Liaquat Ali Khan was one of the leading Founding Fathers of modern Pakistan who served as the nation’s first prime minister. In addition, he was also the first Defence Minister of Pakistan. A lawyer by profession, he was an acclaimed political theorist who rose to political prominence as a member of the All India Muslim League, and was regarded as the right-hand man of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the leader of the Muslim League.
Born as the son of a wealthy landlord in British India, he studied law and political science at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) before moving to England on a scholarship to further his education in Oxford University’s Exeter College. Upon his return to India he became active in national politics and joined the All India Muslim League. An eloquent orator, he often spoke about the problems and challenges faced by the Muslim communities which earned him several Muslim supporters.
He also firmly believed in the unity of Hindu-Muslim communities. Upon the partition of India in 1947, Pakistan as an independent nation came into existence and Khan was appointed as the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. He assumed this significant office during a highly tumultuous time despite which he tried his best to bring about positive political, social, and infrastructural changes in the nation. He was assassinated in 1951 at a political rally in Rawalpindi.
Childhood And Early Life
Liaquat Ali Khan was born on 1 October 1895 in Karnal, Eastern Punjab of British India into a wealthy family of landlords. His father, Nawab Rustam Ali Khan, was much respected by the British Government and his mother Mahmoodah Begum was a religious lady.
His family wanted the young Liaquat to be educated according to the British educational system and arranged for him to study law and political science at the famous
Muhammadan Anglo Oriental College (now Aligarh Muslim University). He graduated with a BSc in Political science and LLB in 1918.
He received scholarships and grants from the British Government which enabled him to attend the Oxford University’s Exeter College in England for his higher education. In 1921, Khan was awarded the Master of Law in Law and Justice. He was called to the Bar in 1922.
Upon becoming the prime minister, Khan implemented initiatives to develop educational infrastructure, science and technology in the country. He appointed Salimuzzaman Siddiqui as his first government science adviser and asked Ziauddin Ahmed to draft the educational policy for establishing a strong educational system in Pakistan. During his tenure, the establishment of the Sindh University was also authorized.
As the leader of a newly created nation, Khan wanted to develop friendly relations with powerful countries like the U.S. He visited the U.S. and asked for civilian foreign aid for economic and moral support to build Pakistan to which the U.S. agreed. Pakistan received U.S. aid for several years before the relations between the two nations soured.
Personal Life And Legacy
Liaquat Ali Khan married his cousin, Jehangira Begum, in 1918. He married for the second time in 1932. His second wife, Begum Ra’ana, was a prominent economist and an educator who played an influential role in the Pakistan movement. He had three sons from these marriages.
During a public meeting of the Muslim City League at Company Bagh (Company Gardens), Rawalpindi, on 16 October 1951, Khan was shot twice in the chest by a hired assassin.
The assassin was immediately killed by the police but the exact motive behind the assassination has never been fully revealed.
He was given the honorific title of “Shaheed-e-Millat”, or “Martyr of the Nation” upon his death.
Courtesy: The Famous People