Malik Feroz Khan Noon belonged to one of the most influential landlord families of Punjab. He was born in 1893. After receiving his early education from Aitchison College, Lahore, he went to London from where he did his Masters in 1916. During his stay in London he also passed his Bar-at-Law exams. On his return, Noon practiced law at Lahore High Court from 1917 to 1926. He then joined politics and was appointed as Minister of Health and Education in the Punjab Cabinet. He served as High Commissioner for India in London from 1936 to 1941. He was appointed as a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in 1941 and retained the position till 1945. Simultaneously, he held the position of Defense Minister of India from 1942 to 1945. He was the first Indian to be raised to that prestigious position during the British rule.
In October 1947, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah sent Feroz Khan Noon as his special envoy to some countries of the Muslim World. The purpose was to bring unity amongst the Muslim Ummah. This one-man delegation was the first official mission sent abroad by the Government of Pakistan. The aim of the mission was to introduce Pakistan, to explain the reasons of its creation, to familiarize the Muslim countries with its internal problems and to get the moral and financial support from the brother countries. Noon performed the role assigned to him in a successful manner.
Taking his political and administrative experience into consideration, Feroz Khan Noon was appointed as the Governor of East Pakistan. He himself, however, was more interested in the politics of Punjab. Along with Nawab of Mamdot and Mumtaz Daultana, he remained one of the main contenders for the Chief Minister-ship of Punjab during the late 40’s and early 50’s. He finally succeeded in achieving his aim in 1953 and remained Chief Minister of the province till 1955. In 1956, he assumed charge as Foreign Minister of Pakistan in Suharwardy’s Cabinet.
Being a close friend of Iskander Mirza, Feroz Khan Noon was the key person in organizing the Republican Party in Punjab, and was appointed its President. Fighting from his party’s platform, he was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan on December 16, 1957. Although President Iskander Mirza supported Noon in establishing his Ministry, he later considered Noon as an obstacle in his way of obtaining absolute power. When Martial Law was enforced in the country on October 7, 1958, Noon’s tenure as Prime Minister automatically came to an end.
Apart from politics, Feroz Khan Noon also proved his capabilities in the field of academics. He wrote five books, including his autobiography, “From Memory”. His wife Viqar-un-Nisa Noon, though not originally from Pakistan, spent her entire life working for the betterment of the people of Pakistan, and proved to be a great social worker.
Feroz Khan Noon died on December 9, 1970 in Sargodha.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003