By Jaibans Singh

The PunjabPulse :  April 29, 2020

In 1947, the Punjab Muslim League, led by the Nawab of Mamdot, declared Sir Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana as the biggest obstacle in the creation of Pakistan.
Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana KCSI, OBE was a Punjabi statesman, army officer and wealthy landowner who served as the Unionist Prime Minister of undivided Punjab From 1942 to 1947.

He was born in 1900, at Chak Muzaffarabad, Sargodha, Punjab. His father was Sir Uram Hayat Khan of the Tiwana family of Shahpur,  a soldier, wealthy landowner and elected member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India.

It is said that the family owned thousands of acres of land and such was their pomp and opulence that the dress of their Tiwana Lancers was worn by King George V at the Delhi Darbar in December, 1911. Khiraz was secular, honest, humble and courteous. He was also magnanimous, kind-hearted and polished in his interaction with others.

After the death of his father, Khizar joined politics, he was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1937 and he joined the cabinet of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan as Minister of Public Works and Local Self Government. In 1942, Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan died unexpectedly and Khizar was elected Premier.

Khizar followed the policy of his predecessor, the late Sikander Hayat Khan, in staunchly opposing the idea of Pakistan, an issue towards which he was unwilling to compromise all through his political career.

His views, quite naturally, put him in a collision course with Mohammad Ali Jinnah who sought to enforce the Sikandar-Jinnah pact and wield influence over the government. Jinnah claimed that the Unionist party was a part of the Muslim League and should, as such, support its policies, he even demanded that the party change its name Muslim League Coalition Party.

Khizar rebuffed these demands, asserting that his government was a coalition with Hindus and Sikhs, rather than a Muslim League government.  Muslim members of the party were, thus, compelled to chose between Khizar and the Muslim League. Jinnahs spin doctors went into overdrive to denounce Khizar as a Kafir (Infidel) and against the interest of Indian Muslims. Mock funerals were held outside his official residence and he was greeted wherever he went with black flags of protest.

The death of Sir Chhottu Ram, a  towering leader of the Hindu Jats in South Eastern Punjab and a pillar of the Unionist Party came as a big blow for Khizar. Then followed defections from the party including Shaukat Hayat Khan (son of Sikander Hayat Khan) who extended support to the Muslim League.

At the Indian provincial elections of 1946, the Muslim League won seventy nine seats to the Punjab Assembly, and reduced the Unionists to just ten. Despite this crushing defeat for Khizar and the Unionists, the Muslim League were unable to form a government as they lacked an absolute majority. Khizar struck a deal with the Congress Party and Akali Dal and was invited to form a coalition government. His cabinet included Sir Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash, Bhim Sen Sachar and Baldev Singh. The Muslim League was quick in organising civil disobedience movements. It termed the Government formation as a conspiracy against Muslim interests. Khizar was further denounced as a traitor, clinging to power and office without regard for the interests of the Muslims.

Khizar remained opposed to partition to the end. He refused to accept the two-nation theory, and believed that a Muslim majority government in the Punjab would be an important guarantee of the rights of Muslims in a minority province

Sandeep Singh Benipal, Chief Operations Officer at Natural Animal Diets, has narrated a very interesting anecdote about the circumstances under which Khizar ultimately resigned. According to him, at the residence of the Education Minister, Punjab, Ibrahim Khan Barq, the son of the host was introduced to the Premier. The eight-year-old boy said to Khizar, “Are you the same Khizar Tiwana uncle who is an obstacle in the creation of the Muslim State of Pakistan? I will not shake hands with you.”

Sir Khizar Hayat Tiwana later said  to Sardar Swaran Singh the then Development Minister, “I could go on fighting with the Muslim League, but if our children feel that we are the villains of the piece, then let us disappear and let whatever happens, happen.”. He resigned on March 2, 1947 and the rest is history.

Post partition Khizar chose to live in Shimla and Delhi but later shifted to Sargodha, Pakistan. In Pakistan he was targeted by the pro-partition politicians. In 1951, Mumtaz Daultana targeted those who were against the Pakistan movement by proposing a law confiscating without redress, all land grants issued during the premiership of Khizar.  In 1954, She confiscated all the private canals owned by Khizar under the guise of the Punjab Minor Canals Bill.

Khizar ultimately shifted to Chico in Glean County in California, USA  and died on n January 19, 1975. This ended the saga of a true Indian who fought against his own people to maintain the integrity of the Nation. If there had been a few more committed people like Lieutenant Colonel Sir Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana KCSI, OBE the fate of the Indian sub-continent would have been different.