Malik Meraj Khalid

Published on by KHAWAJA UMER FAROOQ

Malik Meraj Khalid (Urdu: ملک معراج خالد‎; September 20, 1916 - June 13, 2003), was a Pakistani Marxist and left wing intellectual who served as the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan after the fall of government of Benazir Bhutto.[1] An original and senior member of Pakistan Peoples Party's Central Executive Committee (CEC), Meraj held highly important public tier, including the Speaker of the National Assembly in two non-consecutive terms (March 1977—July 1977; 1988—1990).[1] Responsible for administrating and maintaining the control of Punjab Province, as Province's Chief Minister, after the Indo-Pakistani winter war, Meraj was succeeded as Law Minister, but was sacked after developing serious issues with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1974.[1]
 
Born in 1916 in British Indian Empire to a poor farming family in Punjab, Meraj attended the Islamia Law College in 1942, and started his legal practices in 1948 by establishing his own law firm.[1] Inspired by the literature published in Soviet Union on Communism and Socialism, Meraj began his public community work in 1960s after establishing iteracy and Punjabi language courses in his village, and independently participated in 1965 presidential elections, entering in Senate with high public vote margin.[1] In 1965, he joined the Pakistan Muslim League— a conservative force— but quit in 1968 after the clash of intellectual interaction among with Party members. In 1968, he joined the Pakistan Peoples Party and ascended towards the high party tier, becoming the influential member of Central Executive Committee.[1] However, his tough and rigorous left-wing ideas also clashed with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's centre-left ideas, prompting Meraj to government assignment that were given to him.[1]
 
Meraj also developed serious disagreement with Benazir Bhutto in 1980s onwards and was finally sacked by Benazir in 1996 after accusing Asif Zardari for the murder of Murtaza Bhutto.[1] Disheartened by Benazir's decision, Meraj worked on to rallying the anti-Benazir Bhutto forces contributed to Nawaz Sharif and conservative's landslide 1997 victory in the parliamentary elections, but as prime minister Meraj continued to live his simple life and his Lahore home too remained as accessible as ever.[1] In 2003, Meraj peacefully died in his resident in Lahore, and was buried with full state honor in a local cemetery.[1]

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