central Legislature election from the Meerut Constituency in the United Provinces. He was also elected Chairman of the League’s Central Parliamentary Board. The Muslim League won 87% of seats reserved for Muslims of British India.[22] He assisted Jinnah in his negotiations with the members of the Cabinet Mission and the leaders of the Congress during the final phases of the Freedom Movement and it was decided that an interim government would be formed consisting of members of the Congress, the Muslim League and minority leaders. When the Government asked the Muslim League to send five nominees for representation in the interim government, Khan was asked to lead the League group in the cabinet. He was given the portfolio of finance.[23]The other four men nominated by the League were Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar, Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Abdur Rab Nishtar, and Jogendra Nath Mandal.[24] By this point, the British government and the Indian National Congress had both accepted the idea of Pakistan and therefore on 14 August 1947, Pakistan came into existence.[15]

Prime Minister[ .]


Liaquat Ali Khan meeting President Truman

After independence, Ali Khan was appointed as the first Prime Minister of Pakistan by the founding fathers of Pakistan. Khan was made the prime minister during the penultimate times, the country was born at the time of starting of the extensive competition between two world superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.[25] Ali Khan faced with mounted challenges and difficulties while trying to administer the country. Ali Khan and the Muslim League faced with dual competitions with socialists in West-Pakistan and, the communists in East Pakistan.[25] The Muslim League founded difficult to face competition with socialists in West Pakistan, and lost considerable support in favor of socialists led its Marxist leader Faiz Ahmad Faiz. In East Pakistan, the Muslim League’s political base was vanished by Pakistan Communist Party after staging a mass protest.[25]

At an internal front, Ali Khan faced with socialist’s nationalists challenges and different religious ideologies further pushed the country into more unrest.[25] Problems with Soviet Union and Soviet bloc further escalated after Ali Khan failed to make a visit to Soviet Union, despite his intention.[25] Although, Ali Khan envision the foreign policy more independent, despite his initiatives, the country had became more dependent to the United States which influenced on Ali Khan’s policy towards the communist bloc.[25] His government faced eminent challenges and endless regional conflict with India, forcing Ali Khan to approach to his counterpart Jawaharlal Nehru to reach a settlement to end the religious violence, but Nehru pushed for the referral of the problem to the United Nations.[5] Generally an anti-communist, Ali Khan send the recommendation to Jinnah to appointed Abdul Rashid as country’s first Chief Justice, and Justice Abdur Rahim as President of Constitutional Assembly, both of them were also the Founding fathers of Pakistan.[25] Earliest reforms Ali Khan took was to centralize the Muslim League, and planned and prepared the Muslim League to become the successor authority of Pakistan.[25]

Economic and education policy

Main article: Five-Year Plans of Pakistan


Prime minister Ali Khan meeting with President and faculty of theMIT.

Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan took initiatives to developed educational infrastructure, science and technology in the country, with carrying the vision of successful development of science and technology to aid the essential foreign policy of Pakistan.[26] In 1947, with Jinnah invitingRafi Muhammad Chaudhry to Pakistan, on other hand, Liaquat Ali Khan called Salimuzzaman Siddiqui, awarding him the citizenship, and appointed him as his first government science adviser in 1950.[26] During this same time, Ali Khan also called Raziuddin Siddiqui, asking him to plan and establish the educational research institutes in the country.[26] Ali Khan asked Ziauddin Ahmed to draft the educational policy, which was submitted to his office in November 1947, and a road map to establishing the education in the country was quickly adopted by Ali Khan’s government.[26]

Ali Khan’s government authorized the establishment of the Sargodha University and the Sindh University.[26] Under his government, the science infrastructure was slowly built but he continued inviting Muslims scientists and engineers from India to Pakistan, believing it essential for Pakistan’s future progress.[26]

In 1947, Ali Khan and his Treasure minister Malick Ghulam proposed the idea of Five-Year Plans, by putting the country’s economic system on investment and capitalism grounds.[27] Focusing on an initial Planned economic system under the directives of private sector and consortium industries in 1948; the economic planning began to take place in his office, but soon collapse partly because of unsystematic and inadequate staffing.[27] Ali Khan’s economic policies were soon heavily became dependent to United States’s aid to the country.[27] In spite of planning an independent economic policies, Ali Khan’s economic policies focused on the United States’ aid programme, on other hand, Nehru focused on socialism and went on to be a part of Non Aligned Movement.[27] An important event during his premiership was the establishment ofNational Bank in November 1949, and the installation of a paper currency mill in Karachi.[28] Unlike his Indian counterpart Jawaharlal Nehru, Ali Khan drew Pakistan’s economy planned, but open free market economy, with no government influence.[27]

Immigration problem[ .]

Main articles: Partition of Bengal (1947), Radcliffe Line and Durand Line


Border areas and places where the immigration and violence took place, 1947.

The newly birthed Pakistan faced a number of immigration and naturalization difficulties in its early days. Whilst both Ali Khan and Jinnah were determined to stop the riots and refugee problems and to set up an effective administrative system for the country,[27] Jinnah’s plea to regard religion as a personal matter, not a state matter, was completely ignored by both sides.[27] His government was prepared to control the communal rioting and the mass movements of population, but was unable to stop the violence .[27] The inadequate borders and dividing of armed forces between India and Pakistan further escalated the conflict, bringing both militaries at the point of conflict.[27] West-Pakistan lost a large population of Hindus and Sikhs, despite Jinnah’s appeal to keep the minorities in Pakistan.[27] Ali Khan’s government found it difficult to help the Urdu-speaking population of United Province to settle in Pakistan.[27] While East Pakistan under her Chief Minister Nurul Amin remained peaceful and untouched by the violence and riots, West Pakistan was jolted and badly shaken with violence, riots, massive rape and ill-treatment of children, which brought the international communities to intervene in the conflict.[27] Many, including the Bengali founding fathers of Pakistan, had serious concern over the violence waged on the Urdu-speaking Muslim population by Hindus and non-Urdu speaking West Pakistani Muslim natives, and were determined and worked on both sides to stop the violence.[27]

The immigration of Urdu-speaking communities further polarized the West Pakistani population, especially in the cities of Karachi, Lahore, and other parts of Sindh Province and Balochistan Province (Balochis refused to provide refuge to Urdu-speaking people by using violent policies leading to a Balochistan conflict).[27] In 1951, close to half of the population of Pakistan’s major cities were immigrants.[27]According to the United States Government, the casualties stood at approximately 250,000 dead and 12 million to 24 million refugees displaced in India and Pakistan.[27]

Constitutional annex

Main article: Annex to the Constitution of Pakistan

During his first days, Ali Khan first adopted the 1935 Act to administer the country, although his lawmakers and legislators continued to work on different bill.[29] Finally in 1949 after Jinnah’s death, Prime Minister Ali Khan intensified his vision to establish the Islamic system in the country, a complete contradiction to Jinnah’s vision, presenting theObjectives Resolution— a prelude to future constitutions, in the Constituent Assembly.[29] The house passed it on 12 March 1949, but met with harsh critic even from his Law Minister Jogendra Nath Mandal who argued against it.[30] Severe criticism were also raised by MP Ayaz Amir and right-wing politician Maulana Maududi who described this bill as “such a rain which was neither preceded by a gathering of clouds not was it followed by vegetation”.[30] On the other hand, Liquat Ali Khan described as this bill as “Magna Carta” of Pakistan’s constitutional history.[31] Khan called it “the most important occasion in the life of this country, next in importance, only to the achievement of independence”. Under his leadership, a team of legislators also drafted the first report of the Basic Principle Committee and work began on the second report.[29]

War with India

Main articles: Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and Balochistan conflict

Soon after appointing a new government, Ali Khan’s faced a new war with India over on Kashmir conflict in 1947-48.[32] The British commander of Pakistan Army General Douglas Gracey refused to send the army units, but Liaquat Ali Khan ordered the independent units of the Pakistan Army to intervene in the conflict.[33] On Kashmir issue, Ali Khan and Jinnah’s policy reflected “Pakistan’s alliance with U.S and United Kingdom” against the “Indian imperialism” and “Soviet expansion”.[32] However, it is revealed by historians that differences and disagreement with Jinnah arise over on Kashmir issue.[32] Jinnah’s strategy to liberate Kashmir was using the military forces.[32] Thus, Jinnah’s strategy was to “kill two birds with one stone”,[32] namely decapitate India by controlling Kashmir, and to find a domestic solution through foreign and military intervention.[32]

On Ali Khan’s personal accounts and views, the prime minister preferred a “harder diplomatic” and “less military stance”.[32] The prime minister sought a dialogue with his counterpart, and agreed to resolve the dispute of Kashmir in a peaceful manner through the efforts of the United Nations. According to this agreement a ceasefire was effected in Kashmir on 1 January 1949. It was decided that a free and impartial plebiscite would be held under the supervision of the UN.[34] Prime minister’s diplomatic stance was met with hostile by the Pakistan Armed Forces and the socialists and communists, notably the mid-higher level command who would later sponsored an alleged coup led by the communists and socialists against his government.[32]

On southern fronts, Ali Khan’s government faced another challenge— the Balochistan conflict.[35] Ali Khan’s government send the army units to force tribal leaders to integrate their states with Pakistan.[35] This move met with hostile when Prince Karim Khan, leader of Kalat, initiated a separatist movement against his government.[35] On the night of 16 May 1948, Prince Khan escaped to Afghanistan, conducting a guerrilla warfare based in Afghanistan against the Pakistan Government.[35] This conflict was short-lived when Afghanistan and Soviet Union denied to offer Prince Khan’s scheme to dismembered the country.[35]

Soviet Union and United States

Main articles: Pakistan–Soviet Union relations, United States-Pakistan relations, China–Pakistan relations, Pakistan-Poland relations and Non-Aligned Movement

In 1949, Soviet Union under its leader Joseph Stalin sent an invitation to Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan to visit the country, followed by the U.S. invitation after learning the Soviet move.[36] In May 1950, Prime minister Ali Khan paid a state visit to the United States after being persuaded to snap ties with the Soviet Union, and set the course of Pakistan’s foreign policy towards closer ties with the West, despite it was the Soviet Union who sent its invitation of Ali Khan to visit the country.[36] The visit further cemented strong ties between two country and brought them closer.[37] To many sources, Ali Khan’s formulated policies were focused on Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, and his trip to U.S. in 1950, Ali Khan had made it clear to United States about Pakistan’s neutral foreign policy.[36] Being a newly born nation and trouble with planning the economy, Ali Khan asked the U.S. for civilian foreign aid for economic and moral support to stand in its feet.[37] The United States gladly accepted the offer, and continued its aid throughout the years.[37] But ties were extremely deteriorated after United States asked Ali Khan to send two active combatant division to support the U.S. military operations in Korean War.[37] Ali Khan wanted to send two active combatant divisions, but asked with U.S. assurance and unconditional support on Kashmir and Pashtunisation issue, which the U.S. declined.[37] Prompting, Prime minister Ali Khan decided not to sent the divisions, a clear indication that Pakistan was working towards the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).[37] The United States began to work on a policy to put Pakistan to remain impartial, and India on other hand, remained a keystone to brought stability in South Asia.[37] By June and July 1951, Pakistan’s relations with U.S. were further deteriorated, with Nehru visiting the United States, pressuring Pakistan to call back her troops from Kashmir.[37]

Pakistan has annexed half of Kashmir without [A]merican support…, and would be able to take the other half too.

Ali Khan authorization of the aggressive policies on India, escalating to start another war with India, had the U.S. worried.[38][self-published source] In an official meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Ayub Khan, Ali Khan famously said: “I am sick and tired of these alarms and excursions. Lets fight out!”.[38] Following the taking place of Abadan Crisis, the U.S. began to pressure Ali Khan to pressure Iran transfer control of its oil fields to the United States., which Ali Khan refused.[38] The U.S. threatened Pakistan to cut off the economic support and to annul the secret pact on Kashmir with India.[38] After hearing this from the U.S. Ambassador Avra Warren, Ali Khan’s mood was much more aggressive, and reportedly had said: “Pakistan has annexed half of Kashmir without American support and would be able to take the other half too”.[38] Ali Khan also demanded U.S. to evacuate its military bases in Pakistan.[38] In a declassified document, Ali Khan’s statements and aggressive mood was a “bombshell” for President Truman’s presidency and for the U.S. foreign policy.[38] In 1950, President Truman requested Prime minister Ali Khan to provide a military base to Central Intelligence Agency to keep an eye on Soviet Union, which Ali Khan hesitated and later refused, prompting the U.S. to began the planning to assassinate Ali Khan to remove him from the country’s politics once and for all.[38] The documents also point out that the U.S. reportedly hired the Pashtun assassins, promising the Afghan pashtuns to established the single state of Pashtunistan in 1952.[38]

Pakistan cannot afford to wait. She must take her friends where she finds them…!

Prime minister Ali Khan began to developed tighter relations with the Soviet Union, China, Poland, and Iran under itsPremier Mohammed Mossadegh as well.[39] While in United Kingdom, Ali Khan sent invitation to Polish Communist leader Władysław Gomułka to visit the country while simultaneously sending the farewell message and the state invitation to Stalin to visit the country, arrangement of Stalin’s visit were also prepared by Ali Khan.[39] However, the state visits by neither leaders were never paid after Ali Khan was assassinated and Stalin’s fall from the power.[39] In 1948, Pakistan established its relations with the Soviet Union, and an agreement was announced a month later.[39]The offing of U.S. trade had frustrated Ali Khan, therefore, Ali Khan sent career Foreign service officer Jamsheed Marker as Pakistan Ambassador to the Soviet Union, a few months later, Soviet Ambassador arrived to Pakistan, with her large staff and accompanied military attaches.[39] In 1950, Ali Khan established relations with China by sending his ambassador, making Pakistan to become first Muslim country to established relations with China, a move which further dismayed the United States.[39] While in Iran, Liaquat Ali Khan talked to Soviet Ambassador and Moscow promptly extended an invitation to him to visit the Soviet Union.[39]

Struggle for control[ .]

After the 1947 war and the Balochistan conflict, Ali Khan’s ability to run the country was put in doubt and great questions were raised by the communists and socialists active in the country.[32] In 1947-48 period, Ali Khan-Jinnah relations was contentious, and the senior military leadership and Jinnah himself became critic of his government.[40] In his last months, Jinnah came to realize that (his) prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan was a weak prime minister— a highly ambitious— and was not loyal to Jinnah and his vision in his dying days.[32] According to Ashok Kapur’s reference, written in “Pakistan in crises“, Jinnah came to Karachi after visiting Ziarat in Balochistan Province, with wasting no time, Ali Khan went to Jinnah to have signed some government officials papers.[32] According to an eye-witness account, Jinnah lost temper after reading the papers, and reportedly told the prime minister that “he [Jinnah] would not have asked for Pakistan had he know about Liaquat Ali Khan’s motives[32] “. According to Kapur’s thesis, Ali Khan smiled and allegedly laughed at aging Jinnah and told him that “he was senile”.[32] It was also reported that when Jinnah died from his long illness, his government’s home secretary allegedly reported to him and have had told him that “the bastard is dead”.[32]


Prime minister Ali Khan addressing the American public at the local ceremony.

The death of Jinnah was announced in 1948, as the new cabinet was also re-established. Ali Khan faced the problem of religious minorities flared during late 1949 and early 1950, and observers feared that India and Pakistan were about to fight their second war in the first three years of their independence. At this time, Ali Khan met Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to sign the Liaquat-Nehru Pact in 1950. The pact was an effort to improve relations and reduce tension between India and Pakistan, and to protect the religious minorities on both sides of the border.[41]

Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan did not took over the office of Governor-General, instead appointed Khawaja Nazimuddin, a Bengali statesman from East-Pakistan.[32] When Jinnah passed away, he had held three major positions: Governor-General; President of Muslim League; and the Constituent Assembly of which he served both its President and legal adviser.[32] Although Ali Khan was a legislator and lawyer, but had lacked Jinnah’s political stature.[32]

Differences and problems also leveled up with Pakistan Armed Forces, and a local and native section of Pakistan Army was completely hostile towards Ali Khan’s diplomatic approach with India.[32] The existence of high level opposititon was revealed in Rawalpindi conspiracy, sponsored by Chief of General Staff Major-General Akbar Khan, and headed by communist leader Faiz Ahmad Faiz.[32] Another second concerned, Liaquat Ali Khan’ intensified policies to make the country a parliamentary democracy and federal republic (current Pakistan’s political structure).[32] During his tenure, Ali Khan supervised the promulgation ofOctober Objectives in 1949 which passed by the Constituent Assembly. The document was aimed an Islamic, democratic and federal constitution and government. Disagreement existed about the approach and methods to realize these aims.[32]

The third major difference was itself in Muslim League, the party had weak political structure with no public base ground or support.[32] Its activities revealed in high factionalism, low commitment to resolve public problems, corruption and incompetency of planning social and economics programmes.[32] In East Pakistan, Ali Khan’s lack of attention for the development of Bengali nation brought a bad juncture for the prime minister and his party, where its ideology was vague. In political base, it was both weak and narrow, and could not compete in West-Pakistan as well as in East-Pakistan where traditional families endorsed enormous political power.[32] In West Pakistan, the Muslim League failed to compete against the socialists and communists in East Pakistan.[32]

1951 military scandal

Ali Khan’s relation with General Sir Douglas Gracey deteriorated, prompting General Gracy to take a retirement soon after the conflict. In January 1951, Ali Khan approved the appointment of General Ayub Khan as the first native Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army after General Gracey retired.

During this time, the socialists gained a significant amount of support, therefore, a secret mission was planned by senior military leaders under the auspicious of prominent socialists, to overthrow the government of Ali Khan. The media reported the involvement of Chief of General Staff Major-General Akbar Khan and the Marxist-Socialist Faiz Ahmad Faiz, leading the coup. The Military Police launched a massive arrest inside the military services, more than 14 officers were charged for plotting the coup. The Rawalpindi Conspiracy, as it became known, was the first attempted coup in Pakistan’s history. The arrested conspirators were tried in secret and given lengthy jail sentences.[42]

Assassination[ .]

On 16 October 1951, Khan was shot twice in the chest during a public meeting of the Muslim City League at Company Bagh (Company Gardens), Rawalpindi. The police immediately shot the assassin who was later identified as Saad Akbar Babrak. Khan was rushed to a hospital and given a blood transfusion, but he succumbed to his injuries. The exact motive behind the assassination has never been fully revealed.[43] Saad Akbar Babrak was an Afghan national and a professional assassin from Hazara.[44][self-published source][45] He was known to the police prior to the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan. The assassination is still a very big question mark because it was never investigated properly.

Upon his death, Khan was given the honorific title of “Shaheed-e-Millat“, or “Martyr of the Nation”. He is buried at Mazar-e-Quaid, the mausoleum built for Jinnah in Karachi.[46] The Municipal Park, where he was assassinated, was renamed Liaquat Bagh (Bagh means park) in his honor. It is the same location where ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in 2007.[47]

First cabinet and appointments


The official portrait of Liaquat Ali Khan.

The Ali Khan Cabinet

Ministerial office Officer holder Term
Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan 1947–1951
Governor-General Mohammad Ali Jinnah
Khawaja Nazimuddin
Foreign Affairs Sir Zafrullah Khan 1947–1954
Treasury, Economic Malik Ghulam 1947–1954
Law, Justice, Labor Jogendra Nath Mandal 1947–1951
Interior Fazlur Rehman
Khuvaja Shahab-uddin
Defence Iskander Mirza 1947–1954
Science advisor Salimuzzaman Siddiqui 1951–1959
Education, Health Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry 1947–1956
Finance, Statistics Sir Victor Turner 1947–1951
Minorities, Women Sheila Irene Pant 1947–1951
Communications Abdur Rab Nishtar 1947–1951


Judicial appointments

Supreme Court

Ali Khan appointed the following Justices to the Judiciary of Pakistan:

  • Sir Abdul Rashid, Chief Justice – 1949-1954
  • Muhammad Munir, Chief Justice of Lahore High Court – 1947-1954
  • Sir George Constantine, Chief Justice of Sindh High Court – 1949-1954
  • Mohammad Akram, Chief Justice of Dhaka High Court – 1947-1950



The historical photo of family of L.A. Khan his wife and children, 1949 circa.

Liaquat Ali Khan has left a respected legacy although he is often criticized for his foreign policy. His legacy is often seen as “martyr ofdemocracy in newly birth country, who sacrifice his life for the parliamentary democracy.[48] After his death, his wife remain an influential figure in Pakistan’s foreign service, and was also the Governor of Sindh Province in 1970s. Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination remains an unsolved mystery, and all trace leading to the conspirator were removed. Popularly, he is known as Quaid-i-Millat (Father of the Nation) andShaheed-i-Millat (Martyr of Nation), by his supporters.[9] His assassination was a first political murder of any civilian leader, and often remembered with good wishes.[9] In an  .orial written by Daily Jang, the media summed up that” his name will remain shining forever on the horizon of Pakistan”.[9]

Liaquat Ali Khan was no doubt a martyr and… his name shall remain shining forever on the horizon of Pakistan…

—Daily Jang on Liaquat Ali Khan’s legacy, .[9]

In Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan is regarded as Jinnah’s “right hand man” and heir apparent, though Jinnah once had said. His role in filling in the vacuum created by Jinnah’s death is seen as decisive in tackling critical problems during Pakistan’s fledgling years and in devising measures for the consolidation of Pakistan.[9] After his death, the government of Pakistan released a commemorative stamp and his face is printed on postage stamps across the country.[9]


  • Liaquat National Library, country’s largest library and open-source library, named after him.
  • Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, medical university established in the memory of Liaquat Ali Khan.
  • Liaquat National Hospital, government hospital named after Liaquat Ali Khan.
  • Liaquat National Garden, government-owned garden where Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated.
  • Liaquat Pur, census-designated town-city named after Liaquat Ali Khan.
  • Liaquat Pur Railway Station, a railway station in Liaquatpur also named after Liaquat Ali Khan.
  • Liaquatabad Town, a populated town in Karachi named after Liaquat Ali Khan.


Common perception holds Zia or Bhutto (are) responsible for mixing religion and politics, but it was Liaquat Ali Khan under whose leadership mullahs were given entry into politics and the right to decide the fate of the nation…

Liaquat Ali Khan was criticized for not visiting the Soviet Union, whereas he did go to the United States. This was perceived as a rebuff to Moscow, and has been traced to profound adverse consequences, including Soviet help to India, most prominently in the 1971 war which ultimately led to the separation of Bangladesh.

The Daily Times, leading English language newspaper, held Liaquat Ali Khan responsible for mixing religion and politics, pointing out that “Liaquat Ali Khan had no constituency in the country, his hometown was left behind in India. Bengalis were a majority in the newly created state of Pakistan and this was a painful reality for him”.[49] According to the Daily Times’, Liaquat Ali Khan and his legal team restrained from writing down the constitution, the reason was simple.[49] The Bengali demographic majority would have granted political power and, Liaquat Ali Khan would have been sent out of the prime minister’s office.[49] The Secularists also held him responsible for promoting the Right-wing political forces controlling the country in the name of Islam and further politicized the Islam, despite its true nature.[49]

Assessment of foreign policy[ .]

Others argue that Khan had wanted Pakistan to remain neutral in the Cold War, as declared three days after Pakistan’s independence when he declared that Pakistan would take no sides in the conflict of ideologies between the nations.[50] Former serviceman Shahid M. Amin has argued that the Soviets themselves could not settle convenient dates for a visit, and that, even during his visit to the United States, Liaquat had declared his intention to visit the Soviet Union.[51] Amin also notes that “Failure to visit a country in response to its invitations has hardly ever become the cause of long-term estrangement.[52]

There are some historical references like the book “from martial law to martial law” which speak of Liaquat Ali khan’s ambassador to Iran asking him to finalize a summit in Iran with Egypt’s ruler also to attend the same. This meant a course opposite to the British foreign policy.

There are also statements of junior staff of Liaquat Ali khan which mention that Liaquat usually referred the British representative in Pakistan to meet Chaudry Muhammed Ali rather than grant audience himself.

Popular culture[ .]

In Pakistan alone, many documentaries, stage dramas and television dramas have been produced to enlightened Liaqat Ali Khan’s struggle. Internationally, Liaquat Ali Khan’s character was portrayed by Pakistan’s stage actor Yousuf “Shakeel” Kamal in the 1998 film Jinnah.[53]

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