Abdul Qayyum Khan

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Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri
عبد القیوم خان کشمیری
Minister for Interior
In office
13 May 1972 13 January 1977
President Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry
Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Preceded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Succeeded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Chief Minister of the North-West Frontier Province
In office
23 August 1947 23 April 1953
Preceded by Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan
Succeeded by Sardar Abdur Rashid Khan
Personal details
Born(1901-06-16)16 June 1901
Chitral, Chitral State, British India
Died23 October 1981(1981-10-23) (aged 80) [1]
Peshawar, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan
Political party Indian National Congress (1934-1945)
All-India Muslim League (1945-1981)
Alma mater Government College University, London School of Economics, Lincoln Inn

Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri (Urdu : عبدالقیوم خان کشمیری) (16 July 1901 – 23 October 1981 [1] ) was a major figure in British Indian and later Pakistan politics, in particular in the North-West Frontier Province, where he was deputy speaker of the provincial assembly, Chief Minister and served as Interior Minister of Pakistan in the central government from 1972 to 1977. [1]

British Raj British rule in the Indian subcontinent, 1858-1947

The British Raj was the rule by the British Crown in the Indian subcontinent from 1858 to 1947. The rule is also called Crown rule in India, or direct rule in India. The region under British control was commonly called British India or simply India in contemporaneous usage, and included areas directly administered by the United Kingdom, which were collectively called British India, and those ruled by indigenous rulers, but under British tutelage or paramountcy, and called the princely states. The whole was also informally called the Indian Empire. As India, it was a founding member of the League of Nations, a participating nation in the Summer Olympics in 1900, 1920, 1928, 1932, and 1936, and a founding member of the United Nations in San Francisco in 1945.

Pakistan federal parliamentary constitutional republic in South Asia

Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometres. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the far northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest, and also shares a maritime border with Oman.

North-West Frontier Province (1901–2010) former name of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, British India and Pakistan

The North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) was a province of British India and subsequently of Pakistan. It was established in 1901 and was known by this name until 2010. The area became Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province on 19 April 2010 when the Eighteenth Amendment was signed by President Asif Ali Zardari.


Early life

Abdul Qayyum Khan was born in the State of Chitral but had Kashmiri origin. [2] His father, Khan Abdul Hakim, was originally from the Wanigam village in the Baramulla district, Jammu and Kashmir, [3] [4] [5] but worked as a Tehsildar in the North-West Frontier Province (N.W.F.P., now called Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan in 2017) of British India.[ citation needed ]

Chitral (princely state)

Chitral was a princely state in alliance with British India until 1947, then a princely state of Pakistan until 1969. The area of the state now forms the Chitral District of the Malakand Division, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

Baramulla district District in Jammu and Kashmir, India

Baramulla district is one of the 22 districts in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Baramulla city is the administrative headquarters of this district. The district covered an area of 4,190 km² in 2001 but it was reduced to 3,353 km² at the time of 2011 census.

Jammu and Kashmir (princely state) Former princely state

Jammu and Kashmir was, from 1846 until 1952, a princely state of the British Empire in India and ruled by a Jamwal Rajput Dogra Dynasty. The state was created in 1846 from the territories previously under Sikh Empire after the First Anglo-Sikh War. The East India Company annexed the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Sikhs, and then transferred it to Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu in return for an indemnity payment of 7,500,000 Nanakshahee Rupees.

Khan was educated at Aligarh Muslim University and the London School of Economics. [6] He became a barrister of the Lincoln's Inn. [7]

Aligarh Muslim University public university in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh

Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) is an Indian public central university. It was originally established by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan as Mohammedan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875. The College became Aligarh Muslim University in 1920. The main campus of AMU is located in the city of Aligarh. It has its three off-campus centres at Malappuram (Kerala), Murshidabad and Kishanganj (Bihar). The university is an Institute of National Importance provided under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution at its commencement.

London School of Economics public research university in London, United Kingdom

The London School of Economics is a public research university located in London, England, and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidney Webb, Beatrice Webb, Graham Wallas, and George Bernard Shaw for the betterment of society, LSE joined the University of London in 1900 and established its first degree courses under the auspices of the University in 1901. The LSE started awarding its own degrees in 2008, prior to which it awarded degrees of the University of London.

Barrister lawyer specialized in court representation in Wales, England and some other jurisdictions

A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialise in courtroom advocacy and litigation. Their tasks include taking cases in superior courts and tribunals, drafting legal pleadings, researching the philosophy, hypothesis and history of law, and giving expert legal opinions. Often, barristers are also recognised as legal scholars.

One of his brothers, Abdul Hamid Khan (Azad Kashmiri politician), was a prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, [3] and another brother, Khan Abdul Rauf Khan, was a renowned lawyer.[ citation needed ]

Abdul Hamid Khan is an Azad Kashmiri politician who served as 1st Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir from June 1975 to August 1977. He also served as President of Azad Jammu and Kashmir from 7 August 1964 to 7 October 1969. His brother Abdul Qayyum Khan well known Pakistani politician who served as Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Interior Minister of Pakistan.

Abdul Qayum Khan was one of the eminent lawyers of N.W.F.P. During his professional career he conducted some very important cases. He used to practice in criminal law. Mirza Shams ul Haq was his most trustworthy colleague, who remained always close to him during profession and politics. Abdul Qayum was also assisted in his chambers by Muhammad Nazirullah Khan advocate, who later served as a provincial secretary general and senior vice president of Pakistan Muslim League.[ citation needed ]

Political career

Indian National Congress

Starting his political career in 1934 with the Indian National Congress, Khan quickly rose to serve as an elected member of the Central Legislative Assembly (1937–38) and the deputy leader of the Congress in the Assembly. At that time he admired Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. He authored a book, Gold and Guns on the Pathan Frontier, [8] in which he praised Ghaffar Khan and denounced Jinnah and the two-nation theory. Abdul Qayyum Khan said that the North West Frontier Province would resist the partition of India with its blood. [9] He switched his loyalties to the Muslim League in 1945. [6] He later claimed that Ghaffar Khan was plotting Jinnah's assassination. [10] He banned his own book after he became the Chief Minister in the N.W.F.P. The book however continued fetching royalties even after he joined the Muslim League. [11] [12]

Indian National Congress Major political party in India

The Indian National Congress(pronunciation ) is a broadly based political party in India. Founded in 1885, it was the first modern nationalist movement to emerge in the British Empire in Asia and Africa. From the late 19th century, and especially after 1920, under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Congress became the principal leader of the Indian independence movement. Congress led India to independence from Great Britain, and powerfully influenced other anti-colonial nationalist movements in the British Empire.

Central Legislative Assembly the lower house of the Imperial Legislative Council

The Central Legislative Assembly was the lower house of the Imperial Legislative Council, the legislature of British India. It was created by the Government of India Act 1919, implementing the Montagu–Chelmsford Reforms. It was also sometimes called the Indian Legislative Assembly and the Imperial Legislative Assembly. The Council of States was the upper house of the legislature for India.

Opposition to the partition of India

Opposition to the partition of India was widespread in British India in the 20th century and it continues to remain a contentious issue in South Asian politics. Most individuals of the Hindu and Sikh faiths were opposed to the partition of India, as were many Muslims in that country.

Muslim League and Partition

In the 1946 provincial elections, Khan campaigned for the All-India Muslim League along with Pir of Manki Sharif. However, the Muslim League won only 17 seats in comparison to the 30 seats of the Congress Party. The Congress Party formed the provincial government under the premiership of Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan (popularly known as "Dr. Khan Sahib"). [13] [2]

Abdul Qayyum Khan was put in charge of destabilising the Congress government in the province through street agitations, ideological rhetoric and acquisition of sympathetic Muslim officers in the government. [2] The presence of a Congress government at the extreme north-west of the Indian subcontinent was anomalous, and the province became a bone of contention between the Congress and the Muslim League as part of the Partition of India. [14] Eventually, the British decided to hold a referendum to determine which dominion the province should go to. Abdul Ghaffar Khan demanded a separate nation of 'Pakhtunistan' comprising both the North-West Frontier Province and Pashtun parts of Afghanistan. When it was denied by the British Raj, he and his party boycotted the referendum held by the British government. The Muslim League won an easy victory for Pakistan (289,244 votes against 2,874 for India). [2]

Within a week of the independence of Pakistan, the Congress government was dismissed under orders from Governor General Jinnah. Abdul Qayyum Khan was put in charge of a minority government on 23 August 1947. Khan navigated through the troubled waters ably, winning the defection of enough Congress legislators to support his government. [15] [16]

First Kashmir War

Qayyum Khan was a key instigator of the First Kashmir War, if not the chief instigator. [lower-alpha 1]

North-West Frontier Province

As the premier of the NWFP, Qayyum Khan faced internal dissensions. The Pir of Manki Sharif, who was a key figure in the campaign for referendum, was miffed that he was passed over for the post. He objected to Khan holding both the premiership of the state and the presidency of the provincial Muslim League. The Pir gathered disgruntled legislators and intended to bring a vote of no-confidence against Khan. Khan diffused his efforts. Then the Pir formed a separate party under the banner of All Pakistan Awami Muslim League. An exasperated Qayyum Khan responded with "full fury and force". He externed the Pir of Manki Sharif from the NWFP and imprisoned nine other leaders. Despite the crackdown, the Awami Muslim League contested the provincial elections in 1951 to win 4 seats. [17]

Qayyum Khan's administration was known for its development work in the province, including the construction of Peshawar University and the Warsak dam. He introduced compulsory free education up to middle school level in Frontier province, the first province of Pakistan to have this reform. He also made poor friendly amendments to the land revenue laws. He evoked opposition from a section of the feudal class due to his egalitarian policies. His political stand was opposition to the Khudai Khidmatgar movement of Ghaffar Khan. [18] [ not in citation given ] His alleged role in ordering the Babrra massacre is one which he faces much criticism. He led the Muslim League to a landslide victory in the 1951 elections, despite opposition from the Khudai Khidmatgar movement and opposition from federally backed fellow Muslim league opponents like Yusuf Khattak. [19]

Qayyum Khan served as the Chief Minister till 23 April 1953. [16]

Central Government

He served as central minister for Industries, Food and Agriculture in 1953.

Arrested by the Ayub Khan regime, he was disqualified from politics and imprisoned for two years before finally being released.

Contesting the 1970 General Election in Pakistan from three seats as leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Qayyum faction, he won two National Assembly of Pakistan seats, one provincial seat and, in 1973, entered into alliance with the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) after East Pakistan broke away in the Bangladesh Liberation War.

Appointed federal interior minister by Zulfiqar Bhutto, he served in that post till the 1977 elections, when his party suffered a near total rout. After Zia-ul-Haqs assumption of power, Qayyum Khan tried to unify all the disparate Muslim League factions. His efforts were inconclusive and he died on 22 October 1981. [1]

He was always opposed by Khan Habibullah Khan; they were lifelong rivals since they were young classmates at Islamia College, Peshawar.[ citation needed ]


Babrra massacre

Under the orders of Abdul Qayyum Khan [20] the Babrra massacre occurred on 12 August 1948 in the Charsadda District of the North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber Pukhtunkhwa) of Pakistan, when innocent and unarmed workers of the Khudai Khidmatgar movement were brutally fired upon by the provincial government. [21] About 600 persons were killed in this massacre. Among these victims there were also women who rushed to the scene to save their men. More than 1000 people were injured. [22] [23] [24]

In September 1948, then Chief Minister, Abdul Qayyum Khan gave a statement in the provincial assembly, "I had imposed section 144 at Babra. When the people did not disperse, then firing was opened on them. They were lucky that the police had finished ammunition; otherwise not a single soul would have been left alive". Khan Qayyum said hinting at the four members of the opposition in the provincial assembly. He said; "If they were killed, the government would not care about them." [25]

See also


    • Saraf, Kashmiris Fight for Freedom, Volume 2 (2015, p. 47): [In September 1947] "He [Abdul Qayyum Khan] was, therefore, of the opinion that while an internal revolt was desirable, what really was needed was an organised attack from Pakistan. It seems that he had already established contact with Major Khurshid Anwar and had drawn up a plan for the entry of tribesmen into the State through Muzaffarabad."
    • Ankit, The Cunningham Contribution (2010, p. 34): [In October 1947] 'Iskander Mirza came to the Governor and finally brought him into the loop. The Defence Secretary briefed the Governor "all the underground history; apologised on behalf of Liaquat for keeping him in the dark and confirmed that it was decided about a month ago that Poonchis' revolt should be helped. Jinnah sanctioned the project 15 days ago while Abdul Qayyum was in it from the beginning."'
    • ISPR, Defence and Media 1991 (1991, p. 100): "The Kashmir war had three to four distinct phases. Initially there were spontaneous uprisings... In the second phase volunteers and Mujahideen joined the lashkars. In this phase the handling of operations was in the hands of Khan Abdul Qayyum, Chief Minister of NWFP, Khawaja Abdul Rahim, the Commissioner of Rawalpindi and a few other spirited leaders, without any control by the Federal Government."
    • Effendi, Punjab Cavalry (2007, p. 149): "However, it was Qayyum Khan, Chief Minister of NWFP, and the 'Young Turks' of the Muslim League who launched the invasion of the state."
    • Siddiqi, Vivid memories and lost opportunities (2000): [In November 1947] "The Governor, Sir George Cunningham, and the Premier (as a provincial Chief Minister was then known), Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan, were in charge of the tribal outflow and reinforcements. Of the two, mainly Qayyum Khan had been responsible for the induction of the tribal lashkars in the Kashmir jihad."

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  2. 1 2 3 4 Kamran, Early phase of electoral politics in Pakistan 2009, p. 267.
  3. 1 2 Snedden, Understanding Kashmir and Kashmiris 2015, pp. 171–172.
  4. Saraf, Kashmiris Fight for Freedom, Volume 2 2015, p. 85.
  5. Diplomat, Mirza Hashim Baig, 1994
  6. 1 2 Kamran, Early phase of electoral politics in Pakistan 2009, p. 268.
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  14. Hodson, The Great Divide 1969, p. 277, 282.
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  16. 1 2 Religious parties to rule NWFP a second time, Dawn, 20 October 2002.
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  22. زه بابړه یم - Noor ul Bashar Naveed
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Further reading

Political offices
Preceded by
Khan Abdul Jabbar Khan
Chief Minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
Succeeded by
Sardar Abdur Rashid Khan
Preceded by
Interior Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto