A left wing statesman and Marxist philosopher, Malik Meraj Khalid was born on 20 September 1915, in Dera chahal, a small village near Burki, District Lahore, to a poor farming family. His early life saw his family hardship and survival
Malik Meraj Khalid
A left wing statesman and Marxist philosopher, Malik Meraj Khalid was born on 20 September 1915, in Dera chahal, a small village near Burki, District Lahore, to a poor farming family. His early life saw his family hardship and survival in the feudalism spectrum where his family grew crops for a local feudal lord who paid less than the minimum wage set by the British Indian government. However, he did not abandoned the school, and despite the hardship, Meraj Khalid completed his high-school and later went on to work for feudal lord who agreed to finance his education.
The former acting Prime Minister of Pakistan from November 1996 until February 1997, Malik Meraj Khalid graduated from the Islamia Law College, Lahore in 1942 and gained his LLB in 1944, followed by Associate degree in public works. He started his legal practice by establishing his own law firm in 1948. Inspired by the communist literature published in Soviet Union, his initial public community work was aimed towards promoting the literacy in his native village.
He was first time elected to the Provincial Assembly of West Pakistan in 1965. In 1967, he joined hands with Zulifqar Ali Bhutto as one of the founding members of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) and ascended towards holding the highly important public offices. In 1968, he was appointed President of Lahore chapter. It was on the PPP ticket that he was successfully elected to the National Assembly in 1970. He was noted as being one of the original philosopher and founding personality of the Pakistan People’s Party.
Malik Meraj Khalid, famous for his gentleness and honesty was a favourite of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, during the 1970s. It was Zulifqar Ali Bhutto who played a major role in the political career of Meraj Khalid by first appointing him as his Minister for Food and Agriculture in December 1971. In 1972, he was appointed Chief of the Party's Parliamentary Affairs and Minister of Social Welfare, Local Government and Rural Development in 1975.
After the execution of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in April 1979, he was nominated member of the PPP's Central Committee but he eventually resigned from this position. Once more, after successfully returning to the National Assembly in 1988, he was again appointed as Speaker of the National Assembly. However, he lost the subsequent elections in 1990, and remained aloof from politics for some time. During this period of solitude he kept on serving as the Rector of International Islamic University in Islamabad.
However, his tough and rigorous Hard Left ideas led to developing political differences with Benazir Bhutto in the 1990s and was sacked by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1996 after levelling the accusations against Asif Zardari for the murder of Murtaza Bhutto.
In November 1996, President Farooq Leghari, dismissed the government of Benazir Bhutto using the powers granted to him by the Eighth Amendment in the Constitution of Pakistan, accusing it of corruption and politically motivated killings. Malik Meraj Khalid was asked to serve as the acting Prime Minister of Pakistan to officiate the interim government before new elections.
Disheartened by Benazir's decision, Meraj Khalid worked on to rallying the anti-Benazir Bhutto forces and contributed to Nawaz Sharif resulting conservative's landslide victory in the 1997 parliamentary elections, but as Prime Minister Meraj Khalid continued to live his simple life and his Lahore home too remained as accessible as ever.
On 13 June 2003, Meraj Khalid peacefully died in his residence in Lahore, and was buried with full state honour in a local cemetery.