Mian Iftikharuddin

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He was a member of the Congress Party and President of its Punjab chapter until in 1946 when he switched over to the Muslim Leagueunder Mohammed Ali Jinnah. He was owner of the Pakistan Times, a paper started by the leftists in the Muslim League as a balance to the centrist League mouthpiece Dawn as well as the Hindu press.

After the June 3 plan was announced Jinnah looked increasingly towards young men like Iftikhar to help Pakistan stand on its feet, and so Iftikharuddin was chosen to be the Pakistan Minister for rehabilitation of refugees after partition. In 1949, he proposed radical land reforms in the Punjab, however this led to a backlash from the Feudal leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League under the Nawab of Mamdot. In frustration he resigned from his Ministry in 1949 and was formally expelled from the Muslim League in 1951.

Later he jumped off the League ship, and formed his ‘Azad Pakistan Party’ committed to liberal secularism in the country. Though big names like Dr. Khan Sahib and the Khudai Khidmatgars were attracted to it, Azad Pakistan Party soon faded away in history. He was also considered a leading light of the National Awami Party as well.

His Pakistan Times newspaper continued to espouse social justice and agrarian reforms, it attracted many well known leftists including its first editor Faiz Ahmad Faiz. However in 1959, following the military take over by Ayub Khan, the paper was taken over by the government and despite a legal challenge he failed to obtain either compensation or the return of his paper.

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