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) commonly known as Ghulam Muhammad, was a notable Chartered Accountant who served as the third Governor-General of Pakistan from October 1951 until being dismissed in August 1955. Prior to that, Ghulam Muhammad was also as well as the first Finance minister of Pakistan from 15 August 1947 until being elevated as Governor-General on 17 October 1951.

Born and hailing from Lahore, British-controlled Punjab Province (now part of modern Pakistan), Ghulam Muhammad educated and graduated from the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University (AMU),[1] and started his professional career in accountancy from Mahindra and Mahindra Limited. In 1947, Ghulam Muhammad joined the Indian Railway Services and initially worked as a financial auditor at the Indian Ministry of Finance. Prior to independence of Pakistan, Ghulam Muhammad settled back to his native city, and subsequently elevated as country's first Finance minister. As Finance minister, he is credited for drafting and formulating the Soviet-style high centralised plans for the national economy, and presented the First Five-Years Plans in 1948.

Prior to the assassination of Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, Ghulam Muhammad was appointed as third Governor-General by Prime minister Khwaja Nazimuddin, who was dismissed by Ghulam Muhammad in matter of two months. He is held responsible for launching anti-communist campaigns in East-Pakistan and brought forward the role of the Pakistan Armed Forces in national politics. He notably dissolved the Parliament after concluding that his powers were being threatened and keenly devalued democratic norms in the country. Ghulam Muhammad left the office in extremely poor health in 1955 and died in his native city the following year.

Ghulam Muhammad is considered a negative figure in Pakistan's history, giving rise to political intrigue, undermining civilian control of the military by declaring martial law, and devaluing democratic norms by sacking parliament.[2]

Family and education[edit]

Malik Ghulam Muhammad was born near Mochi Gate to an old upper-class family, on 20 April 1895. He belonged to the Kakazai tribe of Pashtuns,[3] and was related to another early Pakistani bureacurat of note, Dr. Nazir Ahmed OBE. Much of his childhood was spent in the walled city of Lahore, and thus the impact of pure Lahore culture was very much visible on his personality. After graduating from a local high school, Ghulam Muhammad enrolled in the prestigious university of subcontinent, the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).[1] He studied Economics and Accountancy at the AMU and gained Bachelor of Accountancy from AMU.

His maternal grandson Yousuf Salahuddin is related to renowned poet and philosopher Allama Iqbal, and is nephew of Allama Iqbals son Javid Iqbal. He was also related closely to the famous Lahore family of later Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer.

Career in finance and accountancy[edit]

After graduating from Aligarh Muslim University, he co-foundded the Mahindra and Mohamed Steel Company in India along with Mahindra brothers JC Mahindra and KC Mahindra. Two years later after, India won its independence, Ghulam Mohammed left the company to become Pakistan’s first finance minister.[4] The company later started manufacture Willys jeeps in Mumbai under Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd name.[5] in 1945. Subsequently, he helped establishing the accounts and financial revenue of the company and served its founding accountant of the company. However, this was short lived when Ghulam Muhammad went on to join the Indian Railway Accounts Service after being offered a prestigious opportunity there. Initially, he served in the Indian railway board before working as the Controller of General Supplies and Purchase.

After the World war II, Ghulam Muhammad represented the Nawab of Bhawalpur during the Round Table Conferences, and during it was this time, when he developed relations with Liaquat Ali Khan. He later served as financier and 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 helped Ali Khan in advising the financial and economics affairs whilst assisted Ali Khan in drafting and preparing India's first budget which later culminated as "poor man's budget".

Finance minister[edit]

On 14 August 1947, Ghulam Muhammad migrated and settled in his native city of Lahore, and opted for Pakistan. He had been a credited and one of the top economist in the country by virtue of his performance, and countries such as Singapore and Thailand had long consulted him on driving their economic policies.[6]

He won the favours of Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, and was appointed as newly established country's first Finance minister. He was appointed minister of the Finance ministry during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947 and the starting of the Cold war between Soviet Union and the United States.[6] Initially, Ghulam Muhammad visioned for the highly centralised and planned economy, although with capital principles. In 1948, he submitted the draft of the First Five-Year Plans, and gained confidence of Prime minister Ali Khan on his formulated planned economy. However, due to inadequate studies and staffing, the plans did not materialised and the programme collapsed in matter of months after being launched. During this time, he made an effort to restart his programme and his conditions of health deteriorated.[6] In 1949, Ghulam Muhammad invited and delegated leaders of the Muslim world to Pakistan, after first organising the International Islamic Economics Organization (IIEC), where he emphasised on the idea of an economic block of Muslim world.[6]

He repeatedly suffered from bad health and his conditions worsened as time passes.[7] By the 1951, he often seen sick during his office hours and often coughed up loudly while giving presentation to the government officials.[7] Judging his condition and economical distress, Liaquat Ali Khan became highly convinced and almost came close enough to signed papers of his relieve, but the assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan gave a new chance to increase his influence and power in the national politics.[7]


Further information: Constitutional Coup

One of Ghulam Muhammad's major 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 on the Governor-General's powers. In response, Ghulam Muhammad dismissed the Assembly, an action that was challenged in the Supreme Court. Ghulam Muhammad emerged victorious when the Court upheld the dismissal in a split decision, despite dissenting opinion written by Justice (later Chief Justice) A. R. Cornelius and protests from the members of the Assembly. This action is now seen as the beginning of "viceregal" politics in Pakistan, in which the military and civil bureaucracy, not elected officials, govern the country and maintain substantial influence over society and the provinces.[8]

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.

See also[edit]



  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. ^
  6. ^ a b c d 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 
  7. ^ a b c 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. 
  8. ^ 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