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Feroz Khan Noon (1893-1970)
Sir Malik Feroz Khan Noon, the seventh elected Prime Minister of Pakistan was born in Lahore in 1893. He was an important politician during the Freedom Movement and a prominent figure after the independence of Pakistan and severed on many significant designations. He belonged to the Noon family which was one of the most influential landowning families of Punjab. He got his early education from Aitchison College, Lahore. He then went to London for higher education, where he completed his master’s degree in 1916. After that, he passed the exam of Bar-at-Law.
Upon his return to the sub-continent in 1917, he started practicing law at the Lahore High Court. He, then, entered politics and was appointed as the Minister of Health and Education in Punjab Provincial Cabinet. From 1936 to 1941, he served as the High Commissioner for India in London. He was selected as a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council in 1941 and remained on that particular post till 1945. During this period of membership, he also held the office of Defense Minister for India from 1942 to 1945. He was the only Indian, at that time who was raised to that prestigious position.
Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, with a desire to bring unity among Muslim Ummah, sent Feroz Khan Noon as his special emissary to some countries of the Muslim World in October 1947. Malik Feroz Khan was the first representative who was sent abroad by the Government of Pakistan after independence. The purpose behind sending this one-man delegation was to introduce Pakistan to other countries, to explain the reasons behind its creation, to familiarize the Muslim countries with its internal problems, and to get moral and financial support from brother countries. Malik fulfilled the task assigned to him successfully.
Due to his political and administrative experience, Feroz Khan was appointed as the Governor of East Pakistan; he, however, was interested in the politics of Punjab. He remained one of the core contenders for the Chief Minister-ship of Punjab from the late forty’s too early fifty’s. Eventually, he was successful in becoming the Chief Minister of Punjab and served at the position for three years, from 1953 to 1956. Noon remained Chief Minister of Punjab until he became Foreign Minister of Pakistan, in 1956, in Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy’s Cabinet.
Feroz Khan Noon had close affiliations with Iskandar Mirza, so he was one of the key organizers of the Republican Party in Punjab. He was also appointed as its President. Contesting from the platform of the Republican Party, he was elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan on 16th December 1957. Although President Iskander Mirza supported Noon in establishing his Ministry, he later dismissed Noon, since he posed a hurdle in Iskander’s way of obtaining absolute power. Noon’s tenure as Prime Minister automatically came to an end when Martial Law was enforced in the country on 7th October 1958. He died on 9th December 1970 in his ancestral village, Nurpur Noon near Bhalwal, Sargodha District.