Pioneers of Pakistan Movement

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948), barrister, visionary, politician and statesman, is regarded as the “founder of Pakistan”. He served as a top-notch leader of both Congress and the Muslim League.

August 14, 2013

Rohail A. Khan

Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad

Ali Jinnah

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948), barrister, visionary, politician and statesman, is regarded as the “founder of Pakistan”. He served as a top-notch leader of both Congress and the Muslim League.

Officially known as Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader) and Baba-e-Qaum (Father of the Nation), his birthday is a national holiday in Pakistan. He was equally admired by opponents due to his visionary approach and use of constitutional channels as a lawyer to bring about an end to British rule to India and for the creation of Pakistan.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Muslim League and the Indian National Congress.

Equally popular and respected among Hindu and Muslim communities, he became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. He pioneered the “14-point constitutional reform plan” to safeguard the political and socio-economic rights of Muslims in a self-governing India.

When the efforts to unite Hindus with Muslims proved futile, Jinnah embraced the goal of creating a separate state for Muslims as proposed by Allama Iqbal in the famous Lahore Resolution. The Muslim League won almost all Muslim seats in the elections of 1946, thus enabling Jinnah to launch the “Direct Action” campaign movement to achieve independence of Pakistan.

The strong reaction of Congress supporters and British-backed Hindus resulted in communal violence and physical persecution of Muslims populations across British India. Pro-Hindu leaders forced the failure of the Congress-Muslim League coalition to govern the country. This naturally prompted the British to agree to independence of Pakistan and India.


As the first Governor General of newly-born Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah led the efforts to rehabilitate millions of refugees, and to frame national policies on foreign affairs, security and economic development.

Allama Muhammad Iqbal

Allama Sir Muhammad Iqbal (9 November 1877 – 21 April 1938) was a God-gifted Persian and Urdu poet, Islamic

scholar, philosopher, and socio-political activist, whose poetry is considered to be among the greatest of the modern era.

His vision of an independent state for the Muslims of British India later inspired the creation of Pakistan. His esoteric poetry is generally based on Qur’anic teachings and targeted towards Islamic renaissance across the Muslim world.

Allama Iqbal was a strong proponent of the political and spiritual revival of Islamic civilization across the world, specifically in South Asia. A series of famous lectures he delivered to this effect, were published in 1930 as “The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam”. These lectures are recommended to be reviewed by all modern Muslims.

One of the most prominent leaders of the All India Muslim League, Allama Iqbal suggested the creation of a “state in north western India for Muslims” in his 1930 presidential address.

He encouraged and worked closely with Jinnah, and is regarded as Muffakir-e-Pakistan (Thinker of Pakistan), Shayer-e-Mashriq (Poet of the East), and Hakeem-ul-Ummat (Sage of Ummah). He is officially recognized as the national poet of Pakistan and his birth anniversary is a national holiday in Pakistan.

Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar

Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar was a versatile journalist, orator, poet, historian, and Islamic scholar. He was founder of the “Khilafah Movement” launched to work for Islamic renaissance and revival of the Caliphate system.

Muhammad Ali Johar, was born in Rampur state in 1878 in a scholarly family of Rohaila Yusufzai Pathan ancestry. His two brothers, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulana Zulfiqar Ali, were Islamic scholars and politicians.

 Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar attended Darul Uloom Deoband and the Aligarh Muslim University. In 1898, he went to the elite Oxford University and studied modern history. He was internationally renowned as a top orator and reformist who confronted the British government with solid arguments.

Maulana Johar was the sixth Muslim to become the president of Indian National Congress in 1923. Disappointed with Congress leaders, he was one of the founders of All India Muslim League and later served as one of its president.

A gifted-journalist, he launched the Urdu weekly “Hamdard” and English weekly “Comrade” in 1911, read widely across Europe and British India.

He was a firm believer that the down-trodden Muslims must get modern education in order to compete in the changing times. He worked hard to expand the Aligarh Muslim University, and was one of the co-founders of the “Jamia Millia Islamia College, Dehli” in 1920.

Maulana Johar actively criticized the British government and propagated that only the Muslim League spoke for India’s Muslims. In 1921, the British government imprisoned him in Karachi Central Jail.

Exiled later to solitary confinement in Andaman Islands, this great Muslim leader died on January 4, 1931 and was buried in Jerusalem according to his own last wish. The inscription written on his grave near the Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem, says: “Here lies Syed Muhammad Ali Al-Hindi”.


Maulana Shaukat Ali

Maulana Shaukat Ali was a Muslim nationalist, orator, and scholar. He co-founded the Khilafah movement, along with his brother Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar.

Born in 1873 in Rampur state, he was educated at Aligarh Muslim University where he was a student leader and captain of the cricket team. He served as a top civil servant in Oudh and Agra from 1896 to 1913 under the British government.

Islamic historian and activist, he proved an effective orator traveling (along with Maulana Johar) across British India persuading the Indian Muslims to join hands for independent statehood.

Maulana Shaukat Ali was one the first Muslim leaders to boldly express disillusionment with the Congress and Gandhi’s policies. He opposed the 1928 Nehru Report, demanding separate electorates for Muslims. He attended the Round Table Conferences in London and proactively campaigned for establishment of a separate Muslim state in British India.

After the death of his brother Maulana Johar in 1931, Maulana Shaukat Ali continued on and organized the “World Muslim Conference” in Jerusalem.

In 1934, he joined the All India Muslim League. At the request of Quaid-e-Azam, he traveled extensively to all Arab countries from 1934 until his death in 1939, building diplomatic support for India’s Muslims and the struggle for independence. This is the most notable achievement of Maulana Shaukat Ali.

Chaudhry Rehmat Ali

Chaudhry Rehmat Ali (16th November, 1897 – 3rd February, 1951) was a renowned barrister, social activist, and a Muslim nationalist who was one of the earliest supporters of the creation of Pakistan. He is credited with creating the name “Pakistan” for a separate Muslim homeland in South Asia and is considered among the founders of the Pakistan movement.

He authored the famous essay: “Now or Never; Are We to Live or Perish Forever” in January 1933 and arranged to distribute 20 million copies across Europe and Subcontinent.

This pamphlet named “The Pakistan Declaration” started with a famous statement:

“At this solemn hour in the history of India, when British and Indian statesmen are laying the foundations of a Federal Constitution for that land, we address this appeal to you, in the name of our common heritage, on behalf of our 30 million Muslim brethren who live in PAKSTAN – by which we mean the five northern units of India, Viz: Punjab, North-West Frontier Province (Afghan Province), Kashmir, Sind and Baluchistan.”

Born into a distinguished Muslim Gujjar family in Hoshiarpur, India, Chaudhry Rehmat Ali graduated from Islamia Madrassa Lahore in 1918, and taught at the Aitchison College Lahore before joining the Punjab University to study law. In 1930, Chaudhry Rehmat Ali moved to England to join the prestigious Cambridge University. He qualified for his BA degree in 1933 and attained a Masters in 1940 from Cambridge. In 1943, he was admitted to the bar by the Middle Temple, London, and started his law practise.

As a Muslim activist, he founded “Pakistan National Movement” in England in 1931. From 1933 until 1947, he continued publishing and distributing various booklets about his vision for Muslims of South Asia. The partition of India in 1947, disillusioned him due to the mass killings of Muslims. He was dissatisfied with the geographical demarcation among the two countries and considered it a major reason for future disturbances.

Liaquat Ali Khan

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan (2nd October 1896 – 16th October 1951) was an active politician, philanthropist, and companion of Quaid-e-Azam. He was the first Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Liaquat Ali Khan was born into a Muslim Nawab family in Karnal, Eastern Punjab, India. His father, Nawab Rustam Ali Khan, possessed the titles of Rukun-Al-Daula, Shamsher Jang and Nawab Bahadur, by local population and the British government. The Ali Khan family had wide respect and was one of the few landlords in British India whose property (300 villages) expanded across Eastern Punjab and the United Provinces. His family had strong ties with the British government and senior British officers usually visited his mansion.

In 1913, Liaquat Ali Khan joined the Aligarh Muslim University and graduated in 1918 with a BSc in Political Science and then an LLB. In 1919, he went to England, attending the Oxford University, and was awarded the coveted Masters degree in Law and Justice in 1921. He was called to the Inner Temple in 1922 and started his legal practice as a Barrister.

While in England, the young Liaquat Ali Khan took active participation in Oxford student union. He was treasurer of the “Majlis Society”, founded by Muslim students to promote students rights at the Oxford University.

He returned to India in 1923, entering in mainstream national politics, determining to eradicate what he saw as ill-treatment of Indian Muslims under the British government. The Congress leadership approached him for membership, but after meeting with Jawaharlal Nehru, Liaquat Ali Khan refused to join the Congress. He instead joined All India Muslim League in 1923 and became a staunch supporter of Jinnah.

Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan rose to political prominence as an executive member of the All India Muslim League and played a vital role in the independence of India and Pakistan as the right-hand of Quaid-e-Azam. At the time of partition, he was appointed Finance Minister in the interim transitional government. The rich Nawabzada left his entire property and chose to migrate to the newly-born Pakistan.

As the first Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, he contributed heavily towards the socio-economic development of Pakistan from August 1947 until his assassination on 16th October 1951. Strong supporter of the Non Aligned Movement, his foreign policies were respected internationally. Liaquat Ali Khan was given the titles of Quaid-e-Millat (Leader of the Nation), and posthumously Shaheed-e-Millat (Martyr of the Nation).

Miss Fatima Jinnah

Dr. Miss Fatima Jinnah (30th July 1893 - 8th July 1967) was the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and one of the influential founding members of the Pakistan Movement, calling for freedom of Muslims states under one identity. She is commonly known as “Khatoon e Pakistan” (Lady of Pakistan) and “Mader-e Millat” (Mother of the Nation).

As sub-continent’s “first woman socio-political figure”, Miss Fatima Jinnah was the primary organizer of the All India Muslim Women Students Federation. Choosing to remain a life-long spinster, she remained with the Quaid-e-Azam for over 30 years as his comrade and companion.

After the declaration of Pakistan Resolution in 1940, Miss. Fatima Jinnah played a pivotal role towards securing participation of millions of Muslim women for the Pakistan Movement.

After the independence in 1947, she played a major role for settlement and rehabilitation of Muslim immigrants in the newly formed country.

After the death of her brother, she remained an active member of the national politics and a prominent social worker. Co-founder of All Pakistan Women Welfare Association (APWA), she continued to work for the welfare of the Pakistani people until she died in Karachi on July 8, 1967.

Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar

Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar (13th June 1899 – 14th February 1958) was a Muslim League stalwart and a prominent Pakistan Movement activist. Hailing from Peshawar, he completed his BA degree from the Punjab University and later received an LL.B from the Aligarh Muslim University in 1925.

Politically-active Sardar Nishtar was a member of Indian National Congress from 1927 to 1931, and was elected Peshawar Municipal Commissioner from 1929 to 1938. Based on partisan policies of Congress leaders, he joined the All India Muslim League in 1940 and became a close confidante of Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

After Partition in 1947, Sardar Nishtar was appointed Minister for Communication in Pakistan. He also served as interim Governor of Punjab province from 1949 to 1951. Sardar Nishtar was a top contender for the post of Prime Minister after Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination. However, his appointment was blocked by senior liberal officials, including future President Iskander Mirza, because of Sardar Nishtar’s conservative Islamic views.

Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan

Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan (13th February 1905 – 13th June 1990) was a renowned woman social activist, politician, educator, and diplomat. She was educated at the University of Lucknow where she obtained Bachelors in Economics and Religious Studies and double Masters degree in Economics and Sociology in 1929. Young Rana was appointed as Professor of Economics in Dehli’s Indraprastha College in 1931. In later part of her life, she was awarded D.Phil and Nishan e Imtiaz for her exemplary services.

Begum Rana was one of the leading woman politicians who started her career in 1940 and witnessed key socio-political events. After Miss Fatima Jinnah, she is one of the pioneering woman figures in the Pakistan Movement. She served as economic adviser and executive member of Pakistan Movement committee working under  Jinnah.

In 1942, when it became apparent that Imperial Japan was to attack India, Quaid-e-Azam summoned Begum Rana and said to her “Be prepared to train the women. Islam doesn’t want women to be shut up and never see fresh ai.r” Begum Rana immediately became operational and formed a small volunteer medical corps for nursing and first aid in Delhi.

She emerged as a leading social worker and women activist in sub-continent and held this distinction for five decades until her death in 1990.

In 1948, as wife of the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Begum Rana took the lead in starting the women’s voluntary services in social work, education, and healthcare. She set new trends by introducing civil defense training for women. On her initiative, Pakistan Women’s National Guard (PWNG) and the Pakistan Women Naval Reserve (PWNR) were established in 1949. Viewed in the perspective of the pre-partition massacres, where helpless Muslim women were brutally treated, these initiatives were quite realistic.

Miss Fatima Jinnah appointed Begum Rana as President of All Pakistan Women Association (APWA) in 1949 wherein she expanded APWA branches all over Pakistan. After her husband’s death, Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan went on to start her career as a diplomat and stateswoman that lasted more than two decades. In 1952, Begum Rana was the first woman Ambassador of Pakistan to Netherlands, Italy, and Tunisia.

In recognition of her lifelong struggle for women’s rights, she was awarded “Woman of the World” award in 1965, and United Nation’s Human Rights Award in 1978.

Hafeez Jallandhri

Abul Asar Hafeez Jallandhri (14th January 1900 – 21st December 1982) was a renowned journalist, social activist, and poet. He is well-known for his most remarkable achievement of writing the “National Anthem of Pakistan”.

Hafeez Jallandhri actively participated in Pakistan Movement from 1920 till 1947. He utilized his journalistic and poetic skills to propagate the cause of Pakistan.

From 1922 to 1929, he served as editor of various monthly Urdu magazines namely: Nonehaal, Hazaar Dastaan, Tehzeeb-e-Niswaan, and Makhzan. His first collection of poems Naghma-e-Zar was published in 1935. In early 1948, he also wrote the famous Kashmiri Anthem, “Watan Hamara Azad Kashmir”. An extraordinary literary figure, he served as Director of Writers’ Guild for over two decades.

His work of poetry, “Shahnama-e-Islam”, gave him incredible fame which, in the manner of Persian Poet: Firdausi’s Shahnama, is a record of the glorious history of Islam in verse.


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