Malik Ghulam Muhammad

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Malik Ghulam Muhammad
ملک غلام محمد
Malik Muhammad.jpg
3rd Governor-General of Pakistan
In office
17 October 1951 – 7 August 1955
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin
Muhammad Ali Bogra
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Preceded by Khawaja Nazimuddin
Succeeded by Iskander Mirza
Minister of Finance
In office
15 August 1947 – 19 October 1951
Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan
Khawaja Nazimuddin
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Personal details
Born (1895-04-20)20 April 1895
Lahore, British Raj
(now Pakistan)
Died 12 September 1956(1956-09-12) (aged 61)
Lahore, Pakistan
Alma mater Aligarh Muslim University[1]

Malik Ghulam Muhammad (Urdu: ملک غلام محمد‎; Bengali: মালিক গোলাম মাহমুদ; 20 April 1895 – 12 September 1956) was a Pakistani civil servant who served as the third Governor-General of Pakistan from October 1951 until his dismissal in August 1955. He previously served as the country's first Finance Minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan.

Educated at Aligarh Muslim University,[1] Ghulam Muhammad worked as a chartered accountant before joining the Indian Railway Services as an auditor for India's Finance Ministry. He opted for Pakistan following Partition, and was appointed the new country's first Finance Minister. He drafted Five-Year Plans for the economy in 1948, based on the Soviet model, but was unable to implement them. He also organized the International Islamic Economic Conference held in 1949, and called for forming a pan-Islamic economic bloc.

Appointed Governor-General by Prime Minister Khwaja Nazimuddin in 1951, he grappled unsuccessfully with the Kashmir dispute with India and unrest in East Pakistan. Following anti-Ahmadi riots in Lahore in 1953, he declared martial law in the city under Lieutenant General Azam Khan. After the army quelled the riots, Ghulam Muhammad sacked Nazimuddin's government, helping Muhammad Ali Bogra replace him as Prime Minister. When Bogra attempted to lessen the powers of the Governor-General's office via parliament, Ghulam Muhammad dismissed the Constituent Assembly as well in 1954. Affected by paralysis, he took a leave of illness in 1955, and was himself dismissed by acting Governor-General Iskander Mirza. He died in Lahore the following year.

Ghulam Muhammad is viewed negatively by Pakistani historians, criticized for giving rise to political intrigue, undermining civilian control of the military by declaring martial law, and devaluing nascent democratic norms by sacking parliament.[2]

Family and education[edit]

Malik Ghulam Muhammad was born near Mochi Gate to a wealthy family on 20 April 1895. He belonged to the Kakazai tribe of Pashtuns,[3] and was related to another early Pakistani bureacurat Dr. Nazir Ahmed. He was raised in the walled city of Lahore, and graduated from a local high school. He was awarded a Bachelors of Accountancy from Aligarh Muslim University, where he also studied economics.[1]

He is the maternal grandfather of Yousuf Salahuddin, and related by marriage to Allama Iqbal, Pakistan's national poet and philosopher.

Career in finance and accountancy[edit]

After graduating from Aligarh Muslim University, he co-founded Mahindra and Mohamed Steel Company in India with brothers JC Mahindra and KC Mahindra. The company later started manufacturing Willys jeeps in Mumbai under the name Mahindra & Mahindrain 1945.[4] Ghulam Muhammad helped establish the accounts and financial revenue of the company and served as its founding accountant. He went on to join the Indian Railway Accounts Service, serving first in the Indian Railway Board before working as the Controller of General Supplies and Purchase.

After World War II, Ghulam Muhammad represented the Nawab of Bhawalpur at the Round Table Conferences, when he developed ties with Pakistan Movement leader Liaquat Ali Khan. He later served as advisor to the Nizam of Hyderabad, but left to join the Ministry of Finance in 1946. When Liaquat Ali Khan became first Finance Minister of India in 1946, Ghulam Muhammad assisted Khan in drafting and preparing India's first budget.

Finance Minister[edit]

On 14 August 1947, Ghulam Muhammad opted for Pakistan, settling in his native city of Lahore. He was appointed the country's first Finance Minister a day later.[5] Initially, he drafted a highly centralised agenda for a planned economy, submitting the draft of the First Five-Year Plans in 1948. However, due to inadequate studies and staffing, the plans did not materialise and the programme collapsed soon after being launched. In 1949, Ghulam Muhammad invited leaders of the Muslim world to the International Islamic Economics Organization in Pakistan, where he emphasised the idea of a Muslim economic bloc.[5] During the same time, he began suffering from ill health, and his condition worsened from 1949 onwards.[6][6]


Further information: Constitutional Coup

One of Ghulam Muhammad's first duties was to represent Pakistan as Governor General at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II held in London in 1953. Ghulam Muhammad was present in Westminster Abbey alongside the other major Dominion Governors-General from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and Ceylon.

In 1954, the Assembly of Pakistan tried to change the constitution to establish checks and balances on the Governor-General's powers. In response, Ghulam Muhammad dismissed the Constituent Assembly, an action that was challenged in the Sindh High Court by Maulvi Tamizuddin, the Speaker of the Assembly. The court's Justice Sir Georges Constantine ruled the Governor-General's decision illegal, but the ruling was overturned by Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by Chief Justice Muhammad Munir, in a split decision.

Historians consider this action the beginning of viceregal politics in Pakistan, in which the military and civil bureaucracy, not elected officials, would gain increasing influence over the country's policymaking.[7]

Dismissal and death[edit]

Ghulam Muhammad's health deteriorated, and he took a leave of absence in 1955. The acting Governor-General, Iskander Mirza, dismissed him, and Ghulam Muhammad died the next year in 1956.


  1. ^ a b c Om Gupta (1 April 2006). Encyclopaedia Of India Pakistan & Bangladesh. Gyan Publishing House. pp. 791–. ISBN 978-81-8205-389-2. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Ghulam Muhammad - Story of Pakistan
  3. ^ Ex-Governor General Ghulam Mohammad’s anniversary today
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Chaudhry, Mohammad Ashraf (20 July 2010). "The Two Wheel Spinners: Shaukat Aziz and Manmohan Singh". Pakistan (Google bookds). AuthorHouse Publishers. pp. 218–220. ISBN 978-1-4389-3800-4. Retrieved 28 July 2012. AuthorHouse Publishers 
  6. ^ a b Gupta, Om (2006). "Economic Minister Ghulam Muhammad". Encyclopedia of India and Pakistan (Google books). New Delhi, India: Isha Books. p. 791. ISBN 81-8205-389-7. 
  7. ^ PAKISTAN: The New Dictatorship, TIME Magazine, 8 November 1954
Political offices
New office Minister of Finance
Succeeded by
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Preceded by
Khawaja Nazimuddin
Governor-General of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Iskander Mirza