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Chaudhary Mohammad Ali (1905-1980)

Chaudhary Mohammad Ali was born on 15th July 1905. He got his primary education from Nahangal Arabia School; the school was then upgraded to middle level and Mohammad Ali completed his middle education from the same school. He was awarded a scholarship, on the basis of good performance, in the middle examination. He received modern education and up-to-date training due to his father’s personal attention. His father was much impressed by the theory of modern education of Aligarh Movement. After graduation from Islamia College in 1925, he got admission in the University of Punjab and completed his M.Sc degree in 1927. He was a big fan of Allama Iqbal and copied the whole edition of Iqbal’s poetry ‘Ramozee-Be-Khudi’ in his own handwriting.

He was very involved in literary activities. Along with his friends, Chudhary Muhammad Ali setup a scientific society. His activeness in the Muslim student politics could be judged by the fact that he participated regularly in the processions of Anjuman-e-Hamayat-ul-Islam. He worked for the annual session of Muslim League as a volunteer. He was impressed by the thought provoking addresses of Jinnah, but took part in active politics, in 1926, when Allama Iqbal contested the election for a seat in Punjab Assembly. Afterwards, in 1928, he contested the superior services exam and got commissioned in the Indian Civil Services. He joined the Audit and Accounts Department and was deputed as Accountant General in 1932, to Bahawalpur State. He was the first Indian, till that time, to be appointed on such a high rank in the State of Bahawalpur. At that time, the State was under the heavy debt of the Central Government due to the improper balance sheet of accounting records. Mohammad Ali, as the Accountant General, paid his attention to the problem, which was causing poor economic conditions in the State of Bahawalpur. His reforms, in accounting records, resulted in dwindling expenditures and escalating revenue; the State was, thus, able to pay back the debt to the Central Government of India.

Mohammad Ali’s excellent performance in Bahawalpur State led him towards the department of Finance and Commerce; and he was appointed Under Secretary in the Central Government. Next year, he was promoted to the post of Secretary to the central Finance Ministry. When World War II began, he was deputed as financial advisor for war and supply, a post never held before by any Indian. He was awarded with the title of O.B.E when he traveled to war front in the Middle East, in 1942. Secondly, he was awarded the title of C.I.E in 1946, when he was sent as member of Haidry Mission to England. Due to his extraordinary abilities and performance, he won praise even from Quaid-i-Azam. Despite the fact that he was aloof from active politics, he was fully aware of political trends due to his community consciousness. Chaudhry Mohammad Ali provided his technical expertise in the preparation of Liaquat Ali Khan’s “Poor Man Budget.”

When Pakistan was established, Mohammad Ali became Secretary General to the new Government. He played an important part in the organization of Cabinet, and provided his expert assistance, related to the financial affairs, to the Finance Minister, Gulam Mohammad, for the preparation of the first budget of Pakistan. Ayub Khan, in his autobiography, mentioned that the Prime Minister of that time, Mr. Liaquat Ali Khan, was under a considerable influence of Chaudhry Mohammad Ali. His administrative services, in spite of scanty resources, were admired even by the last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten. He concentrated, as a Revenue Minister in the cabinet of Khuaja Nazimuddin, with all his attentions to improve the revenue. He discouraged borrowings and achieved his target of industrialization in a short span of time. In 1953, he suggested new taxes while presenting the budget. He was appreciated for his economic policies, by both national and international press. Then, he was elected as Prime Minister, in 1955 by the Parliamentary Party of Muslim League. Soon after taking responsibility of the job, he made a promise to his countrymen that before the end of February, the Constituent Assembly will approve a constitution for the country. He, then, tried his best to fulfill his promise and the constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan was promulgated on 23rd of March 1956. Despite the fact that the constitution was dismissed within two years in 1958, it was extremely popular and was considered a mixture of democracy and Islam. He was a great economist; dependency on foreign borrowings was very low during his rule. Chaudhary Mohammad Ali played a key role in the development of the economy of Pakistan. Preparation of first Five Years Plan was one of the great achievements of his government.

Mohammad Ali resigned from the position of Prime Minister, and from the Muslim League as well, when he failed at healing rifts with Muslim League, and a new party, named as Republican Party. He did not remain silent even after his resignation and raised his voice against the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. He wanted to unite the democratic forces against dictatorship, and for this purpose he toured both East and West Pakistan to mould the opinion of public against Ayub Khan. Composition of combined opposition parties was the result of Mohammad Ali’s efforts; he also prepared the manifesto of this combined opposition. While working for the restoration of democracy, his health began to weak day by day. He retired from active politics, but he kept on expressing his opinion and views continuously on all appropriate issues till his death on 1st December 1980.

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