Abdur Rab Nishtar

Last updated

Abdur Rab Nishtar
سردار عبد الرب نښتر
2nd Governor of West Punjab
In office
2 August 1949 24 November 1951
Monarch George IV
Preceded by Francis Mudie
Succeeded by I I Chundrigar
1st Minister of Communications
In office
15 August 1947 1 August 1949
Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan
Personal details
Born13 June 1899
Peshawar, British India
Died14 February 1958 (aged 58)
Karachi, Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Political party Pakistan Muslim League
Education Edwardes College
Alma mater University of Punjab (B.A)
Aligarh Muslim University (L.L.B)

Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar (13 June 1899 14 February 1958; Pashto : سردار عبد الرب نښتر) was a Muslim League stalwart, a Pakistan movement leader and activist and later on a Pakistani politician from North-West Frontier Province (present-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa). [1]


Sardar, also spelled as Sirdar, Sardaar, Shordar or Serdar, is a title of nobility that was originally used to denote princes, noblemen, and other aristocrats. It has also been used to denote a chief or leader of a tribe or group. It is used as a Persian synonym of the Arabic title Emir.

All-India Muslim League political party within the Indian Empire

The All-India Muslim League was a political party established in 1906 in the British Indian Empire. Its strong advocacy for the establishment of a separate Muslim-majority nation-state, Pakistan, successfully led to the partition of British India in 1947 by the British Empire.

North-West Frontier Province Wikimedia disambiguation page

The North-West Frontier Province was a province of British India and later of Pakistan. It was established in 1901 and 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 and education

Abdul Rab Nishtar was born on 13 June 1899 into a religious household in Peshawar, British India. His father, Maulvi Abdul Hannan was a prominent figure from the Pashtun Kakar tribe that had fiercely opposed the British raj in India. [1] [2] Nishtar's ancestors hailed from Zhob district in north Balochistan but had later settled in Peshawar, British India. He completed his early education in a Christian mission school and later Sanathan Dharam High School in Bombay, (now 'Mumbai' in India). He eventually graduated from the Edwardes College in Peshawar and then later on completed his Bachelor of Arts degree from the Punjab University, Lahore in 1923. He later went to Aligarh and received an LL.B degree with honours from Aligarh Muslim University in 1925. [1] [2]

Peshawar City district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan

Peshawar is the capital of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Situated in the broad Valley of Peshawar near the eastern end of the historic Khyber Pass, close to the border with Afghanistan, Peshawar's recorded history dates back to at least 539 BCE, making it the oldest city in Pakistan and one of the oldest cities in South Asia. In the ancient Indian subcontinent, the city was known as Purushpura and served as the capital of the Kushan Empire; it was home to the Kanishka stupa. Peshawar was then sacked by the White Huns, before the arrival of Muslim empires. The city was an important trading centre during the Mughal era before serving as the winter capital of the Afghan Durrani Empire from 1757 until the city was captured by the Sikh Empire in 1818, who were then followed by the British in 1849.

Pashtuns ethnic group belonging to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India (by Pakistani and Afghan descent).

The Pashtuns, historically known as ethnic Afghans or Pathans are an Iranian-speaking ethnic group native to South-Central Asia, who share a common history and culture. A substantial majority of ethnic Pashtuns share Pashto—an Eastern Iranian language in the Indo-European language family—as the native language.

The Kakar is a Gharghashti Pashtun tribe, based mostly in the Balochistan Province of Pakistan, and Loy Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Political career

A man of deep religious convictions, he also had a deep interest in Islamic mysticism, a fact which probably reflects the influence of his parents and also his associate Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar. From 1919 to 1920, both of them actively participated in the Khilafat Movement. Later, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar remained member of Indian National Congress from 1927 to 1931, was elected Municipal Commissioner, Peshawar Municipal committee, successively from 1929 to 1938, joined All-India Muslim League, became a confidante of Pakistan's founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah. From 1932 to 1936, Nishtar was a member of All India Muslim League (AIML) Council, member NWFP (Northwest Frontier Province) legislative Assembly 1937 to 1945, Finance Minister NWFP 1943–45, member AIML Working Committee, 1944–1947, represented the All India Muslim League at the Simla Conference in 1945. [3] [1]

Khilafat Movement pan-Islamist protest movement in India

The Khilafat movement, also known as the Indian Muslim movement (1919–24), was a pan-Islamist political protest campaign launched by Muslims of British India led by Shaukat Ali, Mohammad Ali Jauhar and Abul Kalam Azad to restore the caliph of the Ottoman Caliphate, who was considered the leader of Sunni Muslims, as an effective political authority. It was a protest against the sanctions placed on the caliph and the Ottoman Empire after the First World War by the Treaty of Sèvres.

Indian National Congress Major political party in India

The Indian National Congress(pronunciation ) is a political party in India with widespread roots. 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.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah Founder and 1st Governor General of Pakistan

Muhammad Ali Jinnah was a lawyer, politician and the founder of Pakistan or Dominion of Pakistan. Jinnah served as the leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's creation on 14 August 1947, and then as Pakistan's first Governor-General until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam and Baba-i-Qaum, "Father of the Nation"). His birthday is considered a national holiday in Pakistan.

Abdur Rab Nishtar was ousted from provincial politics through the political maneuvers of a rival political leader Abdul Qayyum Khan in 1946. [2] Abdul Qayyum Khan was an outcaste from the Indian National Congress Party, who then vigorously opposed that political party after his ouster from it, [4] especially he was against the Union of India and was working for creation of an independent Dominion of Pakistan. [5] [1]

Abdul Qayyum Khan Kashmiri 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.

Dominion of Pakistan state in Asia 15 August 1947 – 23 March 1956

Pakistan, also called the Dominion of Pakistan, was an independent federal dominion in South Asia that was established in 1947 as a result of the Pakistan movement, followed by the simultaneous partition of British India to create a new country called Pakistan. The dominion, which included much of modern-day Pakistan and Bangladesh, was conceived under the two-nation theory as an independent country composed of the Muslim-majority areas of the former British India.

As Federal Minister

After Pakistan was created, Nishtar was appointed Minister for communication in Pakistan and served in that position from 1947 to 1949. He introduced the use of Urdu language in Pakistan railways and Pakistan Post Office. After the dismissal of the Punjab Provincial government in 1949, Sardar Nishtar was appointed Governor of Punjab (the first Pakistani governor in Pakistan's history, till that time the British government had still continued governing with previous English Governors). He effectively ran the Governorship for two years paving the way for restoration of an elected government in 1951. [1] [2]

Pakistan Post, is a state enterprise which functions as Pakistan's primary and largest postal operator. 44,000 employees through a vehicle fleet of 5000 operate traditional "to the door" service from more than 13,000 post offices across the country, servicing over 50 million people. Pakistan Post operates under the autonomous "Postal Services Management Board" to deliver a full range of delivery, logistics and fulfillment services to customers. In addition to its traditional role, Pakistan Post also offers services such as Postal Life Insurance and Pakistan Post Savings Bank. It also operates services on behalf of the federal and provincial governments, by acting as a collection point for tax and utility bills.

Nomination for Prime Minister

Nishtar was considered a serious contender for the post of Prime Minister after Liaqat Ali Khan's assassination. His appointment was blocked by senior secularists and liberal officials including the future President Iskander Mirza because of Nishtar's conservative and Islamic views.

Iskander Mirza President of Pakistan

Sahibzada Iskander Ali Mirza, CIE, OSS, OBE, was an East Pakistani bureaucrat and Pakistan army officer who served as the first President of Pakistan, elected in this capacity in 1956 until being dismissed by his appointed army commander General Ayub Khan in 1958.

Became Opposition Leader against corrupt politicians

He subsequently fell out with the government over the dismissal of Prime minister Khawaja Nazimuddin's government by Governor General Ghulam Muhammad. [6] Refusing to be involved in what he perceived as an undemocratic act, Nishtar went into opposition. In 1956, when the first Pakistani constitution was adopted, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar was elected president of the party against the wishes of President Iskandar Mirza and then prime minister Chaudhry Mohammad Ali who were backing Dr. Khan Sahib as West Pakistan chief minister while Nishtar wanted an Muslim League man for the office. But a big majority of the League leaders, including Nawab Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani and Mumtaz Daultana, supported Iskander Mirza. [7]

Leader of Muslim League

He subsequently took over the leadership of the Muslim League party and the League was expected to do well in West Pakistan in the planned 1959 elections but unfortunately he died before that. He served as President, Pakistan Muslim League from 1956 to 1958. [2]

Commemorative postage stamp

Pakistan Post Office issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in its 'Pioneers of Freedom' series in 1990. [8] [9]

Death and legacy

Abdur Rab Nishtar died of a heart attack on 14 February 1958 in Karachi. He had been suffering from heart disease and high blood pressure since 1953. Nishtar Medical College and Nishtar Hospital in the city of Multan are named in his honor. Nishtar Park and Nishtar Road in Karachi are named after him. He was buried at Mazar-e-Quaid near the Tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founding father of Pakistan to acknowledge his services in the cause of Pakistan. Abdul Rab Nishtar had a reputation of being a sincere political leader and a man of amicable nature. With his political activities, he contributed greatly to All-India Muslim League and the Muslims living in the Indian subcontinent, creating political consciousness and Islamic spirit among them. [1] [2]

Abdul Rab Nishtar was a close friend of both Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar and Maulana Shaukat Ali. At one point during their association, Muhammad Ali Jauhar had told Nishtar that he opposed Jinnah for re-organization of the All-India Muslim League. After finding out all the details of Jinnah-Jauhar discussion, Nishtar decided to support Jinnah's proposal and even succeeded in convincing Jauhar to do the same. [1]

Related Research Articles

Pakistan Movement A religious political movement

The Pakistan Movement or Tehrik-e-Pakistan was a religious political movement in the 1940s that aimed for and succeeded in the creation of Dominion of Pakistan from the Muslim-majority areas of the British Indian Empire.

I. I. Chundrigar Pakistani diplomat

Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar(Urdu: ابراہیم اسماعیل چندریگر; September 15, 1897–26 September 1960), best known as I. I. Chundrigar, was the sixth Prime Minister of Pakistan, appointed in this capacity on 17 October 1957 until being removed due to the vote of noconfidence movement on 11 December 1957.

Shaukat Ali (politician) Indian activist

Maulana Shaukat Ali was an Indian Muslim leader of the Khilafat Movement that erupted in response to the fall of the Ottoman Empire. He was the elder brother of the renowned political leader Mohammad Ali Jouhar.

Mohammad Ali Jauhar Indian Muslim leader, activist, scholar, journalist and poet

Muhammad Ali Jauhar, also known as Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, was an Indian Muslim independence leader, activist, scholar, journalist and a poet, and was among the leading figures of the Khilafat Movement.

Muslim nationalism in South Asia the political and cultural expression of nationalism founded upon the religious tenets and identity of Islam of the Muslims of South Asia

Muslim nationalism in South Asia is the political and cultural expression of nationalism, founded upon the religious tenets and identity of Islam, of the Muslims of South Asia.

Ashraf Ali Thanwi Indian Islamic scholar

Muḥammad Ashraf 'Alī Thānvī – July 4, 1943 [17 Rajab 1362 AH]) was an Indian Islamic scholar and Sufi mentor of the Deobandi school of Islamic thought.


Mazar-e-Quaid, also known as Jinnah Mausoleum or the National Mausoleum, is the final resting place of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Designed in a 1960s modernist style, the mausoleum also contains the tomb of his sister, Māder-e Millat Fatima Jinnah, and that of Liaquat Ali Khan, the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. The tomb of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar is also located there.

Muhamad Yusuf Khan Khattak best known as Yusuf Khattak, was a Pakistani politician, left-wing intellectual, lawyer, and noted Pakistan Movement activist from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Edwardes College

Edwardes College is the oldest higher education institution in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The college, affiliated with the University of Peshawar, has about 3,000 students in sciences, arts and humanities, business administration, higher national diploma and computer sciences.

Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad Malhi Pakistani politician

Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad Malhi was a Pakistani politician, known for playing a pivotal role in the formation of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Malhi is recognised as one of the nation's founding fathers.

Amin ul-Hasanat Pakistani Islamic leader

Amin ul-Hasanat, better known as the Pir of Manki Sharif, was the son of Pir Abdul Rauf and an Islamic religious leader in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Brisith India. After joining the All-India Muslim League in 1945, he was noted for his campaign in the provincial referendum held in early part of 1947, that saw the NWFP become part of Pakistan rather than India. He was popularly known as ''Fateh-e-Referendum''.

Mohammed Yahya -(March 20, 1901 – March 4, 1990) was primarily an Educationist, serving as the founder and first head master of the Islamia High School Peshawar, the Education Minister of the N.W.F.P. and director Special Education and Princley States.

Raja Ghazanfar Ali Khan was born in Pind Dadan Khan, a town in Jhelum district, British India. He was a leading member of the All India Muslim League and a trusted lieutenant of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, serving in the Interim Government of India of 1946 as a Member of the Central Legislative Assembly of India.

Qazi Muhammad Essa was a Pakistani politician and one of the prominent leaders of the Pakistan Movement.

Shahzada Rehmatullah Khan Durrani Pakistani politician

Shahzada Rehmatullah Khan Durrani was a Pakistan Movement activist born on 10 October 1919 in the Sadozai dynasty of Durrani, the ethnic Pashtun Sadozai tribe, section of the Popalzai sub clan of Durrani Abdali Pashtun tribe in British India, Quetta.

Muhammad Masab Mirza (1904–1967) was a leading politician of Jammu and Kashmir and the President of the Muslim Conference party. After his migration to Pakistan administered Kashmir in 1947, he became the head of the Azad Kashmir (AJK) government.

Jalal Baba Pakistani politician and businessman/public transport service

Khan Jalaluddin Khan, aka Jalal Baba, was a Muslim League stalwart and a Pakistan movement activist.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Abdur Rab Nishtar Biography on storyofpakistan.com website Retrieved 7 October 2019
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Sardar Abdul Rab Nishtar profile (scroll down to see this profile)". Overseas Pakistanis Foundation website. Archived from the original on 4 December 2005. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
  3. Abdur Rab Nishtar profile on Pioneers of Freedom website Retrieved 7 October 2019
  4. Robert Aura Smith, Divided India (Read Books, 2007), pp. 241–242
  5. Rajmohan Gandhi, Patel: a Life, p. 416
  6. Profile of Governor General Ghulam Muhammad on storyofpakistan.com website Updated 1 June 2003, Retrieved 8 October 2019
  7. Syed Jaffar Ahmed (26 August 2017). "Enter the invisible oligarchy (political maneuvers by Malik Ghulam Muhammad)". Dawn (newspaper). Retrieved 8 October 2019.
  8. Abdur Rab Nishtar commemorative postage stamp 'Pioneers of Freedom' series (1990) on State Bank of Pakistan Museum website Retrieved 8 October 2019
  9. Abdur Rab Nishtar (enlarged postage stamp image) on Google.com website Retrieved 8 October 2019


Syed Mujawar Hussain Shah, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar: A Political Biography (Lahore, Qadiria Books, 1985).

Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Mudie
Governor of Punjab
Succeeded by
I.I. Chundrigar