Kausar Niazi

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Kausar Niazi
Ministry of Religious Affairs
In office
14 August 1973 – 5 July 1977
President Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry
Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Personal details
Born Muhammad Hayyat Khan
Musa Khel, district Mianwali, British Indian Empire
Died 1994
Nationality Pakistani
Political party Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)

Kausar Niazi (Urdu: کوثر نیازی‎), born as Muhammad Hayyat Khan and commonly known as Maulana Kausar Niazi (1934–1994), was a Pakistani politician and a religious leader in Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). Niazi, in Bhutto's premiership cabinet, was a most powerful federal minister in Pakistan during 1974 till 1977. Niazi was among one of the close aid and trusted confident of Bhutto who remained loyal to Bhutto until his death. He was born in Musakhel village Musakhel, Punjab.His father Fateh Khan Niazi Luqi-khel and uncle Muzaffar Khan Niazi Luqi-khel were among the leading persons of area. He was a religious scholar and orator, who made a name for himself in politics, and was a member in Bhutto's the Federal Cabinet. He served as a minister and assisted Bhutto for 6 years. He was also a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party. In the 1950s and the 1960s Kausar Niazi was a prominent member of one of Pakistan's leading religious parties, the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI). In 1953 he was arrested and jailed by the government for taking part in the violent anti-Ahamdiyya riots in Lahore. Niazi was also highly vocal in his support for JI's criticism of the Ayub Khan dictatorship (1958-69). The JI had accused Ayub of undermining the role of Islamic scholars in Pakistan.However, after Ayub Khan eased out his young foreign minister, Z.A. Bhutto in 1966, Niazi supported Bhutto's stand against his former boss (over the 1965 ceasefire against India When Bhutto formed his own party in 1967 (the PPP), the JI denounced Bhutto and the PPP of being a party of communists who were being backed by the Soviet Union to 'destroy faith in Pakistan'.

After disagreeing with JI's line of attack against Bhutto, Niazi broke away from the party. He was consequently invited by Bhutto to join the PPP. Bhutto was searching for a religious scholar to join his party, someone who could (theologically) retaliate against JI's diatribes against the PPP. Niazi's entry into the PPP was not welcomed by the party's leftist ideologues. But Bhutto overruled their concerns, suggesting that Niazi fully backed the party's socialist programme.

Niazi was given the party ticket to contest the 1970 election from a constituency in Sialkot (even though he was originally from Mianwali).

Interestingly, the constituency in Sialkot from where Niazi was contesting had a large Ahamdiyya population.

But Niazi, now positioning himself as a 'progressive Muslim scholar' and a firm advocate of the PPP's socialist manifesto, decided to hold a series of meetings with the leaders of the Ahamdiyya community.

He convinced them that the PPP would never allow the religious parties to outlaw the Ahmadiyya from the fold of Islam and that the PPP was the community's only hope against excommunication.

According to the recently published memoirs of late Barrister Azizullah Shiekh — a famous lawyer and former member of the leftwing National Awami Party (NAP) — the Ahmadiyya community, before getting Niazi's assurances, had already struck a deal with the leaders of NAP. The NAP too had promised the community that it would keep the right-wing / religious parties from reviving the anti-Ahmadiyya campaign.

However, Kausar succeeded in making the Ahmadiyya community choose the PPP over NAP and vote for the PPP across Pakistan. This also helped Naizi to win the election from his Sialkot constituency where he received over 90,000 votes. In December 1971, after the departure of East Pakistan (that became Bangladesh), Bhutto was invited to form the new government because the PPP had won the most seats from West Pakistan.

He served as the minister of Religious & Minorities Affairs till 1976 and was later appointed the Federal Information Minister. Maulana Kausar Niazi said that Zia-ul-Haq had deposed and ultimately destroyed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He later visited India as the goodwill emissary of the acting Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi.

In his later years, Maulana Kausar Niazi was rewarded for his loyalty to the Bhutto clan by being nominated to serve as the Chairman of the Islamic Ideology Council during Ms Benazir Bhutto's second government.

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