|Malik Meraj Khalid|
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. 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). 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.
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. 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. 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. 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.
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. 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. In 2003, Meraj peacefully died in his resident in Lahore, and was buried with full state honor in a local cemeteryEarly life and career beginnings
Malik Meraj Khalid was born in Dera Chalal, a small village near Lahore, to a poor and farming family. His early life saw his family hardship and survival in the feudalism spectrum where his family grow corps for a local feudal lord who paid less than the minimum wage sat by the British Indian Empire government. However, Khalid did not abandoned the school, and despite the hardship, Khalid completed his high-school and later went onto work for feudal lord who agreed to finance his education.
He was educated at Islamia College, Lahore and gained LLB in 1944, followed by Associate degree in public works. In 1948 he began to practice law. For the first time he elected to the Provincial Assembly of West Pakistan in 1965. In 1968 he joined the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and was appointed President of Lahore chapter. It was on the PPP ticket that he was successfully re-elected to the National Assembly in 1970.
Friendship with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
Malik Meraj Khalid, famous for his gentleness and honesty was a favourite of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the flamboyant Prime Minister of Pakistan during 1970s. It was him who played a major role in the political career of Meraj Khalid by first appointing him as his Minister for Food and Agriculture and Under-Developed Areas in December 1971. Afterwards he was appointed Chief of the Party's Parliamentary Affairs in November 1972, and Minister of Social Welfare, Local Government and Rural Development in 1975.
Member and Speaker of National Assembly
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 in January 1988. After once more successfully returning to the National Assembly in 1988, he was once again appointed as Speaker of the National Assembly in 1988. However, he lost the subsequent elections in 1990, and remained aloof from politics for sometime. During this period of solitude he kept on serving as the Rector of International Islamic University in Islamabad.
Interim Prime Minister
President Farooq Leghari, using the powers granted him by the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan, dismissed the government of Benazir Bhutto in November 1996, accusing it of corruption and politically motivated killings. Malik Meraj Khalid was asked to officiate the interim government before new elections.
As caretaker prime minister, Malik Meraj Khalid set a new precedent of austerity. On most occasions, he travelled without protocol. He would often be seen strolling on the Mall in Lahore..