Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan was born on 16 August, 1895 in Pind Dadan Khan, Jhelum. He received his early education at Pind Dadan Khan, did his matriculation from Jhelum and then took admission at Government College Lahore. When he was the student of BA, the First World War had just ended and the demand of self-rule for the Indian people was getting momentum.

Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan took part in the demonstrations against the government’s Rowlett Act erupted throughout the country and for that reason he was expelled from the university along with other fifty students. Soon he left Lahore for Pind Dadan Khan, where for some time he did not take any direct part in any kind of political activity but kept a close watch on politics.

In 1923, he became member of the Imperial Legislative Assembly. The same year, he saw Quaid-i-Azam during a meeting of the Muslim League and introduced himself. Quaid-i-Azam asked him to join Muslim League but he politely declined to do so.

However, in 1926, during the meeting of the Legislative Council, he spoke eloquently in the response of Madan Mohan Malwiya’s speech. He said on the floor of the Assembly that “Hindu-Muslim riots had become the norm of the day and no discrimination would be made against any community on the basis of its demographic conditions”.

He remained member of the Imperial Legislative Assembly of British India from 1923 to 1933, serving as Minister of the Princely state of Alwar from 1928, and was then a member of India's Council of State from 1933 to 1937.

He was a leading member of the all India Muslim League and a trusted lieutenant of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He became a member of its council and in 1934 was asked to reorganize the Muslim League in the Princely States.

From 1937 to 1945 he was a member of the Legislative Assembly of the Punjab, during which time he served as parliamentary secretary of the Government of Punjab's departments of Revenue and Irrigation.

In October 1946, Raja Ghazanfar Ali was one of the five men nominated by Jinnah on behalf of the Muslim League to join the Interim Government of India, and he subsequently took the Health portfolio. The other four nominated by the League were Liaquat Ali Khan, I. I. Chundrigar, Abdur Rab Nishtar, and Jogendra Nath Mandal.

After the Partition of India, he became Pakistan's Minister for Food, Agriculture and Health. In 1948, he became the first president of the newly-formed Pakistan Hockey Federation.

From 1948 to 1957 he took to a new career as a diplomat. He was successively Ambassador to Iran (1948-1952), Ambassador to Turkey (1952-1953), High Commissioner to India (1954-1956) and finally Ambassador to Italy (1956-1957).

Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan died in 1963. In honour of his contribution to Pakistan, a major road in Saddar, Karachi was named after him.

Courtesy pdkhan.net

Published in Young Nation Magazine on August 5, 2017