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Sikandar Hayat Khan was born on June 5, 1892 in Multan. He belonged to the Khattar Tribe of Attock. He was the son of Nawab Muhammad Hayat Khan, a police inspector in British Government. Later, he became Tehsildar and finally Assistant Commissioner. He went to Aligarh for education and admitted in Oriental College and High School. Sikandar Hayat went England for higher education but came back without degree. He joined the British Army in WW2 and reached to the position of Captain. After the war, he started his business and entered in local politics. He became managing director of several companies named the Wah Tea Estate, the Amritsar-Kasur Railway Company, the people’s bank of Northern India, the Sialkot Narowal Railway, the Wah stone and Lime Company and many others.
Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan joined local politics as he return from England. He actively participated in the Punjab politics in crucial time. He was elected as a member of Punjab Legislative Council from Attock District in 1920. He joined the secular unionist party of Sir Fazl-i-Hussain. It represented the interests of the landed gentry and landlords of Punjab including Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus. Sikander Hayat got victory in the elections of 1937 and became premier of Punjab. He carried out many reforms in favour of Punjabi Zamindar.
Muslim League and Lahore Resolution:-
Sir Sikandar Khan joined AIML in the wake of Jinnah-Sikander Pact in 1937. He believed in the policy of cooperation with the British for the independence of India and tried to maintain a balance in the Punjab political system. His inclusion in AIML upgraded Muslim’s morale. He guided other unionist members to counter congress totalitarianism. He was one of the chief supporters and architects of the Lahore Resolution. He resigned from National Defense Council on Jinnah recommendation in 1941. He also opposed Quit India Movement in 1942.
Role during Second World War:-
Sir Sikandar supported the British struggle against Nazi Germany in WW2. He believed in cooperating with the British Government as it would help in independence. He was active in the recruitment of troops from the Punjab in WW2 as part of the ‘War Effort’. The Muslim League leadership agreed with his perspective and cooperated with British Raj.
Political Contributions of Sikandar Hayat Khan:-
Sikandar Hayat Khan was a great administrator. Sir Sikandar showed his strengths in the local administration in 1920. it resulted in his contacts with the unionist party. Unionist Party was a coalition of Hindu farmer in east Punjab and Muslim feudals and land owners of the west Punjab. Sikandar was also appointed as the revenue member in Punjab Government. He succeeded Sir Fazl-e- Hussain as the leader of Unionist Party and claimed victory in the first election of Punjab legislative Assembly in 1937. Sikandar remained the premier of the Punjab till his death.
His main political contribution was the strong opposition of the Unionist Party toward the division of Punjab. His Administration was admired owing to various innovative form of taxation. This alarmed the money lenders. He appealed for the collection of one rupee tax from all Muslims to renovate the Badshahi Mosque. Owing to this, he had been buried at the doorstep of Mosque.
Vision on partition:-
Sikandar Hayat Khan viewed India as collection of the states including Muslim majority and Hindu majority areas. Sikandar Hayat khan proposed a scheme of loose federation for Indio in 1939. India should be divided into regional and zonal legislatures to deal with local people problems while the state might continue to remain united. Punjab could not ignore the issue of partition as it was a Muslim majority area and Jinnah has strong foothold. Lahore Resolution promised adequate and effective safeguards for the minorities to protect their politics, culture, religious, and economics. Jinnah also made efforts to avoid clash between the Muslim Governor and Muslim led parties to ensure the security of Minorities. Sikandar Hayat, in this context, can be regarded as a strong voice for Punjab.
He died in December, 1942. He is buried outside the Badshahi mosque. His numerous works were left half done especially British war efforts and his attempt to save Punjab from communal friction.