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IFTIKHARUDDIN MIAN MUHAMMAD (1907-1962)

IFTIKHARUDDIN, MIAN MUHAMMAD (1907-1962) Mian Muhammad Iftikharuddin was one of the few Muslim politicians of pre-independence Punjab who gained prominence without aligning himself with the Unionist Party He was born in Lahore into a prominent family and was educated at Government College, Lahore, and at Oxford University Family riches notwithstanding, he was attracted to socialist causes and decided that his personal objectives would be better served by joining the All-India Congress, which he did in 1936 He was elected to the Punjab Provincial Assembly in 1936 on the All-India Congress ticket He was arrested by the Indian British administration for his political activities and remained in prison for three years (1942-1945) On his release, he left the Congress, joined the Muslim League, and devoted himself with his customary enthusiasm and energy to advancing the League’s political objective of establishing a separate homeland for the Muslims of British India In 1946, Mian Iftikharuddin spearheaded the Muslim League movement against the provincial government of Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana and was sent back to jail His conversion to the idea of Pakistan was now complete; convinced that the establishment of a separate homeland for the Muslims of India would be possible only if it was championed by the urban intelligentsia, he used his abundant wealth to found two newspapers, the Pakistan Times in English, and Imroze in UrduAfter the emergence of Pakistan, he served briefly as a minister in the cabinet of Nawaz Mamdot Not happy with the intrigue and infighting that characterized Muslim League politics in Punjab, he organized a “forward bloc” of his own within the League, and used his newspapers to question the policies being pursued by the provincial government



These were not popular positions to take, and he was expelled from the League in 1951 He founded the Azad Pakistan Party soon after leaving the League and then merged it with the National Awami Party (NAP) of Maulana Abdul Hamid Bhashani, a leftleaning politician from East Pakistan The Pakistan Times and Imroze were nationalized in 1958 by the martial-law government of Muhammad Ayub Khan, and their holding company, Progressive Papers Ltd, was dissolved These were severe blows for Mian Iftikharuddin, and he never recovered from them

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