The renowned All India Muslim League politician Malik Barkat Ali died on April 5, 1946. At a special session of the Muslim League held in 1946 and attended by 470 elected Muslim members of provincial assemblies, Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah paid a glowing tributes to him: “I am deeply grieved to hear the very depressing and sad news of the sudden death of Malik Barkat Ali. He was from the very beginning, a true and loyal member of the Muslim League and on all occasions, he rendered the greatest service to Muslim India. His advice and staunch support on all occasions was of greatest value to the League and myself. Muslim India has lost in him a great man and I have lost in him not only a colleague, a collaborator, but also a great friend. My deepest sympathies go out to his family in their bereavement for their irreparable loss.”
After a distinguished academic career, Ali started teaching at the Forman Christian College in Lahore. He briefly joined government service only to resign in 1914 and became editor of the English weekly The Observer. In 1916, he completed his legal studies and gained the top position in the LLB examinations of Punjab University.
Ali was very critical of Sir Michael O Dwyer, Punjab’s lieutenant governor in 1913, who imposed censorship and asked the weekly’s proprietors to sack him, but they instead chose to suspend the publication.
Ali was elected to the Punjab legislature on the Muslim League ticket in 1937 and in 1946. From 1937 to 1944, he alone represented the Muslim League on the floor of the Punjab legislature. He participated in the Muslim League’s annual sessions held in Bombay, Aligarh and Delhi in 1924, 1925 and 1926 respectively.
Ali was a close associate of Allama Iqbal, with whom he shared identical views on major political issues. This association continued until Iqbal died in 1938. On June 19, 1930, Ali and Iqbal, jointly sponsored a resolution with Gokal Narang and Nanak Chand in the Lahore High Court Bar Association, condemning the unfair trial of Bhagat Singh.
On April 29, 1936, Mr Jinnah came to Lahore to organise the Punjab Provincial Election Board. He met Iqbal on May 1, 1936, who assured him of his wholehearted support on the formation of a parliamentary board. On May 8, 1936, a joint press statement was given where Iqbal, Ali, Khalifa Shujauddin and Pir Taj Din announced their support and cooperation to Jinnah.
The Punjab Muslim League session held on May 12, 1936 at in Lahore, elected Iqbal as its president, Ali and Shujauddin as vice-presidents, Ghulam Rasool as secretary and Ashiq Batalvi as joint secretary. Ali was also amongst the four members nominated by Jinnah to prepare the draft of the Lahore Resolution on March 21, 1940. On March 22, 1940, Jinnah presented the Lahore Resolution in an open session of the Muslim League held in Lahore.
The Pakistan Resolution was later also adopted at the Madras session of the Muslim League in April 1941 and at the legislatures convention in Delhi on April 9, 1946, where it was declared that Pakistan will be a modern, democratic welfare state comprising Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Sarhad, Bengal and Assam.
Unfortunately, we as a nation, have betrayed the vision of our founding fathers.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2012.