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Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was born on July 15, 1905 at Jalandhar. He received his early education from Primary school Nahangal Anbia which was later upgrade d to Middle School. He passed his middle examination from the same school. On the basis of his best performance in the middle examination he won the scholarship. There are many personalities who belonged to Jalandar such as ex-defence minister Sardar Suran Singh, Chaudhry Rehmat Ali, Hafeez Jalandhri, Sheikh Anwar-u-Haq and Chaudhry Yaqoob Ali ex-chief Justices of Pakistan but among them Chaudhry Muhammad Ali had a unique and conspicuous personality. In the opinion of World’s renowed Readers Digest ’’ the extraordinary personality of Muhammad Ali helped in overcoming the financial difficulties and adopted such measures which saved the newly born nation.
His father was impressed by Ali Garh movement so he endeavoured to impart modern education to his son. Due to his personal attention he received up-to-date education and sound training. In 1925 he graduated from Islamia College. He attained his MSc degree in 1927 from the university of Punjab. During these years he learnt a lot from the company of Allama Muhammad Iqbal,. His interest with Iqbal’s poetry could be judged by the fact that he copied the whole edition ‘Ramozee-Be-Khudi’ in his own handwriting. He was very active in literary activities, he along with his friends setup a mascent science society too. He was also well aware of the political developments of the Muslim community. He was active in muslim students politics and used to participate in the processions of Anjuman-i-Hamyat-ul-Islam regularly. He had special attachment with Muslim League Annual session of Muslim, League was held in Lahore in 1922 and he participated in organizing the session as a volunteer. He was impressed by the thought provoking address of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. But he took part in active politics only when Allama Iqbal contested the election for Punjab Assembly seat in 1926. After that he joined the Indian Audit and Accounts service in 1928 and was deputed as Accountant General to Bahawalpur state in 1932. It is worth mentioning that he was first Indian to be appointed on this rank in the state of Bahawalpur. He was sent there as a Financial Expert in the capacity of Accountant General as the financial system of the said state was out dated. There was huge expenditure and no proper accounting records. This put the state under heavy dept of the central Government of India. He devoted his attention to improve the situation. This resulted in dwindling expenditures and escalating incomes. This healthy situation prodded the state to pay back the depts to the Government of India. Seeing his performance in the state of Bahawalpur the Government of India inducted him in the department of finance and commerce in 1936 and then he was appointed under secretary in the Federal Government. Next year he was the first ever Indian to be appointed as Secretary to Central Finance Ministry. With the beginning of second World War, he was appointed deputy and later joined as financial advisor in the department of Military Finance. In 1943 he was appointed Additional Finance Advisor in the Department of War and Communication and was promoted as Financial Advisor in 1945 being the second ever Indian to reach that slot. In 1942 he traveled to war fronts in the Middle East and was awarded the title of O.B.E. In 1945 he was sent as member of Haidry Mission to England and awarded the title of C.I.E in 1946. It was in those days that the prescient eye of Quaid-i-Azam recognized that vital role of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali could play in the establishment of the state of Pakistan and thereafter his trust and faith in him continued. It was his extraordinary ability which won praise even from Quaid-i-Azam. During his service years though he remained aloof from active politics, but due to his community consciousness he was fully aware of trends in Muslim Politics. He presented his service as non-official advisor in the cabinet of Muslim League. In those days the government presented its annual budget which was prepared by Liaquat Ali Khan with the help of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali. This was a poor man’s budget. In the preparation of this budget he had played an important role.
In those days Steering Committee was the caretaker of government of India, he was also the member of this committee from Muslim’s side. It worked very hard from June to August 1947 to arrange and finalize the issue of division and partition. Chaudhry Muhammad Ali and H.M Patel’s services deserve a special mention regarding the importance of task. Both of them laboured to divide the heritage of their four hundred million country masses. This was a great effort on their part as the task of division was very critical and required special skills and care to handle it. Both of them were with their salt. So due to their efforts the Steering Committee was successful in making consensus upon a whole range of divergent issues.
Upon establishment of Pakistan he became Secretary General of the new government and played a key role in its organization. Finance Minister Ghulam Muhammad prepared budget with special assistance of Chaudry Muhammad Ali as he was principal collaborater of Finance Minister in financial affairs. He enjoyed full confidence of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan. Ayub Khan mentions in his auto biography that ‘ Liaqat Ali Khan was under the considerable influence of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali’. He efficiently managed the administrative affairs inspite of the meager resources. His services in the field of administration were appreciated by the last viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten.
He served as Revenue Minister for four years in the cabinet of Khawaja Nazim-udin. During this period he paid all his attention to improve the revenue resources. He tried to utilize the country’s resources in an organized manner. He discourged borrowings Industrial Development Corporation was established due to his efforts in 1952. The aim of establishing this was to encourage industrialization and it achieved its set targets within short span of time.
He presented a budget in 1953 suggesting new taxes. His economic policies were appreciated by both national and international press. New York |Times wrote that few greatest Finance Minister came from relatively poorer countries for-instance A.R Tylor, Camallutt and Chaudhry Muhammad Ali of Pakistan. The Parliamentary Party of Muslim League elected him as a Parliamentary leader and he became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1955 when first constituent Assembly was dissolved by Governor General and Second Constituent Assembly was elected. He was the strong supporter of one unit scheme. He considered this scheme very important for the economic development of country. He said on 15 September 1955 in the Assembly
‘’The general discussion on this bill has been remarkable for its length and even more remarkable for its irrelevance. The country has viewed with increasing concern the rate at which are proceeding. We have taken three weeks and more for the general consideration of this bill’’.
In the same speech he gave his opinion about constitution making. However the establishment of West Pakistan Bill was passed on September 30, 1955. But Hussain Shaheed Surawary and Sardar Abdul Rashid from N.W.F.P criticized this scheme bitterly.
After the establishment of one unit there was an important task before chaudhry Muhammad Ali to frame the constitution for the country as early as possible. Draft of the constitution was prepared in December 1955.He adopted different ways for passing the constitution. He persuaded the members of United Front on the issue of division of power between centre and provinces. He convinced them to accept more powers for centre which included the control over finance, defence and interprovincial trade, communication, international trade and immigration.
He had promised with the nation that by the end of February constitution will be approved by the Constituent Assembly and will be promulgated. Inspite of all obstacles, he tried his best to keep his words. It was remarkable achievement that after the struggle of eight long years, constitution was finally approved by sincere efforts of Prime Minister and some of his trusted lieutenants. It was promulgated on 23rd March.
It had been cherished desire of Choudhry Muhammad Ali to get the constitution approved from the Assembly with unanimous consensus, but his desire could not be fulfilled. However his efforts were highly appreciated in press and media. The constitution of 1956 declared itself Islamic, Parliamentary and federal in character. But due to some reasons he left his post.
During his rule dependency on external borrowings was reduced considerably. A new Programme of National Credit scheme was introduced to keep the supply of money smooth. He was a great economist and played a vital role in the economic development of the country. But during his reign he had little chance to implement it although he laid the foundation of a economic structure of Pakistan. Announcement of the first five years plan was one of the most important achievement of his government. The main objectives of this plan were to increase the gross national product of the country. Textile industry was flourished during his reign. In this way foreign exchange was saved.
So it is concluded that in larger prespective he succeeded in achieving some notable tasks which were not undertaken by previous reigns. But he was a poor politician who failed to control his own party. His greatest blunder was the selection of Dr. Khan Sahib as Chief Minister of the unified provinces of West Pakistan despite the opposition of Muslim League. Dr. Khan Sahib was an old Congress man who had opposed the creation of Pakistan. However he enjoyed the support of the President Iskander Mirza.
After the resignation Chaudhry Muhammad Ali did not remain quiet. He protest against the dictator ship of Ayub Khan. He toured East and West Pakistan in connection with moulding the public opinion against him. His basic purpose was to unite the democratic forces against dictatorship. His first success was in 1964 in the shape of coalition of five parties namely combined opposition parties. The manifesto of this combined opposition was also prepared by him. He had been working for the restoration of democracy for quite along time. But his health began to down day by day so in 1969 due to ill-health be retired from active politics. But he kept on expressing his opinion on the national and constitutional issues through his writing. He also wrote a book in his life namely “Emergence of Pakistan”. He died on first December 1980.