Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan was born in Khangarh in 1918. He was the only son of his parents and was educated at the Aitchison College, Lahore. After completing his education he worked as the editor of the daily Azad for sometime. He emerged as a student leader in politics around 1933. His forefathers were in favor of the British Rulers but he opposed them and joined a revolutionary group ‘Majlis-i-Ihrar’ till the creation of Pakistan. He was present at the annual session of Muslim League held on 23rd March 1940 in which the famous ‘Lahore Resolution’ was passed.
After the creation of Pakistan he started his political career from the platform of Muslim League. He opposed the land reforms of Mumtaz Daultana and formed ‘Anjuman Tahafuz Haqooq-e-Zamindaran Tahat-ul-Shariah’. In 1950 he was elected as the Member of Provincial Assembly from two constituencies of Khangarh. He joined the opposition party, ‘Jinnah Awami League’ and later on this party was renamed as ‘Awami League’. He was selected as its vice president when Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardi was the president of the party. Nawabzada played an important role during the Tehreek-i-Khatam-i-Nabuwwat in 1953.
When General Ayub Khan formed the new constitution, Nawabzada Nasrullah opposed it and favored the nine leaders from East Pakistan whose statement is known as ‘9 Leaders Statement’ and who had vehemently criticized the constitution He was elected as the Member of the National Assembly through indirect elections in 1962. He strongly supported Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah in the Presidential Elections of 1964 against Ayub Khan. On 30th April 1967 he succeeded in forming a five-party alliance for opposition which was named as ‘Pakistan Democratic Movement’ but later renamed as ‘Pakistan Democratic Action Committee’. It played an important role in the removal of Ayub Khan. In 1969 he founded his own party with the collaboration of four other parties and named it as ‘Pakistan Jamhuri Party’ and became its Vice President.
In 1977, Nawabzada was one of the senior leaders of the Pakistan National Alliance in their campaign against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. In the elections of 1977 he was elected as the Member of the National Assembly but following the party policy refused to take oath. He also played an active role in the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD) against Gen. Zia-ul Haq. He participated in the presidential election of 1988 in which Ghulam Ishaq came out as winner while Nawabzada got 98 votes. Thereafter that he formed ‘Combined Opposition’ party against Benazir Bhutto. But in 1990 he made an alliance with Pakistan Peoples Party to oppose Nawaz Sharif’s government. In the elections of 1993 once again he was elected as the Member of National Assembly but it was for the first time that didn’t sever his alliance with PPP that came to power and joined the government instead of going into opposition. He was made Chairman of Kashmir Committee and his son was also made minister in the Punjab during Benazir Bhutto’s second regime.
During the second tenure of Nawaz Sharif, he resumed his role of opposition and in 1997 he founded the Pakistan National Union that was later converted into Grand Democratic Alliance. When General Pervez Musharraf took over the reigns of power, Nawabzada deftly succeeded to bring together two rival parties Pakistan Muslim League (N) and Pakistan Peoples Party under the banner of Alliance for Restoration of Democracy (ARD). Nawabzada Nasrullah became the chairman of ARD, which opposed Legal Framework Order and also slated Musharraf for holding two positions at the same time. Nasrullah was invited by Musharraf for a dialogue but he simply refused saying he can see him provided Musharraf leaves his uniform and comes into a civil dress.
Nawabzada Nasrullah who is generally known as “Baba-i-Jamhooriyat” expired on 27th of September 2003. There were more than fifty thousand people to pay him tribute and attend his funeral.
This article was last updated on Thursday, Jan 06, 2011