Meraj Muhammad Khan

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Meraj Muhammad Khan
Minister of Labour, Minister for Manpower
In office
20 December 1971 – 13 August 1973
Preceded by Air Marshal Nur Khan
Succeeded by A.Q. Khan
Vice-President of the Pakistan Peoples Party
In office
30 November 1967 – 22 October 1974
Preceded by Office Established
Succeeded by Dr. Mubashir Hassan
President of National Students Federation
In office
4 July 1963 – 30 November 1967
Preceded by Johar Hassan
Succeeded by Rasheed Hassan Khan
Personal details
Born Meraj Muhammad Khan
(1938-10-20) 20 October 1938 (age 75)
Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, India
Citizenship Pakistan
Nationality Pakistani
Political party Pakistan Peoples Party
Other political
affiliations
Pakistan Communist Party
Alma mater Karachi University
DJ Science College
Occupation Politician
Profession Philosopher
Cabinet Government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Award(s) Habib Jalib Award

Meraj Muhammad Khan (Urdu: معراج محمد خان‎; born 20 October 1938),[1] is a notable socialist intellectual and philosopher. He is noted as one of the key philosopher and founding personality of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and as a major contributor to the initial Basic Programme of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

In addition, he is well known and influential communist figure in the country, and known for his political struggle and advocacy against anti-capitalist convergence and the support of the social democracy.[2]

Biography[edit]

Meraj Muhammad Khan as born on 20 October 1938 in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, British Indian Empire to an educated family of Pashtun origin. He is originally from Maidan, Tirah from the Zakka Khel subtribe of the Afridis.[3] In his early times, his family moved to Quetta.[3] He was the youngest of four sons and his father, Hakeem Molvi Taj Muhammad Khan, was a homoeopathic who practised the methods of Greek medicines in Quetta, Balochistan.[3]

After graduating from local high school in 1956, Khan moved to Karachi where he attended the DJ Science College and later pursued his higher education in Karachi University in 1957.[3] He earned a BA in philosophy and humanities in 1960, and a MA in philosophy in 1962.[3]

Communism and PPP activism[edit]

He came to public prominence in 1960s while studying at Karachi University. During this time, there was a debating competition in which students from all the colleges of Karachi were participating.[4] At this competition, some activists of the Communist Party were sitting in the audience, who asked him to join the Communist Party.[4]

He became an active member of the National Students Federation, eventually becoming NSF's president in 1963. Khan turned the NSF into a militant student political organisation that campaigned for the rights of students.[4] In 1967, he left the NSF after secretly learning of a socialist convention being held in Lahore, Punjab.[4]

He was among those who founded the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and fully endorsed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for the PPP's chairmanship.[4] Through the PPP, he went into mainstream politics and successfully contested in the 1970 general elections on a PPP platform from the Karachi constituency.[4]

Labour ministry (1971–1973)[edit]

In December 1971, Khan was appointed Minister for Manpower and directed the Ministry of Labour (MoL) in Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's government.[4] In 1972, his tenure saw a major labour strike in Karachi; though it was peacefully resolved by Meraj's intervention.[5] It was later reported in newspapers and television that the labour strike was actually a competition between two PPP ministers, Meraj and Law Minister Abdul Hafiz Pirzada for the control of the labour.[5]

Meraj's radical leftist group was in direct competition against Law Minister Pirzada's Pro-Peking group. However, Meraj's denied all accusations on the television.[5]

In 1973, Mairaj fell out with the Bhutto government when Bhutto started to compromise on his so-called Socialist agenda and the regime resorted to repressive measures.[4] As time passee, his differences with Prime Minister Bhutto grew and he left the PPP to reorganise the NSF. However, Miraj fell into political isolation, never to regain his political credibility and popularity.[4]

Commenting on PPP, Meraj later revealed that "the radical (leftist) rhetoric was more than a mask designed to win and retain power."[6] He once said: "Ali Bhutto was a great man ... but he could be cruel."[7]

Political activism (1980s-present)[edit]

After leaving the PPP, he joined the Communist Party in the 1980s. He took active participation in politics and became one of the central leftist leader of the Movement for Restoration of Democracy (MRD) opposing the military government of President General Zia-ul-Haq.[8] In the 1990s, he joined the PPP at the behest of Benazir Bhutto to join her struggle to reunite the left-wing mass to compete against the right-wing mass led by Navaz Sharif.[8] Throughout the 1990s, his association with the PPP grew stronger and was a close adviser on labour issues to the government of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for both terms.[8]

In 1998, he also helped established the center-left/centrist PTI despite the ideological differences. This was short lived when Meraj left the PTI in 2003 in favour of Benazir Bhutto.[8] In addition, he remained a member of the Worker-Peasant Party which later merged with the Communist Party of Pakistan to form the Communist Workers' Party.[8] As of present, he not a active member of the PPP, and lives in Karachi.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Time running out to stem crises". The Nation (Pakistan). 21 October 2008. Retrieved 5 March 2011. 
  2. ^ Jones, edited by Mike O'Donnell, Bryn (2010). Resurgence of the Sixties: Radicalism Revisited. London: Anthem. ISBN 978-1-84331-895-8. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Naimat Khan (30 June 2013). "'His Excellency' Meraj Muhammad Khan". Frontier Post. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Khan, Lal (22 May 2009). "Pakistan's Other Story: 6. Witness to Revolution – Veterans of the 1968–69 upheaval". Marxist News, Pakistan. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c Khan, Naveeda (2012). Beyond Crisis: Re-evaluating Pakistan. Abingdon [u.k]: Routledge. ISBN 1136517588. 
  6. ^ Ali, Tariq (2008). The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power. New York [u.s.]: Scribner. ISBN 1471105881. 
  7. ^ Allam, Zalan. "Understanding Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto,". Sixth hour. Retrieved 3 November 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Pakistan Herald. "Details of Meraj Muhammad Khan". Pakistan Herald. Pakistan Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2013.